British Airways' First Life, which is produced by content marketing agency Cedar, is now available to download for free on the iPad and iPad mini.
In addition to the articles featured in the print magazine the iPad version includes a selection of bonus material, such as exclusive images and articles, as well as interactive maps and behind-the-scenes videos.
Influential blogger, Douglas Hebbard, who writes the excellent Talking New Media site, has been taking a look at August Media's tablet edition for Christie's International Real Estate - and he is impressed.
Hebbard notes that this is the second magazine app created by August that has been released into Apple's Newststand (the first was for Ocado) and he praises it for ‘not trying to replicate a traditional magazine experience but instead taking a Flipboard-like approach. This works very well as the goal of the digital magazine is to present the properties being represented rather than to duplicate a magazine reading experience.'
The app is free to download. You can read Douglas' review here.
Content marketing surveys
There's increasing evidence that consumers are becoming more willing to share information with brands that they like and trust. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has published research that shows that six out of ten consumers are now willing to share their information with brands ‘selling products they have to buy' compared just over half (56%) in April 2011.
The report also found that the number of consumers happy to provide their data to brands selling 'products they might consider buying' has climbed nearly 45% in the past 18 months from less than two in ten (20%) to three in ten (29%).
The article also has some interesting insights into the importance of a relationship based around trust between the brand.
There's a great deal more about the article here.
Another key report on the relationship between brands and consumer has been published this week by The Content Marketing Institute - the organisation helmed by Joe Pulizzi, one of the US's most vocal and prolific content marketing bloggers.
The organisation has tracked changes in content marketing habits across the globe and this week turned its attention to the UK.
Among its many findings are that British companies know the value of content marketing better than their US, Canadian and Australian counterparts. It also reports that UK marketeers use more content marketing tactics than their international peers do, and rate themselves as more effective at content marketing.
The report, which is 21 slides long, also suggests that content marketing is more of a Business to Consumer sphere in the UK, whereas in other parts of the globe it tends to be more business to business oriented.
You can read the full report here.
There's an alternative perspective on the state of content marketing in the UK from a report by a company called Copypress.
The report has plenty of good news for the industry and claims that 35% of marketers are making content marketing their main focus during 2013 - which is twice as many as in 2012.
However, in a critique of the report, Ian Whiteling, director at ‘real' content marketing agency three-sixty, says that he believes that to get the best return from content marketing, the content needs to be delivered effectively to the customer, using digital marketing techniques.
He suggests that customer publishing agencies and digital companies need to ensure that they have the right mix to create content and ensure that it reaches its target audience.
He concludes, ‘The strategic mix of content, social media and PR is the new holy grail of marketing, raising awareness, generating kudos, boosting loyalty and ultimately driving sales.' His views are here.
Last week erstwhile NMA editor Justin Pearse wrote an erudite article for The Guardian in which he stressed that content created by brands had to be thoughtful, meaningful and well executed for it to be effective. He went on to say that the content should be more focused on the audience and less about the brand.
Justin's feature has generated a response by Ben Barone-Nugent, a senior digital writer & content strategist at TBWA who argues that branded content creators need to be aware that their work doesn't exist in a vacuum.
Ben goes on to argue that digital content needs to be supported by great user experience (UX), solid digital strategy, attentive channel management and smart technology. To reiterate - it must be part of a system.
Ultimately he stresses that any type of marketing, including content marketing needs to focus on the experience of the customer. You can read his point of view here.
Other stories worth reading
A few other interesting stories worth reading this week include Wallblog's Short Guide to Content Marketing and why you need it, which was written by Charlie McGhee one of the Co-Founders of INFLUENCER Community, how Facebook might incorporate hash tags to enable people to better search for news type stories on its site and a look at which are more important for brands - corporate pages or Facebook?
Finally this week saw Samsung release the phone that some tech journalists believe will finally challenge the hegemony of the iPhone in the mobile market, the Samsung Galaxy S 4. If it is anywhere near as successful as the hype, it will mean that branded content agencies will have to look once again at their mobile strategies and ensure that their content works as well with Android phones as they do with Apple iOs ones.