There is “huge opportunity” for the publishing industry to make money out of content marketing, an industry predicted to grow to $413bn (£305bn) by 2021, delegates to The Bookseller’s FutureBook conference have heard.
Speaking about the future of content formats, Vikki Chowney, chief content strategist at Hill + Kowlton Strategies, advised that spend on content marketing was “exploding” and that it is the “single activity” chief marketing officers (CMOs) think will have the most impact on their businesses in the next year.
“Like you, [the communications industry] has gone through a period of real revolution and we had to evolve from being purely PR to look at what else we can do to service our clients”, said Chowney. “[Even with all that expansion] content marketing still reigns absolutely supreme.”
She said that the value of the global marketing industry is predicted to grow from $195.8bn to $413bn by 2021.
Although Chowney conceded content marketing is “nothing new”, she said it was “telling good stories in a way that clients can buy and that giving it the name ‘content marketing’ makes it easier for clients to understand” and invest in.
“Content marketing is an efficient way to tell the stories you want to tell," she said. "It helps build brand awareness and is cheaper than advertising - its a lot more cost effective to hire people with the skills required to tell amazing stories than to buy loads of TV spots”, said Chowney.
She added that content marketing sees an increased conversion rate and helps avoid ad blockers, “the biggest problem facing many people in my industry at the moment”.
There is a “huge opportunity” to make money out of content marketing in book publishing, as the market is growing and seeing “a lot of money pumped into it”, according to Chowney.
“You guys could create specific teams within your businesses to harness all the power at your fingertips, for example authors and other content creators”. She cited the VICE media network, which has created an agency within its network called Virtue which uses journalists' work to create content for brands and has a partnership with Vogue lined up.
Chowney then suggested using authors to create ad content which could be paid for by brands.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be creating new content for brands, she said, but could also be about using brands to help promote authors and other content publishers are planning to launch.
She suggested using video series, interactive articles, press trips and immersive experiences as the best ways of getting the most out of content marketing.
Chowney also highlighted the potential in live video which is sometimes able to distill information more quickly and efficiently than blogs, and also sees increased engagement from users.