What is content marketing in British and why record a podcast with dad

    This is a podcast with content makers and content marketing executives. The guest of the 14th issue is Irina Sergeeva, director of communications at the British Higher School of Design, a mentor in the Google Launchpad project and author of the independent podcast “ Well, pa-up! ".

    Irina Sergeeva, Director of Communications, Higher School of Internal Affairs and author of the podcast “Well Pa-Up!”

    alinatestova : We have a podcast about content, and since you head communications at the British Higher School of Design, today I would like to talk about how to make communications in an educational institution.

    How is this different from any other company or brand? What features does the university or any educational history have in communication?

    Irina: We must start with the fact that the British is a non-standard university. Everywhere where they ask me to tell you about my attitude to him, I always start with the fact that I myself am a graduate of a classical educational institution, Moscow State University.

    I grew up in a “classical academic scheme” and got used to it. And the Briton destroys these stereotypes every day. I was probably lucky in the fact that I work in the communications of this educational institution and this “product”. In any case, communications are built around a product, digital or analog. And this is a product that I believe in.

    Selling education is a different story than selling mobile phones or something like that. I like to work on the communications of what enlightens and improves a person in terms of cognition and attitude to the world. The person working in the communications of the British in this case is very much attached to the product and is also a little product specialist.

    Now there is a lot of debate about who the product owner is, who the project manager is, where the power of marketing ends and the power of the product specialist comes in, and where are the sales managers. In education it is a synergy that it is impossible to break it.

    I can’t say where the competence of our departments of academic and academic quality ends and purely communications begin, so that they simply give us the product and say: “Guys, sell.” Thank God that doesn’t work for us like that. People who are working on building the right message outside must clearly understand what they are selling. Therefore, we are also a little designers of education and “get on” with this path.

    A: For me, as for a graduate of a classical university, the Higher School of Economics, it’s a little strange to feel that the person who is responsible for communications works in close connection with the educational department. Although in the HSE, maybe this is not so. Training department - it would seem that it can be less bureaucratic.

    And: I hope our training department does not listen to the podcast, they will be upset.

    A: Surely this is not so, but it is amazing how the universities - in this case the British - are changing in the direction of what we are used to understand as a modern brand. Let this be an educational brand, but not the “university” approach that everyone knows.

    And: To which we are all used to.

    A: Yes.

    AND:This is more correct, because we focus on international experience and try to accumulate it. We have a huge number of educational products.

    I myself, for the first time in my third year, ended up in a different educational environment when I went to Germany for an internship. There, people allowed themselves to make individual educational products based on the fact that students watch a series and then do something on it.

    This broke my stereotypes, and even then there were doubts about the classical one-to-many education scheme. When a person stands up for the pulpit and reads to you some unconditionally important and useful things. It seemed to me that there are probably other ways.

    I was constantly connected with education, studied in graduate school, wrote a Ph.D. and struggled with such a classic format when it’s not entirely right and convenient for you to pack your knowledge. There is knowledge, but working with this product in classical education is a little sagging. It's nice to see new things appear like blended formats and interactive things. Even in classic structures. I as MGUshniku ​​is pleased.

    A: Online courses are rerun at least.

    And: Well, at least so.

    A: British - originally, or when you got there - was it already like that, or is it some kind of evolutionary process? When the university becomes more and more open and focused on the student, who uses and accumulates this knowledge.

    And: The British woman is 15 years old, I got there four years ago.

    A: In fact, a third of her life.

    And: Yes, this is a big way. This is the place of work where I stayed the longest.

    In the so-called DNA of the British brand, a very important parameter is entered - human orientation. She works great both in communications and in product history, when a student is at the center. Not a training manual written in 1985, but still a student. We work with the concept of user experience as much as possible, at least we try very hard. Even if some situations arise, we understand in detail why the student did not receive the correct experience that we tried to create for him.

    The Briton is indeed a very open educational institution. Over the past four years, we have gained a lot from the point of view of the ideas that we transmit outside.

