Get a Content Strategy or Get Left BehindTo borrow an analogy from Joe Pulizzi, producing content without a solid editorial strategy is like building a house without any thought as to the number of rooms, the location or the people living in it. Do you just start throwing bricks around? No, you call an architect and create a plan.
Content marketing was the business buzzword of 2012. More and more brands – both large and small – began embracing the power of content as a more effective alternative to PR and PPC in the face of an increasingly savvy online audience. They were essentially becoming online publishers themselves, producing and curating more and more branded content.
But in the process of jumping on the content marketing bandwagon, much of this content was being produced without any thought as to why. Fortunately, 2013 already seems to be the year these brands start to recognise the importance of a solid editorial strategy, rather than merely publishing volumes of content for the sake of it (“filling the buckets”, according to Joe). And solid editorial strategy requires journalists. Even at this early stage of the year, we’re already seeing the importance of journalism in content marketing as it distinguishes itself from the traditional marketing model.
The smart brands are no longer engaging the services of copywriters to produce their content; they’re spending more money hiring journalists and editors who can plan an editorial strategy, who can ‘find’ the story in a company/brand/product and who understand that objective content that’s of a higher quality is more effective in driving engagement with customers than a hard sell.
GE’s environmental innovation forum ecoimagination.com is a fantastic example of this. The website publishes high quality, objective editorial content about environmental challenges, innovation and the economy – positioning GE as a thought leader, improving the reputation of the brand and starting conversations with current and potential customers about issues that are important to them.
AFL Media is another. Run by Walkley Award-winning journalist Matthew Pinkney and employing a team of journalists, editors and producers, www.afl.com.au covers every aspect of the AFL – from match results to drug scandals and anything in between. This warts-and-all strategy has resulted in an impressive 3.2 millions UVs in 18 months, as well as 1.9 million UVs to the club pages and 35 million video streams.
In order to keep up, it’s time for agencies to follow in the footsteps of these brands and start recruiting more editorial staff with backgrounds in journalism and publishing.
“[In 2013] the smart agencies are going to focus their efforts on providing strategy, not tactics,” says Jay Baer in The convergence of earned, owned and paid media. So take note, and don’t get left behind. The time for filling buckets is over.
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: