Clash Of The Content Marketing Titans: NewsCred, Percolate, and Contently Debate The Future


Content publishing platforms are one of the most popular sets of technologies brands use to execute their content marketing efforts. At our Summit this fall, we brought together well-known leaders from three of the biggest names in content marketing technology for the first-annual Content Marketing Platform Showdown.

Sam Slaughter, Chris Bolman, and Michael Brenner, representing Contently, Percolate, and NewsCred, respectively, joined TrackMaven CEO Allen Gannett on stage, and sat side by side to debate the state of their industry — and content marketing in general.

Each panelist brought different, but compelling, perspectives. Contently is a four-year-old company created to “build a better media world for publishers, creators, and consumers,” while Percolate aims to provide “the system of record for marketing.” Michael Brenner described NewsCred succinctly as “the most complete end-to-end content marketing platform,” conceding that his panelists might disagree.

Content vs. Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Moderating the panel, Allen began by raising the question: where are marketers going astray? Slaughter jumped in first, noting that marketers are doing themselves a disservice by delineating marketing from content marketing.

“I think a lot of the problem that people have is that they are thinking too much about marketing and not enough about content,” he said. “They are thinking of these things on a campaign basis and not being in it for the long haul.”

NewsCred’s Michael Brenner seconded this notion, noting that “thinking like a publisher has become a buzzword that almost has no meaning.”

Brenner did, however, point out the value in recognizing the difference between content and content marketing. “Content is not content marketing…. Content really is an asset. Content marketing is the distribution, the effective creation of those assets, to produce a business outcome.”

Percolate’s Chris Bolman, however, called for marketers to overcome industry-myopia and think more broadly about the steep competition they are facing for audience attention.

“A lot of brands will benchmark themselves relative to their industries or their vertical,’” he said. “No media consumer or customer consumes media and thinks about it that way. There are 500 million tweets a day. You’re competing not just against your industry or your vertical or your specific space. You’re competing against BuzzFeed, NBC, and all these other professional audience builders.”

“Brands need to think of themselves in the same way as audience builders and benchmark their content and say, ‘Is what I am making like in touch with my customer, is it relevant, is it interesting, is just like objectively good?’

Another point of contention among the panelists centered around approaching content platforms as a panacea for marketers’ constraints. For Bolman, the most interesting opportunity comes from approaching content marketing as a technology problem rather than a personnel problem.

“If you went back five years ago, and you wanted a digital marketing campaign, you’d post to Facebook, you would send out an email, and maybe a blog about it,” he said. “Now, if you want to do a digital marketing campaign at a global scale, maybe you’re posting to Pinterest, and WAVO, and Instagram, and all these different things. All those platforms have different crops. They need different filters. They need different creative treatments.”

“That’s not really a people problem, or a problem that Photoshop or an agency was designed to handle well just by throwing bodies at it. That’s something that software does really well.”

Slaughter, however, pointed to the ability for technology to capitalize on the wellspring of available journalistic talent. “We’ve found is there’s this amazing universe of expertise out there, people who have been shed from jobs within the publishing industry over the course of the 15 years that have these amazing talents that brands need in order to do content marketing effectively.”

Succinct again, Brenner presented content marketing as a sum of many parts. “To me, digital, social, and mobile are the pipes. Content is the fuel that flows through them. Content is the new oil, if you will.”

Watch the complete Content Marketing Platform Showdown from the 2014 TrackMaven Marketing Summit here:

For more content marketing insights, download your copy of The Colossal Content Marketing Report today!