Every year marketers bring new trends to the forefront, and the marketing industry is taken by the latest and greatest buzzwords. 

The public relations industry is not immune, and every year we find ourselves needing to learn new techniques, distribution channels and platforms before our clients ask us about them.

Recent examples include 2012’s focus on building a corporate presence on “social media,” which gave way to 2013’s focus on “SEO optimization,” while last year’s flirtation with “native advertising” has evolved to this year’s emphasis on “content marketing.”

With content marketing, brands consistently create, curate, and distribute valuable content that increases consumer awareness and trust, and ultimately influences buyer behavior.

What we’ve seen in recent years is a marked shift from purely earned media, to “owned” media – creating and/or using your own vehicles to get your story out to your auidences.

Recent statistics released by Kapost show:

86% B2C use content marketing

32% feel they execute enough

91% B2B use content marketing

62% outsource content marketing

Coca Cola was an early adopter of this type of brand journalism, when in 2012 it announced its intent to revamp its corporate website into a digital magazine called Coca-Cola Journey. An associated blog, “Coca-Cola Unbottled,” features employee stories from around the world that emphasize the human and philanthropic aspects of the brand. Microsoft has followed suit with its “Microsoft Stories” site, which it describes as “an inside look at the people, places and ideas that move us.” 

There’s Energy Tomorrow, a digital magazine dedicated to “the people of America’s oil and natural gas industry.” By offering frequent articles and credible information about the U.S. energy infrastructure, environmental, and safety issues and jobs in the energy industry, Energy Tomorrow is a key marketing platform for the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group.

Finally, even toys joined the content marketing game last year, when The Lego Movie, essentially a 101-minute commercial for the toys, went on to garner critical acclaim and over $450 million worldwide.

Digital marketing platforms such as Salesforce, Pardot and HubSpot enable marketers to produce email and social campaigns. Notable video campaigns such as Dove soap’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” can help reshape and re-energize brands.  And new branded sites that aim to serve as resources for particular issue areas are helping to shape the discourse around policy issues in ways that traditional earn media alone has not. 

We see sophisticated brand journalism and content marketing plays continuing to help reshape the marketing landscape this year, in 2016 and beyond.

Curious about this trend? Want to learn how you can make it work for your organization? Shoot us an email at info@dalecurtiscommunications.com.

Photo by 10ch.