You Might Want to Ask Alice
By Steve Burkhart
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose
We have already jumped into Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole, but in the New Year expect the journey to get even more dizzying. As marketing/PR/journalism professionals, we are all converging on the same prize: creating and optimizing brilliant editorial content that builds brands.
In 2016, the fight for supremacy will be more ferocious.
The New York Times has created an entire division devoted to producing and commercializing content for its advertising customers — it’s called The New York Times T Brand Studio.
Scroll through its packages, and you will see some of the most sophisticated brand narratives being published — very expensive for sure, but visually rich and sometimes very editorially compelling — all under the NY Times moniker. Sure, it is called out as sponsored content, but it still grabs the cache of the big journalism brand.
It is safe to say that the convergence of platforms — and the need to work against a bigger strategy — will continue in 2016.
While it is easy to be impressed with the quality of what the NY Times is doing, it’s also equally encouraging (on behalf of all PR and marketing firms that are content creators) to see what they cannot do.
The stuff in the NY Times is more of a one-shot wonder — it’s an expensive story narrative with lavish visuals that could anchor a campaign. But they are far from the end-all-be-all communication platforms that their marketing/PR brethren can create.
We know that communications and engagement need daily attention. We want our double shot of espresso more than once in a lifetime. In fact, we want it every morning, if not morning and afternoon.
That’s why PR/marketing firms are best positioned to be a brand’s daily content fix. We can ignite the multitude of engagements in Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, media relations, blog posts — and yes, sponsored content on big publishing platforms like the NY Times. Long-form narrative is alive and well, especially when it is properly optimized for SEO. But so are the microbursts of Twitter and the fun of Facebook and the thought leadership of LinkedIn and blogs.
It’s a glorious day to be a storyteller, a writer, a visual thinker for brand building. All avenues are open. The rewards go to the ones who do it best.
Even Alice would love this scenario in her crazy mixed-up world — served up with a daily double espresso.