Saturday, February 23, 2013

Content Marketing - how do you define it?

I recently read a blog post at the Business to Community web site about content marketing.  The author, one Eoin Keenan, surmises that content marketing may just be a fad.  He ponders that the reason B2B companies are investing more money in content marketing is because the 'other guy' is investing and because of the buzz around the term and/or concept of using this so-called content as a way to market.

I have to say Eoin's article did get me thinking.  I agree, the term 'content marketing' is becoming a buzz word among marketers.  I use the term liberally when I talk to stakeholders.  Now that I think about it, their eyes tend to shift awkwardly almost in a rolling fashion when I get going about content marketing.   I know what it means.  But maybe it's one of those terms where if you were to ask 10 marketers in a room to define content marketing, you would get 10 different definitions.

If I create a case study about how a customer used my product to solve his problem, is that content marketing?  If you create and broadcast a webinar about some problem your product helps solve, is that content marketing?  Is there a certain quantity of content I must create before I can say that I am a content marketer?  If I create a bunch of application or how-to notes and post them on my web site, will I be conducting content marketing?  How about our ancient homosapien ancestor in his cave 40,000 years ago telling a story to his tribe while he draws graphic pictures on the cave wall?  Is that content marketing?  Are we even ready to define what we mean when we discuss 'content'?

I'm sure each of us could use the Google search engine and find a reasonable definition we are ready to accept.  I tell people my marketing strategy is based on content marketing.  I go further to explain what I think content marketing means (as soon as I see the eye roll beginning).

Here's my take on the definition.  Content marketing means we create compelling bits of media about the issues, pains or problems faced by our target audience.  For example, we created a 4 page FAQ document addressing the issues people face when trying to measure dew point temperature in an industrial compressed air system.  Yes, our customers do struggle with obtaining a reliable measurement.  And, it just so happens that my company does manufacture a device that will make a reliable dew point measurement in a compressed air system.  We might re-purpose this document to an info graphic, a video, a podcast, a seminar, or a webinar.   After creating the media, we give it away both proactively and reactively.  By giving it away, we are beginning to engage with each person who reads or interacts with the content.  This person is getting to know our brand and puts the brand in a little box top of their mind for companies that have been helpful.  Content marketing gets you a place in their minds so that when the day comes and they need what we offer, we get the call.

So, thank you Eoin Keenan!  Your article was a great thought-provoking read.