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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Comments

  1. says

    I feel like, to a degree, it’s a matter of semantics.

    I agree that overall, it’s still marketing. But there are people who are especially skilled in the content side of things, and others who are not.

    I don’t think content marketing can stand completely alone, but there are different avenues for marketing, and I see nothing wrong with content marketing being a part of your overall marketing strategy. And there are some companies that might have more traditional marketing avenues well in hand, but need help with the content side of things.

    Are they all parts of the same thing? In the end, yes. But it is still its own thing – just not one that should stand completely on its own, IMHO.

    Which makes me wonder if we’re basically saying the same thing?

    Also: First!

    • says

      Does having the extra skill make you a content marketer, though, or a great copywriter?

      I just feel we’re moving so far into an area where it’s all about confusion and seeing an opportunity, as opposed to meeting a need. Two different approaches but they seem to be blurring, and not always for the best…

      • says

        There’s a difference, I feel, between content marketing and copywriting. Copywriting isn’t the same as creating shareable blog posts and other content. There’s a skill in understanding the type of posts that will do well on viral sites such as StumbleUpon or Reddit (or, formerly, Digg) and in then seeding that content out to those communities, as well as other sites. There are people who specialize, specifically, in marketing via content.

        Is it still marketing? Of course. But I don’t see any reason why it can’t be called content marketing, just to specify.

        • says

          Amy, I like your perspective. I came up in communications at a boutique PR firm where I was technically a “copywriter”. But we worked for small businesses with a variety of needs, so I fell into content marketing projects from time to time as well.

          Since then, I’ve struck out freelance. I have clients who need copywriting and clients who need content marketing. As a writer, I consider them very unique styles.

          • says

            Thanks, @twitter-288346134:disqus – exactly. It’s not to say that “content marketing” isn’t simply a form of marketing, but to me it indicates what the focus is. It’s like a square and a rectangle. All content marketing is marketing, but not all marketing is content marketing.

            • says

              See, I know where you’re coming from with this, but I’d disagree. Not all content is used for marketing purposes (though many would argue that’s it’s raison d’etre).

              A webinar full of educational content – marketing or retention?

              An ebook full of best practices – marketing or retention through education?

              • says

                @dannybrown:disqus: No, I agree that not all content is used for marketing purposes. But that doesn’t make content marketing not a specific *type* of marketing.

                And, I might add, isn’t retention a *type* of marketing? It’s marketing to your current customers why they should stick around.

              • says

                Having spent the vast majority of my working life in newspaper newsrooms, I haven’t the foggiest idea of how any of that stuff works. Our idea of customer service was that when a caller complained they didn’t get the newspaper, we transferred them and hoped someone would answer the call. Usually, that meant that the next day their paper was in a puddle or they had a new carrier who took weeks to learn the route properly. By the end, it meant that I was specifically told NOT to transfer calls to the VP of Circulation, and so I was, apparently, expected to magically majick newspapers to people’s houses. So I don’t know too much about customer service. In the newsroom, that usually meant not hanging up on people yelling at you, or saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but no we don’t hate [insert aggrieved party or minority group or majority group or whatever here]. Thank you for calling.”

  2. says

    I feel like, to a degree, it’s a matter of semantics.

    I agree that overall, it’s still marketing. But there are people who are especially skilled in the content side of things, and others who are not.

    I don’t think content marketing can stand completely alone, but there are different avenues for marketing, and I see nothing wrong with content marketing being a part of your overall marketing strategy. And there are some companies that might have more traditional marketing avenues well in hand, but need help with the content side of things.

    Are they all parts of the same thing? In the end, yes. But it is still its own thing – just not one that should stand completely on its own, IMHO.

    Which makes me wonder if we’re basically saying the same thing?

    Also: First!

    • says

      Does having the extra skill make you a content marketer, though, or a great copywriter?

      I just feel we’re moving so far into an area where it’s all about confusion and seeing an opportunity, as opposed to meeting a need. Two different approaches but they seem to be blurring, and not always for the best…

      • says

        There’s a difference, I feel, between content marketing and copywriting. Copywriting isn’t the same as creating shareable blog posts and other content. There’s a skill in understanding the type of posts that will do well on viral sites such as StumbleUpon or Reddit (or, formerly, Digg) and in then seeding that content out to those communities, as well as other sites. There are people who specialize, specifically, in marketing via content.

