Luke Kintigh is a global content and media strategist at Intel, where he also served as founding managing editor of iQ by Intel. The tech culture magazine now possesses an audience of more than one million users per month and is a tremendous example of the power of content marketing. Chris Schumerth spoke with Luke on behalf of Ebyline to learn about Intel’s content marketing plans, the new wave of engagement metrics, and the future of traditional journalism. Be sure to follow Luke on Twitter here.
Chris Schumerth: Luke, can you tell us about iQ by Intel and what your role has been on the project?
Luke Kintigh: I have worn multiple hats for iQ. From its genesis in May 2012, I acted as the managing editor and oversaw about 25 content partners and contributors in addition to writing original content for the site. We eventually brought in more talent on the editorial side so I could focus on distribution and native advertising. Our team has learned that you aren’t done after you click publish; content marketing is not Field of Dreams. In order to move the needle and start growing and keeping audiences, we had to learn how to strategically distribute our content. I shifted more of my energy into learning how and why content travels. We had some success in scaling out partnerships with sites like BuzzFeed and increasing our usage of platforms like Outbrain and Taboola. Today, we have a really solid iQ team that has tripled traffic in the last year by producing amazing content that is built and optimized for distribution.
CS: Could you define content marketing for us and explain how iQ fits into Intel’s marketing vision?
LK: Content marketing is really about two things. The first is delivering content that provides true value for the reader — meaning it is useful, entertaining, funny, informative, and unique. The second part, the marketing part, is the art of taking content and overlapping it with a process that can attract, acquire, and ultimately convert your target audience to take an action based on your own business goals.
iQ is Intel’s digital magazine that brings its readers inside the lives of people and the technologies that are pushing the boundaries of innovation. Each week we cover the intersection of technology and key verticals such as gaming, sports, healthcare, fashion, and music. iQ is not a marketing blog where you’ll see overt sales messages, offers, and products shots that so often seem disruptive and irrelevant. Instead it is an audience-focused publication where we take journalism and storytelling very seriously through the lens of our objectives and branding goals.
CS: Is it seems like iQ is trying to take the best of journalism and marketing and blend them together. In that case, what kind of future is there for the field of traditional journalism?
LK: We’re always trying to hit that sweet spot between marketing effectiveness and quality journalism. In today’s world, they are correlated in large part due to consumer behavior. As a marketer you can’t trick and force people to consume your content anymore. You have to think and act like a journalist and ask yourself, what does my audience want, need, and truly care about? This mindset can be at odds with traditional marketing that it is all about brand and product messaging first, audience second.
There’s still hope for traditional journalism if publications evolve their revenue model. Since going digital, too many publishers haven’t really changed their approach to advertising, which includes banner and homepage takeover ads. Those methods simply don’t work anymore because of consumer appetite. Our ability to filter out disruptive advertising is greater than ever. The shift to native advertising – a form that uses real content that is highly relevant – can move publishers to a place where their advertising works for readers and advertisers. Prominent publishers like The New York Times and The Guardian are well underway with native advertising capabilities, but it’s time for more publishers to adopt the model. It represents a great opportunity to boost revenue as well as provide meaningful work for journalists.
CS: Thanks so much for your time, Luke. Last questions. What’s next for iQ, and what trends should we be paying attention to?
LK: The trends I’m now focused on in content marketing are mainly around personalization and measurement. A lot of brands, Intel included, are now creating a massive amount of content to feed the proliferation of content marketing. However, the majority of this content is built for mass audiences. In order to maximize content volume, content marketers need to produce much more personalized content that’s based on context, distribution channel, and consumption history. New technologies and data platforms are helping accelerate the age of personalization. Now it’s just a matter of connecting the data and technology to the production and distribution of content that creates a one-to-one approach rather than one-to-many.
Measurement is another area that needs to change. Vanity metrics like clicks and impressions have ruled the digital media kingdom for years. The problem with using these as your key performance indicators is that they don’t tell you much about the engagement of the content itself or map to common conversation goals. Today, we’re seeing a shift to attention metrics as well as post-click actions as a part of the measurement formula. Early adopters including UpWorthy and Medium have moved to report minutes instead of clicks. Financial Times is now offering a cost-per-minute option for advertisers. While moving to attention metrics can tell us more about consumption and engagement, there’s no silver bullet to measurement. It ultimately depends on your own individual journey and objectives.
Chris Schumerth is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a number of places, including Salon, Yahoo!, The Miami Herald, Relevant Magazine, and Punchnel’s.