The difference between content marketing and SPAM

By Kath Walters

There is a widespread misunderstanding in the corporate marketing community about the difference between content marketing and spam.

Thousands of companies are damaging their own brand credibility by spamming clients and customers.

Here’s how it happens

I provide a company with my email address for one purpose – to engage their services – and in many cases the company does one of two things:

1.       They insist I cannot do business with them without receiving their content marketing email.

2.       Sign me up to their content without my permission.

A massive lost opportunity follows

Having manipulated their way into my inbox, corporate marketers then waste a massive opportunity to actually win me over. How? With an e-newsletter that is not good enough and delivers no value to me; offering only spin and advertising.

But if the company ran a good content marketing program current and potential customers would be excited to sign up to their newsletter.

They would be reading it, amazed at the generosity, value and insights within, and forwarding it to friends with notes, like: “Thought you might find this useful – I did!”

They’d be tweeting it, and posting it on LinkedIn.

Why are we getting SPAM and not quality content?

I believe it is because corporate marketing departments look at subscriptions to their e-newsletter as the ultimate measure of success.

It can be a good measure – except it means little if you sign up uninterested people.

Of course, I understand the temptation. Who wouldn’t like 250,000 followers? It can be very tempting to tell your boss that you have 3,000 people signing up every month.

How to stop destroying your brand

Having 200,000 followers’ means nothing if 199,000 of them don’t like receiving your content.

Here’s what you need to do to reverse the trend:

1.       Be brave: stand up to your peers and leaders and explain that content marketing is a way of delivering qualified leads.

2.       Marketing is about delivering value to your consumer.

3.       Make sure every time your content appears in anyone’s inbox, they have opted to receive it.

4.       Valued content is “sticky” – it is relevant, timely and trusted.

5.       Use call-to-action, ads and promotions to invite readers to do business with you.

This article about social media spam will help round out your understanding of this idea.

For more on the topic of content value, here’s a story from my website.


If you want your customers to share your content, have it written by professional freelance journalists, through Newsmodo.