    This, for example, is sustainable design, because we cannot help but read this trend. We are trying to teach - as far as I can see - not only beautiful design, but also smart. It impresses me wildly, because our brand broadcasts quite correct thoughts, which I am pleased to promote.

    A: I am partly seditious - and perhaps this is not only my feeling - it seems to me to call a student a consumer. In such a super-academic environment, this seems wrong.

    Many classical systems see in a student a product of their educational process, rather than a consumer - a person who has more rights, who somehow votes for the educational process and acts on it, and who needs to be liked. In general, in the classical educational environment there is no idea to please a student, but there is an idea to put something in it, to make it the right scientific object.

    And: It seems to me that there is nothing wrong with having a clear structure of what you want to put into a student. As they say, "I’m not a dime to everyone's liking." If you completely follow the student’s lead - this is also some kind of imbalance.

    It would be ideal to find something in the middle. Maybe with the help of electives and optional programs that you can embed. The modular system is also a cool story. These things really appeal to me. It seems to me that now the classical education [is not the same] as we demonize here with you (laughs). There, too, there are many good things that, perhaps, students from “free” educational institutions may not receive.

    Perhaps the difference lies in the fact that there is a big difference between Western and Russian universities - namely, educational systems. And yet we are nurtured in the Russian system and are used to what we were given.

    I do not complain about the education I received. It didn’t bother me for sure. Rather, I acquired something in it that allows me to do the things that I do today.

    A: Is it possible to say that the British - as a university that is focused on creative professions - has more freedom in connection with what is taught and taught here? From the series: mathematics needs to be educated like this, and the designer can be a little more freely.

    And: Interestingly, a huge faculty of marketing and business has appeared in Britanka since last year. Here, it seems to me, everything is stricter. This, of course, is a creative story, and I am also impressed that design is inextricably linked with how this is translated into the outer space. Here we are already entering the territory of marketing, which is quite interesting.

    From the point of view of freedom - if you look at our students on the eve of the final sessions or final exhibitions, it does not seem to me that it is somehow easier for them. On the contrary, with freedom comes responsibility. Even if students are released on the so-called reading weeks, when they themselves must learn something. Well, you do not have someone who stands above you, but you yourself must go this way - to protect and prove your point of view.

    This freedom brings up some important things in you that we are not used to. If I recall the rhythm in which we studied ... I finished in 2012, it is not too far, but not yesterday. There was constant pressure - to prepare for the exam, to learn 50 tickets, to be noted in classes and so on. There was continuity and accountability.

    The models are different. I don’t know what is worse or better, but I look with great pleasure at what kind of research our students get. They have a lot of research even before creating a collection of clothes, especially industrial design products or building models. These are really some big and very reasonable things.

    A: Is there any sort of gradation between media communications, the way the company looks in the media and generally in the open space, and how the university should look like? Are there any barriers or things to go around? Where it is necessary to behave not quite as any other brand would behave. Or do the same schemes, methods and rules work in the university’s media communications as in the case of any other brand?

    And: In media communications in general, the rule “Reflect correctly, without distortion, in the media ecosystem who you are” works. What are you broadcasting, who is your target audience, and so on. If we get down to the details, every university launches social media advertising today. To differ, to try to squander under someone, if you are not this - this is a rather strange story in communications. I have a feeling that universities are not doing it so simply, just “transactions with the devil” do not have to be done. You sell education, this is an important thing, it's easy to talk about it. Despite the fact that, of course, time is not easy.

    We understand that there is a certain context, cost, quite a lot of competition. Nevertheless, a well-built communication, which will be fairly honest with the end user of your product, is the key to success.

    A: As an educational product, you navigate and look at completely different players, it turns out. They can be large and small or the same universities.

    And: Yes, and Western ones as well. We look because of our product line. We have a large part - British undergraduate. Why, in fact, the British Higher School of Design - because it is an opportunity to get a British bachelor's diploma in Moscow. This is the franchise of the University of Hertfordshire. The more detail we tell parents about what they are willing to invest in and what kind of education this is, the better and more useful.

