How Publishers Can Improve Their Content Marketing

The coronavirus pandemic is battering an already ailing publishing industry, adding insult to the injuries of the Great Recession and loss of advertising revenue to digital media.

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.”

2 comments about "How Publishers Can Improve Their Content Marketing".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, March 27, 2020 at 8:58 a.m.

    Interesting.  I would think the stategy depends whether you are looking for followers, readers, members as in newspapers, entertainment sites, or sales from products or goods from help and review columns and general information.Both approach contents differently. News and entertainmemnt looks for page views and regular followers and members who they want to come back daily.  Then contents can be influence by competition.  I now there are other factors but these are closer to the top of the list.

  2. Robert Williams from MediaPost, March 27, 2020 at 9:39 a.m.

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, the target audience (whether it's a reader or an advertiser) defines the strategy. With publishers, those distinctions often get blurred. Pitching to advertisers often includes showcasing the editorial product, or repackaging it to get their attention.

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