“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.

Tag: brand publishing

11 essential content marketing links from Q4 18

  1. ‘You have to have support from the C-suite’: Brands struggle with moving marketing in-house

The first of three links from those clever people at Digiday, this piece touches on a challenge for big brands. Even as an agency, we’re not against it. But don’t underestimate what it takes to move different kinds of marketing in-house.

 

  1. Inside Sony Music’s in-house creative agency

And here’s just an example, in this case, taking over the work of a creative agency, at a particular creative company.

 

  1. ‘Home run for us’: Inside Chase’s in-house agency

And don’t think this is all about brands and agencies. Publishers – for some time now experts at creating content for other companies as well as their own media channels – are a genuine option too.

 

  1. 9 things I’ve learned about podcasting for B2B

We’re betting big (well, bigger) on audio and voice search in 2019. We liked the practical advice in this piece, and its B2B focus.

 

  1. Ooh, shiny! Stop letting random acts of content derail your content strategy

We wrote a while ago about random acts of capitalisation, but this post is more important, if truth be told. With limited time/budgets, staying focused on your content strategy – and having a content strategy in the first place – is so important.

 

  1. What’s trending: The role of emotion in B2B content marketing

Including this because it’s so often easier to associate emotional content with B2C. But everyone in B2B is an emotional animal too. So here’s some science, and some tactics.

 

  1. The inspiring inbox: Email best practices that encourage opens and clicks [Infographic]

Email marketing is still a must-have for most brands. Here’s how to do it better. (Bonus points for this infographic format too. Agree?)

 

  1. How to use LinkedIn as a brand publishing platform

We’ve taught classes about effective use of content on LinkedIn, having partnered with the company for our largest brand publishing deal a few years back. This piece takes things even further. Don’t underestimate LinkedIn.

 

  1. 5 content marketing strategies for niche B2B industries

Above average, practical advice.

 

  1. No one reads anymore. What does it mean for B2B content marketing?

We would challenge the opening premise here. Many people do still read – and even long-form content does well. But we’ve all met people who say they don’t read. That they’re “visual people”. Where does that leave us?

 

  1. 5 ways fiction writing can help you produce more effective copy

Lastly, with several published authors on the team, this piece caught our collective eye. Find your inspiration where you can. Stay creative. Experiment.

 

BONUS TRACK!

  1. Great storytelling: Why your brand should be the supporting character, not the hero

And we had to include this one. This is so hard to do but at the heart of some of the best brand content. Content shouldn’t be about you but about your customers. Make them the hero of the piece.

 

Why 12 links for once? It’s more Twelve Days of Christmas than Dirty Dozen. Have a good break and see you in 2019.

 

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

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Red Bull’s Mateschitz on: brands as publishers

Red Bull’s Mateschitz on: brands as publishersBrands need to take the phrase ‘acting like a publisher’ literally.

– Dietrich Mateschitz, CEO of RedBull

 Today’s quotation comes not from a marketer but from a company leader (who also happens to be one of the richest people on the planet and started off in marketing). You could call him an uber marketer, because his company is probably more associated with content marketing than any other. So when Dietrich Mateschitz says brands must act as publishers, you take notice.

We have long believed it. The long version of our tagline goes beyond ‘We tell your stories’ so it reads, ‘We tell your stories, making you a publisher’.

We must support what Mateschitz says, right? Absolutely.

There are countless benefits to brands of all types, not just energy drinks, becoming publishers. There are also risks.

 

Upside

On the plus side, brands – while free to carry on using conventional advertising in the media – are in control of where their engagement takes place. Even when they use big third-party platforms such as Facebook, they need something to say. The same or similar content can be used there.

Being a publisher is also full-time occupation. While that has its challenges (see below), it also means near-constant engagement with those you’re speaking to. You don’t get that with a three-month ad campaign.

 

Risks

Taking on board the mantle of publisher also means being versed in editorial procedures, legal issues, fact checking, sourcing writers and much more. These are all things we blog about here. Why? Because for the average marketer they’re not always obvious. If brands are to become publishers, they usually need some help. Getting things wrong can mean loss of reputation, wasted time and money, and legal disputes.

