Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence
Courtesy of BoSacks and The Precision Media Group 
America's Oldest e-newsletter est.1993

BoSacks Speaks Out:  Here is a very interesting dialog written years apart and totally separately from two friends. Deaddy Tree starts it off, and then I have re-posted an old post (2008) from Rex Hammock on the same subject which finishes off the discussion of Content Marketing very nicely. Rex and I were tweeting just yesterday on this subject. 
Here are two of my tweets on Content Marketing:
@Bosacks Is content marketing an umbrella term for all marketing? Is everything content marketing? If so it's too broad a term for me  
@BoSacks I agree with Rex -"It's (now) a meaningless term that has been hijacked by last year's social media gurus and SEO ninjas." 
And also thanks to Rex's 2008 posting he included a truly wonderful statement on the topic of the term "content" from the philosopher Doc Searls 
"Stop calling everything 'content.' It's a bullshit word that the dot-commers started using back in the '90s as a wrapper for everything that could be digitized and put online. It's handy, but it masks and insults the true nature of writing, journalism, photography, and the rest of what we still, blessedly (if adjectivally) call 'editorial.' Your job is journalism, not container cargo."

Amen says bosacks, I have tried but never said it better than the Doc. 
-30 -

PS: Honest to Guttenberg, you are missing a lot of great stuff if you are not following my tweets. Follow me on Twitter

Publishing Without Profits: What's Behind the Content Marketing Craze?

BY D. Eadward Tree




Though the publishing industry isn't exactly booming these days, the hottest trend in marketing is for non-publishing companies to act like publishers.

Consider that Citibank is posting articles like 5 Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Actually Eat- not what you expect to find on a bank's web site.

Or that retailers like Walmart, Target, and Walgreens recently launched or are launching magazines primarily to enhance their brands.

Or that content marketing - AKA brand journalism - is taking a growing share of what non-publishing companies are spending on marketing.

It's no accident that one of the leading books on the trend is Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher. It explores how non-publishing companies can use "words, images and multimedia to systematically enhance consumer engagement and conversion rates." (Note: It does notaddress such key publishing tactics as stating inflated prices on a ratecard, debating whether print is dead, or blaming all problems on the circulation department).

Many content marketers follow the 4-to-1 rule of thumb: publish four non-promotional items for every one that mentions the company's products or services. But some eschew any promotional copy and focus only on establishing their companies as "thought leaders": You have to look closely to see who is sponsoring sites like OPEN Forum (American Express),HouseLogic (National Association of Realtors), or especially Brighter Life(Sun Life Financial).



Publishing Executive just published in its January 2013 issue my article, "The Content Marketing Craze: 7 Ways Publishers Can Fight Back," which explores how traditional publishers can respond to the challenges presented by so many companies vying for our readers' attention.

But why are profitable non-publishing brands emulating Newsweek - pouring millions of dollars into creating content without much of a revenue model? Here are seven reasons content marketing, which has been around in various forms for decades, is suddenly booming:

  1. The Web: In the pre-internet days, freedom of the press applied mostly to those who owned a printing press. Now everyone can be a publisher. 
  2. Social media: Who would think of turning to an insurance company to read about The Year's Most Inspiring Athletes or a deodorant to see Seriously Dangerous Snowboard Stunts? It doesn't matter. With Facebook, Twitter and other social media now rivaling search engines as the means for discovering information on the Web, relevant content can find an audience that wasn't even looking for it. 
  3. Search engines: Algorithm enhancements have made search engines less prone to being tricked by keyword stuffing, link baiting, and other gimmicks. Now they look for quality, which means real people spending time on a page, sharing it with others, and linking to it. Acting like a publisher has become one of the best ways to get "Google love." 
  4. Consumer changes: With so much information at their fingertips, both consumers and businesses are doing more research these days before making purchasing decisions. When considering potential vendors, I often look at their blogs, news releases, Twitter feeds, etc. to get insights on their expertise and mindset. 
  5. Banner blindness: Ads in print publications tend to be part of the reading experience; they're noticed without being intrusive. But, unless they're really obnoxious, Web ads are easier to block out, causing many brands to look for more engagement with consumers rather than just shouting "Buy!" at them. 
  6. Measurability: Determining whether branding efforts are working is a notoriously difficult process. After all, what value did the U.S. Postal Service gain from the $30 million or so it spent sponsoring Lance Armstrong and his teammates? (Maybe USPS should get Lance to do ads promoting mail-order drugs.) At least with content marketing, companies have metrics like page views and social-media shares that enable them to figure out which content reaches the most people. 
  7. It's hot: "Clients come to me saying they need a content campaign -- that's a solution. When we ask, 'What's the problem?,' often it's that every other CMO [Chief Marketing Officer] has one," Kyle Monson, founder of a content strategy agency, told Ad Age recently. Bob Hoffman, a content-marketing skeptic who blogs as "The Ad Contrarian", puts it more succinctly, "There's no bigger sucker than a gullible marketer convinced he's missing a trend." 



