written by
Jun Song

Why GDPR makes content marketing the new gold, according to The Content Advisory's Tim Walters, PhD

3 min read
© Jolien Evaert | storychief.io

Today has got to be one of the most long-awaited days of reckoning, at least since Y2K, by way of the GDPR: the General Data Protection Regulation.

It affects any business who processes the personal data of data subjects residing in the EU, regardless of the company’s location or where said data is processed.  

While so many organizations are lamenting over the new EU privacy laws around general data protection, Tim Walters, PhD, Principal Strategist and Privacy Lead at The Content Advisory—the strategic education, consulting, and research group of The Content Marketing Institute—believes that the GDPR applicability should incite cheers and not jeers.

GDPR means content marketing is the new gold
Give us a G-D-P-R!

In particular, he says, it's the content marketers who should be most excited about this new era of data scarcity.


Well, Tim broke it down for us in a short Q&A session:

If you had to boil down the GDPR to one word then what would it be?

Trust. It all begins with trust.

In the GDPR era it will be difficult if not impossible to gain permission—to access data from customers—without that trust. You nurture trust by being trustworthy, and you sustain it by consistently demonstrating trustworthiness.

Why is content marketing important in light of trust and the GDPR 2018?

Organizations, big and small, would do well to put a content strategy plan in place to sustain or improve their firm’s competitive proposition and its overall success.

Without data mining resources as they once knew it, marketing professionals will need to evolve. This will also be their time to shine by distributing valuable, desirable content—free of product information or sales pitches. The content will position their brand as a reliable and trustworthy source of value.

In return, the consumer will be willing – or, why not, even eager – to provide the data they're asked for. Said data could be as "harmless" as an email address the first time around.

And what happens where there needs to be a "second time around?"

"Marketing for permission" will need to be creative.

You'll have to find ways to get more positive responses to your requests for data.

  • If you have a solid product that delivers what was promised, then you're already on your way to achieving something close to trust.
  • Only request personal data specific to enhancing the customer’s experience at that moment. It will make it easier to more convincingly describe the value the consumer will receive in exchange for their data.
  • Continue to deliver on the promises you make to your customers.
  • Continue to create and distribute valuable and quality content for the purpose of building an audience and gaining their trust. The benefits of content marketing are priceless in continuing the conversation.

This idea of "the promise." Can you elaborate?

In this new environment, companies must make promises it can keep and offers deals on which it can deliver.

The very structure of a promise creates a future world in which the promise maker does everything in their power to deliver on their promise. Then the trust develops or the trust gets richer.

What is done with customer data will be dictated by the company culture. You'll have to do right by the customer and process their data sensitively and ethically.

How long will it take for companies to successfully build trust in this way?

Good question.

This would depend upon the profile of the customer, but I'm actually working on a white paper currently on this very question. It outlines the actual structure of trust between a company and a buyer.

Well, we will be sure to follow-up with you when the white paper is published.

[Laughs] This will certainly be motivation enough to finish it then.


The EU GDPR is nothing like what Y2K was, although data protection and confidentiality are common threads. The importance of content marketing as a source of value—gold— takes center stage as a key factor to future success.

What was once a feast of data has now turned famine, and the days of haphazard data mining and hijacking are done. That doesn't mean we all have to starve.

If content marketing is the new gold, then Story Chief is your pick-axe to mining it, thanks to GDPR!

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