I think I may have misspoken. Well, not misspoken, exactly, but perhaps I’ve conveyed the wrong idea about my feelings on content marketing. The fact that you’re reading the screed today should tell you that I’m a fan of real content marketing: it’s native advertising disguised as “content” that pisses me off. If I haven’t made the differences between the two clear, let’s use the next minute or so to rectify the issue.
I’ve railed more than once about advertising masquerading as content. Frankly, now that the FTC is watching this carefully, my displeasure is the least of anyone who is engaged in the activity’s worries. It’s not hard to distinguish when you should or shouldn’t notify your readers if it’s “native” content: if some entity paid you to put the story up, or of they wrote it and bought the space where it’s running, it needs to be labelled as advertising. Let’s leave it there for now.
True content marketing is what you’re reading. I don’t think I’m letting you in on a secret when I tell you that part of the reason I write this blog is to show potential clients that I have a decent grasp of marketing, media, and digital. Hopefully, as you read this every day (you DO read every day, don’t you?), you’re learning something or seeing something that makes you pause and think. I try to keep it informative and entertaining. It’s one form of content marketing.
In addition to blogs, you might have given a company your email in return for a white paper on a topic of interest to you. Maybe you listen to a company’s podcast because it teaches you and informs. Maybe you downloaded an e-book. As the Content Marketing Institute defines it:
Content marketing is a strategic marketingapproach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
I am a huge fan of this sort of marketing. It is something of value given away, generally for nothing more than an email address. It works, too. Research has shown content marketing to be 62% less expensive per lead than traditional outbound marketing. Unlike native, it’s transparent too. Don’t have the resources to generate this sort of material? Call me – we’ll make it happen. So what are you waiting for?