Con­tent mar­ket­ing: buzz­word or big thing?

Brands all want to tell their sto­ries but how do they make sure peo­ple are lis­ten­ing? For­ward-think­ing pub­lish­ers can help,

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - writes 7DAYS CEO, Mark Rix

The world of me­dia and mar­ket­ing is fast mov­ing and in­no­va­tive. But the un­der­ly­ing prin­ci­ple that ‘ideas sell ad­ver­tis­ing’ has with­stood the test of time and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment.

What has un­doubt­edly changed though, is the amount of mes­sag­ing that con­sumers are ex­posed to - all day, ev­ery day via the pro­lif­er­a­tion of new me­dia chan­nels. Ad­ver­tis­ing bom­bards you from ev­ery di­rec­tion and un­less it has rel­e­vance to you, it will be ig­nored or, in­creas­ingly, blocked com­pletely.

As con­sumers we don’t like to be talked at or co­erced into do­ing some­thing, so how can ad­ver­tis­ers en­gage with us on a dif­fer­ent level?

Tra­di­tional pub­lish­ers that have stood the test of time have done so be­cause they are skilled at un­der­stand­ing their read­ers and pro­vid­ing the kind of con­tent they know will in­form, ed­u­cate and en­ter­tain them. Tra­di­tional print ad­ver­tis­ing sits within this en­vi­ron­ment to catch the reader’s at­ten­tion through the creative na­ture of the mes­sage. It is clear that we are be­ing sold some­thing and this has worked well for cen­turies and will con­tinue to do so - par­tic­u­larly for spe­cific, strate­gic mes­sages. There are al­ter­na­tive strate­gies how­ever, par­tic­u­larly if an ad­ver­tiser wants to think out­side of the prover­bial box. The idea of con­tent mar­ket­ing, as the term sug­gests, is to mar­ket through con­tent. It’s a solid strat­egy for a brand, al­low­ing it to share sto­ries or sup­port top­ics that are mean­ing­ful - and show a more hu­man side. Many brands have grabbed this op­por­tu­nity with gusto and are pro­duc­ing in­for­ma­tive and en­ter­tain­ing con­tent - but it is of­ten be­ing dis­trib­uted to an al­ready loyal cus­tomer base, via a brand’s own web­site or so­cial me­dia pages. In this case, the chal­lenge is how to reach a wider, asyet un­tapped au­di­ence. That is where pub­lish­ers come in. The cre­ation of stand­alone di­vi­sions within me­dia com­pa­nies to pro­vide orig­i­nal, ex­cit­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tive con­tent ex­plodes myths that tra­di­tional pub­lish­ers only ‘do’ news­pa­pers. The ma­jor com­pet­i­tive

ad­van­tage we hold is in our ex­pe­ri­ence and cre­ativ­ity in con­tent orig­i­na­tion and the abil­ity to dis­trib­ute that to a size­able and re­cep­tive au­di­ence.

How this is ex­e­cuted is an on­go­ing conundrum though.

Will edi­to­rial in­tegrity be af­fected? Are we dup­ing our val­ued read­ers by dis­guis­ing sales mes­sages within our con­tent? For two rea­sons ef­fec­tive con­tent mar­ket­ing will avoid these pit­falls.

Firstly, the way in which the pub­lished con­tent is pre­sented is a crit­i­cal fac­tor. The terms ‘Pre­sented in as­so­ci­a­tion with’ or ‘Sup­ported by’ are clear in­di­ca­tors of com­mer­cial in­volve­ment and for orig­i­nal, rel­e­vant con­tent this is ac­cept­able to most con­sumers.

Se­condly, for many top­ics, it is valu­able for pub­lish­ers to re­cruit in­put from ex­ter­nal ex­perts and such in­volve­ment im­merses an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s brand ed­i­to­ri­ally and aligns it with the pub­lisher’s brand val­ues and trust built up over time with read­ers. This is noth­ing new. It is not a new par­a­digm. It is an evo­lu­tion of ev­ery­thing we have been do­ing for decades.

The dif­fer­ence to­day is the myr­iad choices of me­dia avail­able to mar­keters and it is up to pub­lish­ers to make sure they can pro­vide so­lu­tions across mul­ti­ple me­dia chan­nels and then demon­strate ef­fec­tive reach and en­gage­ment with their tar­get au­di­ence.

Due to the mul­ti­me­dia pro­file of mod­ern-day news pub­lish­ers, ad­ver­tis­ers can now im­merse their brands more deeply and re­spon­si­bly in con­tent that adds value to peo­ple lives - and make sure their con­tent mes­sages ac­tu­ally reach a sig­nif­i­cant au­di­ence lead­ing to en­gage­ment and prof­itable re­sponse.

DEEP EN­GAGE­MENT: From print to video, get creative with your story CON­TENT WORKS

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