If you search “content marketing” on Google, you get about 560 million results.

There are events dedicated to content marketing, and folks like Brian Clark, Joe Pulizzi, Marcus Sheridan and others are huge proponents of the term.

So, big business then. And yet…

Is there really such a thing as content marketing? Or is it just marketing, plain and simple, and a facet of a bigger picture?

According to Wikipedia:

…content is information and experiences that may provide value for an end-user/audience in specific contexts.

So, by definition, content is information that may help in the decision-making process.

Marketing, on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. The core reason for marketing to exist, in no uncertain terms, is to make a buyer fall in love with something enough to purchase it.

This “something” can usually be categorized into three clear sections: product, service, expertise.

The Product and Service Angle

Product and service is straightforward. You make something, or provide something, and charge people for that. This could be footwear, a meal, cleaning services, or a million other things.

But it’s still the product or service that’s being marketed.

Sure, you might write a blog post about your industry and why your offering is better than anyone else’s.

Or you might create a video to showcase a design and embed on your website.

But that creation of content is simply a tactic in the bigger picture of marketing. The content is created to market the end product – you’re not marketing the actual content.

If you were, the message would be something like “See how cool this video / blog post is – buy the content now!”. Which wouldn’t make any kind of sense.

Switch to a marketing message, though – “The X1Z Thingymajig – Order Yours Today!” – and it’s back to using the content to drive sales of the product or service.

The Expertise Angle

One area where content marketing could be seen as a standalone solution is that of expertise (particularly on business blogs).

To show you’re someone a potential customer should do business with, you share your expertise and knowledge with your audience. You might provide white papers, or ebooks, or webinars, to help propagate that expertise and separate you as a thought leader (if that’s your goal).

The thinking here is, if the audience sees you know your stuff, they’re more likely to do business with you than your competitor.

But then, there’s that “do business with” phrase again. Because, as much as a business or consultant can say they’re offering expertise for the good of their readers, there’s always another end goal in sight – attracting business for your offering.

Sure, you’re offering free content as opposed to charging for it – but it’s with the goal of marketing your businesses through less in-your-face means. The end goal is still dollars in the cash register for whatever it is you’re selling (product, service, consultancy expertise).

Content is Still a Key Tactic

Now, I don’t want this post to come across as dismissing the importance of content when it comes to marketing your business. As someone who’s consulted clients over the years on the benefits of content, I know the value content brings to the table.

A successful blogger outreach, for example, can reap rewards at a far reduced cost to a business than traditional print or media ad buy can offer. A timely video can capture the hearts of your customers more than a radio ad ever could. And all the other pieces of content that get discussed when talking about content marketing all offer value too.

The thing is, though, it’s still just another tactic. The content is part of the overall strategy to get a customer to buy into your offering, and a solid part at that. But a standalone? I can’t see it.

Besides, when was the last time you ever saw a major news release and promotion for your latest blog post..? ;-)

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
65 comments
Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

I use it to describe my area of service, what I do a ton of and to inform folks that I'm a writer and strategist about content and where it should go. 

Should we continually label ourselves so others seeking our services know our niche, or should we just be "a marketer?" 

For sure, I'm not going to use the "context" thing!!

TrishJones
TrishJones

Danny, to me, your explanation helps the solo-entrepreneur and small business owner understand that there is nothing magical about "content marketing." it's just as you say, a tactic which is part of an overall marketing strategy. To me, it's what was before direct response took the stage and proclaimed, "if you want people to buy, you've gotta sell, sell and sell it again!"

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

I finally made it over. As I mentioned on our call yesterday, I think it's semantics and I see now I'm not the only one! To me, it's good marketing of the concept of content. Completely agree that it is one tactic in the overall strategy. Someone coined the term to help those who are not immersed in marketing like we are to understand, and, well, to hire them to content market them. Some marketers like to do that: Package things up and put a put pretty bow on it.

Doug Kessler
Doug Kessler

What a great discussion you've launched here. I think you're challenging some of the hype around content marketing rather than the discipline itself. A lot of silly things are said about content marketing and it's good to challenge them. But, for me, the power of the discipline -- when practiced properly – is pretty hard to dispute. It isn't 'just marketing' and it isn't synonymous with marketing -- it's a specific approach to marketing and is a valuable part of the mix. What's most telling is that you chose a blog post to make your argument -- a shining example of content marketing in action. It works!

