In 1994 I serendipitously fell into this new thing called the World Wide Web, then began designing for it a short time later. It wasn't long before I discovered one thing I've been able to depend on for two decades — change. From Web 2.0,  to version control, to "disruptive technologies," we love labels because they allow us to put a leash on things and pretend we have control. But in the end, it's like the beast on the other end of the leash is a thousand-pound dog that can chase any squirrel it damn well pleases.

In the past 20 years you went from a traditional advertising budget to being told to fractionalize it between inbound, outbound, traditional efforts, online marketing, search, mobile, and others. Now you're being asked, "What is your content marketing strategy?" At this point you're so overwhelmed that you wonder what it might be like to bag groceries for a living. But it doesn't matter anyway, because your carpal tunnel syndrome won't allow career change. The good news is that if you master this whole content marketing thing, you can add another line to the "skills include" section of your LinkedIn.

In a nutshell, content marketing is the progressive development of materials to support your campaign messaging while providing interesting/relevant stuff for your online audience to digest. This content serves as both a retention and recruitment effort.

Content is the Pez of the Web. Keep the pez coming and everybody's happy. Run out of Pez. Well ...  you get it.

At the risk of appearing a bit 101ish, let's run down a few of your potential content sources: 

  • Awesome and interesting copy - This can be both story-based, educational, and in some rare cases, advertising that is beautifully designed and implemented
  • Progressive development of supporting visuals such as photos and videos
  • Interactive content, which can be deployed across multiple devices and channels (mobile, tablet, app, game, etc.)
  • Syndicated, with webisodic and serialized content including podcasts and real-time content (Tweet chats. etc.)
  •  Live events

The following pages in this menu column will show an array of content types as they pertain to a particular client or vertical. And as the future of this media grows, so shall the array of examples.