I am loath to write a post about “content marketing”, yet not only am I writing this post, I am speaking about the topic with my friends at Skyword this Thursday at the C3 conference. Much like my friend Adam Kmiec over at Walgreens, I tend to be a marketing insurgent. As soon as a phrase enters the marketing buzzword lexicon I rebel. Why? Well, after a while people use a phrase so often, they begin to do so with little thought and thereby dilute the meaning and strip the phrase of its strategic origins. Conferences are created about the topic and blimps bearing the phrase are flown overhead (okay, so that last one is an exaggeration).
“Content Marketing” Is Especially Troubling
As I will speak about on Thursday, I find the term “content marketing” disconcerting. The term is inherently flawed as; there are two masters leading one to ask the question, “What is more important, great content or great marketing?” The answer to this question is not an easy one and the ability to achieve both ends simultaneously is even more of a challenge--but the fact is, without great content, great content marketing is impossible.
Okay Adam, You Can Complain But What Else Can You Do?
As a proud objector to vacuous conjecture about marketing trends, the only thing I can do to be a useful part of the marketing community is compliment my rants with thoughtful approaches (unlike many of my whiney colleagues). Here are some thoughts:
- Drop the phrase “content marketing” and simply speak in terms of content. This is a minor adjustment but believe me, it is important to start with the body and the mind will follow
- Leverage the database of intentions and the social graph to plan your editorial. Marketers in the Internet era are blessed with the world’s largest pool of consumer attitudes and interests and a lot of it is available for use at no cost
- Creating a content workflow, editorial voice and point of view takes time. Success will not happen over night. It may never happen depending on how you define success—but if you don’t give yourself at least a full year of runway, you are destined to fail (a year is an arbitrary duration and it will likely take much longer than that)
- The content is the marketing (define that one yourself, I cannot do all the work for you)
- All brands need to create content, but maybe your brand doesn’t
- There is no substitute for greatness. 9 out of 10 equals 0 out of 10
See you Thursday.