The corruption of content marketing

In many ways the rise of ‘content marketing’ was a reaction to the decline of advertising, but ‘content marketing’ is now a widely used term that could mean anything – you know we’ve lost the plot when the Old Spice advertising campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” is referred to as a good example of content marketing.

They’re not good content marketing, they’re good Ads.

The philosophy of content marketing has always been to create content that adds value to the audience, as a means to helping customers solve their problems and, in so doing, win their trust as a result.

But the essence of content marketing has become corrupted, I suspect by advertising agencies and publishers who have jumped on the band wagon without trying, or even wanting to, understand the real philosophy of content marketing.

Possibly because content marketing is hard to do, time consuming and a ton of work.

Could the strategy devised by advertising agency bosses go something like: “There’s just not enough ROI in content marketing, so we’ll just steal the name and carry on making Ads.”

Customer stories are not content marketing, at least not in my view. They’re at best customer case studies, or at worst advertorials, because they’re still all about the brand and the business and what you’re selling.

I may be tempted to read a ‘customer story from smart business people’ if I was a small business owner thinking of switching to a particular mobile phone network, but I’m not, so again such attempts at content marketing are really just long, boring testimonials or worse, gag inducing advertorials.

When will advertisers learn that customers are not interested in how great you are (unless they’re some way down the decision making funnel)? They are most interested in what’s topical and interesting, in fulfilling their desires or in solving their immediate pains and problems.

Good content is all about the customer, not you.

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