Say this word out loud: "content"
Did you accent the first syllable? Most people do these days.
Say it again, but accent the second sylllable: "content"
The first one - CONtent - is about subject matter...the content of this article, the content of that video. The second - conTENT - is about feeling satisfied, pleased, happy(ish).
There's a not-so-quiet little gold rush going on in content marketing.
PQ Media's recent Global Content Marketing Forecast says the content marketing industry will generate $313 billion in revenue by 2019. (The "Content Moves to the Middle" article that gave me that little nugget says that VCs have invested over a billion in content-marketing technology startups in the last 9 years. See link at the bottom.)
Here's my question...is that gold rush about CONtent marketing or conTENT marketing, or both?
If you really think it through for your business, the answer should be "both."
Jeff Pundyk puts it this way:
"What’s harder for companies to embrace is an approach that puts their readers’ needs ahead of their own, to engage with each reader not as a consumer but as somebody who is grappling with a complex problem. "
I think he's saying that CONtent marketing is the means, but conTENT customers (relationships) are the goal. It's logical - it's even obvious - but it's way too easy to be seduced by the complexity of the means. Put more succinctly - SEO-chasing is pretty darn distracting.
Run this scenario. Your biggest competitor puts out an excellent white paper on the most current hot topic in your shared industry. You get the scary feeling they're becoming the 'thought leader' (abysmal phrase.) Do you:
A) drop everything to generate a white paper on the same topic, trying to say the same thing with different words to keep up with the JoneSEOs?
B) ignore it and say what YOU have to say
C) read it, comment on it intelligently where you agree and disagree, and pass it along to your customers/prospects?
CONtent marketers chase A. ConTENT marketers will go with B and C. If you (or your company) have a substantively better position on the topic that's going to conTENT your customers, then stop reading random blogs like this and write your own white paper (Option B).
I understand, Option C is a bit of a mental challenge because we're so accustomed to thinking of traffic (CONtent) over customers (conTENT). Look at it this way. Your customers have the same access to that white paper that you do - probably more. Do you add more to the relationship with them by hiding it, or by Option-C sharing it? What's more important - your CONtent or their conTENT?
You'll be grappling with content marketing - it's just inevitable. As you do, put decisions to the caps-lock test. Is this CONtent or conTENT?
"Credibility comes from a selflessness that often has no short-term ROI. "
Jeff Pundyk's article is well worth reading - here 'tis:
Content Moves to the Middle (CMO.com)