Ryan Skinner
Ryan Skinner

I don't get this. I dropped a big comment here yesterday and it was on the livefyre platform. Now today it's Disqus and my comment is gone. What's up?

rskin11
rskin11

Someone asks if you're suggesting anyone should use content marketing exclusively, and you counter that there are agencies dedicated to it. There are agencies dedicated to many things, but seldom will they claim universal application ("give us your entire budget and fuhget about it").   Content marketing exploded (is exploding) on to the scene for one big reason: the scaling effect of the Internet on high-quality information - the kind you've seen from your blog, for example.   The new information economy of the Internet made costs related to the distribution of information (be it stock quotes, emails or brochures) practically costless. That means that marketing could scale in a way previously unimaginable (or pretty close).   Where custom publishing required a hefty investment in content production AND a hefty investment in content distribution (mailing lists, postage and the physical "send"), content marketing distributes itself - provided the content is compelling.   It is that distinction - "provided the content is compelling" - that sets content marketing apart from traditional marketing. The ability to scale marketing messages through (practically) free distribution demands that the information possess a level of virtue we used to see only in trade journals or high-quality research. The kind of content you mention that markets only a product or service seldom scales, for example.   So, no, content marketing isn't the end-all be-all. But it is a pretty revolutionary thing, when you consider it. I would, in fact, argue that it's changed/is changing marketing as we know it. Marketing ten years from now will look very different from marketing ten years ago, and it's the scaling power of information (rendered for promotional purposes as content marketing) that will be largely responsible for the transformation.

JoePulizzi
JoePulizzi

Hi Danny...again, an interesting and thought provoking post.  I certainly appreciate the shout out, especially on the event.

 

I agree with a lot of what you are saying, and respect the areas where I don't.  I've been in this industry (the content marketing industry, formerly known as custom publishing, which has been going on for hundreds of years) for over 12 years now.  We've had to fight the battles against what it is and what it isn't.  Honestly, it doesn't matter...much of it is semantics.  Here's what I know.

1.  You CAN market a company using just content marketing (our company is proof of that, so is Brian Clark's).  That said, content marketing is like butter...it makes all the traditional stuff you are doing that much better. Hubspot is a great example of a company that has used content as a key part of the whole of marketing, but still leverages much of the traditional process.

2.  It is like marketing, but it isn't.  How do I know?  Never have I seen marketers struggle with the concepts of how to attract and retain customers with valuable information WITHOUT talking about themselves.  It's a huge pain point in most organizations.  Everyone in the organization feels they own content, so it's everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  Often, to develop integrated content processes within organizations, a culture change needs to happen.

3.  But yes, it is marketing.  Hopefully the content you create has a goal, from acquisition to conversion to loyalty to passionate subscribers...and there is the biggest difference with what we are seeing with content marketing.  More companies are focusing on creating passionate subscribers.  This is new.  Most companies never worried about their own channels.  We always borrowed the channels.  Today, brands (like AMEX, P&G, RedBull, Coca-Cola, etc.) are developing programs so they can have direct connections and relationships with customers - just like media companies have been doing for years.  That means we need great storytellers that understand how to work multiple channels.  Most brands are great at placement, but the majority are horrible at creating, developing and marketing their own channels.

 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the smartest traditional marketers on the planet…but many don’t know where to start when you talk content marketing.  It often doesn’t make sense to them (you mean, I don't talk about our own products?)…and that’s okay…we still have a long way to go.  Robert Rose and I wrote a book about managing the process, and most of it sounds like perfect strategy for TV producers, radio personalities, book authors and film producers.  And that’s exactly where we need to go today.  Our customers don’t care about us or our services…they care about themselves.  How do we get them to care about us at all?  By developing the most amazing content, either entertainment or utility, that is so good they actually engage in it like (gasp) it was real content.  They sign up for your marketing, because it's that good.  They don't even care that it is marketing.

 

Thanks again Danny…I appreciate you keeping the conversation going.

