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 employeriCrossing 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 anoteworthy 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.
Co-creation is the future of marketing. As my colleagues at iCrossing discussed in a white paper last year, both brands and consumers are acting like their own media now, with access to the same tools to publish their own ideas year-round. So it’s only natural that those two worlds would converge. Content co-creation occurs in a few important ways: