There was big news in the world of content marketing last week. Content marketing software company NewsCred and content distribution company Outbrain announced a partnership. Here’s a good read on the new alliance from the New York Post.
You don’t have to be an expert in content marketing to understand this move. The biggest source of software and content resources is teaming up with the biggest distributor of content, which sounds attractive for customers. There was a lot of talk in the release about “seamless integration” and one click access between NewsCred’s 4,500 sources of content and Outbrain’s 150 billion monthly content recommendations.
The logic seems compelling, especially for large consumer brands who need to produce and promote content on a massive scale. But those are not the kind of campaigns I run for clients. From a B2B/B2G perspective, this announcement made me wonder if content marketing can be made too easy.
That might seem strange to say. Consultants don’t often sell things by saying they are hard. I’m certainly not saying companies should try and go it alone — if I felt that way I would not have launched my own firm! Yet there is only so much of the content marketing process that can be outsourced and automated.
B2B and B2G content marketing is different from consumer. My clients don’t need hundreds of thousands of visitors to their publications – they need to bring their identified prospects closer to them via excellent content. It’s a quality over quantity play, one that doesn’t require thousands of editorial sources or billions of paid impressions. This kind of content marketing also represents a shift in corporate culture, with the organization assuming a publisher mindset and moving towards conversational selling.
I hope the NewsCred/Outbrain partnership is a success and continues to make more companies aware of content marketing. Outbrain has been effective when I’ve used it to increase traffic for my clients, and I’ve read good things about NewsCred. But the kinds of engagements I run for clients aren’t “set it and forget it” campaigns — they require consistent input from the client to help my firm effectively communicate their market expertise.
Make no mistake — my agency does almost all of the production and promotion work. But my clients need to remain engaged for the effort to be authentic and effective. If a company outsources and automates too much of the content marketing process, it simply becomes advertising. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not a culture shift and it’s just a small piece of what content marketing can do for companies.
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