While it is the year of data, mobile, and the snake, 2013 also continues to revitalize the age-old trend of content marketing and syndication. It seems these ideas are so old they’re new again.
John Deere has been doing it since 1895 with “The Furrow,” so what is making content marketing so attractive now to the modern marketer? While there is no clear cut definition of content marketing, I would put forth that it is content created by a brand, that even if the branding were removed, that the content would still be valuable and engaging to a reader. If done well, it creates positive brand connotation. And if we work with that definition, it makes sense that the modern marketer (much like the modern publisher) wants to get the attention of content-ravenous consumers, most of whom have one or more devices attached to them at any given moment with which to consume.
Last week, the IAB held a Content Marketing Town Hall to foster a discussion around both the concerns and opportunities publishers have in the content marketing and syndication space. The IAB AdLab was packed to the brim. Publishers came with some fears about brands honing in on the content business. To open the day, Andrew Susman, President & CEO of StudioOne and ICSC Board Chairman, reminded us with calming voice that,“Currently the industry sees branded content as a type of media buy, but actually it’s a type of content. If you bring audience to branded content – you get content marketing.”
Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, delivered the opening keynote of the day, outlining the opportunity for publishers and brands to work together to deliver relevant content to consumers, whether branded or editorial, because, as Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy and Industry Development at BuzzFeed later noted, “Great content finds its audience.” So it seems that the name of the game is getting engaging content in a place where your readers will consume it, whether you’re a publisher embracing branded content on your site, or you’re looking to syndicate out your editorial content to brands.
One concern did resound in the room around advertorial content. Should there be guidelines that clearly denote advertorial content? Do ethical standards need to be set for branded content and along with it, best practices on transparency and disclosure? Do we need to create sponsored content labeling conventions? And especially as automated platforms serve up content, how can we ensure that we’re seamlessly integrating advertorial content but not duping readers? The need to ensure will undoubtedly be an ongoing conversation within the IAB, among our membership, and in the industry as a whole.
The IAB Content Marketing Town Hall was held on January 24, 2013. Moderated by Susan Borst, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB, the following industry leaders presented at this IAB member-exclusive event:
Amy Hyde, Product Strategy & Business Development R&D Ventures, New York Times Company
Andrew Susman, President and CEO, StudioOne; Board Chairman, ICSC
Asli Hamamci, Director, Digital, Mindshare
Bill Powers, EVP – Corporate Development, Swoop
Brett Curtis, Global Business Director, Thomson Reuters
Greg Cypes, Director of Product, AddThis
Hal Muchnick, President, Kontera
Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute
John LoGioco, SVP & GM, Outbrain
Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development, Buzzfeed
Ken Zinn, DVP of Marketing – Online Business Unit, Sears Holding
Mark Howard, SVP – Digital Advertising Strategy, Forbes Media
Michael Goefron, Director of Operations, Unruly Media
Peter Minnium, Head of Digital Brand Initiatives, IAB
Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder & CEO, Newscred
Skip Brand, CEO, Martini Media
Tim Clark, Corporate Blogs Editor-in-Chief & Social Media Strategist, SAP