When content marketing is premium

August 24, 2016 8:36 am

By now you have a good idea of what content marketing is. So what is premium content marketing?

Pirate Gold

The definition isn’t as important as what it tells us about the industry of connecting with customers and prospects through useful or entertaining content, usually from B2B or consumer businesses respectively.

But stick with me because here’s a lesson from online publishing. About 18 months ago I read an article in Digiday in which various heavy hitters in publishing defined what it means to be a premium publisher. While I couldn’t remember who had provided the answers, what stuck with me was that each gave an answer that of course served their own purposes. And why wouldn’t they?

In the years when I was a director at a premium publisher we did the same thing. But then one day a colleague simply asked out loud: “What does premium even mean?”

Well, most dictionaries will explain the word in terms of something you will pay more for – or at least pay something for when other alternatives are free. Which should sound relevant to most online content businesses.
Fast forward to today and this really got me thinking about the best content marketing out there. At a recent workshop I gave in the US about the use of content, one publication I used in an exercise was Porter magazine.

Porter Magazine

We have written about this phenomenon before because this publication – both a full glossy mag that competes with Vogue and Cosmo, among others, on newsstand shelves, as well as a shoppable iPad edition – represents the tip of a content marketing maturity model. It is produced by high-end online fashion retailer Net-A-Porter and, here’s the important part, people pay for it. As I told the class in California, it has a $9.99 cover price; in the UK it’s £5. (Yes, magazines have tended to be a better deal in the UK – even before Brexit’s pummeling of the pound.)

When we talk about brands as publishers, let’s be honest: very few people see those brands competing head-on with traditional publishers (even if they have a slightly different business model in this case, namely publishing + ecommerce). But Porter does just that.

To me, at least in consumer businesses, this is the definition of premium content marketing. It’s so good your customers will pay for it. It’s marketing as a profit centre, potentially. And it’s very, very rare.
photo credit: The review part 4 via photopin (license)

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