Last year Nathan McGregor packed his bags and jetted down to London to attend the World Forum Disrupt event, DigiPublish.
There were an array of highly talented and insightful speakers and panellists lined up, here are the key points he has taken away with him.
The DigiPublish event in London was incredible. I was particularly impressed with the event set-up, the speakers that were lined up and all the valuable information in the presentations that I was able to take away with me.
Personally, I noticed that each speaker had a range of common themes and similarities that they kept going back to. Namely, the importance of mastering social media to distribute your content, the impending desire for more video content and the need to adopt, stay ahead of your competition and not to be afraid to dip your toe in unchartered water.
It’s no secret that video marketing is on the rise, and we can expect to see so much of this dominate our social media feeds come 2018.
This was echoed by Cordelia Hebblethwaite, Commissioning Editor for BBC Ideas (be sure to see the launch of that next year!). She explained the popularity and increased engagement that video can bring to any brand.
More so, the somewhat rise of animation as another strand of the video niche. We watched this BBC Newsnight animation of a well-known current leader of the free world and the relationship he potentially shares with the classical Greek philosopher, Plato.
It just goes to show you that there are different avenues you can even take with video itself. However, you have to learn to remain true to yourself, ‘develop a distinct look and feel’, and sometimes ’push the boundaries’. These thoughts explained by Cristy Garrat, Head of Digital Video at CNBCi.
Video is going to be a major outlet for content marketing in 2018, so much so that you are going to have to include it in your content calendars. Just remember Cristy’s advice to always ‘engage with your audience’ and ’use gut instinct and data as you evolve’.
The last key point I took away from DigiPublish was the need for yourself, or the clients whom you work for, to constantly innovate to keep up with current demand and position yourself at the forefront of your competitors.
What makes you different from other brands and why should audiences come to you? Maybe you’re a 173-year-old publisher on Snapchat – funny that, because The Economist surely are.
It’s sounds a little absurd, but it completely works, Jamie Credland, Strategy and Marketing at The Economist, explains to us.
Audiences digest information in different styles and engage with it in different ways. The niche for them was to publish content on the social platform whilst also remaining true to themselves. Their audience had come to expect a certain tone and behaviour from the brand, so it would be wrong to all of a sudden change that just because they were on Snapchat.
It was a challenge, but a challenge they relished. An audience comes back to you because they trust you and, at a time like today, trust in media platforms is needed, Jamie continues.
Brands adopting social media platforms to distribute their content is all grand, but what about other brands that are successfully utilising new and emerging platforms?
Well, this is something the guys at Lonely Planet are currently working on and are very excited about. Tom Hall, Director, Editorial and Brand, for Lonely Planet talked about their new marketing initiative for 2018: Trips.
The app uses an Instagram-like design that encourages backpackers and travellers alike to document their journeys by uploading images to it.
The idea is for travellers to share experiences and discover new areas of the world.
The Instagram app is obviously a goliath in the image-sharing sphere, but Lonely Planet says their new app is simply to ‘compliment’ the social media giant.
It definitely appears like Lonely Planet are the underdogs here but there could be a market for journeys to become more of a shareable scrapbook – so, this is one to definitely keep an eye on.
Each-and-every-one of the speakers spoke about social media and how it helps consumers reach their content.
This came as no surprise as social media management is a key component of any content marketing strategy. What came as a surprise was how people reacted on social media and just how powerful it really is.
An amazing example of this would have to be when Claire Singer, Associate Publisher of Tatler & Vanity Fair, provided a case study on the world exclusive of Caitlyn Jenner and her recent transformation.
You might remember the iconic front-page cover and the inside scoop on the Vanity Fair front cover. Claire spoke about the trust and relationship she and her colleagues had between the brand and Caitlyn.
More impressively was the world record Caitlyn set.
Upon the release of the story she (or her agents) created a Twitter account and it rose to over a million followers in record time. Surpassing such records set by one Mr Barack Obama!
That story soared but what happens when you think you have an amazing story that isn’t doing quite so well?
Well, it just so happens that Betsy Fast has come across these dilemmas before in the past.
Betsy is the Executive Director and Digital Editorial Strategist for Hearst.
She explains that you can multipurpose a piece of content to maximise engagement. Take a nib from your content that will really catch the attention of the audience, so they just have to click through to read the rest.
She also mentions how influential it can be to jump on to current trends. Namely, Love Island.
At the time Love Island was huge and you couldn’t surf social media without coming across someone saying something about the iconic programme.
Some of her publications would often choose to not engage in this form of programme as it was seen to not be befitting of their readership, but they found a way to tweak a story: ‘’It’s time to end the style atrocity of the super skinny jean.’’ – brilliant from Esquire.
See, no matter the publication, content can work in so many different mediums. It’s all about positioning it to your audience and promoting it thereafter.
These were only a handful of speakers that were at the event but everyone there added in their own little nuggets of content gold.
The main points to take away from this are: social media for publishing your content is crucial to your success (even if Facebook are trialling a new system); video is going to be HUGE in the upcoming years; you have to innovate to position yourself in the market (but be true to yourself and your audience); and, most importantly, content is, and will always be, KING.
Got a campaign for 2018 in mind? Contact Edinburgh-based freelance PR and marketing consultant Nathan at email@example.com or fill out a contact form here.