Telling your story: thought leadership vs. content marketing

When many would-be Baby Boomer journalists were in their formative years during the 1960s and 1970s, the media was king, queen and the entire court. Powerful, profitable, newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television monopolized the message. Everyone kowtowed to the media, and young people idolized Woodward and Bernstein, who brought down a President.

The digital revolution exploded all that. Suddenly, the professionals who had made it to the top of the ranks as reporters and editors of national and city publications and outlets found the rug pulled from under them. Years of rigorous training, discipline, institutional knowledge and ethics seemed valueless. But that was not true. There would be role for media people in the digital age.

GOING DIGITAL SHATTERED THE MEDIA PLATFORM AND DEMOCRATIZED IT.

The crowd now owns the platform, through websites, electronic newsletters, blogs, social media and custom publishing. In this age of a service and technology economy, marketing and even advertising itself has transformed from push to pull; from interfering with your customer’s day to luring them into your thinking.

Today, thought leadership and content marketing are seen as a way to inform and engage the minds of the customer or community, to establish an emotional relationship with them.

The Content Council 2015 Survey of 448 marketers and media members showed that content marketing
budgets have seen robust growth during the past two years and that growth is expected to continue and accelerate in the years ahead. Seventy-six percent of respondents predict that their already strong or extremely strong commitment to content marketing will increase 36 percent in the next two years. While 58 percent believe that content marketing is truly measurable, the study said the challenge of content marketing was evidenced by only 30 percent believing that their content goals align “extremely well” to their overall business objectives.

At Blue Coast Media Group, we see thought leadership as a subset of content marketing. Content marketing can be many things: Simple, funny, outrageous. Anything to engage an audience. Thought leadership, on the other hand, is writing or video exhibiting insight by a professional that can’t be gained elsewhere. It could be knowledge or analysis. It is not a series of advertising slogans, cute marketing language or business clichés.

As former professional journalists, we seek to creatively attack the issue of aligning content marketing and thought leadership with clients’ business goals. As we expand the scope of Blue Coast Media Group, we’ll challenge you and ourselves to work together toward this end.

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