IPC Media has signed up to the Content Marketing Association (CMA) after launching in-house content agency IPC Content last year.
Speaking to The Drum, creative media director at IPC Matt Downs said that while the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) remained the most relevant industry association for its publishing business, the Content Marketing Association is more suited to the needs of IPC Content and will provide more effective guidance and networking opportunities.
“Obviously we’re members of the PPA with our publishing hats on,” Downs said, “but when we’re producing content for advertisers or clients that only appears on their own or earned media, the PPA isn’t relevant. The CMA gives us the industry stamp of approval and shows our commitment to this product, it’s not a fleeting thing.”
IPC Content, which launched last summer, produces content for brands that can be branded or unbranded. While some publishers launching in-house commercial content services have kept production independent of editorial staff, part of IPC’s selling point is the access brands have to editorial and no new staff members have been brought in to work on the project.
“We’re a content agency, but we’ve got lots more than a content agency would ever have – that is, decades of experience in producing high level quality content across lots of different platforms,” Downs said.
“We’ve got economies of scale here at IPC because we’ve got 65 brands and with that comes hundreds of different experts that produce content 24/7. It’s being delivered by IPC Media because we’re using all the resources of IPC Media. Most importantly, it’s the actual editorial teams that produce that content.
“If you can get the Marie Claire or Look team to start producing fashion content for you, or the NME team to interview a brand on your behalf, whether it’s branded or unbranded they can see the quality of the content that will be at the end of that particular conversation.”
He added: “For all brands that are in this content game now, quality is the thing that’s going to make them stand out. There’s loads of content online but not a lot of it is high quality.”
IPC - which counts brands such as Chat, Now, NME, Ideal Home and TV Times among its stable - is one of several publishers to create in-house content services, although debate about how editorial should interact with commercial has been ongoing as native advertising and branded content has become more popular.
This April Metro launched internal agency Story and creative director Sophie Robinson told The Drum that editorial involvement in paid-for content was necessary in order to avoid it becoming a basic advertorial. However, big native advertising brands such as Buzzfeed have taken an opposing view and keep editorial teams separate from commercial content.
Industry bodies and associations such as the IAB are currently drawing up guidelines on best practice.
Meanwhile The Drum has launched Drum Works, a content marketing business that operates separately from The Drum’s editorial business to provide consultancy, creative and content creation services to brands wishing to get closer to The Drum’s core audience.