Content marketing for the digital age

As publishers, brands and agencies all look to adapt to the rapidly changing world of content, Mashable has long embraced new formats and platforms for storytelling. Starting as a blog in a rural Scotland bedroom nearly a decade ago, we now boast 45 million unique visitors a month and have 24 million active social followers across networks, devices and the globe.

We’re now seeing the rest of the industry adapt to mobile and social changes as well.

In today’s landscape, it is more important than ever for branded content creators to be well versed in optimizing products for multiple screen sizes as well as across multiple distribution platforms.

It’s no secret that millennials and tech-savvy Internet users are skeptical of traditional advertising. As a digital media company, ad-blockers do pose a risk to our revenue stream, which is driven largely by display advertising sales. The more blatant and intrusive the advertisement is, the more likely audiences are to tune it and its message out completely. So, how do we still reach audiences?

Multimedia for the win, win, win

We add multimedia — videos, GIFs, Vines, Instagrams and Snaps into our content whenever possible. These elements engage our audience in ways that traditional journalism simply can’t. Creativity and experimentation not only enhances our editorial work, but also leads to increased engage from our social community. To quote Michael Scott, this is a win, win, win.

Not only can we utilize these innovations– our advertising partners can, too. As Mashable continues to explore emerging social platforms, the possibilities for our branded content increase exponentially as well. Branded content is revolutionizing the way we do business, and we’ve recently launched a new division called Mashable Studios, where we partner with brands to create world-class experiences and content for our combined audience. Our partners also have the ability to collaborate with Mashable Collective, our internal creative team of highly talented artists and animators, that produces fun and unique content on a daily basis.

SC Johnson recently worked with Mashable to produce a stunning feature of their Frank Lloyd Wright-designed campus in Wisconsin. We published the piece using our site’s long form format while integrating photographs taken by our community members. The piece struck a chord with architecture enthusiasts and generated over 17k shares on the social web.

Embrace branded community challenges

Some of our strongest branded content initiatives are those that are responsive to mobile platforms and directly involve our community. We recently held an Instagram community challenge in partnership with Hilton using the hashtag #JumpToPlay. From scenic locations around the world, participants uploaded hundreds of posts to the mobile picture-sharing platform. Our post on announcing the challenge was shared over 5,000 times.

Community challenges are a simple way to have a bit of fun with our millennial audience and are a gateway for our brand partners to connect with our audience as well.

Photo challenges are one of the many branded initiatives Mashable uses to help partners evolve beyond traditional advertising and strike a chord with a new audience.

As brands increasingly become publishers on the social web in order to reach new demographics, they must continue to explore the possibilities emerging platforms have to offer. The key to success is to focus in on your brand’s identity, and utilize social tools to reach your audience. Meet them where they already are – on social media.

Meet Hannah

Hannah is Mashable’s Director of Branded Content. Prior to Mashable, Hannah spent 6 years with Madison Square Garden creating content for the Rockettes, including partnerships with America’s Got Talent, Project Runway, The Colbert Report and more. Yes, the Rockettes do more than high kick. She lives in Brooklyn, and her side project is trying to make her cat, Herman, famous: Hannah graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul and began her career in Minneapolis at Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day/Caldrea before heading east.

Hear Hannah speak at MobCon 2015.

Photo courtesy of Rawpixel.