Content Marketing - Customer value or questionable journalism? / by Isabelle Ringnes

Content marketing is becoming an increasingly discussed topic, especially in Norwegian media. Certain people within the industry are worried that it questions the ethics of journalism and blurs the line between what is advertisement and what is editorial content. However, this is called native advertising. Native advertising is advertising that is created by the brand in an editorial format, and then integrated into a website or newspaper. If you aren't used to this or aware of the *sponsored titles, readers may feel confused as to whether the content is based on facts or merely a sales pitch from the brand behind it. If readers eventually do find out, they may feel deceived, retain a bad impression of the brand and question the moral of the news outlet. However- content marketing is something different. Content marketing is about giving your customers information and tools that provide real value. It is high quality content, often produced by a content marketing company or journalists, and then shared with the brands customers on social media, websites and email newsletters. Content marketing is stepping away from the intrusive and ongoing sales pitch and rather focusing on how you can empower your customer, give them information and thus build a loyalty bond with them. The content does not necessarily reflect your brand or product, but the fact that your customers get information that they find valuable from your brand creates a positive perception; and hopefully increased sales as an indirect result. 

Let`s take your average bank as an example. Instead of participating in the war of attention and advertising online, they may choose to build a reputation as a bank that profoundly cares about their customers financials. By providing them with relevant, non-biased, high-quality content based on real facts they can help clients make better decisions. Content that doesn't tell clients what to buy and why to buy it from them, but empowers their clients to make informed and sustainable choices in their daily lives. 

I appreciate content marketing. Not only as a consumer, but as marketer myself. It is much more challenging to take the time to investigate, research and create content that your target audience will find interesting or entertaining. At New York International, we did a lot of content marketing. I spent my time coming up with article ideas that could prove useful to international startups coming to establish their business in New York. I would cover anything from "best NYC apps" to "sharing economy trends" and "Interviews with international entrepreneurs that have made it in New York". The content we pushed was written with the intention to show prospective clients that we know the city, we ca provide relevant resources and are genuinely committed to help. However, we would very seldomly mention our own company. Our company would function as the distributor, and that was sufficient to get the idea across. We do not want to make our customers feel like tangibles, but rather someone we trust will have the ability to make personal, smart decisions when provided accurate and factual information. 

I truly hope that we see more content marketing. Not only does it provide more opportunities for the increasingly competitive role of journalists, but it may also be a way for news organizations to develop a new form of monetization.

By leasing existing editorial content to brands or freelancing journalists to create fresh content on relevant issues, this marketing trend has the potential to benefit the customer, brand and media industry as a whole. 

What do you think of content marketing? Is it a positive or negative trend? Please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments section. 

 AirBnb is one of the many innovative brands that have conquered the world of content marketing. Instead of advertising their product, they provide prospective customers with travel guides about destinations they may feel enticed to visit: and thus book an apartment through them when choosing to visit the destination. Not only does this challenge the team at AirBnb to develop more knowledge on the various city's they operate in, but it also is a non-intrusive and helpful way to attract customers to their website. 

AirBnb is one of the many innovative brands that have conquered the world of content marketing. Instead of advertising their product, they provide prospective customers with travel guides about destinations they may feel enticed to visit: and thus book an apartment through them when choosing to visit the destination. Not only does this challenge the team at AirBnb to develop more knowledge on the various city's they operate in, but it also is a non-intrusive and helpful way to attract customers to their website.