Now that the planning and prediction posts have settled down I’ve found myself reminiscing about 2006.
The first tweets were being tweeted, and we were all lamenting along to the song "Bad Day," but I was a bit distracted. Early that year I joined an agency startup built on the premise of value-based PR and marketing, and then shortly afterward, got married.
Life has thrown several curveballs in one decade of marriage (shocking, I know), and I'm now well into the throes of a corporate leadership gig. On the content marketing front? I’m still lovingly devoted to the same ideals from back then:
To Have and To Hold
Content marketing is a verb to me. It’s not a strategy; it’s a behavior, a mindset, and a passion put to practice.
It’s the value you’re willing GIVE, without a contract to RECEIVE (time, dollars, endorsement).
Its success is measured in YES or NO. Consumed or ignored. Action taken, or not.
It’s permeable and simple, yet overwhelming to put to paper and execute. Not to mention the challenge of gaining the influence to shift time, dollars and human resources.
Back in the day, our team at the time tried to spread the message to clients in the homegrown manner to which they could relate. Today, the team behind the PR 20/20 blog has it rightfully ranked among the top content marketing resources out there.
Joe Pulizzi brought it mainstream to the masses, along with the forums for like-minded marketers to mingle. Technologies caught up and soon content marketing had the mass to make it movement-worthy.
Earlier in my career I read article-upon-article on the subject, to learn the angles, tips, tools, and know-how. It got noisy somewhere along the way. I was already all-in, seeking ways to help influence those I served to shift their thinking.
My personal answer wasn’t to absorb more. It was simply to roll up my sleeves, put my fingers to the keyboard, and do the hard work that’s required. Write, create, rework, repeat.
With time and persistence I had small wins, and then growth, until it became the core behavior I applied to all of the marketing disciplines I manage.
In Good Times and Bad
Every day there are new folks saddled with impossible growth goals and mounting marketing responsibilities. Ready for a change and primed for disruption, or possibly after reading just one article they saw on LinkedIn, they become enlightened to content marketing and the new disciples of the cause.
And then, no matter how many times they’ve been told to “start with why,” they skip right to the “how” and “what,” and meet a frustrating fate of analysis paralysis. Been there one too many times myself.
The truth is that contenting marketing is a reflection of doing good business, delivered in a tangible, creative way. There are no shortcuts and nowhere to hide. There is no end because there are always new people to engage, and new ideas to explore.
It takes adopting the mindset of an owner and a customer (simultaneously) and producing work in a focused and purposeful manner, to get campaigns off the ground and through the clutter.
The opportunities never stop, so neither can our devotion.
As Long as Content Shall Live
It’s been said, ad nauseam, that content marketing has been a game-changer. Anyone immersed in it will be familiar with the John Deere “Furrow” case studyof 1895, and then there is, you know, the Bible. It may not be new, but it is certainly still shiny.
At its very core, content marketing is about behavior change, and thus why we are still busy talking about it in 2016, when it should be the very air we breathe as marketers and communicators. There is still much work to do, from the mom and pop shops, to global consumer brands, and all of us in-between.
Whether you’ve been content marketing five decades, five months, or five minutes, let’s renew our commitment to continually enhance brand experiences with all of our stakeholders: prospects, clients, employees, leaders and our communities at-large.
If I’m lucky in life, I’ll continue to feel the butterflies and have another 10 years to figure it out…content marketing, that is.
The marriage, mortgage and kid stuff? That's one case study that will always be my proudest work-in-progress.
This is post 1 of 2 of my content marketing reflections posts. For even more metaphors and idioms jam-packed into one article, view “Ten Years' Content Marketing And All I Got Was This Top Ten Post.”
Christina Capadona-Schmitz (@ChristinaCS & @DownWithSpitUp) leads marketing communications for Oswald Companies, a risk management and financial services company in Cleveland, Ohio. She is on the clock 24/7 with other creative pursuits and community endeavors. Connect with her at www.ChristinaCSMedia.com.