Black Is the New Orange: We Mourn the Death of Content Marketing

Joe Pulizzi Has Shuttered the Content Marketing Institute and Thrown Away His Orange Blazer

April 1, 2016

Visitors to Cleveland’s famed Content Marketing Institute were shocked by what they saw on this early April morning. The building was deserted. Where a team used to create amazing content, there were only tumbleweeds gently rolling by the broken front windows. In a trash can in the lobby, Joe Pulizzi’s iconic orange blazer lay crumpled in a heap.

Joe Pulizzi, Godfather of Content Marketing: “Content Marketing Is Dead”

The team at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions reached out to Joe for comment. “What can I say?” Joe said, looking pale in a somber black suit. “It’s over. I mean, there have been blog posts predicting the death of content marketing for years now. I guess I finally saw the writing on the wall. There’s too much content out there for people to get heard.”

“I mean,” Joe continued, wiping his face with a gray handkerchief, “you could research your audience, create content that speaks to them, and publish it consistently on a single channel. You could build a subscriber base, create products that directly address desires, and build a content-first business. But, man…that’s so much work.”

Joe announced that later this week, he will re-open the Institute as the “Crafty Marketing Institute,” which will educate businesses on the finer points of outbound marketing.

April Fools!

Okay, in case anyone didn’t get the joke, content marketing is alive and well. The Content Marketing Institute is still killing it with great content, and Joe’s still rocking the orange suit. Almost nine in 10 (88 percent) of B2B marketers practice content marketing. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of B2B marketers plan to create more content in 2016 than they did last year. And the most effective content marketers spend 42 percent of their budget on content marketing. 

So why do some marketers think content marketing is already over, or at least on its way out? Well, it’s true there are some troubling blips in the practice’s vital signs. Only 30 percent of B2B marketers say their content marketing is effective, down 8 percentage points from last year. Over half say they’re unclear what effectiveness would even look like for their organizations. And only 32 percent have a documented content marketing strategy.

But before you start dressing for a funeral, let’s look at what these statistics are really telling us. None of these numbers indicate that content marketing is ineffective as a tactic. Rather, they show that we as marketers are using it ineffectively. Content marketing isn’t dead, bad content marketing is—and it was never very lively to begin with.

Bring Your Content Marketing Back to Life

If you’re in the 70 percent of B2B content marketers who don’t feel their plan is effective, it’s time to break out the defibrillator paddles. Start with this 6-step guide to B2B content marketing.

With a strong mission statement, measurable goals, and a documented strategy, your content marketing program can lead a long, healthy life. So don’t join the Crafty Marketing Institute just yet. And hold on to the orange in your wardrobe—you’ll need it for Content Marketing World.

For a comprehensive, no-fooling look at content marketing from strategy to amplification to analysis, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.