August 8, 2016 | Sarah Danks

I’m not into buzz words but when I ran across 5 Inbound Marketing Trends That Need to Die, Like, Right Now back in 2014, I was in instant agreement with the very first trend on the list: content marketing.

I agree with this author that everyone and their dog walker’s brother thinks they’re doing content marketing, when in fact they’re probably just doing normal marketing.

Am I saying WE’RE doing content marketing correctly? Nope. But let me back up for a second — what IS content marketing, anyway? I took some time to look and see how others are using this buzz marketing term. Without further ado:

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is defined as:

“a strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Okay. But, wait…

According to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge), content marketing is:

“any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers…This information is consistently delivered and can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question-and-answer articles, photos, blogs etc.”

Ah. So therein lies the confusion. Too many marketers are looking to Wikipedia for definitions.

Because, according to that definition, pretty much any blogger is a content marketer.

And then there’s this opinion at Forbes:

“Alas, I discovered that content strategy was in reality just another name for brand planners selling long form ads to clients…they approached content like marketers.  Instead of a mission, they began with a “consumer insight.”  They would envision a typical consumer, research the content that consumer would most likely have an affinity for and make a connection between that particular content and their brand’s values…every brand has a great story to tell.  But please, don’t call it content.”

Switch to this article on Search Engine Watch wherein this guy states:

“At a high level, content marketing has two obvious parts: content and marketing.”

Super-high level. He does go on to further define content marketing using the Content Marketing Institute’s definition.

And, according to LinkedIn:

“Content marketing isn’t just articles. It’s video, it’s slideshare decks, it’s social media updates. It’s anything you publish.”

Um. What???

I’m confused. As, am sure, so many other marketers are. I mean, technically content marketing can be anything? So, basically, I guess I’m going to go with: it’s any effective (online) marketing.


Okay. I think I have to name-drop here…I think the two best answers to “What is Content Marketing?” I found are in a Vertical Measures PDF and are answered by these guys:

Vertical Measures president Arnie Kuenn sums it up this way:

“Content marketing is the art of providing relevant, valuable content to your customers without selling or interrupting them. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your prospects more informed before they buy. If you deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to your prospects, they ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.

And, since I think @randfish has a pretty good grasp on all-things-SEO-y (because, yes, I do believe content marketing includes SEO), here’s HIS take on it:

“Content marketing is the production, publication, and promotion of content (in all the many forms it can take) for the purpose of attracting an audience. The goal is often a combination of the following: to build/grow a brand, to create perceptions/associations with a brand, to attract visitors that will take some specific action, to increase traffic for the purposes of serving advertising, and/or to spread a message.”

So, does that help define this convoluted marketing term? Everything clear as mud?

Great. Now that you’re a content marketing expert, here’s a list of 10 content marketing tools to help you on your way.

Or, maybe I should be asking — what do YOU think content marketing is???










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