My feeling is that content marketing is what social was four years, what video was eight years ago when YouTube came in, or display advertising 12 years ago. It’s now content marketing’s time to own the conversation, and it affects us in the video world as well.
So again, what is it? Here are two ways of looking at content marketing:
Advertisers become publishers
Let’s say Nike wants to sell its new light shoes online. Traditionally, Nike would decide on the budget and targeting, and eventually users would see something such as a banner on a page with an image of Nike’s ad. What’s the goal? Click the banner and buy a shoe. Today, advertisers are becoming far more sophisticated. Seriously, when was the last time you clicked on a banner? Yeah, that’s right.
Instead, how about if Nike strategists were to write about things they believe in as a company, share their vision, or better -- the values of their products -- versus actually showing the product. Imagine a video interview about an ordinary runner, like you or me, talking about how cool it is to have “light shoes, ” purposely never mentioning Nike even once. Amazing. If you could educate people that light shoes matter, people would check to see if a well-known brand like Nike has the product. I never clicked on a banner, but I would absolutely watch that video interview, and perhaps over time buy a light shoe. That’s content marketing.
Publishers become advertisers
Publishers historically used to sell real estate on their site to advertisers, and had marketing budget to promote their brand socially, on YouTube, banners, etc. However, imagine a world where publishers could show their vast huge catalog of content in a personalized way not only on their own site, but on other sites around the Web, thus “advertising” themselves.
Publishers have one thing that nobody else has – unique content that they produce. They’re the king -- a la “content is king.” Imagine that I could go to the Fox NY site (I live in NY) and see a recommended video from The Hollywood Reporter that I might like. Yet again – while I would never click on a banner I would totally click on one of THR.com’s interesting videos if I happened to be on Fox NY site and the video was relevant to me. In that way, THR would send out its #1 ambassador to appear on other sites around the Web and draw engaged users back to its content. That’s content marketing as well.