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This is a story about risk and reward. It’s also a story about pumpkins. Let me start from the beginning. Last fall, I found myself in an editorial meeting at the office of a large brand. The company was relatively new to publishing, and its family-focused finance content had performed respectably so far, but the employees were still a long way from reaching the goals they’d set months before.
I’m not a marketer. I never took a marketing class in college. Sometimes I don’t even understand the charts we look at during the weekly revenue meeting. But if I really put my mind to it, I could totally drive a big-budget marketing initiative. I’d spend some money, I’d look at some spreadsheets, and everything would work out just fine.
Ten years ago, if you told your newsroom colleagues that some of the industry’s most gifted editors would start abandoning their gigs at marquee media brands to join beverage companies, software providers, or a service that delivers pet treats to your home, you would’ve been laughed out of the room (and possibly prescribed some heavy-duty pharmaceuticals).
In content marketing, credibility is king. Building an owned audience only works if your readers trust you. That trust is hard to earn, but it’s all too easy to lose—especially if your content marketing is more marketing than content. In a 2014 survey by Kentico Software, 74 percent of respondents said they trust “content from businesses that aim to educate readers about a particular topic.