Author, speaker and content marketing agency owner – Mark Masters (pictured above, top right) – continues to carve out a global niche as a passionate advocate for building brands and businesses through the use of owned media.
Mark, who runs The ID Group from the coastal town of Poole in southern England, is living proof of how owned media – when integrated with earned and social media – can grow one’s professional reputation and with it, myriad commercial opportunities that otherwise would not have materialised.
In this Skype chat below, Mark explains how he transformed himself professionally from traditional marketer – “… I am from that world where I want to interrupt you and put myself in front of you with offers and promise you stuff” – to becoming an evangelist for education marketing through owned media.
Education marketing, says Mark, is all about using content, via owned media channels, to “inform people and to be more transparent and to be educational and challenge and inspire”.
Mark personally delved deeply into educative content-based marketing, including producing on his blog an series called ‘Talking Content Marketing’ in which he interviewed some of the brightest minds working in content marketing from around the world.
Then, after a few years, he took everything he knew on the subject and wrote a book called The Content Revolution, released through LID Publishing, which in turn has elevated his expert status globally, helping him secure speaking gigs at conferences in Brazil and the US, including the world’s most prestigious content marketing event, Content Marketing World in Cleveland.
“Everything I’m striving to do now is to highlight to people how all this stuff works, but to talk about it in an everyday way and to associate it with brands that we can have a kinship with,” says Mark.
Owned media mindset
Mark’s whole focus now is on ‘ownership’; rather than talk about generic stuff that is “all just noise and not that compelling” – e.g. what’s the difference between marketing and branding – we can instead have a point of view that allows us to comment on bigger issues and trends.
Mark says: “If we can talk from experience that is backed up by data, and also a bit of opinion, that’s what sets us aside … our voices are all unique … so let’s find a way how we present that to the rest of the world.
“And that’s what the owned media mindset is all about … how people can take on-board a point of view and deliver it on a consistent basis. That’s how we build an audience without necessarily relying on forcing everything on to Google or Facebook just to get somebody clicking and liking our subscribe page.”
Momentum and confidence
Authenticity and transparency are key drivers when it comes to applying an owned media mindset to one’s marketing communications.
Sometimes we’re a bit too guarded, Mark says. Let’s become a little bit more honest and share an approach with how we see the world because that’s how we build momentum and confidence in what we do.
But the goal ultimately is to be consistent with your voice and your messaging across multiple formats, a “virtuous circle of touch points” as Mark likes to call them.
For example, Mark’s marketing philosophy is on show no matter which channel you experience or connect with him on, whether it’s his Marketing Homebrew podcast which he produces weekly with Ian Rhodes (above), his You Are The Media Lunch Club events (which have been built off the back of his weekly You Are The Media newsletter), or his social media channels, predominantly Twitter and LinkedIn.
Critically, he says, it all comes back to breeding familiarity that creates deeper connection and conversation, all of which leads to trust.
By way of example, Mark points to paint company, Farrow and Ball, which publishes The Chromologist, and guitar manufacturer Crimson Guitars as brands that are doing things well from an owned media and content marketing perspective.
Lessons from The ID Group’s Mark Masters
- Show up on a consistent basis – Mark has been writing on his blog every week for five years; he has also published 100 interviews since 2013 for his Talking Content Marketing series.
- It’s okay not to be perfect from the get-go – “We have to start off not very good to become comfortable”; he says when he started blogging, he had no unique point of view but over the years began to create a voice that stood for something.
- Provide ongoing value by repurposing your evergreen content – Mark took content from his Talking Content Marketing series and turned it into a SlideShare deck (embedded below) that at time of writing had garnered close to 6000 views. The thoughts, ideas and insights from those interviewed found their way into Mark’s book and also fuel talking points on Mark and Ian’s podcast.
- Don’t under-estimate the power of offline activity – For all the work Mark does online in the form of blogging, podcasting etc, he has also diligently been building several live media properties.
Blogging can be a game-changer – Mark says that had he not started blogging, none of opportunities that have happened to him – the book, the speaking, the events; he says he would be just another marketing agency providing services to clients.
Connect with Mark
In a nutshell, here is Mark’s philosophy:
Everything that I stand for is to help companies take ownership of the spaces that are theirs. Once a company has complete control, they can build an audience and then monetise. This is done by embracing a content marketing mindset to deliver better experiences for others by telling a better story. The challenge for businesses today is to differentiate from everyone else and build an audience on an ongoing basis. There are more ways to reach others (email, website, subscription, print) yet people are getting harder to reach.
Let’s get more creative, he says!