According to a November 2012 survey by Econsultancy and Outbrain, 90% of marketers believe that content marketing will become even more important over the next 12 months. Worldwide, the wealthiest people own media outlets that by and large serve big business purposes – whether those be political concerns or to protect business interests, rarely is this kind of media (content) seen as a solid investment. Today, the smartest companies in the world can be the richest too, if they write and control content.
An excellent example of a marketer doing a great job with content is energy drink beverage behemoth Red Bull, which started a newsstand magazine in May 2011 called The Red Bulletin (see video below). The magazine intendsto portray the world as Red Bull sees it – a place where high energy thrill seekers perform crazy feats, fueled by the company’s famous beverage. Their U.S. Editor, Andreas Tzortzis, recently told AdWeek:
“We’re going to be doing stories that definitely present boundary-breaking approaches to life.”
Redbull is not only seeking tobe a popular product, but also as Raymond Roker, associate publisher of The Red Bulletin has said the aim “is to have a rich conversation with our audience.”
If you watched Red Bull’s video, read the magazine, you see what I mean. Redbull, which has actually transformed the beverage industry, is among the first major brands to create their own magazine – and most experts predict they will succeed in a major way as their consumer will become even more attached to their brand. For relevance to the rest of us on the agency end of things, a move like this helps on search engines (as well as with online reputation management in case of negatives), helps further involve consumers with brands, and provides a built in economy in that new content is relatively in-expensive. Exactly as I have written earlier, integrated marketing is key, and with self-created content brands can check many boxes and serve many different masters.
Prediction: You’ll see more companies following Red Bull’s lead. What is stopping the likes of Nike or Johnson & Johnson plus other conglomerates from starting eponymous media machines? It would seem to be a “no brainer” with the costs so low and staffing needs minimal. Companies creating their own content can speak in their own voice, discuss the world as they see it, frame a debate in terms of the issues said company cares about, form their own point of view.
Johnson & Johnson’s community site for parents, www.babycenter.com is so well-trafficked some publishing executives have said it accounts for a large part of the decline in sales of actual parenting magazines. Many smart, forward-thinking companies have bloggers and editors on staff, writing content for websites that look much like magazines. So what if some of these companies lose money on such ventures? It may be well worth the expense to get their controlled message out to the public – and it’s a relatively low marketing expense.
Communications companies of all ilks (including PR Agencies) have to manage conversations these days. And by creating content they are creating the conversation rather than responding to someone else’s version of that conversation. This is all encompassing story-telling – and managing the (initial) distribution, filter and channels. It’s the continued evolution of communications companies and the communications process.
Photo credits: Content ball – courtesy © Albachiaraa – Fotolia.com