These Industry Leaders Want to Bring ‘Coherence’ to Content Marketing

Reps from Digitas, AmEx and The NYT formed a committee

The purpose of the group is to “clearly differentiate content from advertising and avoid the trap that ‘everything is content.’”

Leaders at the forefront of the content marketing industry are coming together to establish standards and solutions surrounding issues that, they say, have persisted for years.

Digitas put out a call last year to form a Content Coalition Steering Committee that would work together from different facets of the industry. The committee includes representatives from American Express, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Carat, Turner and The New York Times.

“Content marketing is one of the fastest growing markets in the industry, but continues to have some big challenges,” said Scott Donaton, chief content officer of Digitas. He later added that the industry must “come together [to] agree on benchmarks and create some standards and bring a lot more coherence to the content marketplace.”

"Content marketing remains poorly defined, and everything from who makes it to how it gets distributed, measured and valued is up in the air."

Among those standards was establishing a common definition for content. “Content marketing remains poorly defined, and everything from who makes it to how it gets distributed, measured and valued is up in the air,” the group said in an open letter, in which they defined content as “invitational, not interruptive. Stories that people seek out, share and choose to spend time with.”

The purpose of the group is to “clearly differentiate content from advertising and avoid the trap that ‘everything is content,’” the letter reads.

The letter also called on other industry stakeholders to develop common “frameworks for measurement” and “propose ideal content processes.”

“We really feel like there’s a lot more good to be had by paying attention to the space,” said Sebastian Tomich, global head of advertising & marketing solutions at The New York Times.

Among the gathered representatives, the committee found common issues that they identified in the letter, including “fuzzy and inconsistent” economics of content creation and distribution; the need to “shift the view of branded content from added value to accountable business investment”; an unclear definition and measurement of success; and the “need for clarity on decision makers and organizational structures.”

Read the full open letter here.