The ‘3Cs’ of generating content for marketing

Companies and brands have one curious habit: they have come to believe that all of the content for their marketing has to be created by them. My emphasis is on the word ‘created’

However, there are other ways to generate (more appropriate word) content for your marketing activities, even when you think about creating it yourself. We usually refer to these approaches as the ‘3C’ model of content generation.


Yes, here the company or a brand creates and owns the content outright. That usually means this: a company has to commission some kind of a creative partner (usually an advertising or a PR agency), who usually comes with a heavier price tag. After all, there will be a lot of people involved in the process, which is long(ish) in its own right and often encumbered with lots of complicated professional equipment. This is the usual way.

The benefit of this approach is that a company keeps total control over all aspects of the content (creative idea, tonality, delivery). No one else is a decision maker. The downside of this traditional approach is the cost and the duration of producing content, which makes this approach more suitable for bigger pieces of content such as corporate films, big video playlists/series, white papers/reports etc. It also doesn’t work well for the always-on, tactical content.

However, it is possible to do this approach more cost effectively if we bring parts of the content production in-house (our own production team, which is now a big global trend), or if we work with final-year students of the film or design schools (provided there is someone in the company to creatively guide them).


It is now a well-established fact that many brands have to borrow their reputation in the digital space from influencers. After all, many of them have accumulated many more fans than many brands will ever be able to do and are now in the position to monetise that respect.

Collaboration is what clever brands do all the time. They can collaborate with other complementary brands, or more usual, with influencers on various platforms. The rule of the thumb is this: collaborate in the way that both sides get something they could not get without that collaboration. When KitKat wanted to get on the snacking repertoire of the gamers, they collaborated with two big YT gaming stars to create live enaction of some popular mobile games of the time (Crossy Road being one of them).

The thing to avoid here is to treat influencers as a traditional PR agency and to give them a press release to read. It won’t work. Also, stay away from those that are just chasing the money and promote any brand that comes knocking – you and your competitors alike. Work with those that want deeper commitment with you and/or really like your brand. That was the way how Yasserstain and Fanta in Serbia made one of the most successful YT brand channels over there.

The beauty of this approach is that all the work is mostly done by the influencer, but you have to be able to let go a bit, as they will have their own tone of voice that may be different from your advertising TOV. Good. It is rarely that advertising TOV is favorably looked upon by anyone…


There is a lot of content in the digital space produced by others and some of it could be perfect for your own company or a brand. A lot of digital content – blogs, YT playlists or videos, articles, tutorials etc. – is produced by various enthusiasts who also happen to be experts in particular fields. That includes your own category, most likely. So, why not borrow and use that content as you can usually get it for free or at a very low price, usually much cheaper than if you create something from scratch.

Most of your audiences, especially in B2B categories, are not very fussed with the quality of the video execution (if this is the format you are seeking), which makes this approach even more valuable. Similar goes for text, although here we require even a minimum of legibility and clarity. Luckily, many of the most read blogs/articles on a specific topic tend to be well written (one of the reasons why they are the most read).

How curation works is that you identify pieces of content that could be useful to you too, from various places on the internet, and then you get in touch with the author(s). In the case of the so called ‘micro influencers’ (regular people who tend to be experts or super users) my experience is that they would be quite happy to give you the content for free or for a symbolic sum, provided you link back to their blog/site and give them credit.

Many of them would consider it a compliment that someone is interested in their opinions. Also, if you are not competing with them for the same business, they may even see some commercial benefits from it. Also, if you are part of a professional group of experts, many of them may allow you to re-publish their comments in the group on your content ‘hubs’. It is quite amazing what curation can do for your content budget!

There it is: there are always more ways to generate content than to create everything yourself, the old way. This is one of the new paradigms and behaviors that the digital space brought to bear and many organizations can benefit from it.

Lazar Dzamic

Associate Professor, Digital Marketing & Social Media, EMBA
Former Head of Brand Strategy Google ZOO (NACE)