Content Engineering: Paper 1

The purpose of this paper is to achieve deeper understanding of how persuasive techniques function in text and content, and to apply this understanding to your blogs.

Choose a content marketing campaign from a company website and/or social media platform (YouTube, Facebook, blog, etc). Write an analytical essay exploring the strategy (or strategies) of persuasion used to sell the brand and/or product/service. Finally, how could what you learned in this analysis help you market your blog?


Here are some questions to get you thinking (note that you don't have to try to answer all these questions in your essay):

  • What is the target market? Would you consider this an example of mass or niche marketing? Is it trying to create a new market?

  • What creative strategies are used to establish difference?

  • How much actual selling occurs within the campaign? Would you classify this campaign as content or advertisement?

  • What is the immediate call to action of the campaign, if any?

  • What strategies are used to create engagement? Is it remarkable? What types of engagement and/or social goals is the content looking to achieve, if any?

  • What are the share motivators for the campaign? Do you feel they are effective?

  • Is it trying to sell us on a certain image of the company?

  • Is it trying to sell us the product/service by selling us an image of ourselves?

  • Is it establishing an image of the brand, rather than the product/service?

  • Is it establishing the product/service or brand as a metaphor for something else?

  • How does it use the "discourse of rationality" or appeals to emotion?


Use the terms we discussed in class and the wisdom you have gained from our readings. Don't be afraid to use small or seemingly trivial details from the content campaign in your analysis. Assume that everything has been engineered and carefully planned for the purpose of selling the brand and/or product/service.

Remember that I am asking you for an essay, not a short report or a summary. I expect to find a thoughtful analysis with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I expect you to support your claims with evidence and logical analysis. Finally, I expect to see clearly how the techniques you uncover in your analysis could be used to help market your blog.

Still confused about what "content marketing" is, or where to find a content marketing campaign?  See the "100 content marketing examples" document on Canvas for inspiration!

Papers should be about four pages, double-spaced in 12-pt Times New Roman, with one-inch margins. A rough draft is due printed out in class on March 7th and the final draft is due via Canvas by class time on March 9. Final papers should include links to the content you are analyzing.

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