    There are other stories, a shorter format - a year or two. This is a program of Russian continuing education when older people [study] with their first education. You and I could now go and enter graphic design, visual communications.

    There are even more compressed formats - three-month. There are intensities when you get some kind of quick pumping in 4-8 days. We also have an education for schoolchildren. I myself teach a little - communication, content marketing. My recent love is a program for schoolchildren, to which I came to read the theory of media.

    The way I communicate with people who are 14 years old and what I see in them is a completely new experience. I see that this is really a different generation that thinks differently and gives other answers to those questions that are usually asked by adult marketers.

    And this is a completely different communication with the consumer of such a product. Therefore, I can’t say that we are competing with someone alone. We are competing with everyone, and everyone is competing with us.

    A: Super. At first glance, it seems that the university is a fairly static structure.

    And: Come to us.

    A: Actually, this is a huge job, everything is in full swing, and a huge number of new players are appearing. I just wanted to ask about intensive, content marketing.

    And: There is such a thing.

    A: It’s one thing to talk about content, another thing is to do content, and the third is to teach content marketing. What place does this intensive take in the field of tasks of the British? How long has interest in this area appeared? And what did he grow out of?

    And: It is necessary to make a reservation that about 80 intensives per year pass in the British. This is a story about interest in the widest possible number of spheres, fields and niches in the market. In our efforts, we allow ourselves to play a little tricks and go a little further than those large programs that we have. Some intensives are indeed probes with curators of large programs. You can test whether this format suits you, and see what the British is.

    With some intensities, we can probe the soil, what is happening in the market today, what is entering or not entering. In some cases, we simply see that there are excellent opinion leaders in the education, communications or culture market, whom we invite with great pleasure to conduct intensives.

    Content marketing for the first time happened to me last winter. This summer we have already planned the fourth stream of this intense. My great “going to education" began with him. Since then I began to teach at large programs in the British, I teach at the programs "Marketing and Brand Management" and "Media Design".

    It would seem that this is a business story for marketers, [but] on the other hand, there are designers who create prototypes of mobile applications, magazine sites, print versions, and it is critically important for them to understand the quality of content and have horizons. Now there is a lot of husk around the concept of content marketing. As before, everyone considered themselves designers and photographers - the plants are standing, and we have all the photographers and managers - now everyone has rushed to engage in content.

    Now there is such a bias in content marketing. This is not bad - it shows interest in the sector. Content marketing has stood perfectly between marketing and media production. These are two of my great passions in life. I have a media background, I used to work as a journalist. It attracts me endlessly - how to produce media materials, videos, texts to lure the reader. When metrics and the measurement of the usefulness of your content are layered on it, content marketing was born here.

    We tried once to incorporate this thing into one corporate program at the invitation of one of our curators. I spent a small block there. And it worked out so well in terms of accepting the audience. Now once a season, 40 academic hours, I give all of myself to teach people how to make good content, how to count it and that it matches the brand’s big idea - guided by what I manage to do in Britanka with my wonderful communication team.

    A: For whom is this intensive in the first place? Is it for those who work in a certain brand, for marketers? For philologists, perhaps, who want to expand their field of opportunity? For students who want to get extra boost?

    AND:I am pleased to review the lists of students who come to my program every time. The backbone is marketers.

    There are amazing things there. There were interior designers; last season a delegation of people from Peterhof who are involved in museum communications came. A lot of startups are coming. People who want to start or already have their own business.

    In fact, communication with startups is a great thing. Another big side project in my life is the story with Google, where I participate in the role of a mentor. They periodically gather strong teams of mentors and take them to nearby European countries - the last time it was Germany. And you go mentoring startups, for example, in Serbia. This rarely happens in the lives of normal people.

    A: Almost never.

    And: Yes. And so, when you start testing at Serbian startups what content marketing is, whether it is needed there, how they react to it. There it is impossible to make a reference to any Russian company, because they simply do not know this. It starts here quite interesting. And there it comes in almost better than in the fields of our spacious homeland.

