No matter where we are on the globe, we all say things a different way. However, the message is exactly the same when it comes to a winning owned media/content approach.
It has been a busy month, so time to reflect and share what I have taken from my travels in the US (Content Marketing World 2016) and South America (Brazilian Association of Digital Agents, ABRADi) and from speaking to more businesses here in the UK, who are building an owned media approach (take a bow Crimson Guitars).
First of all, whether an owned media approach is something that you are just considering as a new way to communicate with the world, it’s ok; we’re all in the same boat. It’s just that some are slightly ahead of others.
It’s Not Led From The US
I used to think that the US was 12 to 18 months ahead of everyone else. That is not the case.
The difference is not geography, the difference are those companies who are embracing and showing commitment and then there are those who are saying, ‘we’ll give it a go for a few months, spread content and then decide if we’ll continue.’
The recent Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends from the Content Marketing Institute, shows the return are from those companies that maintain quality of content (where there is a demand) and a strategy in place.
Breaking it down the recent research further, success can be attributed to:
- champion long form thinking. This represents going deeper and related to the responsibility within your marketplace. Word counts do not matter, messages do.
It is better to pursue something that you want someone else to consider (and who trusts you), rather than the pursuit for everyone to see.
- have a spark and a framework. You need to find a responsibility for what you do and deliver this consistently to an audience who believe (and stand beside you in unison).
Just because you have a good idea, doesn’t make it a good idea. Everything has to tie back to the one word for what you stand for.
A spark has to come from a framework that is centred on how you become better at business and not this mess to become everything to everyone and no one can pinpoint what you do and how you provide value to a marketplace.
An Owned Media Approach Formula
These two pivots centred on believing in something that encourages deeper thinking creates momentum.
LONG FORM THINKING + FRAMEWORK + MOMENTUM = DIFFERENTIATION
This is what brings those companies together who are making a success, no matter where they are in the world. Even when context is different, the message is the same (centred on a belief and being consistent with it).
The Connection Between Industries
During my talk in Brazil last week, I highlighted the world of entertainment and the world of B2B. Both had a connection.
Whilst in Brazil I spoke about the success of comedy group Porta Dos Fundos and how they have built their 12.6 million audience, since 2012. YouTube has been their platform to thrive. Their whole belief was to entertain at the expense of sizeable budgets and has led to brands working with them (from Fiat, to Visa, to LG) to their feature film this summer.
In the US, I highlighted the How, Now and Wow approach that has been adopted by recruitment giant Monster.com and the return that they are now seeing based on a framework.
This framework is now creating something that is scalable. Margaret Magnarelli, Monster’s Managing Editor, highlighted that the focus for 2017 is to, “market our content marketing. Now that we have systemised our content creation we are investing in content promotion and native content.”
“We have also begun merging multiple content experiences into one user friendly experience. We also launched the Jobsessed podcast in September.”
The context is both different, one is a Brazilian comedy group, the other is a recruitment site, but their approach is exactly the same. Find a space where they can hold the attention of a defined audience, do this consistently and then move the experience to different spaces.
In the case of Porta Dos Fundos this has been from YouTube, to TV, to cinema, in the case of Monster, this has been from the company website, to video, to audio.
The question to ask yourself is, “can you create a differentiated story that is scalable, or are you just adding to the clutter, trying to be everyone’s friend.”
A Guiding Light Serves The Opportunity
You cannot stick rigidly to one place. What you believe in and the audience that you serve acts as a guiding light when it comes to planning, creation, distribution and measurement.
From talking to businesses across the globe, particularly those who are embracing a content mindset, these are businesses who are getting better at connecting with others by delivering value to the people who request it (not interrupt with a mass email to anyone who is willing to open).
This, in turn is leading to better measurement where the quest is not for more traffic and this 2012 belief of ‘create great content’ (whatever that means), but the value derived from the content produced and shared.
From Purta Dos Fundos 12.6million YouTube subscribers to the 28% increase from 2015 to 2016 job searches within Monster.com, everything comes down to connection. Whether this is to entertain or recruit it comes down to a constant effort to stay connected to those who are willing to spend some time with you.
The Importance Of Connection, It’s The Same Anywhere
Back to you. The thread comes back to your willingness to have a consistent viewpoint and to associate. Are you willing to connect, or sit happily behind an automated drab sentence when someone connects with you from Twitter to the pressing the ‘subscribe’ button on your website? If you just limit yourself to those who are ready to buy, your swimming in the shallowest of baby pools.
Amanda Palmer in her book The Art Of Asking (I think she is the equivalent of the marketers Simon Sinek) highlighted that, “There’s a difference between wanting to be looked at and wanting to be seen.”
“When you are looked at, your eyes can be closed. You suck energy, you steal the spotlight. When you are seen, your eyes must be open, and you are seeing and recognizing your witness. You accept energy and you generate energy. You create light.”
“One is exhibitionism, the other is connection.”
“Not everybody wants to be looked at. Everybody wants to be seen.”
Back To Brazil
In Brazil at the moment, the state of the economy is in a very fragile place.
There are around 12 million Brazilians out of work. This is up from 8.8 million last year. Industrial production in Brazil declined 3.8% in August compared to July, negating five months of improvement.
However what I was made aware of was businesses who were finding their audience and making a connection. This is where we are all in the same place.
We all have the tools at our disposal (from hardware/equipment to record, to an audience who will share), we all have access to a marketplace, we all have the ability to continuously deliver, and we all have the ability to communicate. The biggest resource commitment is time.
I asked FIC2016 curator, Cesar Paz, about the future of communications in Brazil and the role that content plays, Cesar commented, “Today, content marketing is the core of good communication planning. It will be even more important in 2017.”
“It is through content production, distribution strategies for specific audiences, filtered by behaviour that we’ll build a contemporary model of communication. This model is based on efficiency with data science and paid media, but it is boosted and proves its effectiveness by the sharing and the organic growth of the audience.”
“What makes the Brazilian reality a little particular is the importance of Open TV that reaches nearly 100% of Brazilian homes and still has a great importance in the communication mix of brands. Especially those that communicate with the poorest sections of the population.”
Staying in Brazil, I looked to follow up this aspect of behaviour with MBA Professor and Consultant in Digital Strategy, Luciana Bazanella.
I asked Luciana how the marketing landscape is changing in Brazil, “Every marketer (and student) I meet is very engaged to build a content strategy for their brand, but in practice, the story is a little bit different.”
Luciana continues, “What I mean is that every brand, from the smallest to the big global brands is Brazil, are worried and moving towards this direction, but still stuck in old practices that were built for television.”
“Brazilian creativity in advertising is recognized globally, but the interruption-based models are no longer valid. The market is still learning how to adapt to a content marketing approach.”
“It is impossible to ignore how the Brazilians are eager to connect (for example, Sao Paulo is always between the highest engaged audiences for every new social media channel) and very active and creative within social media. This creates an environment that highlights the awkwardness of brands that haven’t found their voice yet or do not understand the context that their conversations are held.”
The companies who will succeed are those who recognise that if they do not seize action and build, someone else will. If you can find the momentum, you will always be two steps ahead of someone else.
Lets Round Up
If you care enough, you can make a change.
People may be separated by water, but if you have principals and apply a belief in a consistent way we can create a kinship.
There are those who are happy to rely on interruption, self-promotion and repetition to manipulate an audience. Then there are those who acknowledge the tools and ways to connect that comes back to what you believe in and the value delivered on a consistent basis to a marketplace.
What side are you on?