“The traditional advertising model is completely torn apart.”
With those words, Jonathan Hunt, global marketing director of VICE, opened the panel discussion at Internet Week New York. The subject was content: creating it, curating it, marketing it and distributing it.
And the start of that discussion was all about the importance of quality.
“At the end of the day, good content is still going to win,” is how Jane Hu, head of programming strategy for YouTube Next Lab, phrased it.
“It takes a lot for a brand to create great stuff,” said Andy Wiedlin, chief revenue officer of Buzzfeed, because most advertising isn’t very good.
Good can mean funny. It can mean insightful. But, most importantly, it has to be interesting to the audience you want to reach. Thus, the first step for a brand in creating quality content is listening to your audience on the platforms you use, according to Blake Whitman, vice president of Vimeo. Whitman dismissed a comment from the audience that quality content doesn’t go viral. “The only virality we see on Vimeo is really high-quality stuff,” he added.
So the need for quality in content creation is a given, but that alone doesn’t capture the attention of your audience. The distribution discussion focused on social and mobile. Several panelists cautioned that social is not as easy as it might look.
“Social isn’t free. You have to seed it, promote it, distribute it,” said Wiedlin.
Katrina Craigwell, content lead for digital marketing at GE, added, “Anything you care about isn’t going to go without some paid distribution behind it.”
Whitman commented that you also need to “self-curate” because different types of content are needed to be effective on different platforms.
Not everyone agreed on whether mobile as a distribution platform is here yet, but it is clearly something that will be growing in importance.
“Mobile video isn’t there yet so you need some lower-fi content,” said Wiedlin.
Hu countered with numerous statistics from YouTube about video views on mobile, and concluded, “If you’re not creating content that can be consumed on mobile, you're missing a big part of your audience.”
Craigwell added that video for mobile will be a focus for her group in the coming year.
The legacy media-based model of paid placement has clearly been disrupted and its value is being questioned. What has emerged from that is a growing emphasis on content marketing and specifically what brands see as a big part of their future communications are video, social and mobile.