“Content is still king.”

Those words were said repeatedly at the Magazine Publisher’s Association conference Feb 1 and 2 in NYC, a long held proposition no one would dispute at face value.  But of course we’re not talking about all content. Content without appropriate context and relevancy becomes background noise, which our brains are conditioned to ignore.  So while its true content still rules, its really a means to engagement.  Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp said it best at the conclusion of the event “everyone is looking for how you can engage an audience.  It’s what we do that each and every day.”

If contextual, relevant content is the means to grabbing the consumer’s attention the question is how do you monetize that engagement?  That’s where it gets tricky. Native advertising?  Yes.  Social media?  Uh huh.  How about a side order of utilizing audience data?  Yup… and can I have seconds?

The truth is every publisher there appeared confident in the content they have, but they are still searching for the best way utilize, contextualize and deliver that content.  This searching for new strategies and tactics to engage the consumer is the fuel that is powering innovation in our industry.

With consumers tethered to their phone 24 X 7 we now have a delivery platform which can put our content at their fingertips at any moment. But we also know that the competition for attention on these very personal devices is fierce.  In a moment, a click or a swipe can mean the difference between your content being dumped into the virtual trash can or engaged with to discover new products and services, and even be shared to a broad network of friends and like minded consumers. Helping publishers, brands and retailers achieve the latter is what drives us every day at ShopAdvisor.

ShopAdvisor AMMC Table

While I was at our booth I spoke to many people about content that sparks interest and leads to engagement and discovery of products… real things they can buy.  But it was more than just things they can buy online, it was about getting them into brick-and-mortar stores where studies have shown that 94% of all retail purchases are still made and that basket sizes are always larger than online purchases only.  This “Clicks to Bricks” scenario is something we’re helping major publishers like ELLE Magazine achieve.

Publishers now see that value, and the ability to quantify the previously “unquantifiable,” as a way to validate advertisers investing in print.  Yes, I stressed, it can be… but your editorial product and brand equity is still the thing that best pushes shoppers into the front door. After all, getting a coupon at a furniture retailer is nice… but if it’s accompanied by “best of the store” from a trusted magazine while you’re two blocks away?  That’s how to do mobile right.  

If we learned anything from the Elle campaign, it’s that when you combine relevancy with proper timing and location, readers are not only willing to engage, they’ll WANT to engage.  The smartphone in their pocket is the only thing that allows that to happen.

That’s why what’s old is new again… that no matter how modern this world gets, content is still king.  It’s just more essential than ever to leverage it well.

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