Five questions to keep in mind for your next content marketing initiative.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” - Bill Gates, 1996
It’s hard to believe Bill Gates coined the phrase “Content is king” only 18 years ago in a 1996 essay about the Internet - at a time when most people weren’t even online yet. The phrase is such a familiar saw now that marketers are starting to argue for other heirs to the throne including “context” and “distribution.” While it’s unlikely anything will unseat content, it’s an interesting discussion to have. At a recent Cynopsis Digital Monetization Summit, Steve Bradbury, COO of Zazoom conducted a panel discussion that included audience members in an exercise to fill in the blank, “Content and _________ are King.” If we concede that content is king, then what is the next most important element that helps content rule the marketing kingdom?
Continue reading "If content is king, who is the heir?" »
I once asked my Facebook friends for some advice: “Looking for a higher-end digital camera to buy that will make my pictures look nearly professional with minimal-to-no effort.” The question was tongue-in-cheek, since I know that the tool doesn’t make a craftsman, and my photographer friends replied in kind. “Make sure you buy one that’s bundled with a box of photography knowledge,” quipped one of them.
He was right. Whether I spent $2,000 or $20,000, simply owning a camera doesn’t mean I am a photographer, just like owning golf clubs doesn’t mean I am teeing off first at the next PGA Championship. The same is true of brand storytellers.
Continue reading "Brand Storytelling – It’s not what you think it is" »
The glaring problem with most of your branded content on social media is that it's too...branded. It's stiff. It's dry. It's boring. It's annoying.
We need to talk.
Don't make the classic mistake of transposing the worst tropes and trappings of traditional advertising onto social media content. Traditional advertising (TV, print, out-of-home, etc) still works for brand awareness, but it's a passive medium. Social media allows direct interactions and real-time conversations with the people who matter most to your brand and clients. Understanding the inherent strengths and contextual uses of each native platform is the first step to creating content that moves users and provides useful information or entertainment. The art of branded content on social media is the deft ability to achieve business goals while not pissing off your audience.
Continue reading "5 simple ways to fix bad branded content" »
More articles for less money and media metrics that skip engagement get us away from what was central to the value of content marketing in the first place? There is a better way.
“I love the artistic challenge of doing something kind of impossible.”- Phillippe Petit, high-wire artist.
The last couple of years have ushered in an explosion of content marketing and “native” advertising activity. These concepts are not even a little bit new, but what is new is that as an industry, we’ve been feverishly working on standardization, scale, and efficiency in the name of truly making content marketing a meaningful part of the digital advertising revenue pie.
Continue reading "It's time to bring accountability to content marketing" »
“Everybody judges, all the time. Now, you got a problem with that, you're living wrong.” – Rust, True Detective
If you're like me, you were enthralled by the first season of HBO's True Detective. And because of the way the show is structured, there was a definitive end to the story for the characters portrayed by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
Online content marketing is more like this kind of finite serial drama than you might think. You need prospects with problems and desires to keep coming back until the conclusion, which is doing business with you.
Continue reading "The four essential elements of addictive content marketing" »
“To build important companies, the best people live in the future and then fix its problems.” - Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator.
Content marketing, branded content, native advertising...whatever you choose to call it, it has become one of the fastest growing parts of the advertising ecosystem. When created with a little art and sophistication it can surprise and delight readers, transcending traditional advertorials and becoming authentic, engaging editorial. Across the media industry, old-school publishers and digital natives are getting into the act.
So now that you've accepted 'native advertising' is hotter to advertisers than cronuts to Manhattan's hippest, let's see if we can shed some light on how to make it engaging - and still keep it classy.
Continue reading "The art and science of great branded content" »
“I hate not giving the people what they want” - Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines
The relationship between content and advertising has changed. Before the aughties (or thenoughties as some people prefer to call them), I worked at a traditional print publishing house where the sales and editorial teams didn't interact. The editors didn't want to be tarnished by the salespeople who were out talking and selling directly to brands. I'm overstating this a little for effect, but not by much.
Fast forward to today and I find myself at a modern media company where the editors have a very different view of working with brands. Why? In the digital publishing space, there's no cover price or cover sales and without advertising or branded content, we can't sustain free editorial online. We don't publish a printed magazine on a weekly or monthly basis so have no associated revenues coming in. If we're going to publish great content we need to be able to fund it.
Continue reading "This is the year that branded content breaks out in a meaningful way" »
“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative” - David Ogilvy
It's a brilliant piece of native advertising. Visually appealing and information rich, this sponsored content walks you through numerous variations of oysters, where they hail from, and interesting facts about each. The New Orleans, we learn, was the preferred oyster of Jean Lafitte, and is the key to Oysters Rockefeller. The sweet and succulent Tangier oyster captivated Captain John Smith when introduced by Pocahontas, and the rest is history.
Next, you're hit with the ultimate pairing sensation, as you imagine washing down these delicacies with a cold beer. Not just any beer, of course - a Guinness Extra Stout.
Continue reading "Don’t waste your time with native advertising (do this instead)" »