Marketers need a “content mindset”

Steve Rubel, chief content officer at PR firm Edelman, dismissed the debates surrounding the nature and definition of content marketing and native advertising.

“All of this is simply advertising,” he told Digiday. “What’s new now is that more and more of it must closely resemble editorial and that it is positioned as just as important.”

Achieving that, he suggested, would require a “content mindset” to be adopted by marketers, although he conceded this might take some time.

“Most marketers wrap content inside a marketing message,” he said. “Good journalists do the opposite. We need to think like them, with the reader’s needs ahead of our own in the creative process.”

He accepted the logical consequence of this approach – that “publishers could become a significant threat to the ad agencies through their content studios”.

“Although that’s not their intention, the press will invariably disintermediate agencies as they are forced to adapt to a new economic reality,” he stated.

Organisations such as his own would be well-placed to benefit, however, as he noted that, at its best, PR “serves as a strong intermediary that generates good outcomes for the brand, the media and, above all, the reader/viewer”.

But he cautioned that in the rush from banner ads to content, the end-users were in danger of being left behind. “No-one is checking with the reader,” he said, as he called on trade associations to set standards that advocate for them.

He remained hopeful that the right model would be found, adding that, “the optimistic case is that advertisers get increased awareness and engagement. The media gets to continue to sustain journalism. Readers continue to get journalistic content and, if done well, value-added advertiser content as well that’s more interesting than banners”, he added.


About Framework Marketing Group

Framework Marketing Group has access to and is able to provide a range of co-ordinated creative thinkers…as and when you need them. It’s a marketing communications company with a toolbox of resources able to be used on an “on-demand” basis. The focus is on communication tools that evaluate brand strategies and interpret consumer behaviour to ensure a consistent and practical brand communications programme. Specifically: 1. Build strategic marketing plans: Understanding market data so strategic marketing plans have practical outcomes and communications to target markets are effective. 2. Communication audits From analysis of all messages – understand how customers really think and then recommend improvements to messages and media channel selection 3. Brand evaluations Establish how robust the brand equity is with each target market so communications to them is relevant 4. Integrate all communication channels Recommend an effective mix of communication channels to achieve economies of scale timing and content compatibility 5. Interpret market research Understand and fix gaps in market knowledge for consumers, customers and staff 6. Sales strategies Develop sales strategies from a foundation of core marketing platforms so all communications to market are complementary to each other
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