Many brands are rushing to add publishing to their repertoire of activities, creating content based on their areas of expertise, or in areas where they have an authentic voice. It’s worth taking a step back however, to establish whether it’s always necessary for brands to create all digital content from scratch; after all, syndication of content is an editorial approach that established publishers have long taken advantage of.
Publishers are able to help brands in two respects: provide content to make partnerships work harder and supply content to add depth to owned sites and improve SEO.
Good quality content requires investment and expertise; much of it is evergreen. If it’s already been created, accessible and customisable for brands, is there always need to reinvent the wheel? There will always be a requirement for new, bespoke content when crafting content campaigns to meet the specific needs of a new brief, but there’s no reason why surrounding, supporting or complimentary subject matter can’t have been repurposed. That content can live on the publisher site, or the client’s owned sites.
This is especially useful when timeframes are short and access to talent is required. For an ongoing campaign we’re running for O2 Priority Tickets with NME.com, we have a very short window from finding out that O2 have secured an exclusive pre-sale window, to the activity going live. Where we can, we create new, bespoke content to accompany the pre-sale announcement; where logistics make this impossible, we repurpose and resurface evergreen archive NME material such as artist-specific galleries and videos, which are still of real interest to NME users.
Many other publishers are making use of existing content for brands and making it an integral part of their offering. AOL’s Huffington Post creates many custom channels for advertisers, from ‘Make Work Wonderful’ for Twinnings to ‘Connectivity’ for O2. Each include new, commissioned content, as well as resurfacing blogs and articles relevant to the subject.
Repurposed publisher content can also quickly add depth and scale to brand owned sites; where that content comes from publishers’ print archives, it can also help the site’s search rankings. Tesco’s ‘Real Food’ channel on Tesco.com is populated with recipes from IPC’s print back catalogue, and as they’ve not been seen in a digital format before, search engines recognise it as new content, helping SEO. Similarly a lot of content on P&G’s supersavvyme.co.uk is repurposed IPC print material, instantly adding credibility and substance.
Reusing content opens up a wealth of opportunities for publishers and brands alike. Publishers sit on a rich seam of evergreen content on virtually every topic imaginable, particularly in the areas of food, travel, music and health, which they could potentially monetise. For brands it reduces costs, enriches new content, quickly adds depth, improves SEO and surfaces great publisher content they can align with. Brands can become better publishers by working more closely with established ones.
Nik Vyas, head of published and audio content at Newcast (part of ZenithOptimedia Group)