Content Marketing an evolution or revolution?I recently read an indignant post on LinkedIn from an old school marketer bemoaning the idea that content marketing is a new thing. He was thumbing his nose at colleagues who suggested that content marketing is new, arguing that it has been around since the dawn of time, and was just a fancy new label for something marketers have always done.

There were many hilarious responses to this post and it made me pause. Is content marketing an evolution or revolution?

Joe Pulizzi, speaker, author, and founder of Content Marketing Institute, has a great definition for content marketing…

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

If we remove the first part of the statement, one could argue that any form of marketing is meant to drive profitable customer action, so the outcome is not new. It’s the beginning of the definition that appeals to me and hence why content marketing is a revolution:

  • A business process for creating and distributing valuable content

I see too many business-to-business companies today lacking a measurable and repeatable business process for creating valuable content for their customers. I say a revolution is needed. It’s time we stopped guessing at what might work in copy or what content we think a prospect may need to enter the sales process, and build measurable and repeatable processes for lead generation and lead nurturing using relevant content.

In fact, we are so committed to this idea at Marketing CoPilot that we have partnered with Georgian College and the National Research Council to conduct an online survey that will get at the heart of this topic. What do buyers need on a website in order to help them in the buying process?

Here is what makes content marketing a revolution.

The internet has forced us for the first time in the history of marketing to be accountable for brand, content and experience. We can’t hide any longer behind bad content, bad brand or a bad buying experience just because we are selling something. Buyers have demanded more. They want better content, a better understanding of your brand and a better experience to buy something. They have lots of choice and they are in control. Content marketing is a revolution because buyers have demanded it be.

Here is what content does for your company like it never has before:

  1. It creates an emotional bridge between you and your customers.
  2. It helps people make better decisions.
  3. Content makes a difference to your business – those with good content win.

Revolutions change the game. They change the story and they change the process. If you believe you can keep doing what you have always done, just a little more, a little louder or on more channels (like social media), you will fail. Taking a broken process and evolving it only creates a more broken processThe process you are taking to develop, plan and execute your content strategy is what needs to be revolutionary.

Start with your buyer as the definitive guide to developing content that engages and supports a step in the buying process. Do the heavy lifting by:

  1. Getting a firm grasp on your value proposition – one that can be tested and proven.
  2. Complete a customer scorecard to understand who is buying from you and why.
  3. Build a buyer roadmap with documented buyer persona’s to understand the decision criteria and barriers to buying a product or service like yours.
  4. Develop a researched and documented keyword strategy of possible topics people search for to guide the content development.
  5. Build an editorial calendar with dates and responsibilities to ensure you are testing and tracking every piece of content you offer to the world.
  6. Track all content back to sales goals and ask yourself, “is this working?”

Content marketing is a revolution.

Content marketing is challenging the status quo. It forces us to challenge assumptions about who our content is really for and supported by data, creates data points that help us refine what we are doing. As a marketer who has been at this for 30 years, we are on the verge of a brave new world. One where evidence-based marketing will help us win and drive real growth for our companies.

It is time for radical and persuasive change in content development. It’s time for content marketing.