What is content marketing?


Occasionally I am asked how content marketing differs from other forms of building a brand. After all, doesn’t all marketing contain content of some sort?
Two recent blog posts I wrote for the iCrossing Content Lab illustrate how content marketing consists of building your brand by sharing useful ideas that engage  people. For instance, the February 15 post “How Clorox Used Content Marketing to Help Me Fix a Toilet” discusses a Clorox how-to video that rescued me from a plumbing problem (a perfect example of a brand engaging you by sharing a useful idea).
And on February 16, I reviewed a new Altimeter Group report that contains some excellent examples of how brands are applying content marketing, one of them being the case of Eloqua, which has differentiated itself through a compelling thought leadership program run by Joe Chernov.
My own employer iCrossing uses content marketing to build connected brands (or brands that build close relationships with consumers by being useful, usable, visible, desirable, and engaging). In 2011, iCrossing issued a noteworthy report designed to help companies become content publishers in real time, and then, as discussed here, iCrossing made a number of other moves to deepen its content marketing expertise, especially to help brands create more personal relationships with audiences. As a result of iCrossing’s commitment to building its own brand through useful content, Jeff Ernst of Forrester Research cited iCrossing as an example of how to differentiate through thought leadership.
I also recommend following the Content Marketing Institute to immerse yourself in content marketing.

What is content marketing? The future of marketing.

New Altimeter Group report challenges social software vendors to grow up


If you’ve ever felt that your company’s social media platforms have spiraled out of control, you are not alone. According to a new Altimeter Group report, brands manage an average of 178 discrete social media accounts such as YouTube channels and Facebook pages. The report, A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation, evaluates the equally complex web of software vendors designed to help brands manage their social spaces. The bottom line: the landscape for social media management systems is immature. Make sure you first have a well-defined social media strategy mapped to your business objectives before you attempt to hire a vendor.

“We see rapid growth in the market, yet no single solution stands out as able to satisfy all needs of mature buyers,” writes the report’s primary author, Jeremiah Owyang, after evaluating 27 social media management systems vendors such as Buddy Media and Engage121. In fact, the report classifies the marketplace as full of “immature vendors.”

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