Shock news! Content marketing has a hidden agenda

Sonja Jefferson

Content marketing unmasked

Have you heard the rumour? We hardly dare say it but …. shhhh….come a little closer, we’ll whisper it quietly…‘content marketing’ is just a front!’

We think it’s time to strip away the mask of marketing jargon and reveal content marketing’s true identity. For this is the foot soldier of a far wider-reaching business campaign– and it’s a very, very exciting one for a company like yours.

Here’s the secret agenda that we think content marketing has been hiding for too long, and why we should all be proud to be part of this particular revolution.

More than a marketing technique

Content marketing has touched down like a hurricane sweeping through marketing land; devastating old thinking, laying waste to the faceless mass email spew out, putting a halt to interruptive techniques like cold calling and waging war with spam. Extraordinary victories, you must admit, certainly worthy of a medal or two!

But ‘content marketing’ is a funny term isn’t it – a bit cold, clinical and joyless. Some people have seized on it as a technique, like the SEO of old that can be applied and manipulated in an attempt to boost page views and create engagement.

We know it’s not just a marketing technique because it just won’t work if you apply it like that. It’s not something you can bolt on. You can’t just yell ‘bring me content marketing!’ then lie back and wait for the magic to work. It just doesn’t happen like that.

People come to ask for our help in making content marketing work for their businesses. We warn them that to get success the work goes very deep – turning old structures upside down, and involving many more people than just your marketing team.  No small task and not for the fainthearted.

The real truth

The real truth we see? Content marketing is just a cover, a front for a new way of doing business: customer-focused business. It’s changing businesses by stealth to do right by their customers – that’s its true agenda.

Now people have been waxing lyrical about customer-focused business for decades but we haven’t seen much evidence of this until now. Marketing is leading the revolution. Content marketing is forcing businesses to turn themselves inside out – from thinking of themselves first, to thinking about providing true value to their customers.

We love what it stands for

So like many people we’re lukewarm on the term. But what it stands for – that’s what we love.

Content marketing stands for human business; business that delivers some value to the world, whether or not people buy from you; it’s about connecting people to people – delivering the early promises of the web; helping, not selling; business with a wider purpose – and we are right behind all that.

For in reality, it only works if you care.

Prepare yourself for big change

So if you want to make content marketing work for your business? Prepare yourself for BIG CHANGE. This is not the latest marketing fad; it’s the spearhead of a revolution in business practice.

That’s why we love it.

Are you with us?

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[This post was first published as a newsletter for Valuable Content email subscribers. It got such a lovely response we thought we’d share it more widely. If you’re a member of our newsletter list we hope you enjoy Lizzie’s illustration.]

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  1. Avatar

    Thanks for the concise take on current content marketing theory. I absolutely agree that content maketing is – at its core – about catering to your audience’s and/or potential customers’ needs. Especially your last point about “connecting people” is in my opinion the most significant aspect of content marketing right now and in the years to come.

  2. Avatar

    Hi Stefanie – and thank you. Good to hear you’ve noticed this too.

    What we’re seeing is that a shift in customer behaviour and attitude has forged a change in marketing behaviour: valuable content-centred marketing has become the approach that works best. But to make this content marketing work the business really has to get behind it – wider than marketing it takes alignment in leadership, service and sales. Making that work necessitates organisational change in many cases – breaking down internally-focused silos and attitudes far beyond the marketing department.

    I find that really fascinating.


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