Goodbye Public Relations, Hello Content Marketing (Content Marketing, Part 1)

April 21, 2014

Today, content marketing rules.  We create content, manage content, share content and even try to amplify content.  Content is being promoted, optimized, aggregated, repurposed and even curated.

So what is this thing called “content marketing” and how can it help your business?

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

The CMI provides plenty of free information, but it could use some help with its content, which is loaded with marketing clichés, so allow me to translate that definition for you.

Note that the CMI overlooks the most important part of the definition – it never answers the question, “What is content?”  Content includes blog posts, articles, press releases, white papers, newsletters, photos, videos, case studies, graphics and any other information that is shared to educate or influence the reader or viewer.

When you practice “content marketing,” you’re not actually marketing content; you’re using content as a marketing tool, so it would be more accurate to call it content-based marketing.

The “clearly defined audience” that content marketing seeks to “attract and acquire” typically includes prospective customers, but may also include existing customers, employees, potential employees, potential sources of referrals and others.

As for “driving profitable customer action,” the CMI presumably means profit for you, not for your customer, and the “action” it has in mind is selling your products or services, but the term “selling” is too vulgar for content marketers.

So “content marketing” is a sales tool that uses information, rather than a direct sales pitch, to communicate with clients and prospects.  Gee, you may be thinking, that sounds like public relations or maybe, in a broader sense, marketing communications.

Bingo.  You may be using content marketing and not even know it.

This blog post is “content” I’ve created that I’m distributing through my blog.  Since it’s full of “valuable, relevant” information, though not delivered as consistently as I intend, you are now part of a “clearly defined audience” that I’ve managed to “attract and acquire.”

Any day now, this will drive “profitable customer action,” which means you’ll retain my services and pay me.  I’m waiting.

Comments

great info.

I am waiting too...LOL Really, that is great information. Did you help Gary with anything?

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