Joe Pulizzi

 

Charles H. Green
Charles H. Green

Love your direct approach, but in the same spirit, I think you're wrong. You say: "The content is created to market the end product – you’re not marketing the actual content. If you were, the message would be something like “See how cool this video / blog post is – buy the content now!”. Which wouldn’t make any kind of sense." But oh yes, it does make sense. Remember "samples selling?" We've gotten away from it. But it works for perfume, it works for selling pies (ask Simple Simon's pieman), and it works for professional services, for example. I suggest to you content marketing has a lot in common with samples selling; and in a day and age when we are bombarded with me-too-isms, it is one of the best ways to let the buyer actually compare. Is that new? No, samples selling is as old as the hills. But it went out of vogue. Now it's back, and for good reason. I don't think it's "just" a semantic difference, I think it's real and substantive; and very meaningful.

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@davemhuffman I don't know what you mean... ;-)

Christopher Wilson
Christopher Wilson

Danny, are you suggesting that some marketers are relying solely on content marketing as their standalone marketing strategy?

Marcus Sheridan
Marcus Sheridan

Hey Danny, thanks for putting your thoughts out there on this as it's something you've mentioned before and I certainly respect your take. I really just want to make two points. 1. Whenever I teach content marketing, my message is simple-- Be the best teacher in your industry. Answer every single consumer/prospect question you can. And when I explain this approach, and how content works in the sales process, many people say to me, "Finally, there is a word for what my company has been doing!" This, in my opinion, is a good thing. 2. I get annoyed that anytime a new phrase comes out people automatically say it has unauthentic intentions. On my blog, I make up phrases often to describe stuff I do or see. But that doesn't make me a fake or money-grubber. It just makes me a conversationalist with my unique way of seeing the world. Finally, the argument that it's "just marketing" can be pretty much made about everything...including social media. Notwithstanding, I think it's nice to have subsets of this stuff. For example, I'm really good at teaching principles of content marketing. But I'm not good at teaching how to use LinkedIn. Or Twitter. Or Facebook. Heck, I'm really not very good at teaching email marketing. Yet all of these things fall under the umbrella that is "marketing"....

toddrazor
toddrazor

@jkcallas @dannybrown If content is king, distribution is the crown prince.

steveseager
steveseager

Hey Danny, Always admire your straight talking attempts to cut the BS. Of course content marketing is marketing. But the usefulness of the term 'content' is that it puts the accent on relevant, meaningful and valuable (to the audience) content that takes a product or service to market, rather than the trad shouting about how great you are, why you are the best etc - in fact, all the things you use as examples above. IMHO none of that is content marketing. Sure, it uses content (as opposed to what?) but it's completely different type of messaging. And that's what makes the difference between trad marketing and content marketing.

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Danny, At the risk of repeating myself; "marketing isn't everything but everything is marketing." I suspect that one of the issues is that not enough people really grasp what marketing's all about. But that's another story. Make sure you have fun Best Wishes Leon

Carmelo
Carmelo

I'm in agreement in theory. But, kinda want to veer off on something that bugs the crap outa me sometimes. I'm not referring to you Danny ... just IM in general: I just think that when we label things or people in mercenary terms like content marketing, hypnotic marketing, consumers, tribe members, (and so many more) we run the risk of losing touch, alienating and becoming that which we all despise. Yeah, I know we need to earn a living, blogging is a business, and we have products to sell and we need to attract prospects and clients - I get all that! And I understand we have to have labels to refer to the steps we need to take. I don't have an answer for this excessive use of terminology and the distance it puts between us and our clients. I wish we could find ways to constantly remind ourselves that we're all real people on equal footing, sharing our lives and working together to make life better for everyone and try to find ways to bridge the gap so that we as bloggers and online marketers don't fall into the same traps that corporations created for themselves. Do you agree Danny?

Newsvend
Newsvend

Comes down to providing information that your audience wants. As opposed to pushing packaged content at them. Marketing vs Selling.

Ralph Dopping
Ralph Dopping

None marketing guy's take on this subject, I take the expertise angle (mixed with personal BS ;-)).....I do agree with what you are saying but I am sure so do some of those guys you mentioned. I just see this as logic. Content is a good way to share information that can help people understand you, your product or your service. In my mind, that's all that these guys are saying. The rest is strategy on how to do that well; create the content. So, semmantics aside, who gives a crap what you call it?

hessie jones
hessie jones

As much as I agree on the end state, the delivery is different. Companies definitely need to understand why they need a content strategy and how it works in achieving overall objectives. I worry that it will be seen as a means to an end as opposed to the "cost" of doing business. The reason for this delineation: if the strategy is to drive sales then the strategy will drive in that direction and may ultimately harm the outcome. If it was a cost inherent in retaining customers and driving real value then the outcome will be divergent, but more positive, and likely result in sustainability. Just my two cents.

