Is Content Marketing Really a Thing?

Is Content Marketing Really a Thing?

I’ve been hearing the term “content marketing” a ton, mostly from Copyblogger. As a blogger myself, I know I’m supposed to stay up to date on the latest trends and such so I can continue to make a living giving people something that’s actually useful. But I’m not convinced about this whole “content marketing” thing.


Because I thought we were already doing that.Isn’t content marketing just blogging?

Let’s break it down…

Google, the master of the universe, loves “unique content” and prefers that you always be updating your shit. That’s why about 90% of bloggers write blog posts on a continuous basis. Otherwise more people would probably do the whole “email blogging” thing. It’s about the links and the traffic.

Next, we have this thing called social media, which is twitter and facebook and pinterest, etc. We share stuff (content!) on these social media sites and connect with people (network, socially!) to grow our audiences and lead them back to our blogs for our content. We’ve been doing that since at least 2004, when I started blogging.

Back then we did this to sell ad space or links or encourage donations. Established companies blogged because customers would read them and comment and it all sorta kinda looked like engagement. Fast forward about 10 years and here we are, selling information products and coaching and memberships and such.

The channels have grown, but I don’t think the techniques have changed. Back then it was just “website promotion” or “traffic generation” or “internet marketing.” Now we’ve slapped the word “content” in front because content is king. It’s the buzzword of the year.

Seriously, “Scribe” was an SEO plugin like a few months ago. Now it’s a “content marketing software.” Err…what?

I’m not using it either way, so I guess it doesn’t matter. I need that $97/month to feed the puppy. Yes, I am making her fat.

All I’m saying is that let’s not get wrapped around these buzz words. Blogging isn’t hard or complicated, it’s just a lot of work and time and effort.

Don’t let the A-listers get you down.

  • Renee DeCoskey

    I think you have a point that a lot of content marketing is viewed through a blogging lens; however, content marketing involves a lot of strategy and blogging is just a piece of that. It’s often the mouthpiece, but I don’t think it’s everything. Speaking strictly for online content, you’ve got website content, blog content, white papers, guides, eBooks, videos, and anything else that can be created with the intent to educate and inform. Education is the point of content marketing. Simply posting to a blog IS creating content, and it’s certainly a part of the whole, but separate from the rest of a strategy, it’s just a blog post.

    I do think, though, that content marketing applies more to businesses than it does individual bloggers. For them, it very well might be more about the blog than anything else.

    The way I see it, it all comes back to educating. People don’t want a hard sell. They want to learn. You’re absolutely right that much of this is done through a blog, but I’m inclined to disagree that content marketing is “just blogging.”

  • Jim Connolly

    Hey Corey.

    A lot of the people involved in marketing get really hung up on the terms we use, other get hung up on the tools we use. Professionals get hung up on the results we generate for our clients.

    Blogging, email marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, direct mail – anything that consists of content and is used for marketing ‘could’ come under the content marketing banner.

    When I started out in marketing (1986), my boss gave me some great advice. She said ‘Always be cautious of anyone, who gets too hung up on the buzzwords and bullshit. It’s usually a shield to hide the fact they are clueless.’

    26 years later she has proven to be right.

  • Corey Freeman

    Thank you both for taking the time to comment! I think it’s the current vagueness surrounding the term that bothers me. We all know we have to do content marketing but it’s not necessarily clear how that connects to different channels. I think that individual bloggers could benefit from the strategies and not just big firms.

    • Renee DeCoskey

      You make a good point with the vagueness — I think it can mean different things to different people, depending on how and why they’re using it. Great post to get people talking :)

  • Paige C. Willey

    Great points here. I think we’ve bloated the idea of “content marketing” and a lot of marketing in general. There’s a lot rhetoric that surrounds it, but in reality, it’s quite simple.

    If people can come up with a term, a noun, they can turn it into a commodity to sell.

    • Corey Freeman

      I wonder how “kosher” it is to sell people on a term, though? I guess that’s the basics of marketing and making money, though.

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