At the same time that traditional vehicles for journalists — newspapers, magazines, and even television — have retreated in the face of the tidal wave of web-based content, companies are finding that traditional advertising is also losing out to new ways — blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest — for consumers to hear about new products and to get information and endorsements.
Consequently many companies are developing increasingly sophisticated content, often written by out-of-work journalists, to develop consumer awareness, purchase, and loyalty towards their products or services. In some cases, companies are combining areas such as marketing and communications under a new C-Suite title: Chief Content Officer.
There is now a quarterly journal for Chief Content Officers (http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/chief-content-officer/) but the idea of the role is so new few people have heard of the concept much less get their company organized to develop and deliver high-quality content. Indeed, when I tried to learn more about the role I was amused to find that as recently as this past May the industry had no job description for the role and various members of the Content Marketing Institute had to cobble one together through a blog: http://blog.junta42.com/2011/05/chief-content-officer-job-description-sample-example-tempate/.
Apparently, however, firms such as Netflix do indeed have executives in this role and it is gaining more attention. For example, Chris Perry in Forbes wrote:
Fact is, media we use to form opinions continues to morph into a hard-to-categorize-mix of traditional, personal, shared, commentary-rich, experiential, remixed media. And there is A LOT of it pumping through broadcast and interactive pipes every day. It’s a massive shift and attention deficit marketers now play into. Adding for emphasis just how much, some stats:
- YouTube users upload two days of video every minute. They receive up to 3 billion views per day.
- Twitter users generate over 2 million daily tweets. 2,200 new tweets every second.
- The average Facebook user creates 90 pieces of content each month. More than 30 billion pieces are shared monthly, an average over 7 billion a week.
- Google takes in over 8.5 billion monthly search queries to find relevance in it all.
Underneath this thickening blanket of socialized media, three trends are coming into focus; each an element to factor into competing through content.
- Frictionless publishing: Anyone with a smartphone can be a publisher. We’re all media and we’re on all-the-time. Including those who represent brands and brands themselves. This creates new opportunities and challenging demands.
- Content remixing: News organizations, and brands for that matter, can no longer produce content in singular, comfortable formats. We have seemingly countless ways to express stories – with text, photos, graphics, audio, video and code as raw material. Question is how to deliver stories in highly engaging ways, where customers already are rather than where we want them to be.
- Functions converging: Is a company’s Facebook page marketing, advertising, customer service or public relations? Actually all and none at the same time. Ideally we land on new language and an organizational approach to address internal conflict and contradiction that can come from multiple brand sources – especially where content converges on specific platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Sitting alongside lots of agency partners, inside organizations trying to make sense of it all, there’s a gap that fundamentally bypasses these trends. We discuss brand strategy, media planning, creative development, social media, news calendars that guide PR, plus all avenues to get employees behind corporate and brand programs.
Content is in the center of it all.
Few organizations have an overarching strategy that channels all this branded content into a consolidated planning model. In parallel, we see lack of defined leadership for overall orchestration and accountability for content-driven programs.
This will become a business priority as companies seek more discipline in how stories are conveyed – not to mention cost savings that come with more disciplined sourcing, curating and production.
Look for new leaders and content functions to emerge to support a range of marketing disciplines and community programs. And as part impart new ways to help teams understand how content plays holistically within plans that reflect the way people now consume and share content.
Clearly content is all the rage; question is how to best take advantage of it and add value to those you want to engage in the process. New roles and models are needed, not to mention practices grounded in where media’s going vs. where it’s been.