But a painful crisis also can be a catalyst for innovation as publishers focus on potential areas for growth during the inevitable recovery.
Content marketing is one area for improvement, especially since many advertisers fret their content-marketing strategies are wasteful and lack focus, according to a study published this week by The CMO Council, a network of marketing executives, and content marketing platform Rock Content.
Its survey of almost 200 marketing professionals found that 43% say their content is inconsistent, while only 31% would rate it as high quality. They are also looking for more concrete information about what kinds of content resonates with their customers and prospects.
The report includes anecdotes from executives at The Economist and Fast Company, whose marketing content supports their brands among constituencies that include readers, advertisers and media buyers. The goal is to create engaging marketing content and do as much as possible to measure its effectiveness.
The Economist, for example, tracks PR coverage, overall awareness, content views, cost per leads for paid LinkedIn posts, social-media engagement and website traffic, according to the report. In addition, it's important for marketers to avoid a scattershot approach, such as with programmatic ad buys that have wide distribution but little effect.
“You can be the CEO during the day, but at home you’re a dad," Jamie Credland, senior vice president, client strategy and marketing at The Economist, said in the report. "When you’re with your buddies, you’re a football fan. We’re different people at different times of the day, and so different messages are appropriate.”
For Fast Company, its editorial goals of providing interesting, entertaining and engaging content for readers also inform its branded-content strategy.
"Our audience expects stories to be told,” Ben Baer, executive editor at Fast Company, said in the report. “It’s about sharing thought leadership, not just selling something.”