Over the last 18 months I got an interesting view on how editorial and marketing teams develop content.
An editorial team's USP is to create compelling content that engages with readers and users (and having been a journalist for a number of years this is where my skills lie). Journalists and editorial teams therefore have expert skills at how to deliver content in the right format at the right time. Changing technology and new tools have seen the pace of developing new formats quicken dramatically in the last couple of years – take data mining and data visualisation, for example, or real time news via Twitter.
A marketing team's USP is to sell the product (that's a broad definition, I know, but that is ultimately what it is all about) and that requires a range of skills from copywriting for web sites to email campaigns and adverts. Content for the marketer was always focussed on selling product.
Historically, editorial and marketing teams never made good bedfellows. They should have done but the idea of using editorial content to sell anything seemed too much for journalists and marketers would probably have found the copy too direct.
Now these two disciplines are starting to talk the same talk as technology and user behaviour has changed – marketers want to create content that is useful for users and that helps build engagement. Sounds like the same kind of aims as a journalist to me.
Marketing and editorial teams have a lot to learn from each other, which is why publishers are in a great place – both disciplines exist within their businesses. Are they making the most of this? Of course not, well not where legacy ways of working exist.
For those outside the publishing world, there is now a need to create useful content to attract and engage users – otherwise known as content marketing. We are all publishers now etc etc.
It is this emerging discipline of content marketing that fascinates me. Marketers have written some great posts on what makes useful, engaging content. However, I feel that it's time to get in on the discussion because I have spent years creating or enjoying others create really effective, interesting formats for content. This is not going to be a top 100 as I m not sure there are 100 – it will be a look at they types of content that work well at engaging people.
Final thought – I am wondering whether apps will sound the death knell to many of the most engaging non-mobile web content formats. Maybe in time, but I think there is still plenty of milage to be had in more standard (desktop) type content formats.