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Content Marketing Review: Newscred’s ‘Content Marketing Playbook’

January 6, 2016

By Simon Kearney, CEO

Newscred’s Content Marketing Playbook is a little dated but it is one of the better places to learn everything you need to hold your own in a high-level discussion about content marketing.

The references (that have a date) are three or more years old but they refer to what are quickly becoming the classics of content marketing case studies, such as GE Stories.

First, it breaks content strategy down into fundamental elements that are more action points rather than principles.

There are good rules of thumb throughout the white paper, such as Marketo’s 4-1-1 rule to creating content for a brand. (Four pieces of pure ‘editorial’ content, for every one hard-sell piece and one soft-sell piece.)

And following on with Marketo, a great proof point about the number of leads they drive each month

The design section uses actionable points with some great examples, such as the US specialty retailer J.Crew or my personal favourite, the digital magazine Dark Rye which sadly has been subsumed into its publisher, Whole Foods Market’s general digital channels. It had a spin off as a TV series in 2014 so we’ll get back to you on what happened to the award-winning digital magazine once Whole Foods gets back to us.

One thing we like in the content design section is a focus on user experience, UX, because it’s not always given the prominence it should have in content marketing publications. There are some handy tips here.

The third and final part to this 26-page white paper is on distribution. It kicks off with Buzzfeed president Jon Sternberg’s (now cliched from overuse at marketing conferences) quote about content being king but distribution being the bossy queen who rules the roost.

This is where the white paper falls down. It goes from action stations to suggestions, suggesting, that Queen Distribution is a lady who will take time to get to know well.

All in all, this is a good bit of content. If time is short and you need to get across content marketing quickly, this is a better place to start than Joe Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing, which is becoming the standard industry text.