        Is it still marketing? Of course. But I don’t see any reason why it can’t be called content marketing, just to specify.

        • says

          Amy, I like your perspective. I came up in communications at a boutique PR firm where I was technically a “copywriter”. But we worked for small businesses with a variety of needs, so I fell into content marketing projects from time to time as well.

          Since then, I’ve struck out freelance. I have clients who need copywriting and clients who need content marketing. As a writer, I consider them very unique styles.

          • says

            Thanks, @twitter-288346134:disqus – exactly. It’s not to say that “content marketing” isn’t simply a form of marketing, but to me it indicates what the focus is. It’s like a square and a rectangle. All content marketing is marketing, but not all marketing is content marketing.

            • says

              See, I know where you’re coming from with this, but I’d disagree. Not all content is used for marketing purposes (though many would argue that’s it’s raison d’etre).

              A webinar full of educational content – marketing or retention?

              An ebook full of best practices – marketing or retention through education?

              • says

                @dannybrown:disqus: No, I agree that not all content is used for marketing purposes. But that doesn’t make content marketing not a specific *type* of marketing.

                And, I might add, isn’t retention a *type* of marketing? It’s marketing to your current customers why they should stick around.

              • says

                Having spent the vast majority of my working life in newspaper newsrooms, I haven’t the foggiest idea of how any of that stuff works. Our idea of customer service was that when a caller complained they didn’t get the newspaper, we transferred them and hoped someone would answer the call. Usually, that meant that the next day their paper was in a puddle or they had a new carrier who took weeks to learn the route properly. By the end, it meant that I was specifically told NOT to transfer calls to the VP of Circulation, and so I was, apparently, expected to magically majick newspapers to people’s houses. So I don’t know too much about customer service. In the newsroom, that usually meant not hanging up on people yelling at you, or saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but no we don’t hate [insert aggrieved party or minority group or majority group or whatever here]. Thank you for calling.”

  3. Sue Spaight says

    Agree with Amy…semantics. The fact that someone uses the term “content marketing” doesn’t necessarily mean they see it as a standalone, non-integrated tactic. It’s just a term used to categorize a bunch of tactics (In my case, and I suspect many others) to help clients understand their value. Yes, it’s still just a group of marketing tactics…like “word of mouth marketing” or “social marketing” etcetera. So what? It’s a useful term sometimes.

    • says

      As we discussed last night on Facebook, context is everything. And, agree, the smart folks are the ones using it as part of the bigger marketing picture. There are those that class it as a standalone solution, though, and many times it’s just an excuse to charge confused clients more for a service they should already be discussing when setting out a marketing strategy.

  4. Sue Spaight says

    Agree with Amy…semantics. The fact that someone uses the term “content marketing” doesn’t necessarily mean they see it as a standalone, non-integrated tactic. It’s just a term used to categorize a bunch of tactics (In my case, and I suspect many others) to help clients understand their value. Yes, it’s still just a group of marketing tactics…like “word of mouth marketing” or “social marketing” etcetera. So what? It’s a useful term sometimes.

    • says

      As we discussed last night on Facebook, context is everything. And, agree, the smart folks are the ones using it as part of the bigger marketing picture. There are those that class it as a standalone solution, though, and many times it’s just an excuse to charge confused clients more for a service they should already be discussing when setting out a marketing strategy.

  5. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

      • says

        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.

        • says

          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.

          • says

            Ha, actually what I’m railing against is those who say it’s a standalone discipline, mate. I value the strength of content in the bigger marketing picture – but you buy a tomato, not a blog post about a tomato. :)

            • says

              Hi Danny,

              I definitely see what you’re saying. I do, however, think that marketers (perhaps on their own at small businesses) and marketing departments (at mid to large enterprises) have to consider some help when it comes to content marketing.

              I can’t be sure that I’m seeing things from your perspective, but perhaps the people who appear to be considering it “standalone” are actually just saying, “You have too much to do. There are people who specialize in this and can help you.” Hopefully I’m interpreting your message more accurately this time.

              So, I guess what I’m saying is that those who act as content marketing evangelists (like Joe Pulizzi at CMI, where — full disclosure — I’m a freelance contributor) are really just specializing in that discipline because they believe in its importance. I think they’re pushing it as a means to an end (the full marketing picture), rather than the end itself.

        • says

          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.

          • says

            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.

          • says

            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.

      • says

        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.

  6. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

      • says

        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.

        • says

          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.

        • says

          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.

          • says

            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.

          • says

            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.

      • says

        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.

  7. says

    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…

  8. says

    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…

    • says

      Exactly, mate. People can talk about semantics but at the end of the day, marketing is there to sell. If you’re not selling, technically you’re not marketing.

  9. says

    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?

  10. says

    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?

  11. says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. hessie jones says

    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.

    • says

      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? :)

  14. hessie jones says

    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.

    • says

      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? :)

  15. Ralph Dopping says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  16. Ralph Dopping says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  17. Carmelo says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  18. Carmelo says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  19. Leon Noone says

    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

  20. Leon Noone says

    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

  21. says

    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.

    • says

      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. 😉

      • says

        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 😉

        • says

          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?

          • says

            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 :-)

  22. says

    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.

    • says

      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. 😉

      • says

        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 😉

        • says

          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?

          • says

            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 :-)

  23. says

    Nice post, Danny, but I’m not sure you’re seeing the forest for the trees here. Of course it’s all marketing. But the term “content marketing” isn’t attempting to silo the tactic. It’s making sense of all the working parts. These days, one marketer can’t wear every hat and expect to establish a strong digital presence for the brand.

    In other words, “content marketing” is a subset of marketing that helps us understand how building useful, informative and entertaining content helps drive leads and build brands.

  24. says

    Nice post, Danny, but I’m not sure you’re seeing the forest for the trees here. Of course it’s all marketing. But the term “content marketing” isn’t attempting to silo the tactic. It’s making sense of all the working parts. These days, one marketer can’t wear every hat and expect to establish a strong digital presence for the brand.

    In other words, “content marketing” is a subset of marketing that helps us understand how building useful, informative and entertaining content helps drive leads and build brands.

    • says

      Hi Mark,

      I think it can depend on who you talk to. There are many valid marketers that use it as another piece of the marketing puzzle; then there are the money-grabbers that will use peoples’ lack of knowledge to shill services and charge higher consultancy fees.

      And I definitely agree that using content is a subset – as per the second last paragraph in the post:

      “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.”

      I’m arguing against the term from the point of view of the end goal. Ask a customer if they’d like to buy the content or the product/service, and it’s the latter that will win every time.

      Content educates; marketing is the closer of the deal.

  25. says

    Hi Mark,

    I think it can depend on who you talk to. There are many valid marketers that use it as another piece of the marketing puzzle; then there are the money-grabbers that will use peoples’ lack of knowledge to shill services and charge higher consultancy fees.

    And I definitely agree that using content is a subset – as per the second last paragraph in the post:

    “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.”

    I’m arguing against the term from the point of view of the end goal. Ask a customer if they’d like to buy the content or the product/service, and it’s the latter that will win every time.

    Content educates; marketing is the closer of the deal.

  26. says

    Exactly, mate. People can talk about semantics but at the end of the day, marketing is there to sell. If you’re not selling, technically you’re not marketing.

  27. says

    Ha, actually what I’m railing against is those who say it’s a standalone discipline, mate. I value the strength of content in the bigger marketing picture – but you buy a tomato, not a blog post about a tomato. :)

    • says

      Hi Danny,

      I definitely see what you’re saying. I do, however, think that marketers (perhaps on their own at small businesses) and marketing departments (at mid to large enterprises) have to consider some help when it comes to content marketing.

      I can’t be sure that I’m seeing things from your perspective, but perhaps the people who appear to be considering it “standalone” are actually just saying, “You have too much to do. There are people who specialize in this and can help you.” Hopefully I’m interpreting your message more accurately this time.

      So, I guess what I’m saying is that those who act as content marketing evangelists (like Joe Pulizzi at CMI, where — full disclosure — I’m a freelance contributor) are really just specializing in that discipline because they believe in its importance. I think they’re pushing it as a means to an end (the full marketing picture), rather than the end itself.

  28. says

    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”….

    • says

      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.

  29. says

    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”….

    • says

      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.

    • davemhuffman says

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

      • DannyBrown says

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

  30. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

      • says

        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.

  31. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

      • says

        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.

  32. juntajoe says

    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
     

    • says

       @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). 

    • says

      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.

  33. rskin11 says

    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.

    • says

      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!

  34. Doug Kessler says

    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!

    • says

      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… 😉

  35. Doug Kessler says

    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!

  36. Lisa Gerber says

    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.

  37. TrishJones says

    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!”

  38. says

    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!!

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