In June, Foundry 360 partnered with Digiday to survey and report on the state of the content marketing industry. This series highlights our key takeaways; the full report can be accessed here.
A brand’s owned-and-operated channels are a blank page, a place where the story of its brand, products, people and customers can come to life. And while significant attention has been paid to how brands engage consumers and other stakeholders through content, there is still an evolution underway regarding the structure of the content marketing team.
As content marketing evolves, team structures are altering, and with that transformation comes changes to budgets, strategy, formats, distribution, measurement and other shifts. In 2023, this is shaping the state of the content marketer in the owned-and-operated environment.
To explore how teams divide the lift and secure the skill sets needed to create educational content, thought-leadership, email series, customized magazines and more, Digiday and Foundry 360 surveyed content marketers from nearly every vertical sector. This new State of the Industry report unpacks the results, focusing on how they work with their own sites and channels to publish content that educates, engages and wins over the digital consumer in 2023.
If you haven’t yet, we strongly encourage you to download the report for yourself!
This year, marketers shifted their focus to producing new entertainment content, knocking thought leadership content off its No. 1 position. Thought leadership, which accounted for 52% of marketing teams’ top goals in 2022, saw a massive drop in 2023 down to 31% while still maintaining a top three content need. Entertainment, which only held an 11% spot in 2022, rose 37% and claimed the No. 1 spot for marketers creating consumer-facing content.
Thought leadership, which was undoubtedly the content-type leader last year, has been cast aside amidst a larger push for entertainment content that is expected to carry into 2024.
So, what exactly do we mean by entertainment and entertainment content? First, let’s start with what it's not: news. N.E.W.S. stands for “Notable Events, Weather and Sports.” Entertainment content doesn’t necessarily fulfill an educational need, but rather exists to create enjoyment and pleasure for the consumer/viewer.
When content marketers talk about entertainment, we typically think along the lines of telling emotional stories, using real people as examples to evoke emotion, and editorial storytelling techniques that we use as publishers. At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we’re trying to humanize the brand in order to meet a marketing objective. According to George Baer, SVP of Foundry 360, “Consumers continue to be inundated with brand messaging and advertisements and are seeking more content that entertains them. The oversaturation of poor brand messaging and advertisements has led consumers to easily identify and ‘skip’ things they can tell won’t entertain them.”
So, why invest in entertainment content? We at Foundry 360 find it paramount to nurture the emotional and mental relax of our consumers through entertainment. Brand affinity, comfort and a break from the real world are just some of the benefits brands can realize from creating entertainment content. There is serious value in consumers trusting and feeling comforted by your brand's messaging.
We believe great content marketing needs to remain audience-first regardless of the type of content that is being consumed. Therefore, entertainment content combined with other types of content such as thought leadership need to deliver value to the reader. Anyone can make content, but not anyone can make content that consumers continually engage with and drive business outcomes: Intent matters!