The Advertising Squabble of the Century: Creative v. Content

When I got the call that I had received the opportunity to be a content intern for HLK, I was ecstatic. Then I came back down to reality and realized I was in a little (lot) over my head. I had no idea what being a “content manager” entailed.

What I realized is that not a lot of people understand it either. Unless you are in creative or content and have been for a decent amount of time, there is a good chance you have no idea what the boundaries of those positions are.

So maybe right now you are saying to yourself, “What is this girl talking about? It’s totally obvious what the difference between these two jobs are.” To you I say, congrats! Seriously, you rock! But, this isn’t for you. This is for those individuals, quite like myself, who will wait until week 4 to really figure out what their job title entails. (I don’t recommend this, by the way.)

Speaking as the content intern, I can vouch for the awkward “This is mine,” “No, it’s mine,” squabble. Okay, so it doesn’t go exactly like that. We are adults after all. But there is tension and confusion on what items fall under what job description. I am going (to attempt) to help you out a little.

I am sure many of you have heard the phrase: Content is King. That’s awesome. Content may be king, but you aren’t. You need to learn what content means and where your “kingdom” lies and then live there.

Content tells, copy sells. Your job as content is to inform, explain or entertain the reader. The creative team is going to go out and sell this product/idea/experience to consumers. Your job comes after that. Where are they going to land after they see the banner ads/Facebook ads/billboards? That’s your content kingdom.

You are there to connect with the readers/consumers and get them thinking. You want to leave them with a satisfying feeling after they interact with your content. You are attracting them, not interrupting them.

My favorite way to think of it is as a push and pull relationship.

Creative is the push. They are the advertising kings. They are reaching out to the consumer and putting the product in their sights. They are the advertisements and the billboards you see.

Content is the pull. You are the owned and earned media. Consumers see an advertisement and then want to know more. You give them more. You are there for the consumer.

When you get your first client, after all the research is complete, make a list of the responsibilities you believe that you are in charge of and then show them to your mentor. Trust me, getting too far down one path and then realizing you are in the wrong kingdom is not fun, at all.  

Final takeaways:

-       Be confident in yourself

-       Ask questions

-       Know what your responsibilities are

-       Do your own research if other people’s explanations don’t work for you

-       Be courteous of each other (ahem I’m talking to you content and creative people). The line is blurry, work together to define it.

-       Most important: Be patient. Things sometimes take four weeks to really click…


Here are some additional links! If you are still a little confused, don’t worry. Find the analogy that works for you.