Some content may offend

I have a confession to make. 

I’ve been doing Powerpoint presentations about content marketing at work. I even presented a content marketing plan.

I know. It’s a disgrace to the marketing profession. When has marketing (and, more specifically, advertising) not been about content, you rightfully protest? Weren’t the earliest forms of display advertising town centre job ads that were made into a classified newsletter? Isn’t that what Jude Dobson does on Family Health Diary with the dogs and the flea stuff? I’m glad we’re all in agreement.

However, there is something about this ‘content marketing’ phrase that resonates with non-marketing folk and for the first time in about three years, I can bang on about paid/earned/owned media strategy and people nod and seem to get it.

By climbing down from my mountain of smug righteousness, I now have sales people sending me emails saying: ‘I wouldn’t recommend this paid media advertising opportunity as I believe we can do this more effectively in earned with a PR play.’

Good grief.

So what’s changed and why do people like this ‘content marketing’? I guess it demystifies the media industry.

There are so many Bright Shiny Objects from Adshels to print ads and TARPS and spots and circulation and impressions that it gets bloody confusing. By simply stating that you are creating an audience around a certain piece of content (an iTunes podcast that targets small business owners, for example), all the other stuff gets stripped out of the equation.

A lot of people that you work with have never seen what a media planner does or how an editorial plan looks or how a PR company sends out a press release. You can almost guarantee they have no idea what placement and production budgets look like and how they compare across sectors. There is often a giant disconnect between what they see on their TV and what goes on behind the scenes and the true costs of said smoke and mirroring.

So apologies once again to the marketing profession but I think this ‘content marketing’ thing could actually serve us in the medium to long term if we play it right.

Now go and do a Powerpoint presentation.

  • Courtney Lambert is marketing and communications manager for Xero.

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