Is content marketing set for a big upturn in fortunes?

I wrote a few months ago about how Google is looking to help publishers and content creators out with its Contributor feature. It’s still in beta and has been met with a mixed response; some like the idea while some are happy to carry on using a feature like AdBlock.

There’s an excellent, first-hand case study of Google Contributor and how it works over on Droid Life, and how it’s helped the team in their quest to create content. Interestingly, the comments below the post seem to be split right down the middle.

But others are keen on the publishing platform idea. Facebook, for example, has also recently launched a publishing outreach service and has got a number of international content creators on board including BuzzFeed, BBC News, The Guardian, and more.

Can You Trust Influencers With Your Content Campaigns?The move is designed to help people discover content faster through Facebook, with items loading quicker and content becoming more interactive. They’ll also be open to newer forms of data and, crucially, be able to sell ads and keep the revenue.

It all sounds great in theory not just for publishers, but for content marketers and creators in general.

Are social content publishing platforms the future for content creators? Will it help with your content campaigns? Let me know in the comments section below.

Finding someone else’s voice

Not only is that great news for the likes of BuzzFeed but for their content partners, too, if their target markets can get quicker, better access to their promoted content.

It costs approximately $100,000 (over £65,000) to advertise on Buzzfeed, but the real success that it’s had with partnered brands is how it manages to convert campaigns into BuzzFeed’s voice with personalised articles, listicles, top 10s, and more.

The site’s reach is also hugely valuable to advertisers, as is being seen on one of the most popular and frequently-visited sites in the internet. It’s cool to be seen on BuzzFeed.

And more and more content producers and influencers are taking this angle as advertisers, convincing potential partners that their campaign is better suited with them than being dictated to.

The argument is that they know their audience and what they like better than anyone else. It’s a compelling argument, but can also carry some risks if you give over sole control of your brand’s voice.

Let’s have a look at two recent cases which highlight different areas of somebody else advertising a brand’s voice;

1: Game Grumps

The Game Grumps are a small team of friends who, a couple of years ago, decided to make YouTube content based on themselves playing video games and their experiences. They release three 10-minute videos a day and vary their content.

In a short time they’ve amassed close to 2.5 million loyal subscribers with each video attracting between half-a-million to a million views. They have a great connection with an audience of Millennials that enjoy video game culture, music, new technology, and more.

In one of their more recent videos they have teamed up with online cartoon subscription service Crunchyroll who appear to have given the Grumps total control over the content of the advertisement.

(Warning: NSFW language)

 

The team have been given a couple of simple messages that Crunchyroll want sharing, with the Game Grumps scripting the advert to their own style.

This can be tricky with such an emotional community, but the comments section is full of praise for the team and how they’ve handled it by not ‘selling out’ and doing something original and creative. That praise passes over to Crunchyroll, too.

They haven’t tried to hide it, too, being upfront and honest with their subscribers in the opening and the description. A great example of a content partnership.

Have you had any experience with content outreach and influencers devising your own advertisement? How did it go? Let me know below!

2: ASMRrequests

Heard of ASMR? A relaxation movement, the ASMR community has exploded on YouTube with a number of ASMRtists creating content that helps people to relax and fall asleep.

One of the more popular content creators, ASMRrequests, posted a video to her channel at the very end of 2014 which was a bit different from her usual celebrated relaxation videos.

In the video she discusses a brand new Huawei Ascend Mate II smartphone as well as playing a newly released game on it, giving both companies a plug in the descriptions.

She mentions a corporate relationship in the video and insists on transparency, but the comments aren’t as favourable as the ones she usually gets. The main bone of contention is that the content has deviated sharply from her usual work and that they don’t care a jot about her new phone.

 

Worse for the phone makers, a number of people in the comments debunk the quality of the hardware, turning what is usually a nice, calm, relaxed community into an all-out warzone.

Credit must go to ASMRrequests for her transparency, but it’s a good example of targeting your audience carefully and building the right relationships. A number of people accuse her of stealth advertising, for instance, and vow never to watch again which is damaging for both parties.

The placement in the ASMR video looks quite clumsy and fits ill with the audience, an argument that can’t be levelled at Game Grumps and Crunchyroll. I think it’s fair to say that the phone company was looking to sell a few more units than engage with an audience.

Which, really, is the core principle of content marketing. I’ve written in the past how dangerous a paid vlogger can be, but a transparent partnership that has a strong creative relationship with the advertiser can work wonders for all concerned.

Content marketing isn’t about showing off. It’s about letting people in, connecting with them, and entertaining them as well as giving them real brand value.

 

If you’d like to learn more about content marketing and how it can help you to advertise online contact Webpresence!