But on balance, just like Mateschitz we feel it’s worth the challenge and the best will do as he says – launching not just websites, but magazines (like the Red Bulletin) and TV shows, and even doing investigative reporting. These are all things we’re covering in our brand publishing series.

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

Download our exclusive research and report ‘PR’s acceptance of brand content uneven’.

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Why trust is everything for brand content

This post was first published on 19 May 2015

This post draws on two separate but related conversations. Speaking on a panel a couple of weeks ago, one of the people who runs the Guardian Labs (who, I should add, is a former colleague and friend) talked about the ways his well-known publication labels advertiser involvement next to content items. A few weeks before that, I had a really interesting chat with someone at the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) about the sophistication of the average reader.

How are the two related? You probably have a good idea. Our ability as publishers and brand content creators to be good at the former (the labelling) doesn’t always match up with our assumptions about audiences (the sophistication).

When we get that wrong, as professional content people, we lose trust. And trust is the bedrock of all serious content.

Graham Hayday from Guardian Labs talked about that newspaper whittling down ways to refer to an advertiser’s involvement – including ‘no involvement’ – from a total of eight labels to the current three. (These are ‘Sponsored by’, ‘Brought to you by’ and ‘Supported by’.)

This is an issue most of us will face in the era of brand content. Years ago, there was editorial copy, there was advertising creative/copy that sat next to it, and on occasion there were supplements or ‘advertising features’ that were clearly created by or for paying clients but weaved into or around the main product.

Today there are all manner of standalone commercial creations – brand publications, blogs, white papers, infographics, animations, videos and events (I’m not even going near social media for the moment) – and often these aren’t even the hardest to deal with. Something like the Amex OpenForum publication for small businesses, for instance, is clearly created by that charge card provider, and it wants you to know that.

It’s harder when you look at media publications that are now dabbling in native advertising. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, because a traditional ad (advertisers usually don’t know which stories their creative will appear beside) might not need any labelling, whereas ad creative in a section developed especially for an advertiser (who still doesn’t get sign-off or any input) will. But that kind of ad creative won’t be the same as copy (the ‘native’ bit in native advertising) produced by a brand that will need a special marker, as it appears in the flow of editorial.

So we see ‘Sponsored by’ or ‘Brought to you by’ or ‘Advertising copy’ or ‘Paid post’ or ‘Partner content’ or any number of other phrases. No wonder a publication such as Digiday writes so often about labelling.

But do readers understand the differences? It’s not like these are standardised industry terms. Each publication uses its own judgment.

Phil Morcom, the head of the NUJ’s PR and Communications Industrial Council, addressed the subject of audience comprehension when we spoke a couple of months ago. He discussed the example of the UK, with its unique media landscape. The UK has one of the world’s most sophisticated media markets with high use of online media and multiple commercial players – arguably too many for such a population size – which means lots of innovation. There’s also the rather huge anomaly of the BBC, a public service broadcaster on a scale you just don’t find elsewhere.

Given such a media environment, Morcom asked, how can a reader know the difference between ‘Partner content’ as opposed to a ‘Sponsored post’? What about when an advertiser has supplied the whole package? How do they know when advertisers just want to appear next to a section of a publication, much as they have always done?

With so many ways to differentiate – or not differentiate – ad content from editorial, it will prove very easy for publications to lose reader trust. This is a challenge that will take years of education and openness with audiences, even audiences who are smart and sophisticated about how this all works.

Our advice is for labelling to be as plain and descriptive as possible – though sometimes those two things don’t go together. It’s also not just in a publication’s interest to say the involvement a brand has had. Brands will benefit from readers knowing they are responsible for great content, perhaps doubly so on pages where that great content also means one ‘Sponsored by’ reference rather than a dozen flashing types of display ad. Less really can mean more, for publishers, brands and readers.

Might this issue of trust and labelling be the biggest challenge the content industry faces?


Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

Download our exclusive research and report ‘PR’s acceptance of brand content uneven’.

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

Twitter:  @ColContent

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