“I love the artistic challenge of doing something kind of impossible.”- Phillippe Petit, high-wire artist
The last couple of years have ushered in an explosion of content marketing and “native” advertising activity. These concepts are not even a little bit new, but what is new is that as an industry, we’ve been feverishly working on standardization, scale, and efficiency in the name of truly making content marketing a meaningful part of the digital advertising revenue pie.
This effort has led to two concerning trends that, at Say, we believe are bad for the industry long term:
The first is article volume as a metric of success for content marketers. Driving down the price per article and increasing the volume of articles only limits the engagement and quality of the content marketers are investing in. In publishing our own digital magazines we can’t build brands on more articles for less money so it’s not clear how an advertiser ever will.
The second trend is turning article discovery into a media business. Charging CPM rates for headline exposure on home pages and in related link sections will only incentivize one thing: more headlines cluttering up the page. This has played out far too predictably in display advertising.
We think there is a better way.
Today we’re announcing a new offering that strikes a better balance in addressing the scale challenges, and does so in an accountable way. We’re calling it Accountable Content. The idea is simple. We’ll create amazing, authentic, engaging content and guarantee that at least a certain number of people will consume that content. As a marketer, you pay for guaranteed views of that article - and that’s it.
We don’t tack on the cost of creating the content. If we promote the article, there is no additional cost for the impressions. It’s simple, accountable, and ensures that your investment in content as a marketer pays off by putting the dollars against attention, getting that content in front of your audience.
Content is king. Great storytelling will always delight and entertain audiences. It’s been true since the beginning of time, and it’s why advertisers and content owners have collaborated on ways to intertwine brand messages and strong point-of-view. More articles for less money and media metrics that skip engagement with content altogether get us away from what was central to the value of content marketing in the first place. Accountable Content shifts the partnership discussion to creating the best content and making sure as many people consume that content as possible.
We hope you like it, and look forward to hearing what you think.