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Who is the best Content Marketer: PR, Journo, Creative, Digital or Sales?

November 17, 2015

By Simon Kearney, CEO

PUBLISHING skills, deep strategic understanding, ability to execute and a focus on results are what makes a great content marketer, according to a group of world-leading content marketing experts.

Click2View contacted a range of leading global and regional content advocates for their views on what makes a great content marketer over the last week seeking to answer the question of who is better qualified?

Maybe not advertising creatives, at least as your first choice.

That’s according to Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi, who told Click2View great content marketers were first and foremost, strategic thinkers who understood how content could be a business asset.

“They understand both the basics of marketing and the basics of publishing, and have a clear passion to understand audience needs, and meet those needs with a content experience,” he said.

“Great content marketers can come from any place inside and outside the organisation, but generally more from the publishing side than the advertising side.

“It’s hard to get advertising people to think outside campaigns,” Pulizzi told Click2View.

Global head of digital marketing at Standard Chartered Bank Damien Cummings told Click2View brand marketers, i.e. clients, get content marketing best of all as they have figured out the strongest link between content and sales.

“PR professionals get too focused on the need to write something, often struggling to bring visual content ideas to the table,” he said.

“Creative agencies need a brief-and-brainstorm process but are less confident when it comes to real-time content or anything other than a big advertising campaign/idea. Media agencies are better, as they are inherently more neutral and focused more on the media selection than the content/creative.

“But in my experience, it’s brand marketers who understand the need to link content to sales, are open to new ideas and new media channels,” he said.

One of Cummings favourite branded content sites in Asia is ANZ’s Blue Notes.

The Aussie bank’s content marketing play was recently recognised in the Brunswick Review, a New York-based “journal of communications” which is also a classy piece of content marketing for global PR and advisory firm Brunswick Group.

Blue Notes was founded by long-time PR professional Paul Edwards at the behest of ANZ CEO Mike Smith it is run by former Australian Financial Review columnist Andrew Cornell.

“There simply aren’t enough journalists to cover all the topics we want to cover from our business point of view,” Edwards told The Brunswick Review.

The edition also featured GE Reports and interviewed its managing editor Thomas Kellner who says they still do journalism, small “j” journalism.

The Brunswick Review’s editor, ex FT and Wallpaper journalist Jackie Shorey said it didn’t  matter who wrote the copy.

“The main thing is that companies engage in the narrative around their business. If they don’t, then that vacuum will be filled – minus their voice,” she told Click2View.

“Journalists are trained to do that,” Shorey said. “But they don’t have the monopoly on good storytelling.”

Globally television producers have taken the lead in many of these roles. The best example in Asia recently was Marriott’s decision to hire Singaporean producer Tony Chow to make the brand the “Red Bull of Asia”.

Nick Jacobs, the Industry Marketing Leader for Internet of Things and wearables at Intel in Asia Pacific (and a former PR professional) says storytellers cross the divide between PR, marketing and sales.

He said what was important was that storytellers be empowered within organisations as “marketing stormtroopers” with their own budgets and mandates.

“Storytelling infuses much of what modern sales and marketing functions do, right from traditional press relations thought to the newest content-led digital techniques, and all the way to the front line of sales, where a crisp value proposition helps win,” Jacobs said.

Digital agency, VML Qais chairman Keith Timimi said the best content marketers on the agency side were serious students of branding.

“They deeply understand the psychology around the brand in question, and they create content that engages people on a subconscious, emotional level,” he said.

In his opinion the audience was more important than the background of the content creator.

“The north star in this process needs to be: what do my audience give a sh*t about?” Keith explained.

The consistent theme of all the comments, which were too numerous to publish, was empowerment. The best examples of content marketing were those that were empowered at the highest levels, certainly C-level, if not from the CEO.

Empowerment plus DIY – content can be strategised and executed by agencies but it needs to be driven and championed internally.

The lesson for the fledgling content marketing industry is to try and start influencing those at the very top not just the marketing chiefs.

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