Explaining Content Marketing To Your Grandmother

By Dan Willstrand Feb 25, 2019

Tags Advertiser

Reading 3 min

We are all guilty. Although we see ourselves as experts in communication, Content Marketing professionals have fallen in the trap of using difficult words to describe what we do. Most of us don’t even think about it anymore, but every week we use buzzwords such as influencer, engagement, always on and organic, without knowing if people understand what we mean.

The question is why we are so keen to use terms and expressions that make our business difficult to understand. The answer is – like in any professional group – that we by “pretentifying” our work make it seem more complicated than it really is, and therefore worth more respect and more money.

But what if that strategy backfires? People will often be afraid to ask when they don’t understand what you are talking about, because they don’t want to appear stupid. Instead they will nod in agreement throughout the meeting, but never answer your eager follow-up calls.

Now, let’s say you had to explain Content Marketing to your grandmother instead. I think it is the perfect litmus test for anyone who wants to sell something, because it forces you to make your pitch as straightforward and simple as possible.

Do you think you would benefit from using the formal definition of Content Marketing, as provided by the Content Marketing Institute?

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Of course not! Because grandma would not only not get it, she would also think university has turned you into a pretentious little jerk.

I’m not saying that the definition above is useless (nota bene: we love the Content Marketing Institute). It can certainly help us remember what values should be included in qualitative content marketing. But for the elevator pitch we must use a much simpler explanation.

How about: “Content Marketing is advertising that people like”

Or with a few more words: “Advertising so interesting that people choose to consume it instinctively”

It can be delivered in different ways: as an article, as a picture, a video, a game or as an audio interview, just to name a few examples. It doesn’t matter. As long as the ad is so good that it becomes content to you. That’s the core.

This pitch may seem banal at first sight, but when you think about it, wouldn’t your grandmother just get it? If your answer is yes, then I suggest you try it in professional meetings as well. You will be surprised to see how comfortable your audience becomes once you “de-pretentify” your presentations.

You can never be too easy to understand.

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