Why I don't like or use the term 'content marketing' (except when a potential client wants some)

Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 

by Rex Hammock



It's true, I'm not a fan of the term "content marketing" and would never* apply that term to the work I do. That said, I really like some people who are evangelizing the use of the term "content marketing" who have honored this blog with a high ranking on a new list of bloggers who write about what they believe the term describes (more on that in a minute).


So since I'm an accidental (but appreciative) "content marketing" blogger, I'd like to use this new authority to explain fully why I don't like or use the term "content marketing" except when a potential client is using it to describe something they'd like to hire my firm to do. (The same is true for "Web 2.0" or any other term I may accidentally be associated with.)


See, I have a problem with the word content when used to describe what I create. I believe using the word "content" voluntarily to describe what I do insults the talent, skill, creativity and craft that goes into the media my colleagues and I create and manage in collaboration with our clients. I believe the term "content marketing" makes it sound like I'm marketing a service to shovel out some commodity created primarily to fill up space or time. Creating "content" is not what we do. Helping tell brand stories. Adding value to products. Encouraging loyalty or involvement. Educating. Activating. Those are the things the talented individuals at our company do with and for the talented individuals who are our clients. "Generating content" is absolutely the least valuable of all the services we provide. And I say that knowing the "content" we create is consistently judged to be among the best "content" created by people at companies like ours.


Longtime readers of this blog know my go-to muse on the topic of the term "content" is the philosopher Doc Searls who summarizes everything I believe when he says (and I'm leaving it precisely in his vernacular)"Stop calling everything 'content.' It's a bullshit word that the dot-commers started using back in the '90s as a wrapper for everything that could be digitized and put online. It's handy, but it masks and insults the true nature of writing, journalism, photography, and the rest of what we still, blessedly (if adjectivally) call 'editorial.' Your job is journalism, not container cargo."


End of rant.


I need to be very clear: I have nothing personal against my friends and industry colleagues who want to use the term "content marketing" to describe a business category. I don't use the term - but I'm not leading any faction that's "anti-" anything. I'm for whatever anyone can do to let marketers know there are companies out there who can help them create and manage media used in building brands and creating communities. And I'm honored that my weblog is ranked #13 on the new Junta 42 Top Content Marketing Blogs. And I'm (big surprise here) enough of a self-promoter to encourage people to go there and "vote" (hitch) this blog up the list. And I'm also enough of a search-engine geek to know that if the marketplace wants to call the business I'm in "content marketing," then I'm not going to try to hide from the term when potential clients are searching for it. So, "content marketing" searchers, head right over to Hammock.com if you're looking for a company that can help you solve any editorial or graphic design or video or online content marketing needs you may have. Anything not involving container cargo ship content, in other words.


Oh, and another thing: if you haven't fallen asleep yet, you must actually be interested in "content marketing" (or custom media, customer media, custom publishing, customer media, conversational media, conversation marketing, etc.) so let me also point you to a new weblog on Hammock.com called Custom Media Craft. It's tightly focused on the "crafts" used in our development and management of brand story telling. Oh, wait. Another term for another post.


*(Updated on 12.04.2009) After a couple of years, I've given up on this battle. Hammock is a content marketing company for all of the reasons I've explained here. I don't care what you call us, just call us.



bo"The Industry that Vents Together Stays Together"  
Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"  =======================================
All news items and the various opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the opinion of, nor in agreement with the opinions of BoSacks. They are just interesting thoughts and other opinions that BoSacks thinks you should know about.  
After all, as the Japanese proverb goes: 
"If you believe everything you read, perhaps you better not read." 

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