Conversations with an agency content guy: ghost writers, owned platforms and clickbait

by Blagica Bottigliero


As I continue my summer of discovery, digital research and 'what's next', I chatted up Scott Smith. I offer anonymity to people I meet with, but Scott was a-ok with the transparency. So what did we talk about? Interestingly enough, the same hot topics I continue to discuss with digital/social professionals. It's almost as if the industry is maturing, yet people on the brand side are yet to catch up.

Here is an excerpt....

Let's get the elephant in the room out in the open. Clickbait. What say you?

Clickbait - or empty metrics - are definitely driving whether content is thought of as successful or not. Even as Facebook is saying you need to pay for reach and engagement, we still see clients who are obsessed with those metrics. It's time to stop measuring your brand's content by the same measures companies use to prove their value to investors. We should be measuring our content's success by how well it supports our brand's own internal business objectives like awareness or consideration. Or how well it creates an image of the brand in the consumer's mind. Those things take time and function in multiple channels simultaneously and shouldn't be abandoned just because you didn't get that many likes or retweets one month. "

There is a growing trend for ghost writing. Do you think it's here to stay?

And yes, some are reaching out to ghost writers but I see that more in brands that are doing B2B content marketing through trade publications and robust site content. They can afford it, obviously, so they do it.

All this talk about shared/earned/owned. Is anyone really doing anything on their OWN?

I'd really like to see brands think more about their owned platforms and how they can drive earned media. You have a whole publishing platform! Use it! Fund an interesting study about a category close to your customer's heart. Jump on the social detox trend and create a quantified self app that helps consumers track their reading habits or how much time they spend offline with friends. That's the kind of thing that gets non-trade news media to cover you and the sort of story that gets people sharing your content, not a cute picture of a dog with your product shoved into it.

Any brand doing interesting things worth taking a look at?

The brands that are really doing interesting things are the ones that are thinking like tech companies and creating products that innovate their core products (like Topps is doing with digital baseball cards) or create new revenue streams (like MLB is doing with creating a whole new company that serves online video).