By Nick James, Founder of Fresh Business Thinking

Personally I hate the term, its gained traction in the weird wild web — but in many cases it’s the latest re-invention of the snake oil sales people that a few years ago were selling links…

According to Wikipedia: “Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.”

Which is accurate, to a point, - I’d also look to include; sport, entertainment (film and TV), Trade Shows — in fact anything that attracts an audience.

That’s the ‘content’ part of the term — and organisations that have created compelling content can then add ‘marketing’ to it in order to monetise the audience — think ‘Super Bowl’ or ‘X Factor’.

According to the ‘Content Marketing’ gurus — we’re all now meant to be producing acres of ‘content’ because Google and the major search engines will reward us if we do.

And that’s where it goes wrong!

Of course, if you produce relevant, fresh, regular content in a style that adds value to your specific audience then over time you will probably see a benefit in increased traffic.

However, if you produce ‘drivel’ just for the sake of producing ‘content’ then not only will you eventually get caught out by increasingly sophisticated search engine algorithms but you will also annoy your customers.

The ‘purpose’ of ‘content’ is to attract and then engage with an audience, to offer them something; an idea, some information, some inspiration, some advice — and from there build a relationship and maybe turn them into a customer.

‘Content’ is not a new phenomenon and for years it has been used to generate revenues or monetise an audience — but it only works if it adds value.