3 Ways To Tell The Content Marketing Boom Spells Revenue Growth for Publishers
Last week Publishing Executive announced the launch of the Publishing & Media Lab that we will host at the 2015 Content Marketing World conference this September. The Lab will help media companies position themselves to meet advertisers' growing thirst for branded content and drive new revenue.
As I noted in the announcement, a large share of the publishers I've spoken to in the past 12 month (and I talk to quite a few) have indicated that marketing services are a source of new revenue for their businesses.
Where other revenue streams (looking at you, print) have become stagnant, publishers are bullish on marketing services, native content, and the like. There's a simple reason for this: advertisers have recognized that quality content is an effective tool for engaging with consumers who have grown numb to traditional advertising. The key word here is engaging: brands no longer want to "advertise," they desire a dialogue with current and potential customers, be it in the B2B or consumer space. Publishers have the tools and knowhow to fulfill this desire.
Put simply, content marketing is booming. Want proof? Here are just three reasons it's a promising revenue driver.
The Market is Growing
A recent joint study by The Content Council and AdAge indicates that the percentage of executives that have a "strong" or "extremely strong" commitment to content marketing (40%) has more than doubled in the last two years and is expected to nearly double in the next two. By 2017 it's anticipated that content marketing will account for one third of overall marketing budgets.
The information industry analysts at Outsell estimated last year that the US content marketing market was $83.5 billion and that publishers' current share of that market is 30%.
According to a report by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, "86% of B2B marketers are using content marketing" (Read the full 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends - North America here.)
Publishers Are Investing
Nearly ever week we get word of an announcement of a publisher launching a new branded content studio or fueling up those operations with more talent and/or technology. Clearly the leadership is being put in place to lead the way. Here are just the announcements from the past two months.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media Names Laura Kalehoff Director, Branded Content Studio
Penton Appoints Barbara Couchois And George Assimakopoulos to Lead Its Explosive Growth in Marketing Services
James R. Gaines to Join Atlantic Re:Think As Director of Content
Politico Hires Dell's Managing Editor to Build a 'Brand Journalism' Team
Mashable appoints Eric Korsh to lead branded content venture, Mashable Studios
AOL Now Has an In-House Creative Agency to Make Ads for Brands
Some Publishers Are Already Reaping the Rewards
Yes, publishers have been supplying "content marketing" for years, in the form of custom white papers, advertorials, branded events and campaigns, and more. But the new era of content marketing calls for sophisticated operations to handle the complex, data-driven, and highly-customized content marketing services that clients are calling for.
Some publishers are on the leading edge of this movement. In an interview with Hanley Wood president Peter Goldstone, he indicated that marketing services now account for more than one quarter of the company's revenue. Penton says its marketing services business is growing 20% per year.
And that's not simply anecdotal either. Outsell's 2014 report The Marketing Services Imperative for Media Companies -- which is highly recommended for a full study of the marketing services opportunity -- estimates that leading media and information services firms have added 10% to 25% or more to total revenue with marketing services.
Of course there's a caveat: That same Outsell report indicates notes four essential components for success in this space. I find the following items the most pressing considerations for publishers taking this opportunity seriously:
1. Make marketing services a major line of business.
4. Bite down on the "new talent bit."
In other words, it's a big opportunity, but it also comes with its challenges.
Look for many more posts on this new Marketing Services Lab blog and of course, check out the agenda for the Publishing & Media Lab we're presenting at Content Marketing World for an in-depth study of how to make marketing services revenue growth real.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.