What the Heck is Content Marketing?


Content marketing is when a brand creates content and shares it.

It’s different from “regular” content (whatever that is) because its goal is to attract and engage consumers.

Content marketing has been around since the beginning of PR and advertising.  It used to come in the form of company newsletters, advertorials, user conferences, company magazines and press releases.

But social and digital media have shifted content marketing into hyperdrive.  Content market now comes in many flavors:

  • An author who shares a sample chapter of his new book for free on his blog is engaged in content marketing.  He’s hoping to attract new readers and hook them on his book.  The next step, he hopes, is for people to read his chapter and buy his book.
  • A food brand that shares recipes and cooking tips on its Facebook page is practicing content marketing.  They are hoping their knowledge about food and the tips they share will lure customers to buy its products.
  • A technology company that offers insights and tips on how to use their software through a series of YouTube videos is in the content marketing business.  They are helping consumers optimize the use of their product and at the same time hoping to attract new customers through their approach.

Content marketing is all the rage right now and for a good reason.  It works.

Traditional advertising has reached the end of its effectiveness.  People don’t believe advertising anymore.

‘Today’s generation has always had TV and is much more media savvy. Research shows that younger people are more likely to believe a stranger in an internet chat room than a TV advertisement,” Rosin Donnelly, marketing director at Procter & Gamble, recently told The Guardian.

HubSpot, a marketing software company, recently published an infographic where 76 percent of the respondents thought advertising is exaggerated.  I’m actually surprised it was that low.

So what do people believe?

They believe in Yelp reviews.  They believe recommendations from their friends and family on Twitter and Facebook.  They believe blog posts.  They still believe news articles and features.  They believe in Internet searches.  They believe in real and authentic content.

Content marketing bolsters all of that.

It provides people with useful, entertaining, and informative content.  And because of digital and social media it releases that content from the confines of old closed platforms: like company magazines and newsletters.  It allows that content to be optimized for search and to proliferate on social networks like YouTube and Pinterest.  It allows people to share it and comment on it.

And best of all – done right – it works.


Young People No Longer Believe in TV Ads via The Guardian

76% of People Think Advertising is Exaggerated via HubSpot

5 Responses to “What the Heck is Content Marketing?”

  1. Megan Nocivelli April 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    JUST had this conversation with the VP Marketing at my college, our BComm and Media students create great video content, we just need to put it to work! When do we cross into native advertising? When I take out a full page ad to place an article about the value of studying at a small college Vs. large university or about how to maximise all scholarship and grant money you may be entitled to receive?

    Love the graphic..may hang it in my office!
    Hope all is well- Megan

  2. Megan Nocivelli April 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Damn it…spelled maximize wrong…hate that.

  3. Hi Megan:
    I just thought you were using the British spelling… 😉

  4. On occasion it is the queen, too.

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