Jason Falls

Jason Falls

We’ve been screaming, “Content is King!” for years now. Brands still aren’t listening. Their idea of content is an interactive game or a Facebook app. As a social media thinker, but one that has the advantage of talking to brands as the head of an interactive department and, for lack of a better term, chief internet marketing strategist, I’ve now developed several content-centric approaches for either clients or prospective clients. The ones that don’t use the economy as an excuse not to spend the money for development respond with a deer-in-headlights glaze.

“So when do we get our viral video?”

“Can we build an on-line community first?”

It would be easy to throw up my hands and just churn out more billboard websites and one-off crap, but I keep plodding away, making steady progress with the willing and chipping away at those not.

And then I get a call from someone wanting to buy an ad on my blog.

“I don’t have advertising on my blog, but I’d be happy to refer you to some similar blogs that might be interested,” I say before asking what she’s advertising. After listening, I beg her to send me information because the thing she’s wanting to advertise is something I would write about in a heart beat.

Pointing Towards The Future by Nick SantiagoOn March 22-24 in Miami, the Custom Publishing Council is hosting a conference called “The Future of Branded Content: Building Value-Added Custom Media Programs Across Platforms.” Could this be a sign that the on-line marketing world is actually headed in the right direction? People are moving past talking incessantly for three days about content being king and now teaching brands how to make it so?

David Meerman Scott will keynote the second CPC annual conference for the custom content industry. (There is a custom content industry? I thought we just called ourselves writers. Who knew?) Other speakers include Kate Thorp, CEO of the Real Girls Media Network, Nic Covey of Nielsen Mobile, social media author Dr. Tracy Tuten, John Moore of Brand Autopsy and others.

No, they didn’t ask me to speak and yeah, I’m kinda bummed about it. But then again, I need more case studies in the custom content area and didn’t even know it had its own industry. Heh.

Don’t get me wrong, I get the fact that the Custom Publishing Council and industry is centered around selling branded magazines like Spirit, the magazine of Southwest Airlines or Dog’s Life, which is actually published by Nestle/Purina. But that’s kinda the point of the content-centric approach to the web social media advocates have been spouting for the last several years.

When building your website, think of it as an online magazine built around your brand. Every article (or piece of content) isn’t a blatant advertisement or marketing message for your product, but instead an accompaniment to people who are interested in your brand. The winter edition of Dog’s Life has tips on how to help a stray dog find his way home. I’ll give you a hint: It doesn’t have anything to do with buying Purina Brand Dog Chow.

Purina actually does a fair job of providing content on its website beyond the Funniest Pet videos and ever-popular “Downloads and Games.” But most brands don’t. They see their websites as electronic versions of their print campaigns, not lifestyle environments built to captivate their core fans.

This is a conference I would recommend brand managers, marketing managers and other corporate decision-makers attend. Sure, the whole point of it will probably be to sell you on paying a bunch of money to produce your own magazine for your customers. But if you take notes with the thought in mind that your magazine is your primary URL and that enriching environment they’re selling is actually an online space, not a perfect bound, 160-page glossy bathroom table fixture, you just might see the light.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if I can juggle my schedule a bit. Miami in March sounds nice.

IMAGE: “Pointing towards the future,” by Nick Santiago on Flickr.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.DowellTaggart.com dowelltaggart

    I agree with your post. Everyone wants instant results. Just post quality material and they will come.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Agreed. And thanks for the comment.

      • http://www.DowellTaggart.com dowelltaggart

        Disqus,

        Thank you for contacting Chris Dowell of the Dowell Taggart Team today!

        Your e-mail is important to me and I will review it once I get back to the office. If you need to reach me immediately, please feel free to call me at (913) 712-9313 (if I don’t answer, please leave a message).

        In the event I do not reply to request promptly, please nudge me. Sometime e-mails get sent to spam or lost.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Chris Dowell
        Dowell Taggart Team of Infinity Realty
        24 hr #: (913) 712-9313
        e-mail: cd@DowellTaggart.com
        Website: http://www.DowellTaggart.com

        Visit me on facebook: http://profile.to/ChrisDowell
        Visit me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DowellTaggart

  • http://www.DowellTaggart.com dowelltaggart

    I agree with your post. Everyone wants instant results. Just post quality material and they will come.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    I definitely agree w/ your point that we definitely have hit a cross roads in terms of content creation (and thus the idea of talking incessantly about content is king). We definitely are moving in the right direction. With the recession, more companies are looking into services and agencies (and in-house) for solutions with low overhead. Content meets and fills this need. The idea has finally been ingrained in enough of the business community to start making some headway. I'm looking forward to it :).

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Me too, Stuart. The fact that some brands are getting it, even if we have to drag them kicking and screaming, is refreshing. The future is going to be fun, isn't it?

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    I definitely agree w/ your point that we definitely have hit a cross roads in terms of content creation (and thus the idea of talking incessantly about content is king). We definitely are moving in the right direction. With the recession, more companies are looking into services and agencies (and in-house) for solutions with low overhead. Content meets and fills this need. The idea has finally been ingrained in enough of the business community to start making some headway. I'm looking forward to it :).

  • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

    Agreed. And thanks for the comment.

  • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

    Me too, Stuart. The fact that some brands are getting it, even if we have to drag them kicking and screaming, is refreshing. The future is going to be fun, isn't it?

  • http://www.DowellTaggart.com dowelltaggart

    Disqus,

    Thank you for contacting Chris Dowell of the Dowell Taggart Team today!

    Your e-mail is important to me and I will review it once I get back to the office. If you need to reach me immediately, please feel free to call me at (913) 712-9313 (if I don’t answer, please leave a message).

    In the event I do not reply to request promptly, please nudge me. Sometime e-mails get sent to spam or lost.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Chris Dowell
    Dowell Taggart Team of Infinity Realty
    24 hr #: (913) 712-9313
    e-mail: cd@DowellTaggart.com
    Website: http://www.DowellTaggart.com

    Visit me on facebook: http://profile.to/ChrisDowell
    Visit me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DowellTaggart

  • http://blog.clearcastdigitalmedia.com Matthew Chamberlin

    If you make it to Miami, let me know. We'd love to have you.

  • http://blog.clearcastdigitalmedia.com/ clearcast

    If you make it to Miami, let me know. We'd love to have you.

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    You nailed it in one sentence, Jason: “When building your website, think of it as an online magazine built around your brand.”

    Youtube videos and other viral content are great to look at, and Facebook apps are nice, but ultimately if you want people to stay on your site, give them a reason.

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    You nailed it in one sentence, Jason: “When building your website, think of it as an online magazine built around your brand.”

    Youtube videos and other viral content are great to look at, and Facebook apps are nice, but ultimately if you want people to stay on your site, give them a reason.

  • http://thewirds.com/ Y. Steven

    nice post Jason but i always think that every of my blog post is an advice or help for newbie since i made this blog only to gives some tips for blogging and hopefully in the future i will try to market my blog with some niche product but like you said: never treat your article as blatant advertisement for your product

  • http://thewirds.com/ Y. Steven

    nice post Jason but i always think that every of my blog post is an advice or help for newbie since i made this blog only to gives some tips for blogging and hopefully in the future i will try to market my blog with some niche product but like you said: never treat your article as blatant advertisement for your product

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  • http://PopScreen.com Glenn Gutierrez

    Yeah. I understand. There's definitely this big disconnect between what brands think social media is and what a more effective approach actually is. Then again, true social media strategists are the innovators that set trends anyways and the brands/old media guard are the late majority or early majority (at best) in the adoption curve.

  • http://PopScreen.com Glenn Gutierrez

    Yeah. I understand. There's definitely this big disconnect between what brands think social media is and what a more effective approach actually is. Then again, true social media strategists are the innovators that set trends anyways and the brands/old media guard are the late majority or early majority (at best) in the adoption curve.

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  • bostonmovinghelp22

    I agree with you. we know that everyone wants instant results. just make a good move! im sure they will back! xp

  • http://www.handsontheheartland.com/ Jason Brown

    Quality content keeps them coming back but they also have to find you initially.

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    Thanks for information, I'll always keep updated here!