Jon Loomer
Jon Loomer

Just more buzzwords that confuse outsiders even more about what we actually do... Content marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing... Don't ask me to explain the difference.

HowieG
HowieG

Oh Disqus you sleep around with commenting systems I see ;-) Same goes for Social Media Marketing. It is still marketing. Great post Mr Brown. Oh wait. You are Mr Sepia or Burnt Umber?

Rick Rice
Rick Rice

Much as I hate to I have to agree with you on this. I suppose it is a convenient term but unless you're selling the content I can't see why you would market it. We're almost always using the content to sell / get support for something else. And, frankly, I don't think it is a very good stand alone marketing approach. And thanks. I finally have new blog post ready to post. I'll delete the news release...

Josh
Josh

Content Marketing is a silly term that some people use to make their work sound more important but it really isn't necessary. Smart businesses/people do a few basic things: 1) Listen to prospects and existing customers about what sort of challenges they are facing. 2) Tell a story that provides an explanation about how/why they have the solution to whatever problem their prospect/existing customer faces. That is a simplified version but it is what businesses do. I am not convinced that "dressing" up common sense storytelling with terms like "content marketing" is necessary.

Danny
Danny

Completely agree, Doug, and thanks for seeing the "side" I was trying to take. And yes, I can see the irony of the platform of the discussion... ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hi Ryan, having some sync issues. Your comment is in the dashboard, trying to sort out.

Danny
Danny

Hi Ryan, With regards content being pretty revolutionary in the way it can add to a campaign, no arguments from me there whatsoever. I've helped clients in the past and we use content at Jugnoo to meet certain audience needs. Where the distinction isn't made is that content doesn't simply market on its own. As you mention yourself, it needs to be compelling - and that's a completely different skill set altogether. Having said that, even crap content can soon find itself in front of a million eyeballs, due to some canny marketing campaigns behind it. That's where I'm coming from - I'm not diluting the power of content per se, but it is still just another facet in a multifaceted practice. Thanks for the thoughts!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

 @juntajoe And I would add...to do it in a creative and unique way. We work with a B2B manufacturer who has an awesome story to tell, but to get content developed for them is like pulling teeth. We started with simple, "What are the top five questions you're asked in sales meetings?" and were met with crickets. It's taken a looooong time to get them to the point that not only can they answer that question, they're bringing us new questions after sales calls. Now, two years later, we're doing almost solely content marketing for them....and it's generating millions of dollars in revenues for them. It certainly didn't start that way. We started with traditional buyer's guides and 1/4 page ads in the trades. But we've replaced all of that with stuff that actually makes the phone ring - and it's about 90 percent content (some traditional media relations still remains). 

Danny
Danny

Hey there Joe, Thanks for dropping by and such a thoughtful response (no surprise there!). See, I totally get your definition and distinction, because you're not silo'ing content marketing into its own bucket, but showing that it's a strong part of an overall marketing strategy. With the example you use of Brian and his Copyblogger media, it's till expertise or products that are being marketed. In your case, for instance, it's (partly) connecting vendors with clients, as well as educating on content's role. So, you're marketing the product (people and jobs) as well as expertise, by using content. Same for Brian - people buy Genesis, or ScribeSEO, or Premise, etc. All hard products, sold by a combination of great educational content and technical build. Perhaps there'd be less confusion if we just umbrella'd it all as Marketing, and then we have various resources at hand to help any campaign succeed, based on the audience and vendor needs? Thanks again, mate, appreciated.

Charles H. Green
Charles H. Green

I could have been more clear. When I put out a video clip, I am exactly saying, "see how cool this video is, buy the content now." Because it is a sample, a taste; the implied message is, "there's plenty more where that came from, but here's a feel of what it is." No different from when we used to give away free consulting in a sales call, or sell a cut-rate analysis & design project before the big project. The more difficult it is for the client to grasp what it is they're buying, the more useful it is for them to get a true 'feel' of what it would be like to own it. And the best way to do that is to give out samples. Which I call content marketing.

davemhuffman
davemhuffman

@DannyBrown Oh, sure ;) Great discussion though. That's missing from a lot of posts these days it seems.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hi there mate, I don't think people automatically say a new phrase has "unauthentic intentions". I think people are smarter than that, and look at who's using the phrase and who's abusing it. For every smart person mentioned in the post, there are probably ten more who do see content marketing as another ka'ching on the cash register. And completely agree "just marketing" can be used for pretty much everything, because that's all it is at the end of the day. The umbrella is marketing - the facets underneath that umbrella are the tactics to make the overall marketing plan succeed.

jkcallas
jkcallas

@toddrazor Hello U, are u still around? LOL:) How have u been ?

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hi Steve, Completely agree that content (when the context of its use and need for use is explained) can offer value add to the actual sale part of marketing's goal. But is that marketing? I'd say it's more education. Now, for sure, the content can paint a pretty picture and even create desire, which is what a marketer wants. But then it still boils back to what's been sexed up by the content, and that comes back to product and/or service. In which case, perhaps we should just be calling it product marketing with content as a sales tool. ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Couldn't agree more, Carmelo. it can help make things clearer when discussing marketing tactics and strategies in the bigger picture; but it can also confuse the hell out of people, who're now scared that they need to jump on a certain boat or get left behind. At the end of the day, as both a marketer and consumer, all I care about is am I attracted to the product, and is it the right price. Everything else is pretty inconsequential.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

For sure, mate - content can help educate in a way an advert never can. But then that's the crux of the matter - content (much like cold-calling and direct mail) is offering more information. Nothing more, nothing less. The emotional buy point is the one that smart marketers recognize and act on - and that comes from a bigger message than a blog post or similar. For the most part, anyhoo.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

For most businesses, there are two main goals - acquisition and retention. You can't continue to thrive without one or the other, and the real success comes in marrying both. For me, content becomes stronger as an after-sales retention tool, versus an acquisition one. Can it be used for acquisition? For sure - on educating the marketplace about your new product and why it's better to use or buy than the others. Although generally it's still part of a much bigger marketing strategy and spend. As a retention tool, though, it's second-to-none. Listening to pain points; informing of changes to meet these pain points; educational posts, etc. But then if that's the case, then it's no longer marketing, never mind content marketing - it's more customer service and experiential marketing, if you like. Fun times, eh? :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Perfectly summed up the problem with all these terms and "definitions", mate. :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Haha, check back on Friday, mate - things should be back to normal on the comments system side of things. :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

If you can provide the solution, and you can offer a solid reason why someone should change to you, the battle's more than half won already, mate.

Mark Sherbin
Mark Sherbin

Josh -- how will you listen to prospects if there are none? Content marketing is a strategy to attract those prospects. Sure, you can go out and stop them on the street to tell them about your service, but that's called 'sales.' You can build product-centric content like web copy or brochures, but you already have their attention. The purpose of content is to provide visibility on an already cluttered web. It's also a great way to keep customers interested so they come back and buy from you again.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hey there Charles, thanks for such an awesome comment, sir. See, I know what you're saying and, to a degree, I agree. And yet... the samples example is still a hard product. You get a little sachet of a spray, or a magazine sniff sample of the latest aftershave. What makes you buy - the print ad (content) or the smell (product)? For me, that's where the difference lies.

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@davemhuffman Thanks, mate, appreciated - that's definitely the goal, to encourage open discussion where everyone has equal voice.

toddrazor
toddrazor

@jkcallas Hey Jure. Yes, still here. Retrenching, reworking and ready to evolve. How are you?

steveseager
steveseager

Education isn't part of marketing? I thought that marketing markets and sales closes. Don't tell me I've been focusing on the wrong end of the funnel all these years ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hi Mark, You could also say monitoring is a strategy. Or product development. Or QA. Or focus groups. With regards visibility on the web, I'd rather go with a solid SEO strategy, complemented with social branding exercises, than let content alone do the talking. There are millions of blogs out there with amazing content, but no-one's reading because they've been captured by less enthralling content that benefited from first-to-market advantage.

