Digital Convergence: Where Content and Ads Meet

Fresh from conversations on brand evangelism from the Word of Mouth Marketing Summit, I thought I'd make this issue of business and technology trends about advertising and content online.

Digital convergence

Smart businesses and brands have been doing this already — building permission-based conversations with their customers. At first blush results may seem like a long way out, until you realize that with more and more people using digital media, getting it right on the onset gives you tremendous advantage.

Why? Because it makes every single message you send relevant to the people who want to hear from you.

Lists, permission, and content marketing are all related and all possible for a much lower cost with digital media.

I was never much of a "click and shout" kind of marketer. Good, competitive trade is based on better promises.

Saturday five

The five stories that caught my eye this week are:


1Are you thinking about or have you already become a publisher? In that case, mastering stock and flow will boost your content strategy. Stock is the content you produce that's as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today, while flow is the feed:

Scoops and great storytelling are stock: They bring in new audience.

But days need to be filled and audiences need new content or they'll find somewhere else to do their refreshing. That's where flow comes in. Flow is pieces of content, produced rapidly and at a low cost.

Curated content is flow: It keeps people coming back and keeps a publisher, or brand, front-of-mind.

To build a digital platform that is sustainable, brands will need both, durable content — in the form of articles, stories, or ads — and short bursts of interesting bits that keep the audience interest.


2Online micropayments never took off, yet simple text links seem to work well, those two reasons gave Reuters some ideas on the future of online advertising. The fact that:

Links are what the web is built on, and a large part of why it’s so incredibly powerful and popular.

Led Reuters to develop Counterparties, which is an ad unit that links to valuable resources off their website. It's, well, counter intuitive, and that's why it will work. Provide something useful, and you will be able to start getting engagement and establish your brand as a destination site, thus raising awareness.


3The two first stories come together in the convergence of online advertising with content, which is something that smart brands like P&G with Man of the House, and American Express with AmEx OPEN Forum are already doing:

[…] look at the value they’ve created for themselves: Their sites are big enough that other brands want to advertise on them to reach the audience they’ve amassed. Not necessarily the most important thing for the brand, but a pretty good statement about what they’ve accomplished.

Not everyone has the resources to pull that off. And that's where Percolate comes in to help brands and businesses find their online voice with customers. They have an interesting formula mapped out and they're one of the companies on my to watch list.


4This past week, Disney acquired Babble Media, a parenting platform featuring more than two hundred mom bloggers based in New York city.

“Babble is sharing the experience and stories on a daily basis through the parents lens,” she said. “And it brings in a blog network that is so important to this audience, because it’s by, for and about parents, and that’s far more important for them than experts.”

The site has grown 100 percent over the last year. Co-founders Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman and the rest of the 40-person Babble staff will join the Disney Interactive Media Group unit as part of its Moms and Family portfolio. 


5Substance and style do go together. Think about the opportunities that come with letting customers express themselves creatively and get positive feedback from the community. That's what Styleowner is doing:

[…] a new e-commerce platform that lets anyone in the United States create and run an online boutique. Users can customize the decor of their online shops using a variety of templates and fill them up with clothing, accessories and beauty products from over 2,000 StyleOwner brand and retail partners, including Saks 5th Avenue and Nordstrom.

The site went in open beta in October. High tech meets high fashion.