When I use the term “content marketing” I sometimes get a puzzled look from at least one individual who isn’t familiar with the term. There’s a reason for that. Google Trends says the word didn’t start coming in practice until 2007 on any measurable level. (I love Google Trends by the way. It’s a great way to test the vocabulary you use against the general habits of the Google-using population.)
Content has always been part of marketing. Copywriters are the ancestors to current content marketers today. The difference is that content used in marketing is no longer expected to come from the marketing or advertising agencies hired to help business, organizations, or causes spread their message. Content, in large part because of the social media revolution, is no longer relegated to agencies but is expected to come from specific leaders within organizations.
The clinical term for this revolution is inbound marketing. People don’t want to be interrupted. They want to search and find you, research you, and then determine whether or not they want to engage with you. Content helps businesses do that effectively and efficiently.
My definition of content marketing is this: spreading your message through keyword-driven copy that provides implicit and explicit benefit to the reader.
Content Marketing is…
- …a conversation with an identified audience.
- …a commitment to consistent, relevant copy that doesn’t ask me to buy something.
- …grounded in the idea that people would rather discover you first.
Content Marketing is not…
- …a one-time effort.
- …an attempt to control the conversation or engineer a specific response.
- …a quick way to more sales, revenue, or brand awareness.
Content Marketing is the test the marketplace presents to businesses, organizations, and causes to determine whether or not you’re interested in solving problems or selling widgets.
Is content marketing part of your growth strategy?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.