Why It’s Time for the Content Marketing Haters to Move On in 2013

by Marcus Sheridan

hatersThere has been one constant to growth and evolution since the beginning of time:

Leaders of the previous generation are the slowest adopters of the next one.

Kmart did it. Henry Ford did it. Blockbuster did it. Kodak did it. Sears did it.

The list goes on and on.

The same holds true for those that now speak of “content marketing” as if it’s simply a buzzword and silly annoyance that will surely be washed away with the next high tide of marketing-speak.

Just look at the recent article in Forbes.com entitled Why I hate ‘Content Marketing’ and Blogger Outreach. In all frankness, I can’t believe this article made it past the editor’s desk, as the author understood what content marketing was about as well as I understand the rules of cricket—but truth be told the author had a journalism background and has allowed gross bias to fog his acceptance of an important and influential phrase that’s here to stay. In other words, if he doesn’t want to use the phrase, then fine, but why the attack? Heck, why the attack on any phrase being used in marketing realms, be it “inbound” or “digital” or “content” or any other metaphor we could surely come up with?

But this isn’t particular to the marketing and writing industry, it happens everywhere. To give you an example, 5 years ago swimming pool companies used to tease and talk-down fiberglass pools because they were still relatively new to the US market. Today, those same companies are eating their own words and selling fiberglass pools just as hard as they can. And why are they doing this? Because the public is informed and they now demand it.

Mark my words, the same people that want to poo-poo “content marketing” today will be using it in their occupational description tomorrow, as the momentum is now too great and the phrase will soon reach critical mass, infiltrating the vernacular of two main areas that tip everything when it comes to global business trends—colleges and small businesses—which will take it to the main stream just as “social media” became mainstream a few years back, at least in the vernacular sense of the word.

That’s why I think it’s time we stopped with this silly and petty debate. Instead of complaining about the phrase(s) used by the various groups, let’s focus on helping businesses learn how to use digital content to teach, inform, communicate, and garner consumer trust. If someone wants to call it “content,” then great. If they choose “inbound,” then good for them. Again, it’s not the actual word that matters, it’s whether or not the masses understand it.

After all, it ain’t about us “experts” and what we feel is kosher or acceptable phraseology. It’s about the consumer. And because they’ve spoken loudly in 2012 and will only increase their volume in 2013, it’s now time to move to the next phase of marketing’s evolution.

Agree? Disagree? Go ahead, speak your mind. :-)

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