UKTV: ‘Content marketing is a slow burn tool’

To ensure its success marketers need to make a long-term commitment and investment in content marketing, according to UKTV marketing director Simon Michaelides.

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Speaking at Marketing Week Live today (29 April), Michaelides warned delegates that content marketing is a “slow burn tool” that relies on “accumulative impact of a body of content over time”.

He said: “You have to get to a critical mass and you have to keep updating it to stay fresh and relevant. You have to sign up to make the long term commitment and investment – you cannot leverage it as a tool in your traditional marketing plan where you switch it on and off on a quarter-by-quarter basis.”

The brand admits that it took three or four years before any of its marketing content appeared on brand perception charts, despite high levels of investment.

UKTV is a non public service broadcaster with a portfolio of 10 channels, including Dave, Gold and Alibi, and the video on demand service UKTV Play. It means that Michaelides is faced with what he describes as a “sea of content” that changes every 30 or 60 minutes.

Therefore, his advice to brands looking at content marketing is to think like an editorial curator and how a brand promise translates into a clear editorial proposition because “behaving like a traditional brand does not work”.

“Anything that looks or smells like advertising when you are working with content is a turn off and you are pretty much destined to fail,” said Michaelides.

UKTV “fell into that trap” as it focused on talking about the brand rather than the content. For its TV channel Dave, it hired a team of comedy writers that post content six times a day on social media.

The brand also creates short films that play on the channel to fill airtime. For example it aired Davestation in an attempt to subvert the convention of Babestation, which plays on certain channels late at night to fill airtime, by looping footage of a large man eating a curry on a sofa. 150,000 watched it live when it was on air. It also runs six second vine style news slots.

Michaelides said: “You can’t take that same linear sequential approach that you might in other industries. There is a fine line between what we all ultimately try and do, our default setting as marketers, which is to create advertising that is entertaining versus what you need to do with content.

“That is to create a piece of entertainment that happens to implicitly advertise.”

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