Brand Publishing Is The New New Content Marketing

New York City, sometimes I wonder why I am so far away from you.

I am invited to countless industry events in Manhattan, and have been for years, but AdPulp’s travel budget is exactly zero.

So, I do appreciate BtoB and Online Media Daily sending reporters to the Rise of Brand Journalism conference at Forbes Inc. headquarters this week. Otherwise, I would not be puzzled by this statement:

Mark Himmelsbach, COO of IPG Mediabrands Publishing, said scaling the distribution of native content often creates a paradox for marketers and agencies, because they have to pay for both the creation of content and the distribution.

“We create content and are forced to buy advertising to drive people to it,” he explained.

How is this a paradox? Only in a dream world is brand content good enough to actually pull in the desired audience on its own. In the real world, we still need push mechanisms to get the word out. Push and pull, that’s the ticket to ride.

According to data revealed at the conference, brand content produces a 29% boost in unaided brand recall, an 8% increase in brand favorability and a 9% jump in purchase intent.

Branded content beats display ads alone but, when combined with display, the two are particularly effective, with brand recall boosted up to 15%.

Speaking of brand journalism, Sam Slaughter, vp of content at Contently* offered up a deepening of the definition on Adweek recently.

A valuable piece of brand content doesn’t exist in a vacuum, despite what some publishers would have you believe. In fact, content is an effective medium for brands because it maps back to a broader narrative—the story a brand is telling about itself.

Which is why in my office we have a swear jar for anyone who uses the term content marketing—it insinuates that the content exists to sell you a product, when in reality great content exists to tell a story.

Great content exists to tell a story. For sure, but that story better build the brand and grow the client’s business, or it’s just more fluff. Or worse, it’s smelly brown stuff stuck to the brand’s shoe.

*Disclosure: I have a working relationship with Contently. Here’s one story I wrote for them. Here’s another. And another.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.