The future of content marketing will include a mega media marketplace

Is a ‘dating site’ for businesses and media outlets inevitable?

Media outlets are having a tough time. Ad revenue is down, competition is up. Pesky content marketers are giving valuable information away for free.

This creates opportunities for those same content marketers. Developing a close relationship with an industry website or magazine is one way for B2B marketers to distribute their content and ensure higher levels of engagement. That topic has recently been discussed here.

The media outlets are desperate for content but don’t have the money to pay for the journalists to create it all. Many employ various forms of native advertising or advertorial to help fill the pages and generate revenue.

CityAM, the London-based financial site and free daily paper, allows businesses to write whatever copy they like. It’s published with no editorial control in the belief that the businesses will self-regulate: that the analytics will drive increasing quality, and so engagement and effectiveness.

It’s a brave step but depends on there being businesses willing to pay for the right to publish on the site.

An open market for B2B content

Imagine a different scenario. Imagine a sophisticated digital platform that matches the content requirements of media organisations with the content generating ability of businesses.

Consider a hypothetical B2B media site that needs 10 articles each day, as well as a range of interviews and reports. It signs up on the platform and enters a list of the various requirements including topics, titles, word counts and deadlines.

Within seconds an email will arrive in the inbox of businesses who have registered as content creators. The software will include a filter so only relevant requests come through.

The content marketing team can the look at the opportunities, consider the audience of the media site and the subject matter and decide whether it all matches with their objectives. A click of the mouse secures the opportunity.

Supply and demand: the content marketing economy

The above scenario imagines a neat balance between the needs of the media sites and the requirements of the businesses creating content. It’s a quid pro quo and no money needs to change hands.

Of course it may not be so simple. The seesaw could tip one way or the other with media companies demanding payment in addition to the content, or businesses asking for a contribution to costs or some other form of recompense, such as promotion.

Large media organisations may create their own content marketplace platforms, but surely an opportunity exists for a one-stop-shop that hosts a whole range of media opportunities and so attracts a wealth of content generating businesses.

It would take some clever design to keep things relevant to business areas, ensuring a quick and clean UX, but there’s no reason why such a content mega-market could not exist.

Practical challenges to overcome

Having successfully secured an opportunity to create content, a business then has to deliver. They may have the in-house expertise to do this, or they may rely on another platform such as Content Cloud that can source specialist content creators in moments.

Ensuring editorial standards are high enough for the various media outlets is another challenge. The CityAM self-regulating model may work – or content creating businesses may earn editorial trust (and thus freedom) by securing five-star reviews for the work they produce.

The levels of automation could reach dizzying heights with bidding processes becoming automated and content creator selection and submission happening with minimal oversight.

Some will see such a future as truly dystopian: inhuman and fearful, where content marketing becomes some sort of digital monster that must be constantly fed.

Perhaps this vision will never be realised in its entirety. One thing is certain: media companies need content and businesses exist that have budget to create that content, though not always the means to distribute it effectively. These needs will somehow come together and digital developments will accelerate the inevitable union. Welcome to the future…

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