    A: Why?

    AND:Because [content marketing] is important to everyone in the face of a complete lack of user attention. We get a billion messages a day - how [brands can] lure the user and how to be where he consumes the content? And all these standard stories about the noise through which we are building our communication between the brand and the user today. How to do such things that are memorable, educate you, give a little knowledge?

    In this sense, I am a big opponent of bombing by advertising - which, of course, is part of the brand’s communication with the world. But I want to do some more sophisticated things.

    This story about usefulness and enlightenment works anyway, whether it's a startup, marketers, museum staff, interior designers, or media. Therefore, I am so happy to see different profiles of people on my program in British. Moreover, I divide them into teams, and when these people with completely different backgrounds start to design content solutions together - at this junction amazing things are born every time.

    A: From the experience of mentoring in other countries, can we say that in Russia the topic of content marketing is well developed? Or, on the contrary, is it less developed than abroad? Are there any correlations between what they have and what we have?

    And: It seems to me that we talk more about this topic today.

    I have been to a huge number of conferences lately [about] how to make money with the help of content and how to make good content. Everyone begins to tell about themselves, their successful cases, these are media and big brands. And at the same time I have a feeling that this topic rested a little in itself.

    I am terribly sorry that we do not look at the Western experience of content marketing and are a little behind the global industry trends. Of course, one must look there. All successful projects in content marketing that used huge budgets, human resources and resources have been studied and re-studied.

    It is impossible to give birth to something new from this when everything is changing so rapidly in the market - both in terms of brands and in terms of good communication.

    A: What are the trends? What distinguishes the western tradition of working with content and ours?

    And: Probably the most important thing is absolute freedom and the desire to free oneself from advertising communication. We see every time - even if there are some cool things, every marketer still has an idea at the end: let's stick a button, let's drop a banner, make everything clickable so that it is clear that this is us.

    This has to be fought every time. When I give some simple exercises to the marketing guys in the audience, they constantly fall into direct advertising of the product.

    I urge them to make communication not product-based, at least in the framework of pure content marketing, but human-centered. Based on what people read and watch, how they react to it.

    A: When it’s not a pity for a brand to give some benefit just like that - without counting it, without measuring in clicks, clicks, links.

    And: Yes, absolutely. At the same time, no one is stopping you from continuing advertising communication parallel to this one.

    Why in the West do we see a huge amount of analytics, white papers, some kind of guides that people publish every month? When it’s a great analytics that they do not regret and scrub into public space. Thus, they earn points as a brand that you can trust and whose analytics is quite legitimate.

    A: It turns out that in the Western tradition, content marketing is a little more about content ...

    And:And we have more about marketing. Yes it's true. Of course, we must focus on some market realities. In our country, they are different from what is happening in the West, but for some reason we look very little even at Western examples.

    When we look at students with cool examples, they say: "Well, this is not ours." I say: “My friends, we need to look at absolutely everything.” Otherwise, this narrow-minded thinking and “do it to me like that” story is a rather narrow-minded strategy.

    A: I can’t talk about podcasts a bit yet.

    And: Actually, this is the most pleasant topic. Let's.

    A: In any case, I must ask this question: how and why was the podcast born? [talk about the podcast " Well, pa-up! »]

    And: I understood that this question would be, and I went through in my head how to tell more specifically about it. This story actually has two planes. One is rational-professional. I’m a huge fan of the audio podcast format - since Serial appeared and the podcasts launched Medusa.

    It was a revelation for me that I can, when traveling by metro from work to home, plunge into a completely different world. Suddenly I catch myself thinking that I am starting to laugh while standing in the subway, because something wildly funny is happening in the podcast. And everyone looks at me as an abnormal person.

    I felt that this is a powerful tool for storytelling and transmission of emotions. I liked it terribly because it also tickles the imagination a bit. For quite some time I sneaked up on creating something of my own.

    On the one hand, I’m interested in everything that I know about content marketing, digital, media and storytelling.

