Swedish Startup Space

Content is King – Distribution is King Kong

Written by on August 5, 2014

Editor’s note: This post was written by Johan Unger, co-founder of Sprinkle. Sprinkle is a content distribution platform for digital publishers and is implemented on over 150 sites. The company was founded in 2013 and has offices in Stockholm, Malmö and Oslo. Disclaimer: Here at Swedish Startup Space we’ve implemented  the Sprinkle widget. 

When Social Media entered our lives it changed a lot of things. For marketers, it meant that all of a sudden they needed to be interesting to get attention. Old Spice told us we could smell like a real man and Red Bull dropped a guy from space. Viral marketing was born. For publishers this was bad news. It meant that their marketing value was severely challenged by a more cost-effective alternative: huge social media sites with people sharing good content.

The reason is, when publishers translated their business from print to digital they basically changed nothing when it comes to the way ads are displayed. This meant that all the interactivity that digital brings with it was lost and users were left with the same, often intrusive display ads you see in newspapers.

In his great TED talk Simon Sinek speaks about how people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This is of course just as important in online marketing. People are not interested in, let’s say a juice brand, telling them BUY OUR FANTASTIC JUICE!! through noisy banners. In fact, it’s so disturbing we’ve developed something called banner blindness, 99% of all banners are ignored. Instead, people will respond better to 5 reasons you should drink more juice distributed through a more discrete, sponsored article. Turns out, 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a company or brand through original content rather than through ads. It’s not selling, it’s telling.

Hence, the exploding popularity of Native Advertising. A paid link with an editorial look and feel, often similar to the publisher’s own content. We see it almost everywhere and it’s deemed by many as the savior of online publishing. It is perfect for distribution of content marketing, and as a result, the investments made in content by brands has grown rapidly. According to this study, 60% of marketers say they will increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months.

This is probably why people tend to mix up content marketing with native advertising and consider it as something new, which is of course not the case. Content marketing is likely as old as marketing itself, and a great example of this is the fantastic Michelin Guide, that recently turned 100 years old. Nevertheless, it’s got a huge upswing in recent times and is now on everyone’s lips.

However, it is easy to get lost in the hype and believe that just because something is ”content” the quality doesn’t matter as much. One of the problems we see today is that many content marketers with print experience change way too little when they translate their business to digital. The results are less effective campaigns with smaller returns for their ad spend.

Furthermore, there is way to much focus on conversion to sales. Content marketing is about creating a lasting connection with your audience through relevant, believable and engaging communication, while also establishing your brand as the expert in your area.

A fantastic example is GoPro. They built a team of 50 producers to select, enhance, and curate amazing videos of base jumpers and snowboarders. Today, a huge part of the extreme sports videos consumed online comes through GoPro. They’ve now gone public as a media company and are producing original content like this series celebrating Brazil and the World Cup 2014.

Below you see a slide with the top goals for content marketing. Brand Awareness is the number one most important, with sales coming in at only number six.

Billions of tweets, banners, sponsored posts and status updates crowd the web, with an average consumer being interrupted by 3,000 or so marketing messages every day. Studies show that consumers need to hear your message 3-5 times before they will start to believe. The same study shows that companies that blog 15+ times per month get 5 times more traffic than companies that don’t blog.

This means that, brands need to become publishers and constantly experiment with content to learn what works and what doesn’t. Coca Cola’s content marketing strategy for instance, is built upon a 70/20/10 investment principle. 70% is low risk content, 20% should innovate off what works and 10% is high risk ideas.

Relevant, engaging and informative content should be at the forefront of your web properties. Altering between images, text & videos that you produce combined with content curated from other sources, like the example with GoPro, help stimulate reception for your target audience. To take it even further, content such as podcasts, infographics and case studies should also be at your disposal, taking you toward thought leadership in your space.

Content is King – distribution is King Kong

Once you have great content, you need distribution, which is crucial to successful content marketing. To create an effective distribution strategy the first thing to understand is the different elements, Earned, Owned & Paid Media. Below is an image to illustrate what they are and how they together form the strategy where they converge:

When you use all three elements together you get a cohesive marketing mix (the star), also known as Converged Media – the combined power of all your media channels:

1. Owned media

The place to start is with your owned media, like your website and social media channels. They are great for getting feedback from your existing visitors but the problem here is you are limited to the reach of these channels. For example, whenever you post a status update on your Facebook page, you only reach around 6% of your current fan base.

