Content marketing is the new wave of storytelling
Content marketing is the new buzz phrase du jour, akin to what social media was five years ago, and web marketing was before that. But don’t let the onslaught of blog posts, podcasts and articles about “content marketing” scare you off as if you’re behind. I’ve done the homework and am here to help break it down for you.
So what is content marketing? Essentially, it’s just a fancy phrase for storytelling. It’s a way of developing content – blog posts, case studies, white papers, podcasts, video interviews and photography – to share with your audience in a way that resonates with them and builds your brand’s credibility. Sound similar? It should. It’s what’s been known for decades as: public relations.
I’ve seen a few debates whether content marketing is, indeed, public relations, or whether they’re truly different strategies. At the high level, they’re the same. PR has always been about digging deep to uncover a brand’s story, and then sharing it with the people most likely to become customers. Content marketing aims to do the same thing.
Content marketing used to place more emphasis on SEO and link trackbacks, but came under fire when Google cracked down on rampant spam and broken links within the interwebs. Now content marketing works to focus more on developing and delivering meaningful packages of information to share with audiences, and then tracking the traffic and engagement to see how it translated into sales.
But PR has implemented this same type of content development and delivery method all along, as well as tying the traffic back to analytics to monitor engagement and brand growth. PR practitioners tend to think like reporters and publishers, so are adept in curating (and creating) interesting content and ideas in a way that’s educational and informative.
Marketing disciplines continue to blur in our social media-soaked age. Gone are the traditional silos of PR, advertising, digital — now it’s about finding smart people who understand not only your brand, but more importantly, your customers, to build a program of content to keep people coming back for more.
So don’t let the buzzwords scare you off. When building your marketing program, find the places where your customers are naturally hanging out, and look for ways to become part of that conversation. And you can call it whatever you want — just make sure it’s authentically you and your brand story coming through.