Can your brand fill the gaps vacated by traditional media?
Our rich heritage of independent journalism is at risk. Richard Webb reckons brands can – and should be responsible enough to curate content that people value and trust.
Here’s a question to ask yourself. “Would I consider consuming videos, articles and other content from a brand if it was trustworthy, qualitative and added value?” If the answer is yes, you as a brand better get started in becoming ‘the media’ for your target audience, before someone else does.
Even if you have merely a passing interest in the media landscape, you might have noticed there seems to be a lot of blood swirling in the water these days. Many publishing enterprises – from the small, local and specialist outfits all the way through to national household print titles have folded. And it is highly likely there will be more following in the near future. Publishers the world over are finding things that tough.
Plunging advertisement revenue and declining copy sales have forced publishers to re-think their business models and use digital to their advantage or close altogether. From Marie Claire, FHM, Men’s Health and literally hundreds of other titles in the UK alone have succumbed to the relentless digital revolution. Yet many of their attempts at digital offerings have failed to be a compelling alternative.
For switched on brands, I believe this presents a huge opportunity and an equal responsibility. Brands should see the disruption to the previous print-only models as heaven-sent and recognise this as a time to evolve their strategies. By intentionally positioning themselves as a trusted provider of content, they will become increasingly important to their customers.
How can brands can achieve this?
1 Think like a dynamic publisher
Many brands fail to see the value in their own content and often miss the opportunity to mine the goodwill and excitement lying in their own heritage and their existing – or even future products or services
2 Understand that quality content is even more important
Quality journalism and unique content is growing more and more vital as search engines increasingly penalise lazy or sloppy content. For brands to thrive in the ever-evolving world of content, they will need to provide content of only the very highest calibre
3 Build towards the bigger picture
Taking the step of effectively becoming ‘the media’ requires specific skills – like being able to create quality, engaging and connected content. One way could be in providing inspirational content about places and sights from an interesting person, can help you curate stories readers wouldn’t find anywhere else
4 Revisit the fundamentals of cohesive messaging
When working from a consistent core story, you should try to make sure to move away from overt ‘brand speak’. Start customising content for your various individual audiences and applications by using a conversational language that reflects the words your customers actually use
5 Make it personal
Marketers will need to create a more natural and inclusive conversation to stay in the content game. Speaking to people from the heart across all touchpoints – with the same conversational language and tone will help build a deeper, more trusting relationship through the content they share.
Even if it’s confusing for many to see how a brand can become ‘publishers’, I believe the media landscape is heading in that direction. Think about it; anyone can ‘own’ a community today: a blogger, an instagrammer or a brand.
By creating and curating exceptional content, in many cases you can even sell that same content directly to the consumer. I will talk specifically to this topic in future blogs.
I’m not saying that a brands content marketing activity will completely replace investigative journalism or hard news. But people will choose to consume the best and highest quality content.
I’m here to inspire, support and empower you to unlock the extraordinary potential in your brand every day. Everything I do is about listening to what you truly need and sharing resourceful ideas, advice and services to make it easy for you to build your brand story. Tap www.richardmarkwebb.com, hit the WhatsApp button or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on social.