In my last post here, I exploited one of my go-to column idea generators -- a Google News index -- to analyze how the news media have been playing the theme of “content marketing.” This week, I’m exploiting another one: my own inbox.
Hear me out. This is not hubris. As editor in chief of MediaPost, I believe the pitches and communications I receive from various sources via email is a reasonable indicator of news values for you, our readers. Yes, it’s inductive, unorganized and a function of companies trying to get through to sell you something, but it is part of the deductive process we use to publish what might actually be meaningful for you.
So the idea here is to flip the process and utilize the raw, inductive inbox feed as a sort of meta about what’s being pitched to us -- and you. Take it for what it’s worth. Here’s what it shows.
First, some quants:
In the past 12 months, my inbox has received 746 pitches related to some kind of “content marketing” story.
How does that compare with other industry themes? Here’s how some other keywords or phrases ranked:
“Programmatic” - 2,583
“Fraud” - 1,423
“Native” - 1,275
“Ad Blocking” - 1,073
“Transparency” - 1,044
“Brexit” - 242
“Pokemon Go” - 56
“Jon Mandel” - 10
What does that mean? I’m not sure, but it says something about the zeitgeist of story pitches that places “content marketing” somewhere on a spectrum between “transparency” and “Brexit.”
So how did the 746 “content marketing” pitches I received in the past year manifest in actual MediaPost coverage? Honestly, that’s difficult to say too, because what we publish is also a function of all the pitches other writers and editors receive at MediaPost, but I can tell you what we’ve published and you can decide what the correlation has been.
In the past 12-months, MediaPost has published 294 pieces of “content” about “content marketing.” (For what it’s worth, we have published that term in 1,252 articles since we began indexing our own content.)
Those are the quants. I’ll follow up in an upcoming column on some qualitative analysis so you can understand more of the substance of the kinds of pitches we get on the subject of “content marketing” and how that manifests in actual news coverage and/or commentary.P.S. if you think this meta-analysis is worthwhile or worthless, I’d appreciate you letting me know, because I spend a lot of my time thinking about what we cover and how much we cover it.
Joe, I find your meta-analysis veryinteresting. Seeing the topics that are on everyone's mind is an interesting piece of research in itself. I would love to see more.
I think content marketing has been a huge sleeper in business and finally starting to wake up. We started building content marketing 'automation engines' using data science and machine syndication to attract visibility to companies using our 'machine' almost 10 years ago. That was certainly early days of content marketing and so much has changed since then. All my peers laughed and thought we were mad. The companies that used our 'machines' to expand their content marketing efforts and shine a light back to their corporate site at scale shot so far ahead of their competitors that most of them are now at the top of their online game. Today people aren't laughing at all and asking more questions. I'd like to see more coverage as its a huge space. Its also complicated, constantly changing with a lot of moving pieces.
Content Marketing is going to be overrepresented because these "pitches" you are getting, on a meta level, are content marketing -- of the PR variety. Content marketers (as an industry) will always create a disproportional amount of noise, because it is what they do. Its like having an open audition for a talent show at Juilliard.
It would be interesting to know in what context the "content marketing" was mentioned in the articles. And not only that, general topic split is also intersting. Waiting for the column.