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Native advertising & content marketing: Breathing new life into age-old industries

Public relations agencies, publishing houses, advertising firms – these are some of the oldest, most venerable industries around, and many corporations feel pressure to evolve to meet the changing times.  With the evolution of media consumption, publishers and advertisers are looking for ways to stay relevant, and PR professionals are trying to find new ways of getting in front of the media and customers.

Typewriter What is Your Story

Along come the notion of native advertising and the subsequent opportunity to create branded content for clients as well as their own brands. If you haven’t been keeping up, the metamorphosis has been an interesting one. Here are a few of the most recent companies to make their mark in the sponsored content space:

Edelman PR

Edelman PR recently announced that it was entering into a broader relationship with the U.S. news media via paid content opportunities for their clients. Last week, their Chief Content Officer, Steve Rubel, revealed his framework for a successful content marketing strategy. In working alongside 30 other media companies, here are the standards that were established as told by Forbes staff writer Jeff Bercovici :

1. Disclosure that sponsored content appearing on news sites is, in fact, sponsored.

2. An opportunity for audience feedback. This one’s key, as The Atlantic’s chief mistake was not in accepting marketing dollars from a controversial organization but in screening out negative comments on the article to make it appear that the response was overwhelmingly favorable.

3. A continued commitment to so-called earned media. In other words, PR firms shouldn’t use the opportunity to place sponsored stories as an excuse to stop working with journalists.

4. Continuous updating so that sponsored stories are as current as the news content around them.

5. No quid pro quo arrangements linking the buying of sponsored stories to editorial coverage of clients.

6. A non-porous organizational divide between those who produce and place sponsored content and those who work directly with journalists. “This mirrors the so-called church-state divide in the press,” writes Rubel.

Meredith Corporation

The behemoth publishing house and media conglomerate, Meredith Corporation, recently launched a new content-centric website for Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (aka MXM), its content marketing division. MXM has been named among the top ten digital marketing services networks in the U.S.

Meredith has long used content both from its own magazine brands, including flagship titles Better Home and Gardens and Parenting, and licensed third-party content. Today, though, it is leaning ever more heavily on custom-created content because of its uniqueness. In a content marketing world in which companies like NewsCred are making high-quality content easily available, the same or similar content can pop up on a variety of sites. MXM is emphasizing custom, a higher margin offering, with its customers.

Tribune Company

Last month, the Tribune Company announced the rebranding of their media service department becoming Tribune Content Agency. Focusing on content strategy and creation, editorial management, and distribution, the agency claims to provide content built with journalistic standards for such clients as Microsoft, Cars.com, Hewlett-Packard, Verizon, and Careerbuilder.

Are you also including content marketing in your communications strategy? If so, we’d love to hear your story.

New to digital advertising or interested in learning more? Join Heidi Sullivan, Cision’s SVP of Digital Content, and myself for a Content Marketing webinar this Thursday at 2PM EST. Can’t make it? Download our free ebook Power Your Story: Content Marketing Essentials for PR.

About Laurie Mahoney

Laurie Mahoney is the Director of Product Marketing at Cision. She is a regular contributor to Cision Blog mainly focusing on topics like content marketing, social media and SEO. Laurie is a Chicagoan now, but spent her earlier days in the South where she attended the University of Georgia. She has a weakness for good TV, sushi and anything that mentions “salted caramel” in the name. You can find her on Twitter @channermahoney.

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