There is a perception that content from brands is inferior to the quality produced by the media. Of course, we regularly consume poor-quality media and great brand content but I don’t think we’re sticking our neck out making that generalisation, even if times are changing.
One area where brand content sometimes lacks the kind of processes the media has had for decades is quality control. That means multiple sets of eyes checking facts, style, grammar/spelling and the kind of typos and bodges that can happen to anyone.
But time and time again we should be reminded of a shift in power. A headline the other day on the BBC’s news pages ran: ‘How credible is Celtic’s title win?’ The question was being asked because Celtic, a big Scottish football team, have for the first time in a very long time been competing for the top spot in their league without going up against their arch-rivals, Rangers. (It’s a long story.)
But ‘credible’? It was credible. It definitely happened. No disputing that.
Wouldn’t ‘creditable’ have worked better in that case?
It happens all the time and in that case some of you might think we are nitpicking. Or plain wrong. We call out the BBC because its standards are usually high.
What does that mean for brands who are now all but full-on publishers?
One reason standards have declined in some quarters is because editorial departments in the media have been cut and cut. That often means less editing, sub-editing and production work.
For many brands those experts make great hires. They will bring something to the table that most companies don’t have – they’ll have an eye for what works for an audience (your customers) as well as work fast and efficiently in teams, to deadlines.
Most organisations aren’t as lacking in this area as some claim. For years they have known how to create high-quality marketing materials, with skills in design and copywriting of the highest order.
But bringing a media mindset is different. It’s mainly around speed of work and being audience-centric.
This isn’t just about large companies setting up full-on newsrooms. Every organisation using content these days – and most of you are – should professionalise its processes and see that focus on quality as an investment.