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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still True: the more things change, the more they stay the same

A recent blog post from Ford Kanzler of Marketing/PR Savvy has been getting its fair share of attention on Twitter and the blogosphere.

Kanzler's post, "Content Marketing Has Been a Successful PR Strategy for Decades," makes the claim that the term Content Marketing is a shiny new term for an age-old marketing and PR technique.

I couldn't agree more.

To me, Kanzler's post is a reminder that although the public relations profession has morphed in recent years -- as have many professions, thankfully -- the PR person's keys to success have fundamentally remained the same for eons.

Case in point:  creating exciting content and distributing it through targeted channels has been part of the PR pros daily regimen for years.  Today, it's called Content Marketing.  The reality is that PR pros have been practicing Content Marketing for years.

We just used to call it PR.

Here's how Junta42, a content marketing firm, defines content marketing:  Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience -- with the objective of driving profitable customer action. 

Sound familiar to any PR pros out there?

When we, as PR people, interview a product manager about a new software release, we turn it into (hopefully) remarkable content in the form of a press release -- just as we have forever. And then we market it to specific audiences.

When we interview a client's customer about how our client's solution saved their customer time and money and improved product quality, we turn it into exciting content in the form of a case history, a blog post, a by-lined article, an instructional podcast or Webinar, Web site or You Tube video, etc., and then we promote it.

When we want to pitch a story to an influential journalist or blogger, we create content in the form of one exciting "teaser" paragraph to peak their interest.

Yes, how we exchange this content and measure it has changed significantly, especially in recent years thanks in large part to technology advances.  And we reach our clients' audiences in new formats and on new devices, and this will always be changing.

Joe Chernov, Eloqua's director of content, said in a recent tweet:  "'content marketing'" is different now, w/rise in SEO, collapse of print, networked customers who need info to share."

His points are very valid.  Content marketing is different now. 

But so is Kanzler's point, who says, "Just don't think that calling it content marketing makes it something entirely new."

What do you think?  Is Content Marketing an updated handle for a battle-tested discipline?

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