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March 6, 2014

Content Marketing: Overhyped or Essential?

It’s hard to come across an article about SEO or any facet of marketing that doesn’t espouse the wonders of content. These days, brilliant content is all the rage, for nearly every conceivable industry and niche. But have we reached content saturation? In a world with a nearly unending barrage of blogs posts, videos, and infographics, have we finally reached critical mass?

Why Good Content Never Goes Out of Style

Don’t believe the negative chattering that content marketing is on the way out. The truth is, content marketing has been integral to success since the advent of business; we just didn’t have fancy labels and names in the early days.

Great content tells the story of your business, and gives your potential customers an emotional and intellectual tether into your success. It’s the bait that attracts the big fish; people know what they are looking for, and your content expresses that you are the company to serve them. Whether you work in B2C or B2B environments, the content you create is the beacon that announces your presence to the world.

How Content Marketing Has Evolved

In the old days, marketing felt a lot more like a free for all, littered with hard sells and little to no valuable information. Consumers would be inundated with commercial interruptions and blatant product placements. Tactics were unsophisticated, and often felt desperate and full of trickery.

Slowly but surely, we’re witnessing a beautiful evolution. In the online space, marketers must now be far more creative, joining the flow of information streams instead of constantly interrupting our focus. Brands, therefore, are learning to influence the minds’ of consumers by offering truly valuable information, for free. Once we are sold on their credibility and integrity, we are open to being sold on their services.

This model certainly provides a lot more creative challenges to marketers, but the payoff to consumers is huge. Yes, we still face a tremendous amount of old-style advertising, pulling tricks to try and divert our attention. But as modern content marketing tactics prove more and more effective, this magnificent evolution will continue to quite literally improve the quality of our lives.

Content Marketing: The Ultimate Hybrid

Content marketing really is timeless. From the moment one of our ancestors traded information for food, content has been the heart of marketing. Today’s view of content marketing encompasses many aspects that were once considered completely separate entities. PR, advertising, SEO, and content creation are all integral pieces of a successful content marketing campaign.

At the end of the day, the secret to success lies in the ability for marketers to influence consumers through the content they create. This has always been at the forefront of traditional advertising; nowadays we do best to influence by giving valuable information, not through ruses or a lack of honesty with the customer we are attempting to woo.

The Secrets to Content Marketing

In addition to a clear focus on the art of influence, content marketing only works when there is a clear vision and a dedication to consistency. If you embark on “random acts of marketing”, without a decisive understanding of your target demographic, your results will most certainly be lackluster.

Likewise, it’s essential to create a content plan, with topics for individual pieces and an overall theme or perspective that you stay true to. Think of it this way – brands that don’t have a clear identity try to be all these to all people. This creates mass confusion in the minds of your audience, and will normally result in making your brand forgettable, or at least unreliable.

Never ever be afraid to clearly define the traits of your brand, and be fiercely dedicated to expressing these in every content piece you produce. This consistency, combined with a focused unraveling of relevant, time-sensitive, and truly valuable content will do wonders in improving your company’s acquisition and retention strategies.

You will never see substantial success through a series of haphazard tweets or random blog posts. A comprehensive content plan with editorial dates and an adherence to your brand’s identity all come together to create an enormous potential for success.

Final Advice for Content Marketing Virgins

If you’re brand new to the world of great content, don’t be intimidated by the emphasis on big picture planning. Your content plan does not have to cover a large chunk of time, nor does it need to be overly complicated.

If you’re just starting out, first take the time to clearly define your brand attributes. Then craft a content plan that is true to this vision, as well as the needs of your demographic. This can be a series of just 3-10 pieces released over a period of just a couple of weeks.

Remember to create a benchmark of your current business metrics so you can accurately track the movement generated by your new content releases. This includes a willingness to listen to the reactions of your audience, and adjust accordingly. There’s a good chance that your courageous willingness to try a new content-focused strategy will start paying off; you just have to know how to measure and track this success. And, most importantly, how to continue the positive trajectory.

Has your company adopted a content marketing strategy? If so, what have the results been?


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.