Content Marketing? Just Deliver Content People Want

I’ve recently participated in a number of interviews and one common question is asked repeatedly: what is content marketing? I know there are a million ways to answer it, but to me the simplest reply is: just deliver content people want!

One thing that I find really rewarding is seeing a young professional, with a ton of talent, and the courage to participate in the conversations we are all having around the changing nature of marketing. So I was happy to participate in this interview with a local graduate student Julie Long.

Julie is a creative marketing specialist at QVC, a Board Member of my town’s local public library and she is a student ambassador for West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications Program.

Julie Long:  “As a content marketing evangelist, what lessons or best practices can you provide IMC students who are looking to bring content marketing into their organizations?”

“Content Marketing starts with a basic desire to understand what your audience is looking for. So be constantly looking for the insights into what content people want, on what channels, in what forms. But creating and delivering that content isn’t enough. You need to be able to show how the traffic you earn can translate into business results.”

Julie Long:  “If you had to describe content marketing in only five words, which words would you choose?”

Julie Long: “As IMC practitioners, we strategically craft campaigns that will resonate with customers across all distribution touch points. Where do you see content marketing falling within the IMC strategic communication planning process?”

“Content marketing can never be a campaign. I actually think content marketing delivers on the promise of integrated marketing communications in a way no other approach has before this. IMC starts with understanding the target audience (who they are and what they want), then delivering across all the channels where they search for it. Content marketing could be defined in exactly the same way.”

Julie Long: What skills do you look for when hiring content marketers? Do you look for growth hackers or another skill set entirely?

“I totally look for growth hackers. I don’t care what you know. I look for the desire to learn. Curiosity. An appreciation of looking at the numbers or doing the research or asking questions. And the ability to GSD (Get um, Stuff Done).”

Julie Long:  “PR companies like GolinHarris have realigned their company structure to account for the 24-7 connected consumer business model through the creation of holistic engagement centers. What role do you think content marketing has specifically played in helping to change the PR industry?”

“I think the PR industry is in trouble because it is struggling to define itself in a world that avoids spin and smartly crafted messages. We are too smart. We can smell spin and promotion from a mile away. That’s why the new age of PR has to be about activating employees, not just executives.”

Colin Haas: “What one emerging media are you most excited about for B2B? What about B2C?”

“I’m amazed at the amount of video we are projected to be consuming in the next few years. Cisco projects as much as 90% of the traffic over the internet in just a few years will be video. I think both B2B and B2C companies should be looking at their ability to deliver production-quality videos that entertain people. I believe in 10 years brands will either have purchased or built entire production studios to rival the biggest names you see today.”

Colin Haas: “What would you tell those companies that feel social isn’t relevant to their business or industry?

“I would tell them to wake up. Everyone who is buying anything is on social. It is a fact. It doesn’t mean people buy ball bearings on Facebook. But the people who do, use Facebook. They are people. Brands need to be where their customers are. As our CMO likes to say, buildings don’t buy things, people do. And we are all using social.”

I would also like to thank WVU IMC Graduate student, Colin Haas, for providing additional questions. Please share your content marketing and growth hacker examples in the comments section below.

* This post was originally created as a profile piece for the WVU IMC blog and re-posted to SteamFeed.

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.