February 23, 2012

Why I hate the term ‘content marketing’

Empty stage at Content Marketing World 2011

It used to be called custom publishing, but now it’s just annoying

David SparkIt’s aggravating to knowingly use a term to describe your business, even though it poorly defines what you and the industry does. That’s how I feel about the term “content marketing.” It’s the industry’s current buzz term used to describe the need to create content over advertising in order to engage with customers in social spaces.

Content marketing is nothing new. Prior to the explosion of social media, it was and still is called custom publishing. Most of us experienced it for years every time we picked up a Triptik, map, or tour book from AAA. Or maybe your brokerage firm sent you a magazine offering up advice on how to invest your 401K.

Another new term used to describe custom publishing is brand journalism, and it’s the way I like to describe what my firm, Spark Media Solutions, does. Simply put, companies hire us to be journalists for them. The way we create media is no different than when we’re producing media for traditional media outlets.

We are custom publishers and brand journalists. Continue reading

March 4, 2009

The social media fallacy

David SparkOne of my pet peeves about the topic of social media is it almost always revolves around “the conversation” and “the tools that enable conversation.” While that is all useful, and it’s the part of social media that excites everyone, I get the sense that people are forgetting that social media is first and foremost about media. And for any conversation to begin, you have to have something to talk about.

Last year I gave a short presentation to the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association (SVAMA) about what I call The Social Media Fallacy. I argued — and still do — that the way social media is being sold to us through the general media and social media consultancies is misleading. Most often the focus is always on the last stage of the publishing process-distribution. The big story that’s repeatedly sidestepped is that social media should first be about the process of creating great editorial content.

I put together this 6-minute narrated Slideshare presentation to debunk the traditional way social media is being sold and offer a more sane and logical approach to developing industry voice to grow your business, using social media.

I’m interested to know your opinion. Do you agree/disagree this is how it’s being sold and do you believe/not believe that the social media evangelists are sidestepping the issue of content?