Marketers are behaving like the media and doing a pretty good job of it

5 Feb

David Germano, the vice-president of Magnetic Content Studios, spoke to us on Monday about the power of content marketing. His main message? Advertising fails to sustain attention, so marketers should produce content their audience is inherently looking for. It’s about creating stories in places like TV shows and also on sites with quality editorial content that they own and operate.

Man of the House, a site with content sponsored by P&G brands, sought after a target audience of dads.

Man of the House, a site with content sponsored by P&G brands, sought after a target audience of dads.

He used Man of the House, a site he managed with Proctor and Gamble, that created content about family life for dads, a space usually dominated by mommy-directed messages. He, as a marketer for his client, produced a high velocity of quality content and used a newsroom-like structure to do so. The goal with these type of sites he said, is to create and continually update it with content that readers will want to consume, interact with and share. The main point isn’t to harp on a brand message, but rather to give the audience something they want to read that relates to the product you want to sell. The end marketing strategy is content that is more engaging, more relevant to the consumer and more positive in its messaging.

The biggest challenge I see for content marketing is that if this becomes a strategy for every brand, organization and group, how will we be able to sort through all the information? We already complain we are inundated with messages. Now just imagine if the ads that used to be on the side of our screen are now stories or videos that we have to watch or read to get to the editorial content. Good content is good content, but we can only consume so much of it. The question for marketers in the future will be how to make sure their content is good enough to be a priority for their target audience.

There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to see excellent brand sponsored content in the coming years. It gives both marketers and readers more of what they want. Marketers get more eyeballs on their message and readers can take away something more useful that a tagline. But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking brand-sponsored content, no matter how good it is, can be a substitute for journalism. No brand is going to cover last night’s school board meeting, but it’s still important news in our communities. I’m not here to harp the virtues of capital-J Journalism. To the contrary, I think content marketing is a very viable source of revenue for news organizations that the legacy media should welcome, not spurn.

The trick now is to create a media landscape where both news and brand-sponsored content can thrive.

-Laura Davison

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