The sale of King Content is a game changer for the Aussie content marketing industry

david pembrokeLast week Isentia bought King Content for a massive $48m. In this opinion piece David Pembroke examines what it means for the Australian content marketing industry. 

As I wandered back into my office last Friday morning one of the team yelled out, “So have you heard the news about King Content?”

“Nope,” said I, thinking, “What has Hodgo (Craig Hodges, CEO and Founder King Content) done now, opened an office in Belize?”

“Isentia has bought them for $48 million,” replied the same team member.

“What? $48 million? $48 million!!!!!! $48 MILLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOONNNN!!!!!!!”

I delighted for my mates Hodgo, Fordy (Paul Ford), Todd (Todd Wheatland) without a doubt, (your shout in Cleveland boys), but I was even happier for content marketing.

Here in one eye watering, jaw dropping announcement was the market’s validation of content marketing. It’s not a trend, it’s not a buzzword and it’s not a waste of time. It’s a thing. And as luck would have it, a very valuable thing.

In recent times the haters and trolls have been out in force sneering and muttering. For whatever reason, content marketing has been bucketed by those who apparently know better.

John Croll

John Croll

So when a bloke like John Croll (CEO, Isentia) pulls out his cheque book and signs over $48 million, it’s a big deal.

That announcement one would hope will put a muzzle on the critics and encourage them to spend a little more time investigating the intriguing world of content marketing.

As defined by the Content Marketing Institute (www.contentmarketinginstitute.com):

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

So that’s it. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

contentgroup’s focus is on government so we have adapted the definition. Instead of “attract and retain” we say “engage and inform”. Instead of “profitable customer action” we say “citizen or stakeholder action”.

Same process, different objectives.

Content marketing is a relevant, strategic and ultimately effective business process for anyone with a story to tell. Be you a private sector company, a not for profit, a non-government organisation or government.

I don’t have the time today to explain it for you in detail but I can say that I firmly believe that content marketing will be the default approach to communication in the future.

Technology has democratised the factors of media production and distribution. Everyone can now be a media company. The challenge is how you make the most of that opportunity.

At the same time, technology has also shifted the power from the producer/distributor to the consumer (citizen). People now decide the information, education and entertainment they receive, when they receive, on which device and in what format. They are now in control. If you want to earn a share of their scarce attention of the people you need to connect with in order to achieve your objectives, you had better make sure your content is useful, relevant and valuable.

Everyone is on the grid. The way to activate the connection is through content marketing.

This change is why Isentia bought King Content.

King Content is a pure play content marketing agency. They know the business inside out and back to front. Craig Hodges and his team capitalised on this market disruption early and went hard to build a global footprint.  They expanded to London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Melbourne, employed talented staff, built some useful technology and in turn won some great global contracts. We should all be very proud of what they have achieved.

While the practice of content marketing is old (creating useful, relevant and valuable content to create trust with an audience) the name is young and unfamiliar. I predict that soon the hostility will die off and we can all get on with telling great stories on behalf of our clients in order that they achieve their objectives.

king contentAs an aside, I would describe the combination of John Croll and Craig Hodges as “formidable”. My bet is that these two old bulls will get cracking on the huge opportunity ahead of them and what we have seen to date is very much the end of the first chapter of the King Content story, not the end of the book.

  • David Pembroke is founder and CEO of contentgroup

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