Three types of content delivering brand success
The content marketing landscape is simultaneously converging and fragmenting with agencies launching content divisions, custom publishers offering agency services, traditional media publishers launching content studios, and technology platforms generating and trading content via marketplaces.
Players participate at various and often multiple stages of the content marketing value chain, which spans content strategy, content production, content management and distribution, and content optimisation through data and insights.
In our business, content marketing is a premium offering that we have been doing for a very long time. However, it is now the fastest growing and broadest offering within our client services catalogue.
Simply, we now seek to create and optimise content that connects with a client’s audience by participating at all four stages of the value chain. We have diversified considerably and are no longer simply just offering advertising solutions or selling space or spots and dots. Currently, our content marketing offering extends to three key products.
First, native campaigns involve content commissioned by the client and produced in the editorial voice of the publisher, for distribution over existing platforms/ publications.
Second, media contracts involve content created by us for clients to convey a specific message, including product or brand placement across print and digital. It also incorporates significant technology development to optimise the offering.
Finally, custom contracts: long-term, high-quality, fully integrated, end-to-end content solutions where the platform and content is commissioned by the client for a specific target audience, with a brand-aligned, but independent, editorial voice. Traditionally considered the realm of print, it is fast becoming a digital and multichannel contract.
In our experience, we have found that content marketing is paid for out of a client’s marketing budget – it is not simply a reallocation of advertising spend. In identifying this need, our product offering serves client needs over and above traditional advertising.
1. Native campaigns: impactful brand storytelling at scale
News.com.au’s approach to native advertising was completely re-engineered last year, introducing a data-led, audience-centric model built on delivering impactful brand storytelling at scale. As a News Corp Australia first, the model broke new ground in the market, offering clients unprecedented access to story creators and site real estate, proprietary insight tools and custom templates together with a core focus on ROI and guaranteed engagement metrics.
This premium model has yielded a 110% year-on-year growth in investment since its creation in October 2015.
News.com.au native is able to deliver content to where a specific audience is, across the site on any device using responsive templates. The sophistication of the offering behind-the-scenes creates a simple proposition to consumers that aligns both News.com.au and its commercial partners’ objectives. When you add scale and engagement, you’ve got a very compelling offering.
The native model was purpose-built to address the needs and nuances of various client industries. Because of this, there has been quite a broad adoption of the model from FMCG and banking through to education and retail.
A recent campaign for a blue chip retailer used its ecommerce template, allowing for seamless integration and showcasing of product within the content stream. Interactive branded content features have been delivered for various FMCG clients, together with fully customised animations to accentuate and highlight the storytelling.
2. Media contracts: reimagining of a media partnership
Taste.com.au’s supermarket partnership with Coles is the largest ever digital partnership of its kind in Australia and is a true reimagining of a media partnership. Having such a close alignment with Coles has enabled both parties to transition beyond a media relationship to a fully integrated technology and content partnership delivering an experience never before seen in this country.
Now in its third year, the partnership focuses on the simple concept of seamlessly integrating the journey of over four million Taste.com.au users from inspiration to the dinner table with ingredients from over 40,000 recipes delivered directly to their doors.
Creating valuable recipes and associated content is no longer about a great recipe that’s been triple-tested. While this is incredibly important, recipe content now includes nutritional tagging, the time to prep, time to cook, tips and replacement ingredients – and all created so that it can be used on any platform, anytime.
This is insights-driven content and it is incredibly powerful.
Dynamically linking Coles’ products to all Taste.com.au recipes was important for the partnership. Using geotargeting technology, consumers can see any special offers from their local Coles store nationally for ingredients in their selected Taste.com.au recipe. With Taste.com.au influencing 562 million meals/plates per year, this drives value to consumers’ shopping baskets.
Taste.com.au and Coles’ recipe-to-cart functionality means recipe ingredients can be shopped directly via Coles Online to the user’s door. The recipe-to-cart project was large in scale and addressed a multitude of data, configuration, implementation and testing – both platform and user. Design, development, testing and implementation across desktop and mobile sites for ingredient listings to output, from recipe to shopping list to Coles online, were all completed in-house by the Taste.com.au product team.
The success of the partnership is driven largely by the Taste.com.au website data, which gives Coles both an insight into its core target audience and the perfect platform to communicate to them – they have access to the largest live food focus group 24/7. In return, Coles provides Taste.com.au with access to key talent and brands such as Curtis Stone and MasterChef.
By leveraging such talent and brands via the website, magazine and social, both brands benefit from positive audience perception, rich content and commercial success.
3. Fully integrated solutions: always-on content for owned channels
NewsLifeMedia’s joint venture custom business, Medium Rare Content Agency, has been incredibly successful over a short period of time. In just two years, its client list now includes Qantas, Coles, Foxtel and David Jones.
Medium Rare provides publishing strategies, premium content and targeted amplification for brands’ owned channels to engage customers, increase loyalty and drive sales. Essentially, it is bridging the gap between traditional custom publishing and campaign-driven content marketing.
Premium content creation is very attractive to large Australian brands wishing to future-proof their customer content channels. The content created is based on research and data that’s tailored to specific audience needs – Medium Rare isn’t churning out content to ‘feed the beast’ or fulfil short-term campaign needs.
The business is also a conduit between data and content. Working closely and frequently with clients’ marketing departments, and having access to their loyalty programs, provides invaluable insights, opportunities (such as personalisation) and ways to improve ROI.
Medium Rare’s work with Qantas is a great example of the traditional custom partnership being completely reframed for a client. Qantas’ content needs are broad and include its inflight magazine, iPad app and Travel Insider website.
Creating ‘always-on content’ for Qantas means having one central database of content with healthy metadata and images of sufficient size that can be scaled to fit multiple screens.
From the commissioning of content to storing content and then sharing content, Medium Rare’s one platform approach is delivering Qantas innovative, high quality content that is efficient, collaborative, practical for users, drives bookings and revenue, and is future-proof.
Growing businesses and growing connections
The exciting, yet often misunderstood, world of content marketing is growing businesses and growing connections with customers.
It is doing so in new and innovative ways that advertising alone could not achieve. From traditional custom publishing to campaign-based output, the delivery of content has no boundaries, as the demand for content increases rapidly.
To fulfil brand objectives, marketers continue to be focused on looking for reach, engagement and cost- effectiveness. Content marketing allows them to connect through brand storytelling more powerfully than ever before.
Nicole Sheffield is CEO, NewsLifeMedia.
This article was originally published in The Content Issue and was made possible thanks to Issue Partner Medium Rare Content Agency