The state of content marketing: Interview with Distilled

By Chris Lee

Digital marketing agency Distilled has launched a new multimedia report, Brandopolis, which the company says takes an in-depth look at the content strategies employed by top brands such as Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Honda and others. Brandopolis also looks at the future of online marketing, with the aim of changing how marketers think about content, according to its authors.

Will Critchlow is Founder of Distilled and commissioned the Brandopolis report. According to Critchlow, despite content marketing not being a novel concept, the rise of the term as an industry buzz word in recent years has “left some marketers scrambling to figure out what it really means”. He also warns that the content landscape is changing rapidly and as such marketers need to up their game if they don’t want to be left behind.

Cutting through the noise

Critchlow said he had commissioned Brandopolis as a way of cutting through all the noise around content marketing.

“There’s so much information available to marketers but, until now, there was a lack of real insight into how the best brands actually execute their content marketing strategies,” he added.

Speaking exclusively to NMK, Critchlow said one of the key points continually raised in Brandopolis is the idea of a brand ecosystem, a metaphor which the report’s author Lydia Laurenson says is valuable because it emphasises give-and-take, and that brands can and should receive as much information as they release – if not more.

“Early adoption stories are another key theme, in which Laurenson discusses the benefits of giving employees time, incentive and backing to play with new platforms,” Critchlow told NMK. “This idea goes hand in hand with the willingness to fail; after all, she says, if nothing is ventured then nothing is gained.”

Laurenson says, for best results with content, it’s important not to over-promote and branding should be subtle. For example, Nowness, created by luxury brand Louis Vuitton, is a remarkable arts and culture resource full of beautiful short videos about design, travel, fashion, and other topics. Yet nowhere on the site does it show the Louis Vuitton logo – or even mention Louis Vuitton, Critchlow observed.

Content needs context to work

Context is key to content marketing success, Critchlow concluded.

“Laurenson says you should create content that directly augments real-life experiences: apps that help people with daily tasks, for example, or websites that encourage customers to try a new product virtually,” he said. “This content doesn’t just teach; it learns. Even if a website’s content does not convert to a single sale, the site’s owner can learn about the market by tracking users’ tastes and preferences.”

The full multimedia report is available for free at http://www.distilled.net/brandopolis/

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