    But on the other hand, such monopodcasts, when one person sits down and languidly begins to sow his own wisdom at the microphone, I did not want this. It seemed to me that this is a little crazy - talking to yourself for half an hour and then promoting it in some other way.

    I'm also terribly interested in the story of the generational difference. All the enormous forces spent on discussing what generation X, Y, now Z is. Some kind of public discussion is ongoing about this. My good friend and I once sat in a bar, languidly discussing what generation Y is. For some reason, I really wanted to start a podcast, which would simply be called the letter Y, and I would try to explain with my peers what it is. As we understand ourselves, do we really have any difference.

    In general, [topics of content marketing and generations] were successfully combined in one podcast called “Well, pa-up!”. I am not exploring some broad layers of Generation Z, children, how they develop. I turned this story around, and I still do not see who else is talking to the elders in this format. This is a conversation between generation Y and generation not even X, but baby boomers, dad is now 65 years old.

    We began to talk more, I began to talk more about what I do. It became clear that on the other side there was very little understanding of what I was doing. Naturally, he has a huge interest in this. He is interested in who I work with, what I say, how I teach.

    Slowly, I began to tell Dad more and more. In December, the whole family went abroad for an operation - this is actually a funny moment. How dramatic he was, so funny. When dad walked away from anesthesia, I was there and had something to amuse him with. He could not sleep, and my mother and I sat and tried to tell him something. Then I think: it's time to pitch. I came up with this thing in advance and say: “Listen, there is an idea, let's start a story where I will tell you something.”

    And I was completely sure that when a person is under anesthesia, he doesn’t really remember anything. But the next day, when I arrived in the morning, the first thing that was said: “So what are we doing? I’ve already come up with some kind of name. How will we spread this? ”And so on. Getting off this topic was already generally uncomfortable at that moment. I realized that it was wild enthusiasm for my dad and it was such a family outlet - how we sit and discuss something.

    And indeed, two months ago we recorded the first series, and everything went to the people. It was absolutely amazing for me to watch how people on word of mouth began to share this thing. The feedback I received can be divided into three distinct segments. Firstly, these are my peers, colleagues and friends. Someone is a marketer, someone is not at all - but they are interested in hearing about what I am talking about in this format. This is just about knowledge.

    The second story - from somewhere father's peers began to catch up and comment. Not that: “Look, the British communications director did just that” - but “Sergeyeva’s daughter did a podcast with him, and you remember ...”. My dad is a bard, and there are some people who listen to his songs. The third story is the most valuable to me. These are comments: “Talk with dad, talk with parents, see how cool it is.”

    A: Have there been situations where it seems that everything is clear, but it turns out that here a black hole opens. And the next step opens another black hole.

    When it turns out that some things that seemed obvious raise questions. How much do such dialogs really show differences between generations?

    And: This is also very beautiful for me, because every podcast is a small minefield. I don’t know where we will get in. If I already clearly understand the trajectory of how I lead people from an audience I understand from my stories, then I am absolutely delighted with how my dad reacts to some things that are completely clear to me. And I am so kindly mocking, of course. I force him to watch the Black Mirror series or read 50 points of [Ilya] Dyer, which he wrote about modern media.

    With Bandersnatch, the interactive series of Black Mirror, it was ridiculous, because people immediately start poking, in different versions of the development of the plot “this is all salt. Dad began by saying that he was not going to poke anything at all and that this “crap” was stopping him from watching the series. Absolutely unpredictable reaction. We were stuck at Dyer, because he was sitting with a dictionary and translating some things. He was not clear, but he is very carefully prepared. He came with a piece of paper and told what he understood and what he did not understand.

    It also spurs me a little. I have been teaching for two years, and I have a large number of answers to questions that I have heard in my practice. [Dad's] questions often take me by surprise.

    At some points in the podcast, I understand that somewhere I don’t even squeeze what could be explained better so that he understands. But since we are two rather funny characters, as people say, we with dignity get out of these educational situations.

