Posted by Chris Handy ● September 5, 2014

Is Content Marketing a Fad?


If you listen to what some industry “pros" are saying on the interwebs, you might have heard something like this: “Content marketing is a fad and is not a sustainable strategy.”

I’m here to discuss that point and to provide some insight into what content marketing actually is, and whether or not it is worth your time. 

So what is content marketing?

Wikipedia defines Content Marketing as

“any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers.”

Wow. That’s a little broad now isn’t it? Doesn’t that encompass a lot?

Content marketing includes many of the activities that your organization is probably already doing: creating whitepapers, data sheets, customer help documents and training materials, etc…

Most people really just do not understand the concept of content marketing and dismiss it as merely blogging or tweeting. That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

So what is content marketing?

I’ll define it this way: Content marketing is creating and publishing remarkable, insightful, entertaining, helpful, or educational content in order to serve your company’s audience. Content can be aimed at prospects, opportunities, influencers, customers or promoters. The ultimate goal is to grow an audience which should in turn grow revenue for the company.

The content itself can take many forms: eBooks, blog posts, social media posts, whitepapers, emails, webinars, books, presentations, movies, TV shows, movies, documentaries, TV commercials, live stage shows, cookbooks, etc… 

TV Shows? Cookbooks?!? I thought content marketing was just online stuff?

The truth is that content marketing is not specific to the internet, nor is it new. We have seen content marketing adapt to many channels, the internet just happens to be one of the newest. 

You may have heard of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Since 1950, General Mills has been publishing this remarkable, insightful, entertaining, helpful, and educational cookbook in order to serve their audience. 

vintage_betty_crocker_new_picture_cook_book The cookbook helps people accomplish their goals and does so in a way that inserts their products seamlessly into the experience. Take this recipe for Chicken Taco Pizza for example. It sure does call for 1/2 cup Old El Paso™ taco sauce. 

This really is content marketing at its finest. The purchase of the Old El Paso™ taco sauce becomes seamless and natural part of the value the reader gets from the cookbook.

So I need to write a cookbook?

Well, probably not. Your industry is likely not consumer packaged goods. Many of you are B2B marketers. What value can you create for your audience that complements your products or service lines? Many of your customers have a common set of interests and problems that you likely have expertise in. Share your knowledge of your industry. Write the cookbook. That’s content marketing for your industry. 

The reality is that content is only one piece of the Inbound Marketing puzzle. That’s why we are giving away a free chapter from the guys who wrote the book on Inbound. 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing