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Brands Move to Newsroom Model

  |  February 27, 2013   |  Comments

If you want attention, make some news. Chase Platinum Business and Virgin Mobile USA are two of the many brands eschewing the press release and the 30-second spot in favor of original content with the cachet of journalistic enterprises.

If you want attention, make some news. Chase Platinum Business and Virgin Mobile USA are two of the many brands eschewing the press release and the 30-second spot in favor of original content with the cachet of journalistic enterprises.

Chase Platinum Business is the latest brand to make a big move into content marketing, with a national, multi-channel campaign that includes a 16-week content partnership with Business Insider. The campaign by McGarryBowen, with media handled by Zenith, went live on Tuesday.

"Small Business, Big Ideas" will include Business Insider profiles of successful small and larger companies, along with video interviews with their founders. The posts will be written by Business Insider journalists, while the videos will be produced by McGarryBowen.

"Content marketing has become a critical part of connecting with your market in a way that's relevant," says Donna Vieira, senior vice president and head of marketing and product for Chase Business Banking.

Business Insider took a different approach to integrating Chase's content with the site's, according to Pete Spande, chief revenue officer at the news site. The approach, he says, involves "sponsoring content that's well aligned with the brand's interest and using either that content or other content to make the banner experience more like a related content [sidebar]," he says. "This is an interesting way for us to grow our [ad revenue] business and differentiate ourselves from providers who are selling boxes."

For Chase Platinum Business, the publisher created large banners and display ads that lead to the Chase videos. People who click are taken to a microsite with more product information and ancillary services such as a branch locator and information on how to find a banker.

As well as the Business Insider content and ads, the campaign includes radio ads that feature customer testimonials and print advertisements in local publications in major markets, all handled by McGarryBowen and Venith.

Social media will be led by Business Insider staffers, who will promote editorial content as it runs. Chase's internal social media staff will also tweet the word out, and Vieira notes that many of the small business owners featured are heavy social media users and can be counted on to amplify the campaign.

One reason we selected this program is that it's not just one content approach," Vieira says. "It has to be a full, integrated approach where all the pieces build on each other."

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed released the results of a year-long content campaign for Virgin Mobile USA that highlights why brands are excited about content marketing. BuzzFeed and Virgin Mobile produced 190 pieces of original branded content in 2012, reaping 9.7 million total engagements, of which 5 million were earned engagements.

The mobile network operator used a different approach with BuzzFeed, producing all the content in-house, according to Ron Faris, head of brand marketing for Virgin Mobile USA. "We hired and staffed our marketing team with writers and designers that would generate the stories and write the stories. We learned from BuzzFeed the best practices to give us the best shot of our content going viral," he says.

The campaign strategy entailed creating multiple posts to start, engage and continue a conversation with millions of users. It paid off in brand lift and awareness. BuzzFeed found viral lifts of more than 150 percent from consumers in considering their next phone purchase, and close to 210 percent in brand lift from users who felt that "Virgin Mobile is a brand that understand its users."

Faris says that publishing on BuzzFeed, "We have the luxury of expressing ourselves with more flexibility rather than posting on the Virgin Mobile home page." The year-long campaign also reflects a change in his social media strategy.

"It's less about the number of friends you have on Facebook, and more about the number of content pieces shared," Faris says. "I've moved away from unique monthly views on microsites. You want to own the water cooler. I don't care where my content is born, as long as it's shared."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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