5 reasons why Content Marketing is not a fad

Content marketing, also known as brand journalism is an emerging discipline that has exploded over the past few years thanks to digital and connective media.

Organizations like Coca-Cola, HSBC and Whole Foods are becoming publishers in their own right and engaging with their target audiences by creating and sharing rich content through their owned channels.

As with most trends, there is a tendency to question whether content marketing is a temporary PR craze or a genuine shift in what really drives customer interest.

Here are a few customer-focused reasons why content marketing is here to stay:

  1. People enjoy stories. It’s in our DNA – we want to hear interesting, funny and engaging stories about the brands and organizations we like. In fact, we often appreciate good stories even if we are not fans or users of a particular product or service. Content marketing favors storytelling. It allows brands to find interesting angles surrounding their offerings and share them with their target customers.
  2. There is too much noise.  Audiences are inundated with messages and sales pitches. Using a brand journalism approach is less aggressive. Instead of flooding customers with facts and figures about your brand, it gives you an outlet to share valuable or entertaining content that resembles what one might see in their favourite newspaper.
  3. Audiences want to engage and share. Content marketing has staying power because it is in line with the natural human tendency to learn, question and converse. If you create cool content for your customers, they’ll share it with their friends on social media and become broadcasting towers for your brand.
  4. Consumers associate positively with organizations that produce custom content. According to the Custom Content Council 61% of consumers feel better about, and are more likely to purchase from a company that delivers custom content. Also, 78% of consumers believe that organizations that produce such content are making an effort to build good relationships (source: TMG Custom Media).
  5. People want to make informed decisions. Content marketing can be used to showcase your product or service by providing customers with useful information, stories and anecdotes related to it. Sharing links, videos, best practices, third-party recommendations and curated content about your brand provides customers with the juice they need to make an informed decision.

Bottom line: content marketing is not going anywhere. As long as organizations continue to listen to and engage with their audiences, evaluate their content strategy and adjust accordingly, this is one trend that will stick around for the long haul.

A version of this article also appeared on PR Daily.

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Brand Journalism: Is Porter the New Vogue?

The new Porter magazine ‘powered’ by luxury retailer Net-a-Porter takes fashion content marketing to a whole new level. Launched only a few weeks ago during New York fashion week, the high-end publication is already being touted as serious competition for fashion bible, Vogue. The retailer’s move to produce such a vehicle underscores the central role content is taking in its e-commerce machine.

A glossy print-first magazine, Porter has all the bells and whistles of a traditional fashion catalogue, only the styles showcased across its pages are shoppable on Net-a-Porter.com, and even on third party websites. The magazine’s online version makes it simple to point and click to purchase featured products.

Make no mistake – Porter is not a shopping catalogue, but a true content marketing vehicle. With over 65% editorial content, the 284 page publication avoids the hard-sell, using a barely there reminder at the bottom of each page to invite readers to “Shop Porter with the Net-a-Porter app”. The free app can also be used to scan any page of the mag, but any other calls-to-action are ever so subtle.

Why would Net-a-Porter decide to go with a print version?  Well, because research shows that women actually like to leaf through traditional magazines, even as they make their purchases online. The content in the first issue stays true to its theme, “A celebration of incredible women” and includes articles on everything from fashion and style, to health and travel. Its pages are lined with lavish advertisements, beautiful photography and rich content, and the cover story is an intimate look at the world of supermodel, Gisele Bündchen.

It doesn’t end there. Porter further establishes itself as a brand publisher by showcasing views by designers Manolo Blahnik and Victoria Beckham, a piece on whether mystery still exists in a world where social media prevails, and a story on photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who was kidnapped in Lybia in 2011.

Net-a-Porter is creating this type of content to engage its core audience – “women on the move”.

“We are also a media group. And we love print,” said Natalie Massenet, Net-a-Porter Group Founder in Tweet on the company’s Twitter page. Her proclamation supports the trend of brands as publishers, and the Group’s move to produce such a vehicle emphasizes the importance of reaching customers through rich content that speaks to them and gives them the opportunity to engage across multiple platforms.

It will be interesting to see the impact Porter will have on customer engagement and sales. Dubbed as the first truly global fashion title, the magazine will be published six times per year, with print runs of 400,000 copies and distribution in 60 countries. If subsequent issues match the first one, Porter will definitely prove to be a worthy rival for established fashion titles.