Month in Content Marketing: March

February saw the latest round of ABC results and once again it was a superb month for owned media with content marketing titles dominating the results league table. The top three magazines in the UK all came from within the industry, with The National Trust, Asda and Tesco taking the coveted gold, silver and bronze positions.

The CMA’s MD Clare Hill wrote in a feature for What’s New In Publishing, ‘six of the top 10 magazines in the UK belonged to own brands. Further demonstrating how placing magazines in store in the right place at the right time can be so effective, branded titles also delivered 70% of the circulation of the top 10 magazines in the UK, reaching over nine million consumers, and 84% of the top five.’

Clare also highlighted how two significant new entrants to the content marketing world were already achieving notable success, namely Pet People, which reaches over 500,000 consumers and Net-A-Porter’s Porter magazine.

Clare finished by pointing out the excellence of the content in the magazines. ‘With more and more brands taking ownership of their own media channels, it’s clear that consumers are continuing to invest their time in high quality editorial products. Critics have argued that much of the success of content marketing magazines is down to the fact that many of them are free, but with Waitrose, a paid-for title, winning the prize for the highest growing magazine this year, doubters may be forced to rethink. High-end fashion glossy Porter may also add to this debate.’ More here.

The Royal Photographic Society’s Society’s RPS Journal re-launches
The Royal Photographic Society’s Society’s RPS Journal will be produced for the next five years by Think Publishing. The move follows a detailed tender process and an extensive consultation with The Society’s 11,000 membership. The journal has an incredible history in that it has been continuously published since March 1853, making it the world’s oldest photography publication.

Dr Michael Pritchard, The Society’s Director-General, commented: ‘the next phase in its evolution will be an exciting one, with an inspiring new design, two additional issues a year and extra pages. The content will reflect the interests and skills of members and their image-making, and will support The Society’s wider remit within photography.’ More here

Content built on intelligence
Writing for Marketing Magazine, Neal Anderson, Digital Director of Publicis Blueprint, has been stressing the importance of editorial intelligence while warning brands about the growing number of ‘bandwagon jumpers offering content marketing solutions.’

Neal argues ‘for those who have been creating content for years, formerly under the branded content or customer publishing agency umbrella, the buzz about content marketing, its grow­ing stature and wider apprecia­tion of its value as a highly effective tool, is most welcome. Less welcome is the explosion of other agencies suddenly claiming to offer content marketing. Noth­ing wrong with competition, but if you’re serious about content, exercise caution to avoid be­ing taken in by ‘oh we do that too’ bandwagon-jumpers.’

Anderson goes on to stress the importance of content solutions being driven by intelligent data and insight. ‘This intimate understanding of your challenges and customers will inform planning and deliver relevant, rewarding content that’s in con­text for the channel. A more strategic, omnichannel, content-hub approach, which creates core ideas then adapts them for any channel, will maximise their reach and impact via print, digital, mobile, video, audio and social.' More here.

Social Vs Search debate heats up - February also saw the continuing rise of BuzzFeed,UsVsTh3m and other publishers who major on content that is optimised to be shared via social media. However the CMA blog in February warned publishers that all the talk of viral content shared by social networks mustn’t obscure the fact that search is still massively important to publishers. It referenced research by the Define Media Group using ComScore data from the company’s clients, which suggest its network of partners, including the New York Times and Vogue, are still receiving 2.5 times more traffic from search than social.

The article concluded that ‘there is also a significant skew in terms of social referrals to news sites rather than more general content based sites. So if your Facebook or Twitter page has only a few followers then it is best to be realistic and see search as the best way to grow traffic.’ More here.

Paddy Power’s unique approach to content - For Brand Republic in February CMA Consultant Editor Dominic Mills took a look at controversial bookmaker Paddy Power whose niche in the betting world has largely been carved out via intelligent, and sometimes controversial use of content marketing and social media.

Mills says that content is a critical part of Paddy Power’s DNA and its success is based on a lot more than just PR stunts. ‘Paddy Power is cheeky, irreverent, laddish. You may get irritated from time to time, but the charm and fun win you over.’

Ultimately Mills concludes that content is the key way Paddy Power differentiates itself in a crowded space. More here.

The significance of the launch of Porter - On the CMA blog this month Paul Keers of White Light Media took a close look at the high profile launch of Porter, the fashion magazine from Net-a-Porter.

Keers argues that ‘for a successful modern e-commerce retailer like Net-A-Porter to launch a branded print magazine is hugely significant. ‘They’ve long demonstrated that they understand the value of content; they have former newsstand magazine editors on their staff, and they’ve already published website features, branded books and digital magazines. Now, they’re bringing out a newsstand magazine, promoting fashion with all of the style and names (and cover price) of an established glossy.’

Keers also suggests that the magazine presents problems for traditional fashion titles. ‘Fashion brands are excited by a publication which not only promotes their products in style, it sells them and delivers them too. And which is easier – for magazines which promote clothes to find a way to sell them? Or for a company that sells clothes to find a way to promote them? The latter, of course, is where we come in. An editorial publication which promotes a range of branded products on behalf of a single retailer? We’d call it a customer magazine. And when the Editor of Vogue dismisses Porter as ‘a grand Sainsbury’s magazine,’ well, to us that seems no criticism at all.’ More here.

The best British digital content marketing - The Guardian took a look at some of the best examples of British digital content marketing of recent times. It noted ‘over the past decade there has been a clear shift in the way that CMA members create content. Whereas once the majority of their work was print based magazines now content marketing companies deliver all manner of editorial from social media-driven websites through to interactive video rich tablet titles.’

Among the content it salutes are the  TescoLiving website from Cedar, DFS’s Our Stories which was created by Axon Publishing and Vue Magazine, a tablet, interactive magazine from Publicis Blueprint. More here.

Marks & Spencer adds content to its main retail site - February also saw an intriguing new website from the retailer Marks & Spencer. The site, which is also optimised for tablets, mixes product information and sales details alongside content marketing stories written by the retailer’s team and celebrity contributors. One of the key new features was ‘Style and Living’, what the retailer dubs  ‘a daily lifestyle edit’, which offers fashion and beauty advice, as well as food and wine recommendations. It also claims the site will deliver ‘the latest news from the world of M&S and beyond.’ More here.

Media planners and content marketing - In 2013 the CMA admitted its first ever media planning agency in the guise of MediaCom. In February the question of whether traditionally advertising focused agencies should be branching out into content marketing took centre stage in Media Week.

The author Chantelle Dietz noted, ‘the lines between paid-for branded content and advertising-funded journalism are well and truly blurring in traditional media too. In addition to the paid media space, a brand’s owned media is now rife with quality content. In fact, the Advertising Association put the value of owned media at £4 billion last year. It is also believed that 20p in every pound of marketing budget is now being spent on content marketing and media in some form.’ More here.

February also saw marketing budgets hit their highest levels for five years, lots of discussion about native advertising and the role that content marketing companies can play in its creation, and ongoing experiments in this sphere from national newspapers.

Posted in CMA news
14thMar 2014

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