Content marketing is simple, but companies aren’t designed to make it well

To all that has been said about content marketing, I’m going to add one sentence, fifteen examples, and one paragraph.

In essence

Content marketing is simply the function of your product or service, put into a media format that you can share.

Ten examples

1) RevZilla — Helps you to buy the perfect motorcycle clothing
Product: A webshop with motorcycle clothing
Marketing: Enjoyable and extensive product reviews and demonstrations of products

2) Albert Heijn — Everything for an affordable, tasty or special meal, or evening
Product: Physical and online supermarket with a large selection of budget and premium products
Marketing: An offline and online magazine named Allerhande, full of recipes about what you can do with the products

3) NS (Dutch Railways) — Brings you to your destination
Product: Train transport that takes you anywhere, fast and carefree
Marketing: A website with inspirational travel destinations, reachable by rails

4) Wistia — Helps you create high quality videos
Product: High quality video hosting
Marketing: Tutorials how to make professional videos, such as lighting, sound, etc.

4) Livestrong — Fights against cancer and help you with that
Product: An organisation that finances research against cancer and provides aftercare
Marketing: A blog and videos and online tools to stimulate your health

5) Fernandes — Brings fun in your life
Product: Soft drinks with tropical flavours
Marketing: A series, full of street language, about spreading a mentality of fun, fun and no stress

6) John Deere — We help you on land to grow your crops
Product: Reliable and strong tractors or agricultural tools
Marketing: An offline and paper magazine with information and stories about working in agriculture

7) LEGO — We help your children discover their creativity
Product: Building blocks with which you can make everything
Marketing: A film about the importance of creativity

8) allpondsolutions1 — Create the best environment for your fish
Product: Aquarium webshop on eBay
Marketing: Guides on how to maintain your aquarium

9) Vandebron — Helps you with a simple choice (your energy supplier) to make your life more sustainable
Product: 100% green energy with 100% transparency
Marketing: A series about individuals who make the world more sustainable in a simple and inspiring way

10) Virtual Racing School — Teaches you how to race faster and more efficiently
Product: Online coaching and telemetry software for online simulator iRacing
Marketing: Video tutorials and a knowledge base full of background knowledge about racing

If it’s so easy, then why is so much of content marketing bad?

Companies who do ‘content marketing’ have product they want to sell, and they make poor content for it that nobody wants to see. Media companies (such as Disney) have great content (such as Cars), for which people go to cinemas for. They even create merchandise on it, and it feels very natural for people to buy poor quality bags, pyjamas, mugs and shirts with a car on it. The main difference is organisation; people who are good at writing, animating, photographing or filming would rather use their talent at a Disney than a regular company. While Disney is solely focussed on creating high quality content, regular companies bother their creators with KPI’s and meddle with content. The management and sales department gets involved, which drives the creators made and ultimately makes them leave. Companies like Disney see high quality content as an end in itself, while other companies see it as a means to an end. They’re bad at both attracting and utilising talent. So here’s a quote from Walt Disney to remember: “You have to entertain in the hope that you can educate, because the other way round doesn’t work.”