by Tim Moran, Editor in Chief, CMO.com
“Content marketing” means many things to many marketing people. In its simplest terms, it involves the creation and dissemination of original and ostensibly valuable “content”—as opposed to typical sales hype and pitches—to customers and potential customers. According to Wikipedia—always an interesting go-to site to measure the zeitgeist of a particular subject—the purpose of content marketing “is not to spout the virtues of the marketer’s own products or services, but to inform target customers and prospects about key industry issues, sometimes involving the marketer’s products. The motivation behind content marketing is the belief that educating the customer results in the brand’s recognition as a thought leader and industry expert.”
In the old days of print, content marketing took the form of “advertorials”; today it can mean anything from whitepapers, webinars, and email to full-blown Web sites.
A correlative aspect of content marketing—especially when combined with the creation of a Web site that’s separate and unique from the corporate site—is the notion of “content curation.” Content curation, according to Pawan Deshpande, founder and CEO of content-curation company HiveFire, is “the process of finding, organizing, and sharing online content [and it] has become a mainstream marketing tactic.” In fact, for many companies eager to get involved in content marketing, yet unsure about how to get started, a content-curation strategy could be the perfect form of entry.
The existence of the site I oversee for Adobe Systems, CMO.com, is a perfect case in point. We began a few years ago aggregating content from all around the Web specifically for our target audience: chief marketing officers. The idea was to create a site that would provide valuable digital marketing news and insights for the CMO. Lacking staff and budget, we aggregated—a.k.a. “curated”—content from all of the best digital marketing sites from around the Web, thereby providing CMOs with a one-stop shop for such content—all without any direct connection to Adobe products.
As the site gained traction, and readers and subscribers grew in number, we began to create our own content, which came from top writers in the industry (on assignment), agencies, companies, industry groups, and others. We like to think that our reader base thinks of CMO.com as the trusted—and independent—source for collected information about digital marketing on the Web.
And we are not alone. A recent report from HiveFire (registration required) suggests that “almost half of marketers (48%) now have a content-curation program in place to find, organize and share online content.” The literature about content curation and content marketing is voluminous, and a quick search of CMO.com will provide you with a solid start to learn more. And CMO.com is in no way alone in this endeavor: Others, such as Cisco’s The Network, Colgate’s Oral and Dental Health Resource Center, and Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Bio-IT World Weekly—both in B2B and B2C—are beginning to do some similar and exciting things in this area.
So as the old year draws to a close and you are beginning to think about content-marketing strategies for 2012, give yourself and your company a little holiday present by seriously considering how a content-curation strategy could be included in your new year plans. While the direct benefits might, at first, be hard to quantify, there is no doubt it will deliver rewards to your business—and your customers’ perception of your business—that you never envisioned. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.