Why Online Content Needs to be Specialised

March 22, 2011 5:17 pm

An interview with Tick Content founder Peter Applebaum recently ran on mumbrella.com.au. It generated some heated responses…

Headlined ‘Traditional agencies are lost in the online content space’, the article ran as follows:

The founder of Sydney-based branded content agency Tick Content, which launched this month [March 2011], has said traditional PR and creative agencies are ‘lost’ when it comes to creating marketing content for the web.

‘PR and creative agencies are good at monologue marketing,’ said Peter Applebaum, managing director of Tick Content, an offshoot of the social media marketing agency, Tick Yes. ‘But in the online content space, they are lost. They are just not set up for it.’

‘Content is not about a one-off campaign you can walk away from. It’s a CRM discipline and has to be carefully managed,’ he said. ‘It’s not just a single big idea that counts, but a hundred little details that keep the consumer coming back.’

‘Traditional agencies too often approach content like a guy who goes out with a girl, proposes to her after a few months, then doesn’t speak to her again.’

Applebaum’s Tick Yes business has offered marketing content for the last three years, and has now seen the need for a specialist in the area.

‘We have tried outsourcing content in the past. But what we got back was substandard. So we brought it inhouse,’ he explained.

Among Tick Content’s clients are Bayer’s Advantix, a worming drug for dogs, for which the agency runs a branded social community, Landcom and ad:tech.

Another example of marketing content done well is Jurassic Lounge, an online community for the Australian Museum, Applebaum noted: ‘They’re turned their backs on the dusty, boring way of doing things, and presented the museum in a new light for the younger generation.’

Peter Appleabaum’s quoted comments generated a number of positive responses on Mumbrella, but also a fair amount of anonymous (and pseudonymous) vitriol.

Yet his point about the need to have specialist content providers for the online space is undeniably valid. Just as you wouldn’t consult a podiatrist about a possible tonsillectomy, just as you wouldn’t take guitar lessons from a euphonium teacher, just as Tick Content isn’t in the business of producing print ads or television commercials, so you always feel more comfortable working with people who specialise in a particular field.

Perhaps some of those commenting angrily on Mumbrella feel threatened by the new kid on the block. Perhaps they are simply people who enjoy pouring anonymous scorn on anyone who tries to do something a little different. Which begs the question, why are they operating in a field (advertising/marketing) that demands constant new ideas and adaptability if they are so averse to or afraid of change?

Or perhaps they believe that anyone can write; that the ability to come up with a pithy phrase can automatically be extended across hundreds of words – not to mention images, videos, podcasts and the like – and across a variety of different online platforms.

There’s a vaguely philosophical concept that if you chained 500 monkeys to 500 typewriters they would, in time, produce the works of Shakespeare (and you could expect a visit from some very angry PETA representatives).

But the monkeys remain monkeys – as anyone who’s sourced low-quality, mass-produced content through a content farm like Odesk will testify.

Tick Content doesn’t claim to be staffed by Shakespeares. But it is staffed by professional journalists who look for the story, not just the slogan, and who understand that the story evolves over time. Good content engages, informs and educates over the long term. In other words, it’s a job for specialists.


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Image sourced from: TM-LE


  • News & Views Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    A few days ago I posted an article called The Stupidity of Silence where I suggested that ceasing all contact when someone doesn’t give you what you want is a really dumb strategy. Here’s another one. We’re looking to sell our house at the moment. Part of the process is interviewing real estate agents. Theirs is an incredibly competitive business where all they’re offering is reputation and the perceived ability to persuade people to buy. The first agent who came […]

    Read more →
  • Content Marketing How to Make Your Content Actionable

    How to Make Your Content Actionable

    Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you. The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer. So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they […]

    Read more →
  • News & Views The Stupidity of Silence

    The Stupidity of Silence

    It always astounds me when people in business don’t follow-up with a simple thank you email or even a note – when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? – after we’ve had some type of interaction.

    Read more →
  • Email Marketing Features What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets can no longer be ignored by email marketers—and there aren’t many more marketers out there doing so. It is a massive part of customer communication and revenue, but do you know just how massive? The following statistics come from all corners of the globe, and from many different industries. While they keep changing everyday, some are quite shocking. Here’s a brief description of everything you need to know about the power of email […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand. By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend. […]

    Read more →
  • Features News & Views Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Donald Trump teaching you marketing lessons? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has made the race for the White House fascinating. And fascinating doesn’t happen by chance. Exceptional marketing combined with good old fashioned, in-your-face salesmanship are central to the success of his campaign – so far. So putting aside your opinion on his politics, let’s look at what can be learned from Trump’s ‘Making America Great Again’ campaign. Know Your Audience Contrary to the opinion […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to avoid digital dead ends

    How to avoid digital dead ends

    Have you ever noticed that so-called ‘express lanes’ on the road or in stores are often slower than the normal lanes? While I know it’s easy to go on auto-pilot when performing mundane chores like driving or shopping, it amazes me that people so often follow the actual signs instead of reading the signs around them. Because we humans are inherently disengaged, conflicted or uncertain as to what we should do in many situations, we’re attracted to people and things […]

    Read more →
  • Social Media When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    David Bowie died almost two months ago. Soon after, we posted about the tawdry British reality TV show making money from his ex-wife’s reactions. Inevitably, her presence on the show at the time and her response to the news created a social media firestorm. Focus, of course has moved on to the latest deaths, tragedies, political intrigues and sporting victories / defeats. But it’s worth pondering the enduring impact that not being news has on the people who were previously at the centre of […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Did you see Chris Rock at last night’s Oscars? Man, he nailed it: loose, funny, topical, irreverent, black. Hang on, what was that? Black? You can’t say that! That’s, that’s, well that’s racist! In isolation it’s jarring to refer to someone’s skin colour or any other personal feature when judging work they’ve just completed. Of course, it’s also completely irrelevant. But let’s back up a bit. This year’s Oscars were all about race. After the nominations were announced in January there […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Surreal Reality TV

    Surreal Reality TV

    Few of us over the age of 40 have not been saddened by the death of David Bowie this week. Whether you liked his music or not, he was undoubtedly an original talent who had a profound impact on much of the culture of the 70’s and 80’s. Contrast the outpouring of love and nostalgia we’re now seeing due to Bowie’s passing with what’s happening on UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. By sheer coincidence, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie is currently a ‘resident’ […]

    Read more →