10 Things Content Marketing ISN’T

Content marketing is all the rage. It seems marketers are falling all over themselves to increase budgets, increase volume, and in many cases, decrease value.

Like any other business initiative, content marketing is a STRATEGY, not a tactic. And as such it should be planned and executed with well thought out processes and procedures.

content marketing low
photo credit: Sean MacEntee via photopin cc

While there are articles, books and a plethora of data on what content marketing IS, I’ve decided to touch on what it is NOT.

Good Content Isn’t:

  1. Too promotional – Successful marketers know good content aims to help, not sell.
  2. Public Relations – Here’s why: content marketing focuses on the consumer, not YOUR COMPANY!
  3. Expensive – Or at least it doesn’t have to be. Remember that your content marketing strategy can (and should) include:
    – Your brand
    – Your staff
    – Your physical location
    – Your customers …
    – and EVERYTHING else that surrounds your company.
    With all of those sources, it shouldn’t take moving mountains to create something good.
  4. A “Project” – Try an on-going process! It takes gobs of time to do it right, and if done correctly it’s never over. [Here’s a FREE content inventory template from MaadMob]
  5. A Solution For EVERYONE At ALL Times – Good content marketing efforts nurture prospects and leads through the entire lifecycle, and then continues to aid current customers. One piece can’t please everyone at every stage!
  6. Solely From The Marketing Department – Not only should you consider having several departments help create content, as #3 states, you can’t rule out having your customers help you create great content, too!
  7. A Blog – While your blog is one way to create content marketing, it shouldn’t be the only way your company distributes content for your would-be clients to consume. There’s also:
    – Social media
    – eBooks
    – Case studies
    – Checklists
    – Cheat sheets
    – Informational packets and brochures
    – SlideShare
    – Videos
    – Podcasts
    – eLearning
  8. One-Way Communication – It’s not enough to push your content out. To execute a content marketing strategy that sells, you’ll need to respond, comment, ask questions, and interact with the people who are consuming your pieces.
  9. Poor – The only way your content has a chance of going viral is if it’s perceived as EXTREMELY valuable. As in, you’re sharing jaw-dropping tips and tricks for your industry. Otherwise, your story about the amazing service you received at the pancake house is really just serving your need to see your name in the byline. Ahem … Get over yourself already!
  10. Difficult To Share – It seems like common sense to have sharing widgets on your content so users can easily make a couple of clicks on the mouse and share your words to the masses, but so many people miss this all-important step. And if you’re creating something like a brochure? Include the URL so you can easily be found. Example: www.facebook.com/SteamFeed

What would you add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!


Brooke Ballard
Like many of you, Chief Digital Strategist and Founder of B Squared Media, Brooke Ballard, has seen a fundamental shift in business due to social media. How do businesses take advantage of this? Where do they start? Is social media for everyone? In-the-trenches online media experience helps B Squared Media answer these questions for companies seeking to formulate successful social strategies. Using tactics developed in her yearlong honors thesis study, Brooke helps bright and innovative entities develop social strategies around content, community, conversation, collaboration, and conversion. Simply put: Think Conversation, Not Campaign.â„¢ Click here to subscribe to my mailing list
Brooke Ballard


    • b2brookeballard says

      Hi, CoachDaddyBlogger!

      I really think that's up to you. I know a lot of work goes into putting an eBook together, but there are SO many people offering them up for free. My best advice is to use it as a marketing magnet and give it away at no cost and instead ask for an email and name (to grow your marketing list).
      Hope that helps!

  1. Everett says

    Brooke – In reference to #2, I have to say that you either don't understand public relations, or you're surrounded by some really crap PR hacks. Either way, I encourage you to expand the purview of content creation beyond the consumer, and think about every potential stakeholders within a company's sphere of influence. If you can imagine a world centered on trying to address all their concerns and find common understanding, then you will have a pretty good idea of what PR is about. There are some (many) criticisms one can have of PR, but last among them would be the idea that they are too focused on the company's needs ahead of those outside of it. The most common challenge we face as PR professionals is quite the opposite; we are often accused of having too many of putting too much emphasis on things that are seen as "externalities" by people in functional units, finance, legal, and other departments.

    • b2brookeballard says

      Hi Everett,

      Thank you for your response. Perhaps there are just too many "PR hacks" in the social sphere. What I meant by my statement is that the responsibility of PR (traditionally) has been about involving the media, whereas now it seems that PR (hacks or not) should be focused more on the consumer through converged or mixed media.

      I think it's incredibly valuable to put the consumer first, to find out what their wants and needs are, and to try to meet those desires through information that is accessible through many channels.

      Stakeholder and IR/PR marketing can certainly be important part of the fold, but again, for me personally (and my clients and company) the consumer comes first.

      Again, thanks for your insightful words!

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