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New stories, old measures

I had the pleasure of attending Newsworks Native Advertising breakfast on Wednesday 10 February, aptly held at the top of Foyles book store in Tottenham Ct Rd, the heart of storytelling.

What a pleasant surprise I had when I turned up to a small gathering of people from across the industry all sat around tables with colourful paper and pens. This was obviously going to be a refreshing break from the standard one way dialogue that has become so common place within the industry.

After being told exactly where to sit it was clear that careful planning had gone in to ensuring a mixture of opinion was reflected on each table and with representation from all corners of the content marketing industry - client, agency and publishers. After a short intro it was made clear that the morning’s session was about debating the challenges we face in the new and growing content marketing sector.


After a lively discussion around three key themes, here is my take on what was discussed…

Why branded content and how does it fit into your strategy?

Branded content is the sparkle in a plan that helps tell the brand’s story. It does not always have a role to play answering a client’s brief, but it is essential that it gets considered right up front when building a client’s strategy. It needs to have a clear role and purpose from the start.

What are the main challenges around branded content?

Content marketing has only gained real momentum in recent years and is still a relatively new method of storytelling. With very little significant research into the value it adds to the client’s bottom line, it is for many unchartered territory. Content marketing takes a great amount of time, effort, and financial investment to plan, build and deliver. For many it requires a leap of faith.

What do you need from your branded content partners?

We need more measurement, and measurement that is tailored to content marketing. Pre-campaign we need the opportunity to test and evaluate content engagement potential. During live campaigns we need regular, up to the minute sharing of data (from publishers as well as clients) in order to allow us to optimise as we go. Lastly, we need investment from all parties to ensure that our campaigns have clear KPI’s from the start and ones that are measured so we can all celebrate their success when they come to a close (and maybe learn a thing or two as well!)