19/11/2013 10:39 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Every Company Is a Media Company


Last Thursday, Raconteur Media and NewsCred hosted the UK's first-ever event for senior marketers on The Role of Journalism in Content Marketing at The Savoy Hotel in London - a venue designed to be as indicative of quality as the night's content itself. The event was attended by marketing and content heads from the likes of DeutscheBank, Siemens, Aviva, EY, Visa and Bloomberg.

As experts in publishing and in content syndication, respectively, Raconteur and NewsCred teamed up to host the night to educate those who create content for their brands on the latest ideas, strategies and winning examples when it comes to authentic content for the marketing plan with a double keynote, panel discussion, and Q&A session. The insights shared were a mix of data and facts, intuition from leading thinkers, and lessons learned on the ground.

The London Evening Standard's Media Editor and long-time journalist, Gideon Spanier, opened the night by telling the crowd: Every company is now a media company. And every (media) company needs a Head of Content that can set direction for the business.

This means that 'publishing' - that is, the art of professionally communicating curated, valuable information to an audience - is now part of every company's responsibility (hear "strategy"). And there are some enterprises who have got the hang of it - Knight Frank's Wealth Report, Gemalto's The Review, and Google's Think Quarterly were all amongst examples Spanier cited of top-notch, independent content created by publishing experts on behalf of brands. But for the vast majority of content marketing attempts there is much to learn, and pressure to do it fast.

The main reason for that pressure is that today's and tomorrow's new, empowered customers have high expectations of the brands with which they interact, and the engagement strategy therefore has to respond to the needs and wants of these empowered customers. These "digitally enfranchised" customers, according to insights shared by keynote speaker Andrew Grill, IBM's Partner for Social Business, now drive the agenda for every CxO profile. Grill noted that CMOs are prioritising the implementation of a digital strategy that optimises customer interface opportunities, highlighting that the relationship - and the points of contact - between brand and customer now define the very direction of business planning. And if that point of interaction is on the basis of content, then high-quality, relevant content has never been more critical - nor more of a business opportunity.

Panelist John Williams, head of Santander Corporate Banking's Breakthrough Programme for SMEs, commented that the very first thing he said when he joined Santander was, "We're a publishing company now." He knew that if Santander was going to be convincing at advising small business owners on how to make good financing decisions, which is what the Breakthrough Programme aims to do with independent advice and content, they had to get the publishing strategy right. We come back full circle, then, to Spanier's bold statement that "every company is a media company" - something you can believe when you see the data and anecdotes for how successful the Breakthrough Programme's microsite really is.

One of my favourite marketing bloggers Greg Satell recently corroborated this belief in his post about what we can expect from the next decade of marketing, noting that 'brands will have to learn to be more like publishers and develop content skills...[and] that marketers will have to create a genuine value exchange.' It's in the 'genuine value exchange' part that our thesis on the role of journalism comes in - if every company is a media company, and every company is a publisher, then who better to learn from than publishers themselves? It's bread and butter stuff for publishers to think about audience, about content curation, about commissioning journalists, about balancing independent content. So the value of journalism, and of publishing, in content creation, is that it's the secret best practice most marketers are missing, and the ultimate secret sauce in building genuinely effective (and genuine) content marketing.

- Freddie Ossberg, CEO & Founder, Raonteur Media

For more information on Raconteur's Custom Publishing work, click here.

For more information on NewsCred's work with content, click here.

To see the presentations from the event on Slideshare, click here.