Ditch the pitch: Out with in-your-face advertising, in with branded content

Chuck Kapelke

Videos. Blogs. Advertorials. Infographics. White papers. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), nearly three-quarters of business-to-consumer marketers are producing more content now than last year — and those companies that consider themselves effective at content marketing already are investing even more.

"Content marketing is getting a new resurgence because there are no barriers to entry in the publishing field now," says Joe Pulizzi, founder of the CMI, which produced the report B2C Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America in conjunction with MarketingProfs. "What you're seeing is a transformation, as marketing departments are starting to look and feel more like the publishing industry."

While marketers are flocking toward creative content in droves, CMI's research found that fewer than half of companies actually have a strategy in place to guide their efforts. That's unfortunate, because a coordinated content program can be a powerful weapon in the digital age: It can reduce the credibility gap among consumers who are increasingly skeptical and adept at clicking away, and it can grab the attention of casual information seekers who are already in a learning — and sharing — mindset.