From brand publishing houses to content ownership – content marketing trends

Have PepsiCo just shaken up the conventional content marketing model?

Bilious beverage purveyors Pepsi might just have turned content marketing on its head, for business’ big beasts at least. It’s common knowledge that the gap between brands and publishers has pepsi_pepsico_brandshrunk significantly in recent years. But, a drinks manufacturer opening a dedicated content studio… Who saw that coming?

It’s among the twinkling towers of downtown Manhattan that actor Meryl Streep and smooth soulster Usher became two of the first people to enter Pepsi’s cutting-edge content studio. The mission statement? Sell enough engaging unbranded content to cover their own advertising bill, as well as studio-related costs, effectively turning an expense into a profit centre.

Pepsi have already made clear that the aim of this brand-agnostic content isn’t to go for the hard sell, but to entertain the audience and leave a lasting impression in their minds.

Despite naming it after a troupe of arts-and-craft superheroes, the ‘Creators League’ (as some clearly non-creative dubbed it) looks like it will receive all the backing it needs to regularly push out enticing new visual and written content. You better get used to this model. First Red Bull and now Pepsi have seen enough value to lay some serious capital on the line. This model has the potential to become the default for trans-national companies worldwide. Either that, or there’s just something funky in those carbonated bubbles.

Stylist digital magazine closure sounds a warning: own your content! 

Fashion magazine Stylist have announced the closure of their digital edition, citing the “abrupt” closure of Apple’s Newsstand as the reason for the publication’s demise.

A woe-is-me statement was issued by editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski, blaming Apple for leaving them “high and dry, without a dedicated marketplace in which we can distribute our edition”. How DARE they… How dare those vengeful technology gods choose to bin a feature that wasn’t eliciting the desired returns, summoning locust plagues and four horsemen in the process.

Sorry Lisa, but no-one’s switched off the internet, so there’s really no excuse. And, here’s why.

In the same way that you wouldn’t build a house on rented land, you shouldn’t base the entirety of your digital edition on a platform that you don’t own, and have no actual control over.

Not only does it leave you exposed to the whims of a company whose aims aren’t aligned with yours, it also prevents you from cultivating the online authority that you deserve. When you spend time creating content for a platform that you don’t own, you’re essentially handing over all those lovely clicks and eye-time to a third party. Sure, you might have linked the piece back to your domain. But, this will do little to persuade Google of the relevance, usefulness and entertainment factor of your site, keeping you pinned far from the top of search rankings.

CMI acquisition spells out value of content marketing today

The illustrious Content Marketing Institute (CMI) has been acquired by UBM plc for a cool $17.6m dollars less than 10 years after the company was founded by Joe Pulizzi and wife Pam Kozelka. The sale spells out just how far content marketing has come is the last few years, and how much potential remains in this ever-burgeoning industry.

CMI are worthy candidates for this level of investment, sending out a consistent supply of rich, informative content, as well as organising the annual CMWorld and Intelligent Content Conference marketing events. Having entertained many different suitors, UBM – a global B2B event organiser – were chosen as they possessed the resources to scale up CMI’s conferences, including 5,100 staff across 20 countries.

UBM have released a formal statement about the acquisition, commenting: “Driven first by content creation and second by the technologies that allow marketers to successfully distribute, automate, track, analyse and measure, content marketing is one of the fastest growth segments of the marketing industry. By building a combined technology and marketing event portfolio, UBM and CMI will serve the market in the best way possible — covering all corners of the business — for customers, readers, attendees and exhibitors.”