Mar 26, 2012 / by Cision Contributor

Close-up of man touching a social network iconNeed an affordable way to attract consumers to your brand?  Content marketing can do that.  Want to influence a viewing audience of millions without paying for a television ad?  Content marketing works for that, too.

So, if you hear someone whispering that content marketing is overrated, check your source.  It may just be a desperate advertising executive trying to re-route business his way.

As more marketers learn to master the art of content marketing, the landscape of how brands influence consumers is changing before our eyes.  The days of interruptive messaging where advertisers used everything they could to grab our attention and sway us to their products are waning.  Now we decide for ourselves on our own terms – most often with the recommendations of others – whether or not we’ll buy, test or try.

Although the term content marketing is bandied about as if it is a new philosophy, the idea has been around since the beginning of mankind.  When humans traded stories for food, companionship or a place in the cave, content marketing was at its finest.

Now we’ve got blogs, social media, online press releases and viral videos all building off the same notion – relevant content = survival, whether that survival is as a successful small business or corporate giant.

The great news for PR pros and small business marketers is that content marketing fits beautifully into the traditional practices of public relations.  PR has always been about influencing the marketplace through editorial (rather than paid advertising) exposure.  Content marketing provides endless tactics, tools and channels to do just that.

However content marketing is also a practice that depends upon consistency and commitment.  It’s not just one campaign.  It’s a strategic pattern of providing ever-relevant and valuable information on a continual basis.

Embracing content marketing means not just creating one blog, posting an occasional update or publishing a random tweet.  And that’s where companies can get into trouble.  Content marketing may not be as flashy as a super bowl ad, but with ongoing concerted effort it can produce similarly spectacular results.

For those just beginning to give content marketing a try, we suggest start small and nurture your efforts.  You’ll soon find that the reaction you get from audiences makes it worth your time – something that will never be overrated.

Have you switched your advertising resources to a more content marketing based approach?  Share your experience here.

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This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.