An Idiot’s Guide To Content Marketing

November 7, 2015

by Benjamin Potter | Creative Director, CLICKON Media

Some of the biggest brands in the world still don’t understand content marketing, so why should you? This quick guide to content marketing will help you understand what it actually means, how to use it effectively and why the results can be epic if you get it right.


“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for 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.” – Google

Content marketing is just a modern-day term for advertising. Benjamin Franklin was among the first content marketers some 283 years ago when he published “Poor Richard’s Almanack” with the goal to get people interested in publishing. No company in their right mind creates content without the intention to get consumers interested in their brand. It’s advertising people… advertising. Red Bull and GoPro are the masters of the content marketing craft.

As for the inventor of the term, blame Joe Pulizzi, VP of Penton Media’s Custom Media Group. He invented the term in the early 2000’s and it’s been drummed into our heads every day since.


Around $144 billion was spent on content marketing globally in 2014, with $67 billion spent in the United States, according to PQ Media.


The brands that use content marketing effectively create sharable content that is based on what their core consumers are interested in. According to Mr. Pulizzi, good content marketing is when “instead of distracting our audience with advertising that’s not relevant to them, we create valuable, compelling and relevant content on a consistent basis and build an audience over that time in order to see some profitable customer action.”

One of the greatest content marketing pieces was Red Bull’s space jump, which garnered over 39 million views on the energy drink’s YouTube channel alone.

Another massively successful content marketing initiative was when Warner Brothers partnered with Fortune to create a native ad for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie, which doesn’t come out until 2016. What better way to bring out a villain’s backstory (Alexander Joseph Luthor Jr.) than have him talk to Fortune Magazine about the growth of his Fortune 500 company and his deceased father, Lex Luthor? By giving audiences an extension of the film’s plot, excitement for the upcoming film went up catastrophically.

fortune ad_warner bros.


While it wouldn’t be fair to single out specific companies, brands who are shoving their products down people’s faces in an uncreative and outdated way simply need to stop. Young and old people alike are compelled by great storytelling, so stop dangling shameless promotions in your audiences’ faces and motivate them to hit the share button on social media.

9 out of 10 businesses are doing content marketing in some form, but their success rate is only 30% according to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual research.  The reason for this is a lack of  strategy, combined with the inability to create content that differs from their traditional advertising methods.



Of all of the companies investing in content marketing this year, only 10% say they will cut budgets, according to a recent survey by Forrester. Of the other 90% of companies looking to increase content marketing budgets, over half plan to do so by more than 20%.



As brand marketers recognise the sudden decline of interruptive advertising, content marketing will become the new medium. While it’s still advertising (don’t ever be told it’s not!), brands are shifting their annual marketing spend towards original storytelling. The best brands are already realizing that breathtaking creative work earns audience and engagement at a rate that mediocre traditional advertising spending cannot match.