My favourite magazine is a customer magazine. Every month I wait eagerly for my copy of Taste to wing its way over from South Africa and drop into my post box. Come to think of it, my second favourite magazine is a customer magazine too – Waitrose Kitchen features arguably some of the best food writing in the UK.
Why am I telling you this? Because essentially these are pieces of marketing collateral, yet I look forward to receiving them every month and read them cover-to-cover when I do. Why? They’re not ‘in-your-face’ about branding. They’re magazines in their own right, but they’re owned by a brand and they communicate what that brand stands for.
It has been argued that today ‘every company is a media company’, or at least has the potential to be one. This is true, but with some caveats. Given the right combination of content and implementation, any company has the potential to own media, but it is the strategy behind this content and the way in which it is disseminated that is important. What will make a brand-owner into a successful media-owner is the content.
‘Content’ is a word I’ve been hearing more and more since I attended IBC in September last year, and it certainly seems to be one of the hot topics of 2013. Late last year, Forbes said that “Brand marketers who develop focused content plans with clear objectives in 2013 will reap the rewards that content marketing can deliver for many years to come.” Marketers are clearly paying attention, because the marketing community is abuzz with conferences, webinars, feature articles and blogs about content marketing.
But hang on just a moment – what is content marketing? Suddenly it seems that everyone is claiming to be a content specialist, but the ways in which they define content marketing seem to vary wildly.
At AD we find the most useful way to define content marketing is as ‘owned media’. ‘Owned media’ gives brand owners an opportunity to engage with their target audiences using branded content-led tools such as apps and games, educational resources, customer publications and interactive events or webinars. This could include anything from blogs and video to printed magazines and ‘how to guides’, but success boils down to creating the content that the target audience want.
Helping our clients to create owned media is something that AD has been doing successfully for many years already. In fact it’s an area that we’re so passionate about, that we’ve written a white paper all about it. If you’d like to receive a copy and find out more about content marketing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.