Content Brief: what happened in content marketing this July

Welcome to Content Brief, our new monthly series where we brief you on the latest chatter in the content marketing world. Here’s what happened in content marketing this July. 

Apple is creating original content in response to slowing sales

The most valuable brand in the world is infamous for introducing the world to iProducts, but now Apple is known for their ventures outside of tech. Mainly, media.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple has quietly begun to develop and produce original content—in the form of unscripted video series—as its iPhone and other tech sales have slowed. But curiously, they aren’t trying to become Netflix, or better yet, Amazon.

According to Apple’s senior vice-president, Apple is “not in the business of trying to create TV shows.” Then what business are they in? Creating content tied into Apple products. It sounds suspiciously like content marketing, no?

So what does Apple’s foray into content mean?

Three things come to mind. One, it signals the end of a time where brands can get by without creating supplemental content. Apple’s a little late to the game when it comes to creating content, but if the world’s most valuable brand must create content now to compete, what does that say about everyone else?

Two, it further illustrates how every brand is becoming a media company. Your brand doesn’t need to have the resources and distribution platform Apple has, but it does need to start creating media. Text, audio, video, whatever—content marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s evolving.

And finally, it’s a very clever way for Apple to fill their empty shelves. Apple Music needs radio shows, podcasts, and other music content to show their product in action. Same goes for any of their other products. Original content can further illustrate the value of their products, which is pretty important to a company like Apple.

Why are so many publishers creating branded content studios?

This month alone, Digiday has reported that The New York Times’ branded studio has plans to become a fully-fledged marketing agency…as well as the Financial Times, Bloomberg Media, and NBCUniversal. Is there something in the water?

Yep! It’s this little thing known as branded content and it’s become the saving grace for many publishers in recent years. The Atlantic estimates that sponsored content is estimated to drive more than 75 percent of its ad revenue this year. It’s driving money—quickly—to publishers’ pockets. This is all very good and well for publishers, but what does this mean for brands?

  1. Publishers are comfortable with native ads and branded content now more than ever, and will continue to rely on brands to fund their revenue streams.
  2. Brands benefit from the explosion of branded content studios because they now have more choices than ever to partner with and distribute content.
  3. Brands are comfortable engaging with these content studios to create custom, branded content outside of their traditional agencies of record. Perhaps ad agencies only understand how to produce “creative” ads and media, but not content, and that’s why brands are partnering with publishers.

Miscellaneous news worth knowing about

  • San Diego Comic-Con was this month, ushering in thousands of opportunities for brands to showcase their content, among other things. There was tons of cool marketing on display that’s worth checking out.
  • Earlier this month, it was announced that telecommunications super-company Verizon would buy Yahoo for $4.8 billion. In the tech, media, and finance world, it’s seen as a power-play move by Verizon to beef up its content portfolio and sell more online ads. We’ll have to wait to see how that works out.
  • Google Trends has become a handy tool for journalists and marketers alike, but it does have one major problem: it’s used in correctly. Namely, Google Trends users often cherrypick data to make a point, whether it be about national elections and other current events. The point is, Google Trends is all relative.

That’s it for July! We’re going to keep these short and sweet.

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