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,
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