It is no secret that brands are wising up to the fact that they need to approach content marketing from an editorial perspective. A good example of this was the decision of Adidas to set up a content marketing newsroom as part of its strategy for the London 2012 Olympics.
Outwardly, Adidas aimed to create around five pieces of content a week while still allowing its marketing team to have full control of the brand’s sites.
The move was so successful that the sportswear firm decided to extend the concept with the creation of newsrooms in 12 different cities around the world. Consequently it now puts out a lot of content. Yet when compared to a magazine or newspaper, such volumes pale into significance.
So far so good, but Adidas understands the need to approach content with a newsroom mentality, right?
Maybe not quite. Internally, Adidas content marketing staff are likened to DJs ‘spinning different tracks’ in line with the trends of the day.
The danger for any brand looking to build a content marketing operation is that it simply hires a team of copywriters. While they also put words on a page, the art of copywriting is completely different to that of journalism.
The concept of newsroom rigour is alien to the way in which a copywriter works. In a newsroom, writing is just one element of the puzzle. The creation of strong editorial content is a process whereby the story is researched, themed, thought through and presented in a consistent manner.
Another key difference between copywriting and journalism is that – with the latter – the work turned out is of consistently high quality.
Copywriters are fortunate in that they start with a brief and product information. Newsrooms and journalists operate at a higher altitude where corroborating sources are a must and the threat of libel is always on their minds. It is a respect for this danger that instils greater discipline in their work.
Many brands are beginning to understand that advertising and content marketing are two very different things. Yes, the end result might be a story, but in terms of process that’s where all similarity ends.
In our view, your content marketing needs to be at least as good as that produced by the FT, Economist et al. To achieve that you need a journalist.
Or as we say at FirstWord, content marketing is not marketing… it’s journalism.