Brand-Sponsored Content Is The Real Article

By the way, what the hell is a content strategist? If that’s your title, please, leave the business. –The Denver Egotist
Everyone’s talking about social media, but there’s another important game in town. It’s not new, but it’s growing in importance thanks to the promise of digital storytelling.
According to a survey commissioned by the Custom Publishing Council, brand sponsored content, a.k.a custom publishing, is welcome in the majority of American households.
Here’s Adweek on the Council’s findings:

People generally understand that such publications are marketing vehicles, and not disinterested efforts to expand the fund of human knowledge. But they don’t object to the trade-off entailed in this: 78 percent said they “don’t mind the fact that sponsors are clearly selling their products and services, as long as the publications are filled with interesting information.” Indeed, 66 percent said they’re “likely to buy from the same company that provided them with a custom publication,” and 63 percent said they’ve “bought something they saw mentioned or advertised in a custom publication.”
In part, custom publications benefit from the contrast with ordinary advertising. Seventy-four percent of those polled said “getting information from a company through an interesting collection of articles, rather than an ad, is more appealing.”

Hence, the need for exceedingly talented content strategists and producers, also known as writers and editors.
I’ve mentioned before how Travel + Leisure is a media vehicle for American Express. T+L is a great example because it’s not perceived as custom publishing. It’s a quality pub. As such, it stands on its own two Amex-funded legs.
I’ve also mentioned before how I invested two and half years in a custom publishing project for Camel. As Shawn and I move forward with our various media/publishing and advertising pursuits, we’re pretty clear on on this–there’s a place in our media empire for brand-sponsored custom publishing.
Speaking of media empires, have you seen how Talent Zoo has packaged their blog properties into a separate entity called Offset Media?



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.