Content marketing, or “native advertising,” isn’t sexy, but it’s starting to get big. You know how it works: Brands pay for, sign off on, and sometimes produce, stories and videos presented under their names. It then gets integrated into a publications normal story flow, but it is usually clearly marked as sponsored content. Media companies such as BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, and The Awl are embracing the new form, especially as display advertising declines in value and banners become ever cheaper. Many marketing officers see it as the future of advertising.
Native advertising is also starting to replace some of the income journalists have been losing as the media industry has contracted in recent years. It turns out that brands, and media companies, are very willing to pay money to get this sort of content produced. That’s where Contently, a New York startup, comes in.
Contently started life as a company that helped freelancers land assignments from publishers (newspapers, magazines, websites), and then let them manage those assignments through its software. The company pretty quickly figured out, however, that it’s easier and more lucrative to get assignments from brands than it is from cash-strapped publishers. And so it kind of pivoted. Now it’s a key player in bringing “sponsored content” to publishers all over the country, and it’s helping journalists find new ways to get paid in the process – provided, that is, they are prepared to swallow the slightly bitter pill that is writing for brands.
All this to say that Shane Snow (pictured above), Contently’s co-founder and chief creative officer, has some pretty interesting things to say about content marketing and the future of the media business. That’s why I brought him on today’s PandoWeekly.
The key takeaway? He thinks native advertising won’t kill journalism, and it’ll help some of them make a decent living. He also believes it’s going to be “at least a semi-permanent part of the media business model.”
You can listen to the interview below. As usual, it clocks in at just 30 minutes, because we respect you like that.