In the past, when brands reached out to agencies for marketing help, typically they wanted assistance with their blog strategy, social media posts, email newsletters, and video copy. Now, they’re launching full-scale publications to promote their products and services.
Instead of relying on earned and paid media, brands are now creating their own publications. They’re taking on writers, videographers, and photographers and making the content themselves. They're completely controlling their brand message this way and reaping the benefits that content marketing has to offer.
Over the past few years, content marketing has exploded. Brands are realizing that the more they put into their content marketing efforts, the more customers and sales they end up receiving in return.
According to Kapost, inbound marketing results in 54 percent more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and brands that rely on inbound marketing save more than $14 on every new customer acquisition. Content marketing may require more time and energy than advertising, but can result in more of a return on investment.
Some brands that have created their own publications include Starbucks, Red Bull, and GoPro. Starbucks is working on putting out long form TV and film documentaries that cover social issues, while Red Bull, under the Red Bull Media House, produces a variety of documentary, reality, and live broadcast videos and posts photographs. GoPro is big on YouTube, and recently started its own Roku channel, which features original and user-submitted content.
According to Michael Brenner of B2B Marketing Insider, Red Bull, as of one year ago, had not started profiting off its media house. However, they did save on paid media, and generated a huge amount of awareness for their brand.
Brands that are considering starting their own publications need to keep a few things in mind. Like Red Bull’s Media House, branded publications are not going to be profitable, at least at first. It’s more about getting exposure than anything else. Also, it requires a huge investment. A publication cannot be a side project of a brand’s overall marketing strategy. It should be the focus. Brands must be prepared to staff their publications, shell out the necessary funds, and come up with plans for the present, as well as the near and distance future.
The following are some specific ways that brands can ensure that they’ll be successful with their publishing ventures.
1. Measure The Campaigns
Before launching their publications, brands need to figure out what success looks like to them. They have to come up with key performance indicators (KPIs), which may include increased brand awareness, more sales, better customer retention, and further engagement with prospects and customers. Brands should monitor and track who reads their content, whether or not it converts, how much traffic their publication is receiving, how many comments and shares it receives on social media, and if it’s gaining them any earned media, among many other KPIs.
2. Don’t Be Overly Promotional
Traditional publications like the New York Times and Huffington Post don’t promote themselves in their articles. Readers wouldn’t appreciate it; all they want is the news. The same rule applies to brands. Visitors are going to check out brands’ publications because they want to digest their content. In RedBull’s videos, they don’t try to sell their energy drink. They’re promoting a certain lifestyle that appeals to their audience of athletes, music enthusiasts, millennials, and adrenaline seekers.
3. Hire Content Creators
While brands may be tempted to tap their marketing teams to create content, they might not be the best people for the job. They should hire trained content creators, like professional videographers and photographers, as well as journalists. The quality of the work will be higher, plus brands can tap into these content creators’ networks and receive more views on their content.
4. Work With An Agency
Most brands have never delved into launching their own publications. With the assistance of agencies who have worked with other companies in doing this, brands will be more likely to succeed. Agencies will help them come up with plans, oversee the hiring of content creators, and analyze how the publications are doing.
If brands want to be ahead of the curve, they might want to think about starting their own publications now. Some are predicting that brands are the future of publishing because they utilize user data and adjust their content accordingly, have embraced digital platforms, have the resources to fund their publications, and can quickly produce content.
Content marketing has come a long way since brands first started publishing their own blogs. More and more, they’re taking the power into their own hands, and producing content that results in greater relationships with customers and an improved bottom line.