Everyone wants to be a publisher these days. And with good reason — it can be a lot cheaper to create content than to buy expensive display or even PPC ads, and when done right the results speak for themselves. But with everyone from banks to big box stores jumping into the content production game, it’s easy to see content marketing as just the latest Internet advertising fad to jump the shark. Remember pop-unders? (Oh wait – lots of websites still rely on those creaky crutches…. ~sigh~)
A recent AdAge article, “Content: Marketing’s Best Hope, or More Hype?,” claims that the content marketing boom is hitting its peak, the “full flush of its industrial revolution.”
But content marketing has been around for a long time, and will continue to be. It just goes by different names or buzzwords: Content is king. Stickiness. Push vs. Pull. Custom Publishing. And so on…
In fact, content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi over at the Content Marketing Institute recently published an absolutely charming infographic called The History of Content Marketing that covers the ground from cave paintings to the present day.
There’s no doubt that if you want to continue to attract and engage new and existing customers, companies have to evolve. Putting an ad in the print yellow pages is no longer enough (though, for some types of businesses in certain markets, it’s certainly still a viable tool in your marketing arsenal). And just “being online” in the form of having a website is not necessarily doing you any good either.
A 2012 study by the Altimeter Group, Content: The New Marketing Equation, put it best:
Marketers must evolve from advertisers into storytellers. Advertisers interrupt consumers with messaging that are overwhelmingly “me” oriented: my product, my service. Storytellers attract, beguile, entertain, and inform. They are sought out and revisited.
And, ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about?