Content Marketing Hand-Wringing

There seems to be a lot of angst about content marketing these days.

Perhaps its a reaction to the term itself (Christopher Penn points out that use of the phrase seems to have peaked). Or maybe it is a lack of innovation and meaningful use of metrics, as Gini Dietrich laments. Or might it be because too many people falsely believe that “the best content wins,” as Geoff Livingston argues?

I’m sure most of us can readily agree that there is a lot of content out there — and much of it sucks. (Perhaps I should start a blog called BadContentSucks in tribute to Gini’s SpinSucks. But I digress.)

But I hope we can all also agree that just because a lot of content is bad that it doesn’t mean we should swear off content marketing altogether. After all, there are plenty of really atrocious restaurants out there, but does that mean we shouldn’t dine at those that excel? Of course not.

The trick is to figure out what works for our own organizations and clients. That requires understanding objectives and setting meaningful goals (as Gini argues).

Next, we need to create good, original content. While I think Geoff would agree that quality matters, I agree with him that distribution matters more. There are plenty of companies doing quite well with their content marketing on the back of very poor content just because they figured out the distribution game. If you can nail both, you’ll be on your way to meeting the goals mentioned above.

But perhaps the real issue here is the use of the term “content marketing” itself. If it has truly peaked, as Mr. Penn notes, is that simply because people have lumped it in with all of the other meaningless buzzwords that have corrupted the public relations and marketing arena over the past decade? If we didn’t say we were engaging in content marketing — and instead just did it well — would that keep the haters and hand-wringers at bay?

Probably not. But we see this happen consistently in the communications field. We all need to determine the strategies and tactics that will help move us forward — and then execute, execute, execute.

I personally won’t pay much attention to the hand-wringers because good content, targeted and distributed well, still makes a positive difference.

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  1. Thanks for including me, Chip. I definitely think that the issue revolves around the industry trend and the general lack of discipline in using data to create content and distribute in the right places. Generally, CMOs feel burned by the content marketing trend, and I’d expect some new shiny objects to replace it. Like account-based marketing in B2B and programmatic marketing in consumer.

    Regardless, content will only increase. So the need to become more analytical increases with each year. Precision and discipline.

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