Online Content Marketing on the Rise

Sponsored by Intel, The Creators Project is an online community created by Vice Media and intended to introduce a more youthful audience to the Intel brand.
A pair of New York Times’ articles regarding content marketing caught my attention recently: After Drought, Hope for Shows Made for Web and Vice, a Media Company, Shows Big Brands How to Reach the Hip Crowd.

The first surveys a few web-only video series, but focuses on “Easy to Assemble,” which follows an IKEA employee and is sponsored by the Swedish furniture maker. The other profiles Vice, a firm that builds websites and hosts events, sponsored subtly by the likes of Dell and Intel, to build online and offline community around a brand.

While the focus of either articles differ, both make an implicit point regarding custom content: it’s on the rise.

“Every company is now a media company.”

Vice co-founder Shane Smith argues that “every company is now a media company,” capable of producing and publishing content that is of itself valuable to its audience, while also endearing it to its customers. In both examples, the companies above are forced to relinquish some control over their brand and entrust its reputation to the content marketers with which they’ve paired. But even in the case of Vice, widely known for being downright edgy if not completely over the top, Dell has willingly traded that control for access to the youthful audience Vice delivers.

And they’re not regretting it.

Any other great examples out there you’ve seen lately? Do you think this sort of investment pays off? Or is it too risky?