Content Marketing Canvas

I recently conceived a canvas based on the Business Model Canvas of Alex Osterwalder. It’s a great tool to use in a workshop to structure and overview your initial content marketing actions. The business model canvas seemed a logical inspiration. After all, most businesses need to think like a publisher. So they equally need to think “Media Business Models”.

Feel free to use the below tool in an interactive session. Or would you rather have a storytelling canvas because you already understand your “content marketing big picture”? Yes, a storytelling canvas exists as well.

Content Marketing vs. Marketing Content.

Just before we turn this year’s last pages, it becomes quite apparent that the first chapters of the 2014 book will definitely be about Content (Marketing). As I read a lot of confusing shit about Content Marketing, I believe it’s time to set things straight. First of all, imho, Content Marketing is not (merely) about Marketing Content. That’s why we have to start reviewing the very own definition of content marketing.

Defining Content Marketing

In order to get a solid foundation for proving my point, I’d like to start with the definition of Content Marketing as stated by the authoritative Content Marketing institute.

Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

Redefining Content Marketing 

Don’t get me wrong. The above definition is a valid one. But it just doesn’t live up to its own rules.

The definition mentions customers and prospects but in reality I often notice Content Marketing is limited to prospect communication. Servicing customers with information (content) is left out of the picture. That is a shame. Content is able to confirm the buyer that he made the right choice. I hardly see any content marketer focussing on these customer service content pieces.

Content Marketing is the art and science of communication with all your stakeholders in a non-interruptive way.

Content Marketing is too important to leave it up to marketing. 

Sure, you need marketing content. That’s the typical marketing powerword buzz “we’re the best / the cheapest / the coolest / ..” . That might be true. But people don’t buy that any more. We’re well-educated and see right through your typical agency / campaign power words. And that’s logic. An agency can never know your business, customers, industry, etc. better than you do – regardless of what they state. They cannot. They are very good at coming up with campaigns, making creative good-looking art work for it and generate a proper reach. But that’s campaign content. That’s not the essence of Content Marketing. That’s the essence of Marketing Content.

Content Marketing is structural. Marketing Content is campaign-ish. 

Content Marketing is “always-on” – be it long or short. It’s about bringing valuable content to your stakeholders  structurally, through specific platforms: owned, bought or earned media. The practices of Content Marketing focus heavily on the owned media (website, blog, app, social channels, webinars, …) whereas the practice of Marketing Content focusses on bought media. In short: marketing content is interruptive advertising; content marketing is timely information.

Content Marketing support by an agency? 

Forget it. Traditional agencies will – of course – state they know content marketing. But in fact they know Marketing Content. That’s valuable. But that’s not what you’re looking for. You need a different kind of breed. A new agency. A white-labelled media house. It’s the only valid way to bring content structurally to the right people within the right context.

Content Marketing too important to leave it up to marketing solely? 

As a result, content marketing needs in-depth information instead of shallow power word stuffed content pieces. As a result, one cannot give “Content Marketing” to Marketing only. It’s the marketers job to learn others to catch stories, write about them, etc.

In summary: Content Marketing vs Marketing Content. 

I don’t have any intention to believe that this list is exhaustive. What’s even more, I believe it’s only a starting point to make things more clear. The point is: it’s not about marketing content but about getting (and maintaining) market through your content.

Content Marketing vs Marketing Content.

Content Marketing vs Marketing Content.

The Fraud of the Content Marketing Strategy Claim

Content Marketing Strategy Fraud

Content Marketing Strategy Fraud

Content Marketing is hot these days. And about anybody is making the claim that they’re the best fit for your content marketing strategy – from UX design firms over ad agencies to pure digital agencies. Well, let me tell you something: don’t buy their shit. There’s something at stake here. I call it the Fraud of the Content Marketing Strategy Claim.

Content Marketing Strategy?

Everybody is willing to help you with a strategic approach towards content marketing. That’s just great isn’t it? Unless.

Unless you see organizations talk and talk and talk for years about their content marketing with multiple consultants and gurus without any output whatsoever. That’s actually kind of logical. It’s just the effect of what I call the “Fraud of Content Marketing Strategy”.

Dissecting the Content Marketing Strategy Fraud.

I believe the Content Marketing Strategy claim is a fraud because of three aspects.

First of all, Content Marketing is already a strategic choice of bringing high-valuable content to the right communities in a timely manner. You don’t need to make a more drastic strategic choice than this. To make things more clear: you could spend your content marketing (resource) budget to TV, radio and print ads as well. That’s another strategic choice.

Second, do you know any marketing that is content-less a.k.a. meaningless? I know, there are loads of examples from traditional ad agencies who produced marketing matter without any content or true meaning. But that was fine in the days were mass media ruled. It’s just not a good idea to do these days in a context of fragmented media and heavily empowered consumers.

Finally, I’d like to make a plea to consider your “content marketing strategy” more as a “content strategy”. What I mean here, is that marketing aren’t the guys/girls who are producing content from their closed environment, integrating as many buzzwords and ad power words as possible. No, their role is to produce content but equally to foster the creation of content by others – outside of the marketing team.

Your Thoughts?

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