The word "content" seems to have been the darling of all things marketing in 2012, and content marketing has been recommended as a best-practice by an endless array of marketing experts and industry bloggers.
By nature, many of us like to look at trends. Some people are trend-setters and other people are trend-followers. Just as the Acai berry was regarded as the top super food in 2011 and quinoa took over the crown in 2012, content seems to be the new black in marketing.
Social media channels are flooded with opinions about why content is so important and how to develop a sound content marketing strategy. In particular, my Twitter feed is abuzz with content tweets and links to a sea of articles.
(After spending many hours reading through these words of wisdom, I have the following advice for budding authors: When you write an article about content, please ensure you deliver good content.)
At the Canadian Marketing Association's Marketing Influence in Canada conference on October 3, 2012, Ipsos Reid presented survey findings suggesting that Canadian companies are allocating more budget toward content development in search marketing. According to the 2012 Marketing Sherpa Lead Generation Benchmark Report, 54% of marketers use content marketing as a lead generation tactic. And a BtoB study has found that content marketing is the top driver of leads for B2B marketers.
All very exciting stuff indeed; however, I am not sure what to make of those pronouncements. I find the phrase "content marketing" rather amusing as a "new" concept. Can anyone really market anything effectively without good content or content strategies? I believe not. In fact, content has always been and will always be the very foundation of marketing.
So what does content marketing mean exactly? In my view, it means to mindfully create and share valuable messaging that attracts a consistent readership, influences mindshare, and accelerates buying decisions in a non-sales way.
Nasheen Liu is the VP of marketing at The IT Media Group, a high-touch C-level content and relationship marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. She has been in technology marketing for over a decade and previously headed software marketing nationally for SUN Microsystems of Canada.
LinkedIn: Nasheen Liu