TCS editor-in-chief Joe Lazauskas is in Cancun for a few days. The only reason our editorial team isn’t planning a weather-related mutiny out of jealousy is because we have too much respect for our fearless leader. As a consolation prize, he gave me the keys to the Content Catchup for today.
Here’s what you missed while tending to your frostbite during this particularly brutal week of winter…
We always talk about brands and media companies and publishers, but what about agencies? Where do they stand in the ever-shifting content marketing landscape? Lazauskas had a long, insightful interview with Edelman chief content strategist Steve Rubel about how the “space race” of escalating marketing budgets are driving some major changes in the industry:
TCS: You were saying that brands need to be a little bit less afraid to mention competitors and their content for it to be balanced and actually resonate with readers. How else do brands need to adapt to work successfully with their content partners?
SR: I don’t know if they necessarily need to adapt—they just need to start with an audience-centered perspective. I think too many brands start with: “What do we want to talk about? What’s our message?” They’re not thinking about how content flows from the people who create it to the people who ultimately are going to consume it, and all the different diversions within that. Read it.
You might not know the name Vessel, but you will soon. Think of the rising digital video platform as a cross between YouTube and Netflix. Vessel’s revenue model is an unusual one, and Dillon Baker has one question: Is it crazy enough to actually succeed?
On YouTube, creators can be relatively small fish in a huge ocean; on Vessel, they can be the biggest fish in a small pond that has room to expand. They would also be leaving their YouTube fans out in the cold, but the loss in total views might be offset by Vessel’s superior revenue gains. It’s an interesting tension that content creators will have to navigate, assuming the platform manages to draw the user-base it desires. Read it.
Contently co-founder Shane Snow gives his annual state of content marketing blowout, an opus full of content wisdom and Back to the Future II references.
In this year’s report, we examine:
- Statistics and measurement of the industry and spending
- Prevailing brand content strategies: owned content vs. sponsored content vs. social content
- The merging of media companies and brands into corporate media
- Current content marketing technologies and methodologies
- The future of content-first marketing organizations
When David Carr passed last week, we felt the sting particularly hard in the Contently office. Carr was an early champion of our company and became somewhat of a mentor to our co-founder Shane Snow. In our kitchen, his portrait hangs on the wall next to other powerful writers like David Foster Wallace, Franz Kafka, and Hunter S. Thompson. Not only was Carr a smart man who knew how to write, but he was always honest in his columns, capable of cutting through the garbage to have nuanced discussions about the future of media.
We decided to round-up some of his smartest quips and share with our audience. You can read it here. Considering our mission, this one in particular strikes a chord:
Moz’s Rand Fishkin on Why Licensing Content Is for Suckers, His Favorite Wizard, and the Future of SEO
Lazauskas has been on a serious interview kick these days. And I can’t blame him. TCS has been lucky enough to hear from some of the brightest minds in content marketing.
This past Tuesday, we published a Q&A with Rand Fishkin, a.k.a “The Wizard of Moz,” to find out how he built an audience of over 300,000 monthly readers, where SEO is headed in 2015, why licensing content doesn’t work, and who his favorite wizard is.
TCS: What advice would you give brands who are stuck publishing a lot of mediocre content?
RF: Prior to deciding you’re going to publish on a topic or coming up with an idea, I would go research everything that’s out there and make sure I have the ability to say that this piece is better than this other piece, and here’s why.
Then I need to be impartial, and just passionate enough to apply that same logic to my own work. That can be done by looking at what ranks in search engines. You can also see what’s been shared in a particular topic or niche with BuzzSumo.
I think both of those processes can help you. I’d also probably urge you to get some harsh internal critique. Find some harsh critics who can bring their judgment to bear on your work. Get them to take a look at what you’ve done. Read it.
Stay strong until it gets warm. Buy blankets. Lots of blankets. And don’t go outside. See you Monday.