The Great Shift from “Blogging” to “Content Marketing” has Arrived

by Marcus Sheridan

Joe Pulizzi

Sporting an orange astronaut suit, Joe Pulizzi welcomes the crowd at Content Marketing World 2011

As many of you know, the word blog has been bothering for quite some time. In fact, when I take a look at the entire English vernacular, “blog” might be the first word I’d elect to have a “do-over” with so as to go back in time and make it sound much more relevant.

If you really look at it, the word “blog” is way too generic, as it doesn’t come close to defining the actual type or classification in the first place. In other words, I classify most “blogs” into 4 main areas: (Note: These are very general definitions, as there is a lot of cross-over and grey area here.)

1. Personal blogs: Essentially, an online journal where you talk about your life and mainly seek to build “community” or “conversation”, with a low priority on generating profits through said blog.

2. Blogger Blogs: OK, this is my word for it, but this group consists mainly of the folks that are talking about making money online and discussing how to blog as a solopreneur for a profit.

3. News/Aggregate Blogs: The Mashables and Drudge Reports of the world.

4. Business Blogs: Ranging from real “Mom and Pop” shops to large corporations, these blogs are meant to increase a company’s brand, lead generation, and ultimately profits.

The Shift

When I first started The Sales Lion, this blog was a little bit of #1, #2, and #4. But as I’ve taken this journey, I’ve been more and more drawn to #4, as my desire to help businesses small and large around the globe seems to have increased exponentially over these last 3 years.

But frankly, every time I’ve discussed this subject of blogging for business I’ve been battling with the vernacular that has developed within this crazy world of social media, digital, and business. Should I use the word “blog”? Business blog? Or how about “content marketing”?

The problem is, up to this point, the ideal phrase—content marketing—simply didn’t have enough traction within the vernacular that is business and marketing, and would cause too much confusion with readers.

But over the last 12 months, a truly amazing shift in this pattern has occurred. For almost a decade now, Joe Pulizzi and the people of the Content Marketing Institute have been using the word “content marketing” in all of their messaging. As the pioneers of this phrase, they also established the first true, hard-core content marketing event in the world last year—the hit that was Content Marketing World.

A New Chapter

But today, no longer is Joe Pulizzi a guy standing on the rooftops all by himself, screaming the phrase that is content marketing. Major marketing/business blogs have all embraced the phrase and become missionaries as well, as a visible shift from using the word “blog” to instead implementing “content marketing” has been prolific—with the likes of CopyBlogger, Social Media Examiner, Convince and Convert, and many others making it a major focus of much of their work.

For me, as someone who thinks about and observes this stuff day in and day out, noticing this shift pick up so much steam over the last 12 months has been truly fascinating. Without question, the phrase “content marketing” has become the accepted term for businesses that not only blog—but put out information to consumers in a variety of manners—be it textual, photo, video, etc.

I’m not saying here the word “blog” will ever be extinct, even in the business sense, but my point here is that we’re all developing and it’s almost as if we’ve finished reading chapter 1 of the book “Information Age” and are now starting chapter 2—the one called “content marketing.”

As for chapter 3 & 4, I have no idea what to expect, but you can be rest assured I’ll be along for the ride, and I hope you’ll be there with me. :-)

Your Turn:

I’m curious to know your take on this. Have you also seen a shift from using the word blog to instead the more encompassing “content marketing”, or do you feel that the phrase still has a long way from being recognized by most businesses small and large?

Jump in folks, look into the future and tell me what you see.

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