Content Marketing is the New Black

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There is a fundamental shift in the way that we create, consume and share content. To quote Marc Mathieu from Unilever, “Marketing used to be about making a myth and telling it. Now it’s about telling the truth and sharing it.” With an ever-more crowded marketing environment, it behooves brands to move away from thinking like marketers or advertisers who are selling a product and more like publishers.

To do this, companies must create and curate relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage their target audience. While this is done with the objective of driving sales, it’s not truly advertising or public relations – rather it’s a bit of both. Content must be consumer and not brand-focused. It also must answer customer questions across the buyers journey. Successful branded content is often more effective than advertising because it tells a story that engages the user. These stories help to build stronger relationships. They make people care about a product, brand or cause in a way that sales can’t.

Even the news media is challenged by the increase in content marketing. Upstarts like BuzzfeedUpworthy, and Digiday, to name a few, are creating new news paradigms. In the past four years, nearly every media company has rolled out sponsored content as a new revenue stream, to varying levels of success.

As an example, let’s look at Buzzfeed. One could argue that the front page of BuzzFeed looks like a 21st-century tabloid. BuzzFeed provides shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video across the social web to a global audience of more than 200 million. It isn’t the New York Times, but it may be a new iteration of the New York Times and the future of how consumers get news. Buzzfeed provides newsworthy content to consumers in digestible bites. These bites come in an assortment of styles ranging from listicles to infographics, timelines and more.

In owned social channels, brands must adopt a similar strategy if they hope to keep up. But, the content game is one that all companies must tackle with their eyes wide open. Content creation takes resources, insight, endurance and persistence. It is not about posting once a month and expecting to see sales gains. It takes a lot more time and effort.

Ultimately, there are 3 types of content that brands should try to incorporate into their marketing strategies, these are sometimes called the 3 “C’s” of content production. They are:

  1. Created. This could be dubbed the hardest part of content marketing. Creation happens when a brand or company makes entirely new content to put forth via their owned channels. Hubspot recently posted a blog outlining 44 types of content that can help to get your content creation juices flowing.types-of-content_(1)
  2. Curated. Curation is done when a brand finds pre-created content that engages the target audience, they then collect it and add in their own creativity to it. This could come in the form of offering an original spin on the initial content. The new breed of online publishers (Buzzfeed, Upworthy etc.) is, at the core, clever content curators.
  3. Crowdsourced. Consumers love to share content, whether it is photos, images, videos or content that resonates with them. Ask and you shall receive.

Ready to get started? Many brands have upped their content marketing game in the last year. This article from Outbrain, shares 6 epic examples from 2014.

What types of content marketing have caught your eye thus far in 2015?

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2 Responses to “Content Marketing is the New Black”

  1. Dawn E. Says:

    I went to a social media marketing seminar last week and they mentioned the word “newsjacking”, which was new to me. At first, it sounds like a negative term, but to me, can be used as a synonym to the “curated” content item that you listed. I LOVE Buzzfeed and Mashable, but I always hear about news stories through other sources before I see Buzzfeed or Mashable post about them. They newsjack/use curated content and I love their spin on things.
    I think Oreo had one of the best examples of newsjacking in Twitter history:

    • sarahes2014 Says:

      Thanks for this comment Dawn! I’d actually argue that the two are not completely one in the same. Content curation is making sense of the topic by researching what’s out there and then offering a new or unique POV on that topic or content… where Newsjacking directly piggy-backs on timely news. The timing is the difference. In newsjacking, the created original content takes advantage of timely events that are getting mainstream media attention and providing a unique view or take on the topic and then re-shares it with a target audience, including journalists. This example of newsjacking has been circulating the news today: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/03/06/the-salvation-armys-powerful-new-ad-on-domestic-violence-puts-thedress-debate-in-a-new-light/?tid=sm_fb

      I think in some instances “newsjacking” can actually not work out to be in the best interest of an organization. As you said, it can be negative. For example, using the news of someones death to forward a company mission… that would be bad form!

      Do you agree?

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