By Joe Pulizzi published July 6, 2012

5 Reasons for the Great Content Marketing Correction

Not a day goes by that I don’t get a question from someone asking why content marketing is taking off like it is.

How long will content marketing last?

Is content marketing a buzzword?

When will the party end?

A Correction Period

If you follow the stock market at all, then you understand what a correction is.  Technically, a correction in the stock market happens when stocks (as a whole) decline at least 10% over a relatively short period of time, usually after a nice run up in stocks (called a bull market).

Over the last fifty years, we’ve seen (for the most part), a bull market in paid media.  The majority of marketing programs revolved around paid media of some kind.  Even today, many marketing campaigns on the consumer side center around the 30-second spot.

When I worked at Penton Media in the early 2000s, I had the opportunity to discuss marketing budgets with a number of B2B marketing executives.  Lots of investment in trade show exhibits, print advertising, and sponsorships.  The remaining went to public relations.  The pennies on the floor went to owned media.

It was clear back then and it is even clearer today: most brands were (are) overweight in paid media and underweight in owned media.  The movement (ah, revolution) of content marketing is a necessary correction in the marketplace.

Reasons for the Shift

There are many reasons for this correction.  Here’s a few to chew on.

  1. No Technology Barriers – In the past, the publishing process has been complex and expensive.  Today, anyone can publish for free in five minutes (seconds) or less.
  2. Talent Availability – Journalists are no longer wary of working on the client-side.  I recently did a workshop for 13 technology companies.  Each one of them had an open position for an in-house journalist, managing editor or content marketing director. Today, these positions are being filled by journalists who have made the move from the traditional media side.  This trend is just getting started.
  3. Content Acceptance – You don’t have to be the Wall Street Journal to have your content be engaged with and shared.  Consumers are making a decision on the spot as to what is credible and what is not.
  4. Social Media – Social media doesn’t work for most brands without valuable, consistent and compelling information creation and distribution. If brands want to be successful in social media, they need to tell compelling stories.
  5. Google – Google’s Penguin and Panda updates are clear: content shared from credible sources is key to being found in search.  If you want to be found in search engines today, it’s almost impossible to game the system without a solid content marketing strategy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a traditional marketing hater.  I believe that an integrated program of paid, earned and owned media works best. But, simply put, most of us are still overweight in paid media. Until we see more substantial resources shift to the owned media side of the house, the correction will continue.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Jason Murphy

    Could not agree more and what’s funny is that decision makers will often justify their paid media obesity by stating the development of the owned side of the house will be too much of an investment, at least now – or until the economy picks up…

    And then turn around and write checks in the thousands to SEOs, SEMs, Agencies, and 3rd party platforms to help them remain relevant. 


  • Arnie Kuenn

    Great article Joe. Based on our chat the other day, you know I am all over reason #5. Here is a link to a post I wrote a few weeks ago about Google really helping push content marketing: 

  • Ardath

    Hi Joe,

    Nice post. I agree with all your reasons, but I think #3 is one that really needs to be addressed. Often, I find that companies think that they need to use 3rd party content to gain engagement. But that’s really short sighted.

    Every company I work with has great stories to tell – the trick is in finding them and sharing them with the audience that’s interested in them. It’s a bit akin to the debate over quality vs. quantity. They think that the higher number of “leads” generated from an analyst paper is better than a lower number of registrations from folks who are actually interested in what they have to say. Realistically, the majority of that bigger list came for the analyst – not the company that sponsored the report.

    Just saying 🙂

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Right on Ardath…it amazes me how many companies don’t feel they have the “authority” on certain areas to tell stories.  

  • Nick Stamoulis

    If you want to perform well in the search engines or online in general content marketing is a must.  Content is what establishes trust with the search engines and with target audience members.  Consumers spend time researching online and if you aren’t creating content to inform them, you will lose out to your competitors that are.  

  • paul onwueme

    In other words Joe you could be implying that content marketing is out to right some wrongs in conventional/old school marketing.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Paul…I like the way you phrased that.

  • Ayaz

    Great Article Joe. Thanks for sharing great advice about the content marketing and I believe that some one had the ability to write can write any thing he wants to write about and for that he only need to do a research regarding the point. 

  • MLM Alice

    Thanks for the great tips on content marketing corrections. I learned so much about content marketing and what should be corrected. Great website, Joe.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Alice!

  • mariawilliams672

    great post and thank you for the great tips on the content marketing corrections 

  • Thaddeus B. Kubis


    I would agree with the first of your five points. The true definition of media convergence
    includes computing power, content, communication (also known as the three C’s)
    always with the customer or consumer at the point of focus. I see the reason
    for the change as being the acceptance of Media Convergence as an applicable
    and real world tool. If prepared and presented correctly Media Convergence
    provides the needed foundation for success and the workflow to allow the engagement
    to grow and the content to become more and more relevant to the reader or

    I do not think a shift has occurred since by your article a
    shift is a correction, there has not been a trend or market to correct since
    the recent advent of Media Convergence has enter the marketing dictionary.
    Media Convergence of which a key and critical aspect is content is on the
    innovators workbench and still to me as well as others is in the shaping
    process. Correction yes, but not to content, the correction is to the overall methodology
    of the way and reasons we market.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Interesting take Thaddeus. Thanks