Content Marketing Suffers From Cognitive Dissonance (

During Content Marketing World, Keynoter Mindy Kaling joked about the “Etiquette Bitch” speech from her character on “The Office.” Kaling said etiquette would’ve prevented anyone from uttering the word “bitch.” Her character’s reasoning was that she was struggling with coming up with a brand identity.

Content marketing is generally practiced by brands that already have firm identities, but their use of content marketing has its own cognitive dissonance. Is it doing good or doing evil? Do its creators know? Its inherent struggle is based on monetization, in more ways than one. And is judging its value based on how quick audiences convert good or bad?

Content marketing lives at the top of brands’ sales funnels — or in the less revered part of sales cycles. Content creators often end up shortchanged in last-click attribution models, says even Nilla Ali, VP of Strategic Partnerships, BuzzFeed. And her Thursday keynote presentation was about shopping content — which is as close to a blatant “buy now” version of content marketing as a flat-out ad. But even BuzzFeed’s shopping stories may not get last-click attribution.

So, before marketers fix attribution models to offer content marketing more sales credit, let’s take a look at various forms of content. We can debate later if they’re all considered content marketing — because, as a journalist, I can tell you media critics can’t even agree on what content is devoid of calls to action; and, therefore, whether even objective journalism can be considered marketing. And that’s been true for decades — far before content marketing entered the zeitgeist. Even within last week’s conference, there seemed to be polar opposite views on what type of content marketing was kosher.
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