Content Marketing: Not as Trendy as it Sounds

I had a draft of a boring little write-up about content marketing strategy (citing the stale examples of the travelers’ guide by Michelin tires and the recipe books by Jello) but I scrapped it 2 days into FutureM 2013.

Content Marketing: please dont roll your eyesHere’s the inspired post:

Content Marketing is a term tossed around quite a bit now.  I won’t say it’s trendy because honestly in marketing circles it’s now almost passé.

Talking to fellow marketers, the regularity of air-quotes and eye-rolling that accompany “content marketing” leads me to believe we’ll replace it with another term soon.

(We’re in marketing! We’re suckers for new words.)

So, what is it? Content Marketing is plain old smart marketing.

It’s what companies have already been doing to get their name “out there” – it’s definitely not a new strategy (see history of Content Marketing infographic).

Content Marketing is how an organization has conversations with prospects and customers.

About 10 years ago it was called Corporate Communications.  Before that it was thought of as Public Relations.

The differences now are:

  1. higher frequency and
  2. more distribution channels.

Larger companies and integrated marketing agencies are even building branded newsrooms to keep up with the pace.  (Picked this up at the FutureM session on PR moderated by the Holmes Report)

The goal of a Content Marketing strategy is usually one or both of the following:

  • To position your brand as a thought leader in the industry, i.e. branding
  • To help your customer better use or understand your product/service in the context of their world, i.e. advancing the sales cycle + retaining customers

NOTE: A common yet misguided goal of Content Marketing is to improve your search engine ranking.  SEO can be a beneficial side effect of producing engaging, relevant content, but it’s harder and harder to game the algorithms.  The recent update to Google’s search formula (Hummingbird) will further the fight against redundant nonsense and shoddy guest posts published solely for shameless backlinks. Quality and relevance needs to be prioritized over keywords.

So “content marketing” is how companies begin and carry on a conversation with their marketplace.

More on how to do that soon.

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