Josh
Josh

Hi Mark, I understand what you are saying but I am not buying the idea that content marketing is a term that means anything. When you go looking for prospects you are engaged in lead generation or if you want you can call it marketing. The content on your website and assorted sales collateral is unlikely to be the key to recurring sales, unless the content is what you are selling. Most of the time when you purchase a product your interest in doing business with the vendor again lies in whether the product works as promised. If it doesn't deliver it doesn't matter how pretty the page that comes with it is.

steveseager
steveseager

lol that's exactly why I call myself a strategic communicator - not a marketer :-) In my own (admittedly, odd) head, marketing falls under strategic comms. I develop programs for marketing, pr, sales, and any number of objectives like leads, thought leadership, customer satisfaction, engaged employees etc etc. Whatever. I'm not fussy. Why? I go back to basics. Strategy is simply a coherent and substantiated logic for making one choice over another, which leads to a specific outcome. That could be done by anyone - regardless of discipline. And communications (the stuff I love most) is the execution of strategy via good old fashioned content production: using all sorts of media that contain plots, stories, and narratives (and yes, they are all different) to communicate that logic so it best resonates with who I'm targeting. I drive myself crazy even trying to define what marketing is, let alone anything else. So I'd rather just call myself a strategic comms person, ride this whole thing out, and have some fun on the way :-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Are we talking educational marketing now? ;-) Perhaps I could have worded better - I see education as another facet of marketing, just like content is. And I see content as key to the educational component (see my reply to @hessiejones:disqus for more thoughts on this). The "problem" is when we begin to silo. For sure, marketing markets and sales closes. But then, employees market and close the sale too - an awesome customer service rep can be the best sales and marketing guy you ever have. The same goes for company culture - given the choice, would you buy from a business that gives back to the community or one that keeps profits to buff up executive payrolls and shafts the employees?

steveseager
steveseager

Amen on the eyeballs. And you're right, 'trad' and 'new-savvy' are not mutually exclusive. Just difficult to find :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Perhaps the bigger "problem" is when we still define marketers as "traditional", mate. There are smart and bad marketers in every aspect of the marketing umbrella - just look at the number of "social media marketers" whose business acumen is akin to a gnat's ass. The best marketers move with the times and adapt their business model to suit. And, to be fair, as someone on both sides of the "traditional" versus "new" marketing fence, I see more success coming from those that have marketing baked in from years of counseling versus those that think a Facebook sweepstake is the only thing a company needs to do to attract eyeballs.

Josh
Josh

Hi Steve, Actually it makes perfect sense in the context of the discussion. Mark suggested that content would be part of why people become repeat customers. I disagreed with him and said that I do not believe that to be the case. We are talking post sale and not pre. If we are discussing what leads to the initial sale I might see things differently. I still don't see "content marketing" as being a useful term. To me it comes across as being jargon that was created to help some people sell their services. Ultimately it doesn't really matter much to me. I am a writer and marketer so I am always going to be interested in content. I just don't see a need to create more terms.

steveseager
steveseager

Hi Josh, Re: "The content on your website and assorted sales collateral is unlikely to be the key to recurring sales, unless the content is what you are selling." That doesn't make sense really, as marketing is much more than an immediate lead, right? What about investing in deepening your funnel, your positioning or thought leadership? Also marketing right? Providing a piece of content that shows you understand their pain points and gives them solid, free advice - but doesn't do the traditional 'push' marketing thing oriented on your product/service is just as valuable. It builds trust. It's what gives you sustainability over time. So that when they come to the decision making process about who to consider, you are firmly embedded as an option. That's also marketing. And common sense too, as markets are not static things with only immediate needs based on what you want to sell today - something that trad marketers often miss by a country mile. Hence, the difference with content marketing.

Mark Sherbin
Mark Sherbin

I appreciate that perspective, but I think it misses the point. Of course it's all just marketing. But content marketing is a subset of marketing. What this post is trying to do is silo content marketing into a separate discipline. Content marketing is actually a strong, concerted attempt to make sense of how parts work together to make the whole. Content marketing doesn't focus on the "salesy" aspect of your business. The content that falls under the discipline is informative or entertaining. It attempts to draw your audience in by providing a useful service entirely its own: connecting viewers with the information they seek. Associating your brand with that kind of content works. In fact, I've seen it work wonders for dozens of companies. And it can be the key to recurring sales. High quality content can rally quite the audience around your brand. People have been doing this for years. It just took the relative chaos of the web to finally identify and classify it. We don't say 'biology' is a B.S. term because we already call the discipline 'science.' It's the same concept here: content marketing (e.g. producing really strong content for a blog, webinar, book, white paper, etc.) is a subdiscipline that makes up the whole of marketing.

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