Sometimes we communicators are sticklers for grammar and usage. When someone says he just published a new blog, for example, we really hope he doesn’t mean a new “blog post.”
Don’t even get me started on “lie” and “lay.”
But there’s an even bigger transgression I’m seeing more and more these days: an apparent confusion between the terms “content marketing” and “any old content related to marketing.”
For the record, here’s the definition I like to use for content marketing:
Content marketing is the consistent creation, curation and publication of relevant, valuable material that attracts and engages a clearly defined audience.
It must have an objective.
It is not sales-y.
Why do people lump all the content they’ve ever written about their product, including brochures and sales sheets, into the bucket known as “content marketing”? This just confuses the issue. I have to believe they truly don’t know what content marketing is, and they’ve just latched on to what they believe is a “trend.”
For the sake of clarity, perhaps some examples will help.
If you’re a lumber company, your video about how to build a birdhouse is content marketing. On the other hand, your video about how your pressure-treated wood is better than Company X’s wood is content, not content marketing, because it’s about you.
If you are a professional podcast producer, your blog post about how to choose a microphone is an example of content marketing. A post about your own podcasting production services is content, not content marketing.
If you’re a writing coach, your workshop about how to write a best-selling book is content marketing. A workshop about your coaching services for writers is not content marketing. (Yes, I’ve been invited to many “workshops” that are merely vehicles for a sales pitch; spare me.)
Some people seem to object to the very idea of content marketing. “Why should I publish anything that won’t immediately lead to sales?” they ask.
Well, I believe content marketing can be an important part of your communications because it can:
- Help demonstrate your thinking and your approach to business.
- Build your brand around a library of great content (text, audio, video, infographics, etc.).
- Encourage others to spread your content; people share great content.
- Cultivate thought leadership within your niche or industry.
- Improve your search engine optimization around the keywords at the centre of your publishing efforts.
- Ultimately generate leads.
Do you agree with my assessment of content marketing?
For more on this topic, check out my free report on content marketing. (Yep, that’s content marketing.)