In 2009, I was working in Humana’s consumer innovation team. This is the group of people who, led by Jack Lord and Grant Harrison, produced a list of health insurance industry firsts longer than your arm: first mobile health app, health game, bikesharing program, blog, twitter account, YouTube channel, you name it. But it was a small group of us, headed up by Grant and Gill Potter (along with Paul Puopolo, Tony Tomazic, Nate Kvamme and Les McPhearson) who first envisioned the innovation center as a media company: A business that was centered around creating compelling content as its product, and distributing through multiple channels to varied (but well-understood) audiences. It was a wildly radical idea in 2008. But now other companies – in a variety of industries – are beginning to think about themselves in the same way.
It’s becoming clear that the first step in any company becoming its own media property is the recognition that creating content relevant to its brand – and more importantly, to its audiences – is critically important. We at WCG have recognized that fact, and are working with the most forward-thinking companies in the world to make it reality. I recognize that this concept will still sound foreign to many … and that’s logical. This is NOT mainstream thinking yet. But it’s been interesting to see some of the best thinkers in our own company beginning to unpack the concept of content-centrality in a variety of ways. There’s no better way to introduce you to this concept that to highlight some of those posts – and their authors. This list is going to grow throughout the year – but you can consider this your business primer on the strategic importance of content – in a journey towards becoming your own media company.
Brad Mays: Content Burden & New Storytelling
What is the role of content and storytelling within a brand – and how can brands address the burden (real or perceived) that this creates? “we can create a compelling story for the brand in the shareable, searchable formats of the social web. But, brands are trained and condition to think of content in traditional terms – defined by insertion orders, date lines, traditional news cycles and white space.”
Aaron Strout: Why Social Media Works for B2B Companies
86% of corporate procurement people are using social media at work … which is just one reason that B2B companies should be taking social media content seriously as a means of reaching their audiences. “To give an example, if I’m a marketer and I’m looking for a new e-mail service provider (ESP) and I see that one of my professional friends has just “liked” a Constant Contact video on “10 Things You Should Know When Evaluating an ESP,” I’m heading over to check it out. If the video provides useful information how which ESP criteria I should be using, there is a good chance that Constant Contact is going into my consideration set.”
Paul Dyer: Content Curation Continues to Trend Up
What content curation really means, and why brands are beginning to join media companies in doing it actively. “As the volume of content and media expands exponentially, curation is the only logical way to keep pace with demand and remain relevant. The leading innovators among Fortune 500 companies are already aware of this – and the top companies are already developing solutions that allow them to participate in this new “collaboration economy“. ”
Aaron Strout: 15 Tips for Creating, Curating, Capturing and Cross-Purposing Content
A highly practical, 15-step look at how and why brands should be thinking differently about where their social content originates: “Unfortunately, many companies are not particularly well-equipped when it comes to creating content. Many are used to creating ads, collateral and e-mails. What most companies don’t realize is that the answer to many of their content needs may already exist within their four walls.”
Brian Reid: 110 Million Strong – Why Newspaper Websites are Content Superpowers
In all the kerfuffle about “new media,” newspaper web sites are exploding … reminding us that people who can consistently provide great, timely content are going to win. “The success of newspaper websites, including the better-than-expected launch of the nytimes.com paywall, is another reminder that “old media” can’t be ignored simply because one of their versions is still printed with paper.”