Content is King – is Content Marketing the crown Prince?
In the past we have explained why good content – so called Linkbait – is the best Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. This week we've seen a burst of – er … content – fly by our timelines announcing that content Marketing is now where it's at in more than just SEO.
Like this one by Entrepeneur mag:
When it comes to marketing strategies, content marketing has just been crowned king, far surpassing search engine marketing, public relations and even print, television and radio advertising as the preferred marketing tool for today's business-to-business entrepreneur.
They explain what content marketing is:
It's the creation and publication of original content — including blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos and photos — for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand's visibility, and putting the company's subject matter expertise on display.
Mashable – a blog that is in itself an example of effective content marketing – carries on in the same vein explaining new more sophisticated forms of content marketing:
Lately we’ve witnessed the intersection of content and commerce, an emerging breed of retail site that features magazine-like editorials, photo spreads and inspiring video, all designed to instruct and, ultimately, sell a product.
If content is king, why are newspapers struggling?
Good question. General news (should The Telegraph write about rugby at all if there exists specialist vertical sites like Planet Rugby?), the high costs of print and distribution, the rise of expert amateur content and the erosion of cash cows like classified advertising to sites like Craigslist, have all contributed to the malaise.
The UK Guardian has been at the forefront of attempts to arrest this decline, first by launching an API a year ago (We explained what an API is here). And now USA today are following suit. This is the platform play. Open up so others can build on your content or service.
But yesterday the smarts at King's Cross fired another shot across the bow of the Grim Reaper. Reports Nieman Lab:
But it doesn’t follow that, in 2011, Craigslist has completely cornered the market on classified advertising — or, for that matter, on community messaging overall. Today, a major paper is getting into the community messaging game: The Guardian is launching n0tice, a social news platform that draws a little from Craigslist, a little from Foursquare, a little from Ning.
Put the Hacker into the Hack
N0tice is a platform play (the content is user generated) which also neatly encompasses a ready made business model newspapers know – classified advertising. But to conceptualise and build this kind of tool you need a different kind of journalist, the hacker journo. Explains Poynter:
The process of becoming a hacker journalist is different for everyone, but the pattern is common. Eventually the tools of writers cease to be enough: Microsoft Word gives way to Excel, which gives way to MySQL. And then, almost without knowing it, you’re creating the tools yourself.
And just to show their hacking credits The Guardian also launched a little bot this week that runs on their API. Tweet it a search term and it will scour the Guardian for content based on that term and bring it to you.
Content comes in many forms
Apps can be content. Content that can be particularly useful even as a customer support tool. Apple's Stores have just launched a location aware one which most stores could emulate to provide in store updates. Reports TNW:
…it looks like the app knows exactly what store you’ve walked into, what workshops are coming up, lets you ask for help, tells you how many people are in line ahead of you, and gives you the opportunity to set up a Genius appointment for your Apple devices.
Crowds with thin skines
Two cautionary tales to note this week. Moleskine thought it a good idea to crowdsource a new logo. But designers baulked at the prospect at spending hours working on a project where they stood little chance of getting rewarded. And a US brand Chapstick committed a basic but grave sin: Deleting critical comments from Fans on their Facebook page. This generated loads of 'content', but of the negative kind.
No shortcuts – Content is hard
One of the most clicked-on Tweets we posted on Twitter this week is this study that shows that links one third into a Tweet, gets more clicks. (Notice where our link is.) If only doing content was that easy as following a few rules. Far more important is curating good content. Like we mentioned last week, you'd probably need to change the skills of the people in your business. Hire journalists, bloggers, programmers or other creatives that make or build compelling … you guessed it.
Creative of the Week – Matt Reed
Alcohol has inspired many a great conversation. How many great ideas have we all scribbled on beermats? But developer Matt Reed has taken the beer-bull by the horns and developed a Siri-controlled, Twitter-activated beer-pouring system. You say "pour me a beer", the robot does the job. Nuff said; watch the video.
Something to mull over
Is there a difference between content marketing and social media marketing? Or are they flipsides of the same coin?
Posted by Gerrie Smits