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What’s The Future of Content Marketing?

By Katherine Brick, Senior Account Supervisor, Public Affairs, MSLGROUP North America

Last week, I attended “What’s the Future? Conversations about Marketing, Advertising, and Content with Brian Solis and other Industry Leaders,” a social media week session hosted by MSLGROUP North America in our New York office. The seminar featured keynote speaker Brian Solis, a social media guru and author who promotes digital strategies for real-world businesses, and a panel, featuring

From left to right: Joel Curran, Shane Snow, Brian Solis, Ekaterina Walter, Alex Bruell

From left to right: Joel Curran, Shane Snow, Brian Solis, Ekaterina Walter, Alex Bruell


-Joel Curran (@jgcurran), managing director, MSL New York
-Shane Snow (@shanesnow), co-founder and chief creative officer, Contently
-Brian Solis (@briansolis), principal analyst, Altimeter Group
-Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina), social media strategist and innovator, Intel
-Alex Bruell (@alexbruell), reporter, Ad Age

Stephanie Agresta (@stephagresta), global director of social media and digital for MSLGROUP, moderated the discussion. The lively conversation looked at the rapidly developing future of content marketing in communication.

Here’s a wrap-up of some important takeaways, as told by #mslgroupsmw and #wtf livetweets from myself and others in the audience:

@mikepresson: Traditional publishers need to create content for the “share” not the “view” – @briansolis #MSLGROUPsmw #wtf

It’s not just getting people to read or view your content, but to share it with their networks as well. Buzzfeed (@buzzfeed) does this particularly well—it creates content you don’t just want to read; you want to share it, too. (I know it works for me—I’ve lost many an hour trolling through Buzzfeed lists and almost always share them.)

@kbrick: Paid and owned social media teams cannot work in siloes – @ekaterina #mslgroupsmw #smw

The teams that work in earned, owned, and paid media must work together to stay on message to consistently create shareable, engaging content for your brand.

@MSLGROUPNA: Digital is going towards more niche targeting through customized and fragmented content to online communities @alexbruell #MSLGROUPsmw

Better to reach the right crowd, who will share your content and engage with it within their community, than to blast everyone and get no traction.

@kbrick: #pr today is more about real-time storytelling than particular digital or traditional skills – @jgcurran #mslgroupsmw

In choosing new hires, MSL New York Managing Director Curran said he looks for candidates with the ability to jump on relevant topics and tell an engaging story— above and beyond traditional PR skills.

@cotton: Oreo’s Superbowl success a one off because the whole team, including lawyers gathered for the event. Can’t do this every day #MSLGROUPsmw

The panel was impressed with Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” campaign during the unexpected blackout in this year’s Superbowl. But others noted the challenges that can arise when trying to keep up with real-time conversation on relevant topics—for many organizations, all content must be vetted by teams of lawyers and managers before it goes out. In these situations, everyone needs to be activated and ready to push content through at a moment’s notice.

@kbrick: Learning to take risks and embrace failure is one of the biggest challenges of growing in social media #mslgroupsmw

One of my favorite tenets of building a social media presence—you have a license to take risks!

@kbrick: Find an individual willing to take risks on behalf of the brand- they may be your innovator and your hero/champion #mslgroupsmw

And if you’re too scared to take the risk yourself—find someone else to do it for you; they can become your brand ambassador and a champion for your cause.

@ebroms: The most engaging posts will last an hour on Facebook. Trending & relevance should be the new model for content in communities #mslgroupsmw

Amen! Above all else, be smart, relevant, and timely.

On and offline, attendees overwhelmingly agreed that developing relevant and engaging content in the world of social media is hard. Successful online engagement takes strategy and thought as well as time and effort. Online strategies need to work in sync—on message, on topic—and in step with traditional PR efforts.


At MSL Washington DC, Katherine supports strategic communication projects for various clients, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, by providing day-to-day oversight and client counsel, developing written content, and working to position grantees and Foundation staff as experts within the health care field. You can also find her on Twitter, where she’s @kbrick.

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