One point of clarification before we proceed with our multipart series: some have written to say that some of our prior examples have not been true ”content marketing.” To which we reply: “You are correct, sir.” Note the headline says “Content & Marketing” – the ampersand is meant to reflect that we are talking about all forms of content that a marketer might associate with, not just the “owned” content that is the domain of what everyone calls “content marketing.”
So, we proceed. At the opposite end of listicles and farmed content is original content. Mostly news and analysis of same, from blue-chip providers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. There are also examples of smaller, “focused” publishers, such as Consumer Reports and tech sites like InfoWorld and Engadget.
And then, of course, there are all of us lone wolves, serious bloggers. More about that, later.
The Internet, as we know, has been a driving factor in killing off the traditional formats of original content – i.e., newspapers and magazines. Yet, these original content purveyors are not finding easy survival in the digital landscape. Too much competition from the “hybrids,” sites like Business Insider who steal the original content, rewrite it as if it was their own, then surround it with farmed content and listicles.
Enough has been written elsewhere to bemoan the death of original content, but we’d like to point out one aspect of this terminal disease not addressed by anyone else – the fact that advertisers are not supporting it fully enough. (Online paywalls are not going to be enough, as The New York Times is proving – ad support is paramount.)
As long as marketers emphasize efficiency over effectiveness in digital advertising, original content is doomed. The rise of RTM/RTB/Programmatic/”Big Data”-Driven Automated online marketing continues to thwart any appreciation for, or innovation around, digital marketing that could be more effective but might – O.M.G. – cost more than the slickest ad-auction technology.
In essence, by treating original content like “all other content,” advertisers are ensuring that digital marketing will continue its race to the CPM bottom.