Posted July 21, 2011 9:05 am by with 10 comments

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The social media marketing movement has the marketing world reconsidering everything and that’s a good thing. While progress is usually a good thing, it can create some friction that didn’t exist previously thus giving marketers fits.

One area where that has truly taken hold is content marketing. The idea alone is not new but the development of the discipline is. As a result, many marketers are recognizing the importance of content marketing as a whole. In fact, Econsultancy and Adobe’s first Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing (NOTE: No money to MP if purchased) points that out.

More valuable than advertising? Part of that equation comes from the fact that content marketing generates earned media opportunities which carry a lower cost and more targeting than traditional advertising. Notice there is no mention of free. If anyone uses the term free and social media in the same sentence they should be abducted a flogged by the Internet Marketing Secret Service (it exists for real you know).

The trouble comes in actually doing it. The execution and application of a real and effective content marketing strategy is much easier to discuss and plan than it is to carry out in the marketplace. The response to the following questions bears this out.

So what are marketers to do if there is such great value in content marketing but they are not getting right?

Study it – We far too often act like we know something by throwing around buzz words etc. When it comes to getting down to it, though, our cocktail party level of knowledge prevents us from really moving forward. Study the competition, learn about the discipline then keep learning. A life long learning mindset is essential for success here.

Experiment with it – No two industries or businesses will do content marketing the same way for myriad reasons. If you don’t have the time or courage to experiment (and to fall flat on your face) then don’t bother.

Stick with it – I bet there are more blogs, articles and other varied pieces of content that are left on the cutting room floor due to frustration. Content marketing is a marathon and bailing after the not feeling great at Mile One won’t win in the end.

Beat it – Content marketing is a war of attrition really. You have to outlast the troubles it causes and get past them. Until you get over this hump you are not likely to see much success

What skills and attributes must successful content marketers possess?

Courage – You will be mocked for your ideas and some of your creations. Get a thick skin or get out.

Persistence – To beat anything you have to hang in there. Why should this be any different?

Confidence – You have to allow others who may end up being better than you create and do their thing. If you think you need to do this flying solo you will crash.

Ballsiness – I know it’s not a real word but content marketing has to be brash to stand out in a very noisy and busy world. If you are the kind that can only color between the lines then you may want to concentrate elsewhere.

Vision – If you create just to create without truly beginning with the end in mind you will never get to where you want to go.

Isn’t that interesting? Success in content marketing requires no other special skills than what is required to succeed in many situations in business and in life. So stop reading and start creating.

In fact, if you are looking for a place to test your content marketing chops contact us via e-mail at, editor AT marketingpilgrim DOT com. Maybe you could create for our great audience of Internet marketers? You never know…..

  • “The execution and application of a…content marketing strategy is much easier to discuss and plan than it is to carry out…”

    This is problem the number one problem when it comes to content marketing. Businesses know they need to be doing it, but lack the time or resources to get it off the ground. So instead their content marketing is delayed or only given a half-try.

  • Content Marketing is a great tool to help both build and gain exposure online through search engines but also helps promote a stronger brand and level of credibility… fresh, new, and engaging content can cause people to elevate your status as more of a master of your field, and can result in the ability to gain more work and get more value out of your efforts through a higher perception of your company.

  • as a consumer I prefer to seek out my our interest & advertisements to peruse according to my own research. I ready don’t mind an advertisement that shows up as a result of my own research.

    Just don’t plop ads in foot of me that are not asked for.

  • I’ve been doing referral marketing and I think I’ve also tried content marketing, but haven’t the time to be able to create an effective content yet.

  • We have discovered that many people are overwhelmed with content, so we adopted a protocol of limited available content, but updated frequently. This seems to get the best support, repeat visitors and conversion to sales. Hitting sites with hundreds or thousands of articles or blogs just drives people away. Focus the content to most relevant so timely and interesting. Also, most people want to find what they are looking for in 2-3 clicks… they don’t hang around to scroll and click to find stuff. Lawton Howell

  • Content or Ads?
    Both are written in order to market goods and services.

    The difference is simply in the level of information and hype. As hype goes down and information goes up, the product benefits are given in a sincere and informative approach.

    Content marketing builds trust, and branding, but also because it gives authoritative and credible information concerning the benefits of goods and services, it also is an excellent tool for lead generation within a specifically targeted market.

    Frank Reed is correct, success in content marketing requires the same skills as success in any other endeavor, including defining a goal and being able to test the results.

  • The biggest obstacle to doing content marketing is time. It just takes a lot of time to do it right, whether it’s creating the material or posting it to sites. It has to be done right and it has to be done on a regular basis. Consistency is very important.

  • Rad post Frank.

    It can be pretty depressing sometimes working your ass off putting out great blog posts and tweeting like a maniac, then feeling like you’re talking to yourself. As you say it’s all about persistence though – probably more importantly though it’s important to keep changing things up. If you’re working like crazy and getting no where you’re obviously not spending your times on the right things – time for a change up.

    Cheers mate.

  • As Ed said, content marketing is a great way build brand trust and provide an authoritative voice. It’s also a great way to further educate your consumers about not only your product, but about your company’s topic of interest. You shouldn’t always feel like you must talk about your brand. Your customers want to hear about other interesting things that are going on in your industry.

    Also, content marketing is not only about what you write. 3rd party “earned media” is just as important, and carries a lot of weight with your customers. A positive review from another blogger or publication can go a long way.

    Search and social are definitely important in growing your traffic and Outbrain is quickly becoming a key traffic driver for many content marketers (publishers and brands). Having your content placed in alongside editorial content on some of the largest publishers on the web is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your site or earned media. 🙂

    VP, Marketing

  • The social media marketing movement has the marketing world reconsidering everything and that’s a good thing. While progress is usually a good thing, it can create some friction that didn’t exist previously thus giving marketers fits.