Don’t Rent, Create to Own: Be the King of Your Own Content

Posted By Glenn Sabin on August 15, 2008

Consumer brands have long targeted music enthusiasts with their advertising messaging. Consumer print music media has been a consistent media channel of choice for myriad brands to reach specific, targeted audiences.  

Serious music enthusiasts are a passionate lot, and are often the tastemakers within their circle of peers.  Whether it’s VW promoting its new Golf model in Spin, or Hennessy Cognac advertising in the pages of Vibe, many brands recognize the power that music and other forms of cultural entertainment have on their prospective customers.

But brands aren’t just ads, brands are stories, and a story cannot be told in a full page ad in a magazine, or a :30 radio or TV spot.   Traditional advertising like print and TV “interrupt”, while an effective content marketing approach engages.  Now’s the time for brands to engage customers with relevant content – content that creates meaningful conversations directly between brands and customers.

A brand that places an ad page in a magazine or runs a radio or TV spot, is in essence “renting” an interruptive space within the medium.  The creation of custom content, whether created in-house or through an outside content provider, is the way to take “ownership”.  Unlike an ad page in a magazine that is soon discarded, or after a flight of radio spots have run their course, custom content that is owned by a brand can be repurposed in myriad ways, such as Web (micro-site) content, e-newsletters, custom magazines, to name just a few.  Plus, since the brand then has ownership, there are no limitations with respect to how and for how long the content is used and/or archived. 

I am not suggesting that now is the time that consumer marketers discontinue all forms of traditional advertising and make a move solely to custom content – but I do believe that now is the time for consumer marketers of brands and/or services to augment their traditional approach with content marketing initiatives, by taking control of some select content creation and thus the environment in which their brands and/or services are discussed.  After all, committing to a page in say, Rolling Stone or Blender doesn’t allow for much influence in the content that surrounds your interruptive ad page.  And the level of reader engagement for most print ads in the bulk of the major consumer books out there cannot be measured.  Therefore the ROI of most print ads cannot be measured.  Sure, a premium position like cover IV can be purchased, or a cover III spot adjacent to a recurring, interesting, “last page” column, but this is far different than having control over the content and design of an entire folio.  Of course, a custom content product, no matter how good it is, is useless unless you can deliver it to your targeted customers.  In my next post I will discuss targeted distribution of custom media products.

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