The real role of content marketing

It goes beyond production

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder.

I’ve spent the last few weeks “in the weeds” — and sometimes all the way in the soil — doing a lot of tactical work at Clari. I like it, keeps me sharp.

But it also keeps me from big picture thinking. This week was great because I got to zoom out and spend time thinking about my vision and where I wanna take the team in H2. I’ve learned that clear thinking is the most important aspect of my job as a content strategist and leader, and it’s up to me to prioritize it.

Anyways, today I’m going to share my thoughts on the role of content marketing so you can elevate yourself internally and position your team as a strategic function.

Ready? Let’s ride.

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A few weeks back I was on the podcast, The Marchitect, hosted by Rowan Noronha.

I’ve mentioned him here before. But in case you’re new ‘round here, he’s a friend, mentor, and fellow lover of 90s hip-hop classics like Nas and Wu-Tang.

To spark the conversation, his first question for me was “What’s the role of content marketing?”

I get this question a lot. Often from leaders who are building their content team and want to know how to position it internally so it fits within their larger marketing strategy.

Here’s my (shortened) answer:

Content marketing’s job is NOT to become a content factory. If your mission is to crank out as many blogs, webinars, emails, etc. as possible — then you’re thinking about it all wrong.

Content marketing is about changing the way people think and act.

That’s the real role of content marketing.

It’s not about making things, it’s about moving people. More specifically, it’s about moving a specific group of people from unaware to paying client — and that takes a lot of transformation.

That’s what marketing is all about.

Because if your marketing isn’t driving revenue, then as Christopher Lochead says, you’re just doing arts and crafts.

Arts and crafts is a cost center. You don’t want to be a cost center, you want to be a growth center.

And in my humble, but obviously completely correct opinion, digital content is the best way to do that.

But pumping content into the internet like a busted BP pipe spewing oil into the Atlantic ocean isn’t gonna work.

You need to focus on winning mindshare.

Because you need to win mindshare before you can win market share.

→ Earn mindshare, and you change how people THINK.
→ Change how people think, you can influence how they ACT.
→ Influence how they ACT and you can motivate them to buy from you

That’s how you dominate your market, piss off your competitors, and build an inbound engine.

It also leads to promotions, bigger paychecks, more budget, and more strategic projects, if you’re into that sorta thing.

Apply this framework when you’re creating and refining your content strategy.

Ask yourself, How are you using content to change how people think and act?

As Rowan replied, Almost zero content marketers are thinking this way.

That’s because most content marketers have been taught (or forced!) to believing their job is about volume.

But you’re not in the volume business, you’re in the results business.

Holler at you next week,

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