Shining a Light on Strategy, Best Practices in Content Marketing
A deep dive into the ins and outs of content marketing was on offer during a panel discussion at the recent Publishing Business Virtual Conference and Expo. The session, "Custom Publishing: Opportunities in Content Marketing," is available free on-demand by registering at the show website.
Session moderator Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute began with an overview of content marketing. "Content marketing is marketers acting, thinking and being publishers themselves, where they are creating their own media [and] owning their own media channels," rather than "renting" others' channels, Pulizzi said. The very nature of digital media argues for content creation as a primary venue for marketing, he says, because storytelling is at the heart of search engine optimization, building a social media brand and effective lead generation.
Pulizzi provided statistics showing the number of marketers using formats like articles, blogs and videos to deliver messages—as well as numbers demonstrating how few companies are consistent in maintaining their marketing messages on these platforms. "It is the consistency of content generation that is a really hard challenge," he noted.
Sean Murphy, Vice President, Custom Media at American Express Publishing, spoke to these same challenges. While publishers are a "natural fit" for custom publishing because of their built-in expertise and audience knowledge, many of them are not used to the client relationship and sales cycle of content marketing, which involves seeing revenue returns over the longer term rather than month-to-month.
Publishers offering custom content must have a "client-objective" vision, he said, rather than focusing on their own brand consistency. Using American Express as an example, Murphy profiled a successful revenue-generating effort by a traditional publisher.
Gordon Plutsky, Chief Marketing Officer at KingFish Media, agreed publishers must change their mindset to understand the type of relationships needed to build out content marketing services. "You really need to make a clean break … [and] go all in on it," he said. This partly involves the right sort of motivation and compensation for salespeople. Understanding the problem-solving nature of content services, and the type of conversations needed with clients, is key to the effort, he said.