“We wrote our first blog post before we wrote our first line of code.”
- Jon Miller, founder, Marketo

Blogging is important for every business. So we don’t just offer ghostwriting services for others. We blog for ourselves. Why? To discuss big issues such as content strategy, commissioning and ROI, as well as tactics for effective copy creation or editing, not to mention news about Collective Content.

Remember, over a third of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type. Let us know what you’d like to read about here.

Brand newsrooms

Content Marketing Landmarks: Oreo Cookies

The second the power went off in the 2013 Super Bowl a light bulb lit up in the mind of an Oreo Cookie marketing staffer.

While the game play was interrupted for more than 30 minutes in the second half due to a stadium-wide power outage, Oreo’s media team quickly prepared a graphic and tweet. The image was of a cookie shining out in the darkness with the message ‘Power out? No problem’. It added: ‘You can always dunk in the dark.’

With the power off in the stadium and emergency lighting throwing little illumination, the crowd was bathed in the light from their smartphones. Meanwhile at home users searched for updates on the outage.

When the Oreo message appeared it had a captive audience. The message was retweeted and favourited thousands of times.

Official advertising costs for the Super Bowl are huge. In 2013 a 30-second ad slot alone cost $4m.

The quickly improvised graphic and tweet from Oreo underlined the difference between the value of traditional advertising and that of real-time content and messaging relevant to an unfolding event. A real clash between old and new.

The success of the improvised tweet also demonstrates the value of having a responsive brand newsroom. The power outage was a little over 20 minutes in length but in that time the Oreo team mobilised, made a quick decision on creative and used Twitter to spread the message.

A bit of quick thinking by a responsive brand team delivered more value than a $4m 30-second ad ever could.


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When should a brand charge for its content?

Cash register

Previously we’ve looked at what premium content marketing means. It’s content marketing so good that a reader/viewer chooses to pay for it. But the question we come to next in our brand publishing series is even tougher: When does premium content marketing make sense for your business?

In that earlier post, we perhaps made the mistake of talking about this approach as a ‘profit centre’. That’s possibly a mistake because things you charge for don’t always result in a profit.

And therein lies a clue to the answer. Because premium content marketing can be as much about the wider effect it has than whether it really makes you money directly.

This isn’t unique to content. Though in the world of content there have long been publications that carry a newsstand price but make most of their money through other means – advertising, ecommerce, events and so on.

And in other fields you can see similar patterns. Budget airlines have got to the point where some might soon offer ‘free’ flights because the real money is to be made from what passengers buy at airports, in the air, or from related hotel, hire car and other businesses.

So it might be that premium content just feels right for your business. When would that be?

The types of business that are billion-dollar internet ventures aren’t going to get much richer by putting a price tag on a magazine. So why would they?

Take Airbnb. Two years ago its magazine Pineapple debuted with a $12/£9 price. There was some toing and froing about where it would go from there but now it has partnered with lifestyle publisher Hearst – funny, that – to create content from its many hosts around the world.

Its high-end publishing journey is about positioning the wider company as more than a peer-to-peer room rental service.

Meanwhile, others see a clear tie up between commerce and content. In that last post of ours, we mentioned what Net-a-Porter has done so well with Porter magazine – and it’s not just comfortably competing head-on with other glossy fashion mags. Retailer ASOS has done something similar, reporting an audience of almost half a million.

For these retailers, this is relatively new. But in the sector, Benetton’s brand mag goes back to the early 1990s.

And the real big boy is arguably the most famous name in brand content: Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin has circulation figures of over two million. It’s cover price isn’t the highest. But it’s more of a commitment than buying a can of the drink. And it fits perfectly into the wider Red Bull content marketing strategy.

Premium content marketing like this isn’t for those just starting out with content marketing. And while some see dollar signs in their eyes at the prospect of charging, there is rarely a direct profit to be made. But major brands will increasingly experiment in this area.

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

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