Keep it simple: Give content marketing a KISS

Content marketing. It’s a hot buzzword. I regularly toss it around myself. And yet I’ve discovered it’s a phrase neither universally defined nor often fully understood.

A recent blog post I landed on with a headline proclaiming How to develop a content marketing plan proved, after making my way through its earnest length, to offer up how to develop a plan for editing and optimizing existing website content. A bit perplexing, given its promised theme.

Conversations with clients can also be exercises in having to clarify the subtleties of the term. It’s not uncommon for a client to question of what type of advertising to budget for as part of their content marketing plan.

Search “what is content marketing” and you’ll find untold numbers of articles on the subject. Many of them helpful. Some, like the aforementioned post, that muddy the waters. So what more can be added?

content marketing - keep it simple - kiss

Keeping it super simple (KISS), here is a quick summary of what I’ve found to be the best definitions – the essence – of content marketing. A go-to source when you find yourself veering off course.

What content marketing is


  1. The content in content marketing tells a story, captures attention, informs and engages – without “selling.”
  2. The marketing in content marketing enhances and grows your relationship with your customer through the sharing of information that is relevant, knowledgeable and entertaining with an end goal of engagement and conversion – without, overtly, “selling.”
  3. Content marketing is made up of quality content created with an acute understanding of your target audience and a goal of answering their questions and interests. It’s a committed relationship that builds trust over the long haul.
  4. Content marketing is your opportunity to shine. While the concept may appear to be a hot trend, it’s really just the solid stuff of old-time marketing. It’s downright neighborly. A chance for you to reach out and share information about yourself, your business, your industry, in creative, personal ways. It’s a way for your customer – potential or current – to get to know you better. Without the pressure of being (you guessed it) “sold.”
  5. Examples? Think web, blog, article, email, social media post, e-book, images, video content. Each may be part of a strategic content marketing plan – integrated digital marketing used to communicate and build thought leadership without, let’s hear it, selling.
  6. Content marketing is about strategy. About developing and sustaining a dedicated plan for producing targeted, high-quality content. And what works as a content marketing strategy for one business may not work for another. It will be defined by your customer, your resources – and how far your imagination and creativity take you.
  7. Content marketing is not just about creating great content, but about properly distributing and promoting it through multiple sources. Today’s digital landscape offers a myriad of platforms for sharing content. Carefully consider your business’s resources – and the audience you’re aiming to reach.

What content marketing is not


  1. A sales job.

It’s simple as a kiss, really. Produce quality, genuine content that speaks to your customer. Without selling ‘em. That’s the essence of content marketing.

What is your definition of content marketing? Or to get to the heart of it, what’s your favorite way to connect with your customer. What works, what doesn’t? Share your thoughts.