Content Distribution, Content Promotion

In an increasingly buyer driven environment where prospects negotiate a large part of the sales funnel on their own, it is pretty obvious why using content engagement to ingratiate and promote one’s own brand is no longer negotiable. Unfortunately it is this increasingly black and white, clear as the day realization that has toppled the proverbial apple cart as companies try and pass off self promoting content under increasingly new niches that are thinly disguised as content marketing.

Is content marketing really very different from advertising?

We all agree that the whole point of content marketing is to position “neutral” or brand / vendor agnostic information that serves an identified customer need. And that if it comes across as self serving in any way, it is useless, possibly even worse than an unabashed advertisement since it appears to “deceive”. But even when we do our very best to stay relevant and un-sale-sy from a technical standpoint, content written specifically with the purpose of “netting” a share of the consumer wallet vibes and feels very different from words of advice from a helpful friend. Regardless, every company has the right AND the duty to be profitable and that extends to their content department as well. Writers need to be compensated according to their output both in terms of quality and quantity for the system to work but unfortunately, it is the very metrics of compensation that dilute the credibility and therefore the impact of the written word.

Now, savvy companies understand the basic conundrum that this presents which summed up is as follows:

A good content promotion campaign needs finely orchestrated resources and therefore the ultimate expectation of returns BUT admitting or even “letting on” any aspect of the planning involved, production process and its need to generate ROI to readers undermines the veracity and therefore the value of that content.

  • You TRUST a can of Coke to taste good after you pay for it because offering you a great tasting product in no way gets in the way of their objective to be profitable.
  • You DO NOT TRUST Coke to tell you the effect of soft drinks on obesity because you suspect (and rightly so) that they would never share information or spend money on research that cuts into their growth and profits.

To cut a long story short, content needs to be seen as organically generated for it to be trustworthy and content engines break that very premise, defeating the very purpose of the exercise. No wonder more and more content managers are stuck going around in circles chasing their tail.

The Tipping Point

To avoid getting entangled into ethical issues, I think as a very first step, it is best to restrict yourself to issues that you can address honestly without compromising your business. So, yes, I would not recommend obesity studies to soft drink brands or world peace to arms dealers. If this part sucks, everything else always will – The consumer can only believe as much as you do. Usually far less.

But once you find an information need that relates positively to your brand, you need to find an expert who has the know-how to address it and keep him as far away from the accounting department as possible. DO NOT under any circumstances pay him by the word or hour or, heavens (!) introduce him to the sales team!  Some great metrics include session time, pages read, shares, comments, retweets and other more sophisticated paid tools to gauge progress or failure. Also, if you noticed, I did not use the word “writer” – English is more of a hygiene issue; It needs to be clear enough to get the point across but beyond a point you don’t need to be Shakespeare to get the point across.

Now I know most companies may not immediately subscribe to such a contrarian approach to writer compensation but at what point does the boat tip over and the content promotion cycle one of absolute futility? I think it happens when we happily pay other people unconnected with our brand and unconcerned with our customers to tell our stories for us.

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Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Partner, VP of Audience Native Advertising Institute
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
Gini Dietrich CEO Arment Dietrich
Jason Falls Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
Joe Beccalori CEO Interact Marketing
Douglas Karr Founder & CEO MarTech.zone & DK New Media
Brianne Carlon Rush Content Director Kuno Creative
Janine Popick Co-founder & CMO Dasheroo
Arnie Kuenn CEO Vertical Measures
Pam Didner Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
Chirag Ahuja Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
Erik Deckers Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
Bernie Borges CEO Find and Convert
Jessica Stephenson VP Marketing ExactHire
Michael Ferrari Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
Larry Alton Freelance Writer and Editor
David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media
Kelsey Libert Marketing VP & Partner Frac.tl
Dan Steiner Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
Joydeep Bhattacharya Relevance Contributor SEOsandwitch.com
Jonah Bliss Founder CMO ContentIntent
Andrea Lehr Promotions Supervisor Fractl
Fernando Labastida Co-Founder Content Propulsion
Dan Moyle Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
Dennis Yu Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
Arnaud Roy VP Marketing Augure
John Rugh Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
Justin Spicer Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
Michael Becker Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
Anna Johansson Freelance Writer
Amanda DiSilvestro Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
Sujay Maheshwari Founder & CEO Netcurate.com
Kelly Coulter Online Marketing Strategist
Taylor Radey Senior Consultant PR 20/20
Rodger Johnson Public Relations Leader & Consultant
Simon Penson Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media
Danielle Wolter Nolan Co-Owner
Fernando Cuscuela Founder & CEO Everypost
Kelly Smith Content Manager CourseFinder
John McTigue EVP Kuno Creative
Yogita Arora Content Strategist Zoomph
Jordan Teicher Associate Editor Contently
Jonathan Crowl Digital Marketing Writer & Editor
Brian Honigman Marketing Consultant, Writer & Professional Speaker Skyword
Katherine Halek Content Strategist Signazon.com
Amanda Drinker Dooley Community Product Marketing Manager Netline
Anton Rius Digital Marketing Consultant More Than Metrics
Matthew Zajechowski Outreach Manager Digital Third Coast
Kevin Bailey Co-founder DigitalRelevance
Peter Chen Digital Marketing Consultant DigitalRelevance
Luana Spinetti Multi-Specialized Freelancer
Kyle Harper Writer Skyword
Elad Natanson Founder appnext
Maël Roth Content & Inbound Marketer Park7
Quin Woodward Pu Marketing Director Audienti
Greg Shuey Co-Founder Stryde
Jean Bansemer CEO My Web Writers
Owen Andrew Journalist
Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel

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