The Rise of the Content Machine – You Will Be Assimilated and Like It

Content is rising and is quickly assimilating the typical one-way conversation of the past into a brave new world of brand created, curated and user created content that blurs the lines of marketing and journalism.

epic content marketing

credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwichary/

Because now more than any other time before, your customers have as much power and control as you do in choosing which messages they engage with. Content Marketing is well defined by the Content Marketing king Joe Pulizzi here from his latest book Epic Content Marketing:

“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Put another way content is a compelling story that resonates with your audience. Before the rise of content marketing, journalists working at news organizations typically fed great stories to us. The big media companies had a lock on these types of professional journalists.

 Times They Are a Changing.

The last decade has seen a near total implosion of the traditional media space with countless publishers, magazines and newspapers dying, flip-flopping, getting acquired, dissolving and otherwise failing.

The new media pioneers have successfully moved the content creation and dissemination to social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, Pinterest and all the rest are essentially taking the old media model of brand created content and flipping it to user created content. (And then selling access to those users to brands who then pay to create content to push to those users) At the heart these new media companies are really just old media companies with a new business model. They sell advertising to a captive audience.

Some clever folks have seen these two market facts (a multitude of unemployed journalists and a need for strong compelling stories) and built up new marketplaces where organizations can engage the services of “Big J” journalism professionals, blog writers, technical writers, and pretty much any other writing type. Services like Scripted, TextBroker, Skyword and others have rushed to fill this void. But most are not focused on bringing professional level journalists together with brands to tell stories in the journalism style.

Ebyline Brings Big J Journalism to Light

Ebyline is a marketplace connecting brands with journalists to create compelling content. Ebyline helps Brands create marketing content that is original, well documented and relevant to their business. For custom publishers and brands, Ebyline can be the first step to establishing a presence on the content spectrum and a scalable way to produce the most effective content for their segment. The Ebyline marketplace tackles assigning, pitching and payments so publishers and brands can focus on the production of quality content and not the administration of it.

Ebyline gives new content publishers a very diverse selection of journalists—hard news reporters, certainly, but also experienced tech writers, wine reviewers, architecture critics, personal finance gurus, opinion columnists and videographers. Enough to run a newsroom and then some.

Ebyline believes that the skills they develop on a beat or in a fast-paced newsroom environment are quickly transferable up and down the content spectrum, while the same can’t be said for other contributor types. Newsrooms have been depleted so there are a lot of quality journalists in the market, but it’s typically difficult to engage with these journalists.

Ebyline is seeing tremendous interest and already processes over 350,000 projects through its system each year.

ebyline review

Ebyline is one of the few companies to offer both a self-serve and fully managed solution. In one way, they operate as a “basecamp” for content marketing -helping companies manage people and projects in a single platform. You can go to their site and sign up for a free account and get access to the 3,000+ vetted contributors and assign them content projects on-demand.

Ebyline’s value wedge might be summed up as: Instead of building out a dedicated news room with fixed costs, use ebyline to provide a variable cost for developing stories and content as needs dictate.

I interviewed Bill Momary, Ebyline Co-Founder & CEO about the state of content marketing and he had some reflections on 2013:

 “In 2013, we saw a BIG increase in overall demand for quality content, specifically original articles in the 700-900 word count range. Customers like Dell are doubling down on big “J” journalism, seeking fully reported, multi-source magazine style features for their blog TechPageOne. “

 For 2014 Bill said he sees some big changes in store for brands and storytelling:

“I believe the biggest shift in 2014 will be the increased brand commitment to content marketing and development of internal structures to support it. Some businesses, such as Petco, {EBL customer} have a chief content officer and a staff of creative content contributors. Other companies may outsource their content creation responsibilities all together. Most companies will have a blended approach, stemming from a detailed content strategy built internally. No matter what their capabilities, there needs to be someone in the company who oversees the execution of content strategy and can connect that content to the company’s overall marketing goals.”

Author Joe Pulizzi agreed on the need for a compelling Strategy:

 “Content sourcing can work for many brands as long as the strategy is internal.”

The digital economy has opened up countless ways for people to stay informed and engaged with content that really matters to them. As such, today’s consumers are increasingly more discerning and independent. The ability to consume content from a variety of sources on virtually any topic has created a problem for brands and a challenge to the traditional ad model.

As such, there is an important shift happening in their thinking as it applies to the digital economy. Brands today believe that if they can provide high quality content that educates and informs then the consumer will return the favor with brand loyalty over time. And since brands can directly monetize traffic thanks to search and ecommerce, virtually every organization is being forced into the publishing business.

Suddenly, sourcing, editing and publishing content needs to be a marketing competency for all, not just themedia. 

Is big “J” journalism coming to your organization in 2014?

This article first appeared on Technorati.com read it here.