Is content marketing a misleading term?

is content marketing a misleading termI was just reading this interesting take on content marketing and content marketers. The author says that when the “content marketers” are charging $50 per blog post (what he means is they are just providing cheap writing labor) they are simply misleading the clients because the truth is that they have no idea what they are doing.

What should they be doing?

The author says that they should be helping their clients build their mailing lists because the money is in the mailing lists.

I agree with him that in most of the cases the “marketing” in “content marketing” is missing. Marketing, whether it is content marketing or traditional advertising, needs to make money, it needs to attract money, it needs to generate money.

I’m not sure if the author has some interest in mailing lists but I cannot disagree with him that one of the biggest purposes of content marketing should be building a robust mailing list. Other than that, it seems like a rant against the concept of using content for generating traffic. He is missing the point. Not about the so-called content marketers merely writing content, but about the entire concept of using content marketing for generating traffic.

You see, I agree that there is already lots of content on the Internet and many websites provide a ton of information to help you decide what you want to purchase and what you don’t want to purchase. But this information is on other websites not on your website so all the traffic is going to go to other websites and not your website.

There is lots of confusion when it comes to employing content marketing, but people don’t realize that confusion is also there when people use conventional advertising. In fact, conventional advertising is just like throwing darts in the darkness, hoping that some of the darts may hit the target. Yes, analytics have advanced a lot and every click and every entry into the website can be traced, but for a small business, it can turn out to be very expensive.

Why businesses that understand content marketing, use it?

  • To increase search engine rankings
  • To avoid PPC expense
  • To increase the authority of their brand
  • To inform and educate their customers and clients
  • To create presence on social media and social networking websites and apps
  • To build their own broadcasting platforms

I know some of these words may sound very big, but on the Internet, they are not. Remember there was a time when email used to be very geeky. Only engineers and scientists used to have email ids. These days even your dog may have an email id. What I’m saying is, even as a small business you can establish your authority or your brand’s authority and build your own broadcasting platform to increase your visibility.

Content marketing, of course, doesn’t just mean relentlessly publishing content. The “marketing” part is a big part. Marketing here doesn’t just mean you are marketing your content. It means you are using content for marketing. You are using content to increase your visibility. You are using content to improve your search engine rankings. You are using content to create a buzz around your brand, product or service. At the center of your marketing activities, lies your content. This is why it is called content marketing.

It is not, contrary to what the author of the above post has tried to establish, a snake oil remedy for the starry-eyed business owners. Billion-dollar businesses have been created around the business of content marketing.

Having said that, just like any other business branch, there are big players, there are smaller players and then there are players who are just goofing around hoping that they will make some money with little effort. This is not something specific to content marketing; these sorts of entrepreneurs are in every business.

So, if you are simply writing content for your clients, do you call yourself a content marketer? It depends. If you are

  • writing content
  • disseminating that content
  • coming up with new topic ideas
  • trying to make sure that the content that you create increases traffic for your client

then yes, you can call yourself a content marketer, because basically even when you are writing content, knowingly or unknowingly, you are helping your client market his business.

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