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 1.  Let’s stop calling it “content marketing”

Of course we’re proud of our Cleveland bros at Penton Custom Media who coined the brilliant term “content marketing” back in 2001. But come on, people, it’s time to treat it as more than just a cute lil’ buzzword.

After all, “content marketing” by definition is the ability to create and distribute relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your target audience, and ultimately, to drive measurable action (e.g., leads, conversions, engagement, web traffic, etc.).

Call us crazy, but isn’t this what all marketing in today’s digital age needs to do in order for your company to survive and thrive? So maybe it’s time we start taking it more seriously. And stop thinking of it as just an “add on” or something your CEO’s nephew handles because “he gets social.” (No offense, Tyler.) Maybe it’s time we rebrand “content marketing” and give this 18-year-old buzzword a more mature, grown-up name like, umm, let’s say… “marketing”?

2.  Let’s start with strategy, not “stuff.”

Did you hear voice control, search, and micro-influencers are all the rage this year? And video tweets attract 10x more engagement than tweets without video? And email newsletters are making a comeback as an important nurturing vehicle? (Hooray, this 13-year-old, weekly, electronic newsletter is totally rad, again!!!) Did you also hear only 46% of marketers have a documented strategy in place? Wait, what?!

Before you jump to tactics or the latest shiny, new media channel, let’s start with defining and developing a few important things like: your business goals, vision, mission, brand positioning, promise, personality, voice, target audience, your target’s media consumption habits, distribution channels, success metrics, editorial calendar, content pillars, etc.

Finally, don’t forget to ask yourself two very important questions (that happen to rhyme): “Will anyone care? Will anyone share?” If the answers are “no” and “no,” do not proceed to the next point. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200. The last thing you want to do is spend countless hours and money pumping out endless, invisible content.

3.  Let’s end with interesting, endless content…

… and REALLY smart distribution, constant monitoring, and ongoing optimization. Because marketing in today’s world is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not a one-and-done, set-it-and-forget-it traditional campaign. And it’s definitely not a simple linear “customer journey” that ends with a transaction at the bottom of a poorly designed, PowerPoint marketing funnel.

But rather, it’s a never-ending conversation where our job as marketers is to earn our audience’s attention, and ultimately, their trust and loyalty. Like Southwest creating a site called Transfarency that gives travelers tips to outsmart other airlines’ silly fees.

Obviously, to succeed in this brave, new marketing world requires persistence. Bold thinking. Strategic connections planning. Analytics. Technical expertise. And consistently great, authentic content (not CLICK BAIT). And let’s be honest, it takes people who know how to get sh#t done. (p.s. have you met Ted yet?)


Here’s to rising above in 2019 (and getting sh#t done like Ted).

– Your friends at Brokaw

It’s time we rebrand “content marketing” and give this 18-year-old buzzword a more mature, grown-up name like, umm, let’s say… “marketing”?

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