There has been a flurry of discussions around content marketing. Is it worth investing in? How much resources do I need to allocate? Why does Miley Cyrus keep appearing in my Facebook newsfeed?
First, a quick definition of content marketing: Content marketing is the development and distribution of relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage consumers. Simply put, content marketing is creating content your audience actually want to consume as opposed to just blasting them with advertising over and over again.
Here are three things you need to know:
Calm the hell down -- content marketing is a thing.
Debating the relevance of content marketing is kind of like arguing whether Cookie Monster has emotional eating problems. Content marketing is here for the simple fact that consumers want to be entertained with more than just direct advertising. Think of it from your own perspective. Would you rather get served an ad that just talked about a brand's attributes or would you rather see something you actually wanted to watch that also had subtle messaging about the product? IE would you rather see a commercial about a vacuum cleaner or would you rather see Grumpy Cat perched on top of said vacuum cleaner? Acknowledge content marketing is here and move on.
Sorry, there's no formula.
Whenever a new trend emerges there are always a group of douchebags that will try and play upon people's fear and ignorance by claiming they have the magic keys to the social media kingdom. If you ever come across a social media guru, a Pinterest wizard or a Tumblr clairvoyant, run the hell away. Sure, there are best practices, but the real trick to content marketing is to focus your energy on making good content. Does your audience want to see what you're making? Does it add value to their life and will they actually want to share it? If you're trying to game the system you've already lost the battle.
Real-time isn't the holy grail.
Is relevant content important? Hell yes. Is being the first to post about the royal baby vital? Maybe. The trick to content marketing isn't to focus on being relevant to the entire world, it's being relevant to YOUR audience. Knowing if your audience cares that you put a lot of effort into making an Oscars post will go a long way. When you don't fully understand what your audience cares about the results are pretty messy.
Content marketing is here to stay because people expect good content. And that's not a bad thing.