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Content Marketing

Back in the days before digital content marketing had ever been invented – in fact, before the internet had even been invented – I was a copywriter for a marketing firm. I wrote brochures and sales letters, newsletter copy and advertorials. I laboured over the structure of my press releases and worked hard to bring zest to my bus ads. The marketing firm I worked for had a lot of clients and they all seemed to need a lot of marketing materials. The company was growing by leaps and bounds and I was grateful for the chance to make a living doing what I loved. It was a challenging job, however.

Sometimes the Writing Genie would favour me as soon as I sat down at my computer and other times I would stare cluelessly at my monitor wondering if I should change careers.

Where do all those words go when you need them in a hurry?

There is a hectic aspect to working for a marketing firm as well: deadlines scream at a writer with frightening regularity and although a newsroom can be much more intense, a marketing organization can be a scary place for someone who likes a quiet environment, especially if The Boss has stress management issues.

I survived, however, and, somewhere around the time I left that company to start a freelancing business, the Internet was invented and changed the game forever.

The point is, marketing is nothing new. Hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, people were looking for ways to market their products and services. They wanted to make a sale and, in order for that to happen, they needed a method of sharing the news about what they were offering, preferably in a way that had the people who needed what they were selling sit up and take notice.

When I Google “marketing” today, a total of 1.86 trillion results show up. Thousands of those entries give a definition of what marketing is. In my own search for understanding, I’ve waded through ponderous, academic, scientific and homespun definitions that have left me no more enlightened about the topic. What’s more, every business person I meet knows that their company “needs some marketing.” But very few people actually know what marketing is.

So I’ve developed my own definition and it was as true in the days of the first radio broadcasts as it is in the age of digital overwhelm: marketing is the process of starting conversations with the people who know they need what you are selling.

You might start those conversations today at a networking event or a trade show. You might start those conversations by handing out brochures, business cards, newsletters or key chains. You might also start those conversations through your website, Twitter feed, Google+ page or your blog. There is unlimited opportunity for starting a conversation with someone. But you want to make sure that you are starting your conversations primarily with people who might want what you are selling. And you want to make sure that the information you are giving them is the kind of information that might encourage them to talk to you.

You can use your online efforts to start those conversations and future blog posts will speak more to the craft of how to do that. In the meantime, if your business needs a content marketing program that will tell your perfect customers how you can solve their biggest problems, please get in touch and let’s talk about how my team and I might be of assistance.


  • What a great definition of sales vs. marketing! I know I’m always challenged when it comes to differentiating the two as to me, they’re so closely related and should mesh seamlessly.

    It’s easier to integrate when you’re both the sales and marketing person, but very different when it’s two dept. in a large corporation and each is blaming the other for the lack of sales.

    • Thanks for your comments, Patti — you’re absolutely right! Sales and marketing should work together, with marketing supporting sales as effectively as possible. There’s an art to it, for sure.

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