    A: It seems to me that such things carry additional educational assistance and workload. It is one thing when people of the same age communicate and roughly understand the meaning of certain words, put their understanding into some terms. Another thing is when a person comes from another generation and asks to parse one or another term.

    And: Absolutely.

    A: It turns out that you yourself seem to understand what this means, but here you need to essentially answer.

    AND:Yes, because in any answer you can give a reference, a similar situation in the media or content. And when you don’t have this toolkit, and you understand that it will not stop.

    A: Other references are needed.

    And: Absolutely.

    Dad constantly compares with his work experience - he used to work on the Yunost radio station, on television. He also worked in the media for most of his life, and these parallels are also wildly interesting. Which of us will now think of comparing something to the 70s and 80s?

    This also has educational value for me, because I look at how these products worked before. In this we have a mutual educational mission.

    A:Wow. I think this is a great example of how at the junction of communication between generations appears additional value for both sides. Including for people who want to understand a topic that is not close to them in the field of activity.

    And: Yes, it is. Of course, I was lucky because the purity of the experiment was quite high. Dad did not have a single social network in his life.

    He conditionally understands how Facebook works. But we buried when I asked to tell me what Instagram is. It turns out that he has a principled position, why he does not want to get social networks, why this is a great evil, and so on. This is an interesting position.

    From what was born in general [name] “Well, pa-up”: [in response] to the rhetoric “You are with your computers and social networks, everything is on the phones, how infuriating”. It is clear that it was this: "Well, dad, finish, it’s better to learn something yourself."

    I don’t know if this comes with age or with the depth and quality of your conversations with dad and a person from another generation. Now I see why. He said: “Imagine that in the 90s I was a healthy man of 40 years with a bunch of ideas - he is really a creative person - suddenly at some point I understand that all the technologies just missed me. Suddenly, from somewhere, all the phones appeared, computers, social networks. And I just sat down and realized that I did not have time. "

    This position seemed rather interesting to me. And here I already think: “Okay, I’ll be 50-60 years old. How will all this develop? ”Maybe everyone will leave for Tik Tok, in which I don’t understand anything. There, children hang masks on their faces, and this, of course, is generally past us, apparently. It is also very interesting to extrapolate to your future and think about how we will live and how to build communications. I think this is important.

    A: Does the pope change any interests or habits following the results of communication? Are there any changes? Suddenly he liked something from the series or something new?

    And: You know, this is my favorite. I recently drove home and witnessed a telephone conversation between dad and his friend.

    The speech was this: “Petrovich, you're sitting here, trying to do something. Do you know that content is commodity? You know that marketing is now considered by such KPI, and the content should actually go after the product, and not vice versa? ”

    Then we got such a story that from time to time he reads something on the Internet and starts to write to me: “Listen, are you aware that Twitter has launched this and that?”. We also have an exchange of news. Of course, I chuckle kindly, but it's cool. You, through your chatter, give rise to interest in a person to understand how life flows today. I put some pieces from my lectures to him, and he is trying to figure it out.

    This desire to learn - returning to the British woman and what we believe in - is the ideal concept of life-long learning. Especially when this source of education is not just an online course or “Moscow Longevity”, but your own child who explains to you what he lives with and transfers some knowledge other than personal stories.

    I'm just trying to put a greater emphasis on knowledge, not really turning to the individual. Although the transition to personality is an integral part of our podcast.

    A: This is such training in the British, outside the British, in the media, communications, everywhere.

    And: It turns out that this is really training everywhere. This story is very enriched by the fact that when you start to transmit some kind of knowledge outside, [doubts about yourself appear]. This is not quite an impostor complex, I just always have an idea inside - whether I’m talking, whether I’m talking about it, whether I did my “homework” correctly. This is such a complex of excellent pupils - have I studied everything in order to be able to talk about this to people.

    A: Great. We made a thematic circle.

    And: Yes, yes.

    A: Super, you can round out on such a cool note.

    And: Cool, thanks a lot.

    Our microformat on the topic of content marketing:

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