Marketers are Publishers Now?Why are marketers and branders becoming increasingly asked to think and act like publishers? Don’t they have enough on their plate?
Nowadays, marketers are not only expected to design and advertise, but they are also responsible for publishing meaningful content. The responsibilities for branders and marketers keep adding up over time. The reason, according to AdAge, is because “content marketing has been on the rise for several years, yet many companies still struggle with implementing their own programs, and –even more commonly – with sustaining those programs in the face of ongoing content development and distribution challenges.”
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David Meerman Scott Is A Content Managing Genius
David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules of PR and Marketing, goes into extreme detail as to why marketers and publishers have a connection: “In order to implement a successful strategy, think like a publisher. One of the most important things that publishers do is start with a content strategy and focus on the mechanics and design of delivering that content.” This explanation by Scott really hit home with me in his article.
But what is this content strategy that Scott talks about? In layman’s terms, it’s a plan to manage and develop the content of a company. It sounds important because it is. Content marketing is “a marketing process to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating content in order to change or enhance a consumer behavior.” As Scott explained in the quote above, having a content strategy is important when a brand is trying to find new and innovative ways to publish content for their consumers.
Another quote that caught my eye in Scott’s work was the following:
“Content brands an organization as a thought leader. Many organizations create content especially to position them as thought leaders in their market.”
...and so is Paula Bernstein
Paula Bernstein also published an article titled Goodbye “Campaign”, Hello Publishing. She is consistent with my opinion about traditional marketing: “[it] can take a long time to produce, making it difficult to keep up with the lightning-fast pace of pop culture.” She also delves into the fact that content marketing should be as fast as “news and memes, not advertising.” The new pace of the world has changed the rules for how fast content should be put out; the goal is to get it out as quickly as possible.
In order for content branders and marketers to make their content successful and well known, they must become ‘thought leaders’. Thought leaders pave the way for new, differentiated content that place them in a leadership position within the market by catching the eye of their consumers. The concept of being a ‘thought leader’ puts the content creators in the creativity seat: how are we going to get our content to our consumers, and how is going to help them? Creativity of getting specific content to your consumers will earn you brownie points with your target market.
Nowadays, customers prefer “in the moment” customer engagement rather than campaign creation. We are now in technological age, and consumers are getting antsy. Instead of waiting for a long-term campaign to be announced, people now prefer to receive customer engagement more frequently.
Leaders in Content Marketing & Publishing Content: American Express and Kraft
Some companies that are good examples of successful content marketers are American Express and Kraft. Clickz reports state that “American Express is at the top of the list of brands leveraging content marketing the right way with its AmEx Open Forum for small businesses leading the way.” Attention blooming content marketers: look at American Express for a successful strategy! The Open Forum has content written by paid and volunteer writers, which makes AmEx geniuses in “crowd sourcing.” The content in the AmEx Open Forum content website is “authoritative, trustworthy, and meaningful” to customers. No wonder they are winning the content marketing race.
Another example of a successful content marketer is the famous Kraft Foods. The company has learned how to manage its content very well over the past few years. They now have numerous Facebook accounts for the company to get in touch with customers, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, and an iPhone application. They are connecting with their consumers, using these social media outlets to show the different types of recipes you can make with Kraft products. They also take advantage of YouTube, and publish videos under “the Kraft Cooking School.” Customers feel as if the brand cares because of how much work is put into making them happy consumers.
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OtterBox Explains: "No Content For You"
Thinking about successful content marketers makes me ponder what brands still take the traditional marketing road. Surely, all companies have a social media account now due to the importance of connecting with the consumer. However, there are a few examples of brands that are more traditional and need to follow American Express and Kraft’s route to excellent content marketing.
Some brands are adamant that social media and content marketing is not essential for marketing success. OtterBox admits to not using social media to connect with their consumers. Curt Richardson explains the situation: “Social media has become a great conduit for sharing information, but it's also opened the floodgates for a constant flow of requests, inquiries, pitches, etc.”
The brand in general limits their exposed content. Why? Richardson goes on to explain that “once you put yourself out there, you're there for the entire world (of that social platform). I joined LinkedIn for a short time and was stunned by the number of personal messages I received. If email is like taking a cooling gulp from a stream, social media is akin to opening your mouth under a waterfall.” Essentially, the company has decided to use traditional marketing to not make themselves vunerable on the Web. As a marketer, I understand where the argument comes in to limit your content due to safety and the company being “spread too thin.” My critique is from my consumer point of view: why would you not want to do everything you can to connect with your customers? OtterBox has reasoning to back up why they choose traditional marketing, but it does not appeal to me as a consumer. I do not consider OtterBox trying to differentiate themselves by not opting to use content marketing strategies; I see them as impersonal. My critique is that they should try at least connecting with customers through at least one content strategy medium. I would love to see OtterBox start a blog and give information about their new products and research.
To find out more about content marketing, look at the graphic below. It breaks down the objectives that brands try to accomplish by publishing their content.
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