2. Earned media

When it comes to earned media, it is a privilege to have it. Sure you can have PR agencies working to get your message out there but a genuine, great review of your product for example is something you usually can’t count on. A review like that is also considered by many as the most effective marketing medium. When you have it, distribute the shit out of it!

3. Paid media – the facilitator

Paid media is the most effective way to scale a campaign. It is perfect to promote content in order to drive direct traffic to your owned media properties, as well as your earned media. Paying to promote content can help get the ball rolling and create more exposure. As with all campaigns, crystal clear call-to-actions are super important to increase conversion, be it follows, reposts, newsletter sign-ups or sales. What makes it even better is that the advertiser usually only pay a CPC (cost per click), which means you get what you pay for.

Below you will find an infographic with, what we at Sprinkle, like to call the three S of paid content distribution:

To wrap this up, as a successful content marketer you need to take in consideration all the media components mentioned in this article when you create your marketing distribution strategy. You need to target your specific audience with relevant and informative content though all your channels, and continually collect detailed analytics. This allows you to truly measure reach, engagement and conversion to learn what matches your brand’s goals and what doesn’t.

  • Christian Rudolf

    135 miljarder usd på content marketing. Kan omöjligt vara korrekt. Omsättningen i Google i år kommer vara kring 70 miljarder USD, för facebook 12-14 miljarder usd.

    • Johan
      • Christian Rudolf

        Jag gjorde en enkel och snabb jämförande studie mellan “native advertising” och “adwords” på Google trends globalt. Den talar sitt tydliga språk http://www.google.se/trends/explore#q=native%20advertising%2C%20adwords&cmpt=q Testa gärna med fler ord relaterade till content online, så ser du själv hur orimliga siffror ni använder oavsett källa. Content marketing online är en marginell företeelse som får bioreklam att verka fetstort. Det är så lite pengar i content marketing Sverige att en av era konkurrenter, Outbrain, valde att stänga sitt stockholmskontor. Vore siffran du hänvsar till korrekt, skulle det aldrig hända. Datan är uppenbart missvisande när du använder sunt förnuft och analyserar den.

        • Johan

          Den här siffran är fortfarande korrekt, det du missar är att den huvudsakligen handlar om content creation. Distribution är en mindre del. Siffran används även i hela branschen:


          • Christian Rudolf

            “content creation” fast ngn typ av avgränsning måste ju vara relevant. Om du säger content creation så skulle det skulle det kunna inbegripa all musik som skapats och ligger på Spotify men det har knappast med contetn marketing att göra. Likaså nyheter. Den relevanta ekonomiska måttstocken måste vara conent som skapas för att påverka användaren på olika sätt, som marknadsföring. 135 miljarder usd, nästan sisådär 750 miljarder SEK, är en galet stor summa, dubbelt så stor som hela omsättningen i Google. Känn själv på rimligheten här.

          • hultmanprivat

            Rimligheten i att Google har så stor omsättning är nästan det mest skrämmande

          • Christian Rudolf

            oroa dig inte, de har en “No evil policy” 😉

          • hultmanprivat


          • Johan

            Det framgår tydligt, både i bilden och källorna, att det är content för digital marknadsföring det handlar om.

        • hultmanprivat

          Native advertising och content marketing är inte samma sak. Det går inte att jämföra native advertising med adwords, än mindre på Google trends :)
          Native advertising växer snabbare än paid search.
          Outbrain lade inte ner sitt kontor för att pengarna inte fanns, det är Sprinkle ett stenhårt bevis på! Keybroker har inte finansiella problem för att Google går dåligt om man säger som så…
          Om du vill testa sökbegrepp så testa “paid search sverige” och “content marketing sverige”

          • Christian Rudolf

            Jag håller med om CM och NM inte är samma sak, men de har en sak gemensant och det är att för bägge krävs det att det skapas innehåll. Jag ville illustrera min poäng över hur orimlig summan är. I den bemärkelsen funkar liknelsen.

            Vanlig läggs kontor och företag ned, när det inte är så lönsamt.. Om det var en marknad som var värd denna mängd pengar som denna infograf referar till då hade man knappast lagt ned.

            Content marketing online är en väldigt liten delbransch av content marketing branschen (print är säkert 100 ggr större fortfarande)

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