Beyond the brand newsroom hype: Why it's time to stop wasting money on 'shallow content'
As companies rush headlong into building brand newsrooms, headlines from a recent poll of senior marketers suggest they may have been duped by the hype.
Real time marketing produced by so-called “Brand Newsrooms” is the number one or two most overhyped marketing approach, according to nearly half the senior marketers polled from the membership of the US Association of National Advertisers.
The findings at first appear to undermine the increased use of content by companies, but not if you take a closer look.
Despite the rejection of brand newsrooms, content marketing was a number one or two strategic priority for 40 per cent of the senior marketers. In addition, the top priority by far – at 63 per cent - was integrated marketing that combines and orchestrates public relations, digital, social, mobile and data.
In other words, if you unpack the findings, senior marketers reject the churning out of low-level real-time content, but are eager for content that builds the company’s brand, business or reputation in an integrated manner.
These senior marketers are correct. Accelerating production speed simply to fill channels in real-time wastes money and other resources. At best, you will create shallow content and perhaps a few meaningless connections.
Instead, companies need to look at content creation through the lens of business outcomes.
This means taking a more nimble approach to content while integrating it with all strands of marketing. A content strategy needs to focus on building brand, business and reputation in a strategic manner.
Tying a content and editorial vision to business objectives requires planning and a robust process, not only putting a few screens on the wall.
The process – call it a content studio - begins by building an audience-informed strategy. That strategy starts from the business ambition and relates it to customer behaviour online and across the broader consumer journey.
Armed with a content strategy focussed on business outcomes, the machinery of a content engine can be brought to bear with a calendar guiding the type, timing and scale of content to be created, from hero content to smaller everyday content.
Data is used throughout the process for insights, measurement and optimisation, while a range of technology partners can be enlisted to streamline, enhance and scale the operation.
Part of the confusion lies around the name. One company’s brand newsroom may incorporate these elements, while others are little more than old-style community management.
What is clear is that only by combining a strategic approach with operational excellence will content reach the ambition of becoming a business enabler.
Until then, a Tweet is just a Tweet.
Thomas Crampton is global managing director at Social@Ogilvy. You can follow him on Twitter @ThomasCrampton