We start this week's content marketing round up with the news that River Group has been appointed by McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living to publish Life & Living magazine after successfully winning a competitive pitch. McCarthy & Stone are the UK's largest retirement home builder with over 100 developments currently under construction and have been building award winning retirement apartments for over 30 years. The magazine is set to be a key part of the company's 2012 marketing strategy and River Group will publish the first issue of the quarterly publication in March. With the knowledge that older consumers are becoming increasingly technology literate, the print edition will be accompanied by a digital edition available online via the McCarthy & Stone website and through Apple's newsstand for the iPad.
You may remember that Completely London, the title published on behalf of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward by August Media, added an online outlet last year. The digital arm of the publication has certainly paid off, as completelylondon.co.uk recently won Best Newcomer at the 2011 PrimeLocation.com Blog Awards. The judges said, "The team who put this together obviously have a love of London's property market and much more beyond, and they post both imaginatively and richly. The design of the blog is dazzling too." Completelylondon.co.uk was also a runner up for Best Blog, a real achievement considering it was only launched in May last year.
This is not the only reason August Media has to be cheerful this week. The agency also looked at what makes people smile for the second issue of Ocado's new magazine, This Magazine. The title, which was included in home deliveries this week, featured well-known names such as Jay Rayner, Annie Mac and Twitter queen Grace Dent, who all shared what things make them smile - something to cheer readers up during the most depressing month of the year!
Also making waves in the digital sphere is CPL that has kicked 2012 off with a new all-digital magazine launch on behalf of the newly created College of Social Work. The new publication, Social Work Matters, has been turned around, from concept to delivery, in only a few weeks with the launch issue having been sent out this week. The magazine focuses on social workers themselves and examines how the profession can develop to meet the challenges it faces. CPL has also launched a video production service this week, in a move that will further improve the digital magazines, websites, apps and e-newsletters it produces for its clients.
With January being known as a gloomy month as the highs of Christmas and New Year's settle, The Church of London has worked on a special project this week: The Good Times. It saw the agency write, design and print and one-off magazine in seven days, to be distributed around London on Monday 16 January to 10,000 lucky readers. The process, which has been documented online and in an AV piece, relied on submissions via their social media channels that are now being edited into a magazine packed with reasons to be cheerful about the troubled times we live in.
Reinforcing its people-focus Sappi Fine Paper Europe has launched a new customer-centric website that takes regional specificities into consideration. The revamp of the website was undertaken to ensure that Sappi's customers have easy access to relevant and up to date information about its products, initiatives and sustainability positioning. Check out the new looking website for yourself on www.sappi.com.
Multi-channel content marketing platform, Ceros started the year with the launch of an iPad app for online fashion retailer Boden. The app, designed by creative agency FMG, uses the iconic Boden photography and will be published monthly, in-line with the traditional Boden paper catalogue, providing a beautiful, stylish companion to the e-retailer's website. Features of the app include personalised product recommendations based on current weather conditions and a curated live feed from Boden's social media channels and community site. Check out the app in the iTunes store.
Redactive Media Group has cemented a new relationship with the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE Ltd) and has been appointed to manage the design and commercial operations of IStructE's flagship membership publication, The Structural Engineer. The former fortnightly magazine has been re-launched as a 68-page monthly title and will be distributed to the institution's 20,000 members. In addition, Redactive has also launched a jobs site for The Structural Engineer, www.thestructuralengineer.org/jobs, to provide the Institution's members with a useful job finding and hiring solution.
Think on the other hand has started a new relationship with the Association of Corporate Treasurers and will be responsible for its communications in print and online. Think will provide all editorial and creative services for The Treasurer - published 10 times a year - alongside creating a magazine microsite, Together, to build professional relations online between issues.
As the UK and Europe face a somewhat uncertain economic future, Sean King of Seven has written a blog post for the APA on why the downturn will be good for content marketers. Sean notes that with increased pressure on budgets ‘businesses will more than ever be looking for innovative, cost effective ways to reach and engage with their customers' that is great news for the content marketing industry. Sean predicts that 2012 will be the year that marketers actually start shifting spend away from traditional paid media and into owned media assets. Read more about Sean's thoughts for the year ahead here.
We have collated the latest content marketing research and this time it focuses on how contactless payments are increasing in popularity, how brands on Facebook risk being ‘un-Liked', how consumers are embracing digital tools and the staggering value of unwanted Christmas presents.
The latest magazine readership research being carried out in America suggests that magazines are thriving in an increasingly digital world. The American Magazine Study, run by the independent research firm Affinity, recently started asking about the different media used to consume magazines - and the answers are intriguing for everyone working with branded content. The initial findings show an increase of just over two million readers, either in print or digital form, from the same survey conducted last spring. While too early to say exactly why the number of magazine readers is increasing, it seems likely that people being able to access magazine content in more ways that just through print is partly responsible. The biggest readership gains by channel were social networks with 30 million consumers accessing magazine content through social media (up 5.7% on last year) and 35 million consumers accessing content through mobile devices (a 6.2% annual increase). The second significant finding is that almost half of all magazine readers (48%) now access their favourite magazine brands both in print and digital formats, reading on average just over eight publications every month. And despite many claiming that print is dead, 95% of magazine readers still access printed editions, which means they supplement their reader experience with the digital versions of the same magazine.
The meteoric rise of YouTube and other online video providers shows that this is the future of content, which recent figures from ComScore underline. In the US alone there are 108 million people watching online video, with 1.3 billion videos watched daily and video traffic has also seen a massive 1,290% growth in the past five years. Visit the APA blog for more fascinating statistics about online video and why it is a colossal opportunity for brands and content providers alike.
YouTube is definitely worth keeping an eye on as new data shows the online video sharing hub is experiencing a steep growth in the UK, while Facebook's dominance of UK visits to social networking sites is getting diluted as the category diversifies writes Brandrepublic.com. Facebook's share of total visits to social networks in December dropped from 58.5% to 51.3% year on year. Meanwhile Google's YouTube has grown its share to 25%, up from 23.6% in 2010.
Finally, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook may still be the top three most popular social networks in the UK. But Google's latest social media move - it is integrating its social network further into its natural search results - is a ‘wake up call' and brands must ramp up their Google+ strategies to capitalise on Google's evolving personalised search service according to several agencies, writes New Media Age. The move has even triggered a backlash from Twitter, which believes the changes give Google+ an unfair advantage in the natural search listings while harming the effectiveness of Twitter's real-time information service, saying the changes will be ‘bad for people, publishers, news organisations and Twitter users.' Read what agencies like Agenda 21, Bigmouthmedia and Manning Gottlieb had to say about the changes here.