“So, what do you do?” I asked a woman I met at Content Marketing World. “I’m a content marketer,” she replied.
“What do you guys do?” I asked another person I met at the conference. “We developed a content marketing platform for content marketers,” he exclaimed.
Excuse me for finally saying something that has been bugging me for quite some time, but didn’t know how to articulate.
Here it goes.
I consider myself a marketer. I am not a content marketer. I am a marketer.
To all attendees of Content Marketing World 2016, we are not content marketers. We are marketers.
We don’t market content. We market stories. We market organizations. We market people. We market causes.
We are marketers.
We build plans and we are strategic. We provide counsel. We develop great and purposeful stories. We implement technology to make our stories more effective and measurable. We learn and we improve. We lead.
We are marketers.
We were inspired at CMW by great marketers – marketers like Joe Pulizzi, Tim Washer, Michael Brenner, Robert Rose, Carla Johnson, the Lego guy, comedians like Michael Jr (a great marketer himself), and Andy Crestodina, among many others. The Content Marketing Awards finalists wowed and inspired us. Especially the incredible work of friend Craig Coffey at Lincoln Electric and ARC Magazine. People who know their audience, have insightful points-of-view and communicate over and over again consistently with relevant and entertaining, yes, content. But they are marketers. Not content marketers.
Content is a vehicle to market. Content marketing is marketing. Think bigger — like marketers.
What Joe Pulizzi and team have been able to do the last few years, shining the light on the craft of developing and sharing great content, has been nothing short of amazing. It has done incredible things for our industry. But it also has the ability to pigeonhole many, many people and careers into a silo of content.
“You know what we need?” asked the CEO. “Content! Content is king. At least that’s what I hear, anyway. Get me some of those content marketers to help us write more content.”
Now that scenario isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it places us in a tactical light. We are on the cutting edge, people. Don’t squander it by just being known only as a content generator.
Don’t think like content marketers. Think like marketers.
From the most entry-level attendee to the most senior, we are all marketers first. And we should strive to be known as marketers. Not, simply, content marketers.
Content is nothing new. Public relations professionals have developed and shared content for a very long time. Business-to-business marketing professionals have known forever that to nurture a considered-purchase lead, you need damn good content. Just ask B2B legend Rick Segal, founder of what is now gyro (what I like to call HSR Business to Business). He has been talking about content as king since 1981. And what about consumer brands? Over time they have developed incredible stories to build their businesses using the foundation of great messaging and content.
Bottom line: Don’t sell yourself short by calling yourself a content marketer. You are a marketer.
Drop the descriptor. You are one of hell of a marketer. Keep it up.
George is the founder of Tell Your Story and has been called many things during his 20+ year marketing career – PR guy, media relations specialist, corporate communications manager, integrated marketer, IMC pro, pitcher, sales guy, social media expert, story developer. But he just prefers to be called — marketer.