Below is an incredibly honest take on content marketing from Kathy Sierra1. An immense amount of link-building crap exists and hers is one of the only perspectives that I’ve seen which pulls ethics into the conversation squarely.
I’m not against “content marketing”. On the contrary, it’s nearly the only form of cog-resource-draining marketing that can be “worth it”. It’s the one form of marketing that can help people become better at something they care about. It’s one form of marketing with the potential to deliver the user-learning so few companies care about. Content marketing can (and should) be “the missing manual.” It can (and should be) the inspiration for our users to learn, get better (at the thing they care about), and connect with other users.
But if it’s “content” designed solely to suck people in (“7 ways to be OMG awesome!!”) for the chance to “convert”, we’re hurting people. If we’re pumping out “content” because frequency, we’re hurting people. I’m hurting some of you now. That’s on me. It’s why I try to use graphics to make the key point, so you don’t have to read the post (also because I’m really rambly-aroundy, I know, workin’ on it.)
1. Read more about Kathy Sierra, aka Serious Pony, on her website.