Content Marketing Puts Editorial Control In The Hands Of Consumers

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An opportunity to serve the media functions once owned by publishers.

Hubspot, the inbound marketing platform that helps its clients host and offer targeted content, recently revamped and relaunched its blog as Inbound Hub. After it went live, Kat Meyer sent me a link to coverage on Openview Labs, written by Jonathan Crowe.

Crowe interviews Jay Acunzo, senior manager of content at Hubspot, who explained why the company felt a need to change its approach:

We’re really up against the known edge of what content can do to drive business right now — nobody knows what this stuff looks like at great scale. When I joined HubSpot to head up content, I saw how our scale — the volume, variety of post topics, different goals and formats, and a big network of contributors — was starting to break that standard single-column business blog. It’s totally new territory compared to a company struggling to publish weekly without going dark.

To address that content “glut,” Inbound Hub was reorganized “to create more topic-specific and reader-friendly subscriber options.” Moving away from a single-column presentation also meant that site navigation had to be rethought, so that it would balance simplicity and depth.

When it came to breaking down content to offer those topic-specific options, Acunzo described the reorganization as “a way to place more control back into the hands of our audience, since they can subscribe specifically to what they enjoy most.”

“If sales-related content is irrelevant to you, then you don’t need to subscribe to it. You as the consumer hold the control—as it always should be.”

Happily, this perspective explicitly considers choice, a core component of “Disaggregating supply“. It also fits nicely with yesterday’s post about the role of content strategists:

Content strategy is more than the activity formerly known as … something else. It is organized around customers, not formats or functions. The messaging is a component of corporate strategy.

This is an area where traditional publishers need to evolve, and quickly. Platforms like Hubspot increasingly provide marketers with an opportunity to serve the media functions once owned by periodical and even book publishers.

The lines between editorial and marketing content are already blurred, as marketers work to answer questions and solve problems for both current and prospective customers. If publishing incumbents can’t establish a customer-facing legitimacy, marketers may become their new and even primary distribution channel.

Brian O'Leary

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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