Content vs Marketing

When it comes to Internet Marketing, the one thing you'll hear the most is that "Content is King!" It's true that great content can make a huge difference for your online business, but even more important is how you market that content.

Marketing trumps Content any day of the week. Let's look at two non-ebiz related examples: He's Just Not That Into You and The 4-Hour Workweek, both book titles that made bestseller status - and both due to marketing alone...

Both books were terrible. The worst content you could find between two covers. My opinion of course, but the point is that they both made bestseller status. Why - because of the content? No, because of the genius marketing strategy behind their release.

Australia the movie is another good example. Excellent marketing with the movie trailers, but the film itself is long and drawn out. All of the great scenes are actually in the previews - the movie itself is just slow spells between each of them.

Again, that's just my opinion and you are welcome to disagree with me on all 3 points. Whether you like or dislike any of those titles is beside the point here. I am merely using them as examples to share a point about the importance of a good marketing strategy.

Great content with no marketing is pointless. You can write until your fingers fall off, but if nobody is reading your content then you arent getting anywhere fast.

Great marketing, on the other hand, can yield great results - even if the content isnt necessarily the best quality. Look how many books Timothy Ferris sold, for example. Or how many people went to the theatre to see Australia.

And maybe, just maybe, great marketing could have a certain percentage of buyers overlooking what it lacked and feeling as if the content was better than it actually was.

In the case of both books I mentioned, neither of them are particularly well written. They were just both very well promoted. The marketing strategy for both books included television and radio coverage, viral buzz and some very serious networking.

Proof that even a crappy writer can become a bestseller. Proof that even crap content can make money.

In the end, what you need is a strong combination of both quality content and a solid marketing strategy. Marketing is what pulls people in, and engages them in your content. Your content is what seals the deal and makes the sale.

With online marketing, you dont have the luxury of your visitors holding your content in their hand having already paid for it as they would a book. If a book doesnt grab your attention from cover to cover, you pluck what you can from it and still consider it a good investment.

But if your website loses your visitors attention, even once, they'll click the back button faster than you can blink your eyes.

Often people consider Content their marketing strategy. Content is what allows you to build rapport with your visitors and make sales. Its the Marketing that gets them there, and gives them some incentive to get engaged with your content in the first place.

Make sure you have unique, valuable content... and then get out there and market it properly. Look at products that are flying off the shelves, or have people talking, and learn from their marketing strategies.


p.s. I enjoyed the movie Australia, by the way πŸ˜‰ Especially since I got to see it... from Australia! πŸ˜€

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. Hi Lynn,

    Definitely agree that there are two things here:
    marketing. It's all about shouting the loudest and getting as much ATTENTION as possible. And make sure you highlight the emotional benefits of the product or service to the market.

    Many brands have spent marketing dollars/pounds on agencies and consultants without clarity on what their unique selling point is - why does my offering appeal to the market? Why should a customer take a closer look.

    A great, strong integrate marketing campaign can help with creating, building and maintaining perceptions of a brand to entice prospectives to get that bit closer.

    Once like a fish, you've bitten the bait, for some it's all over. But it's not. What you do afterwards to serve your customers is critical. As it will also help to generate more sales.

    Thanks for your viewpoint and reminder on the importance of marketing for any brand.

    Enjoy your time in Oz.

  2. Lynn,

    Your comments can also be extended beyond the product to the self. As I'm sending my college seniors out into the workforce, one of the things I explain to them is that they can be the smartest student in the class, but if they don't market themselves, the not-as-bright good marketer will get the job. A smile, a firm handshake, an air of confidence (but not arrogance). . .good marketing.

    By the way, I agree with your assessment of the books. Great marketing, little substance πŸ™‚


  3. This article is what I call fantastic Content. Great analogy in what happens in the offline world to what happens online.
    You made it very clear to see the difference. Thanks Lynn and enjoy your last sunset in Australia ;o)

  4. Dan Reinhold says

    Great timing on this post, Lynny...

    I'm interviewing Jim Kukral tomorrow for my BlogTalkRadio show and the topics are online video...and attention as he discusses in his upcoming book, "Blend This Book".

    If you (or anyone!) has a particular question you'd like to ask, comment here!


  5. Absolutely Lynn,

    Two points to consider:
    1. Write what people are searching for
    2. Market it and make it visible to the right people.

    Its about how much exposure can you provide to your content. You will have repeat readers/customers if you have solid content.

    I've noticed some black hat SEO websites using keyword phrases with hardly any content, but still on top of search engines. They will hardly have repeat visitors.

    Enjoy your trip and have a safe journey back home πŸ™‚

  6. Claude Pelanne says

    Boy did you nail this one. I read The 4-Hour Workweek on a friend's recommendation and haven't quite finished it....don't know if I will.

    I think it's not just good content and good marketing but consistent good content and good marketing over time; that's what builds trust and community.

    Even if I disagree with you on some points and even if a recommendation doesn't always pan out, there is that trust that says your word is solid and commitment is true. That is what keeps people coming back.

    That is what content and marketing are all about and how you prosper in the long run.

    Easier said than done!

  7. This article has inspired me to write better content.........thanks

  8. Great post, Lynn. And I would add underlying both content and marketing is understanding what your customer or market wants. You could have great content and super marketing, but if you're not delivering what your customer wants, then it's, well, not important. In your examples above, even though the content was questionable (but the marketing was good), the message was also important to the target market - how to fix less than stellar relationship and work issues.

  9. Well, whilst I agree with you about the marketing, I just want to disagree (politely of course!) with your opinion of "The 4-Hour Workweek."

    I bought this book without seeing ANY marketing for it at all. It was recommended in passing in a thread in the Warrior Forum, and I bought it as it sounded interesting (and my Mum wanted to buy me a book!)

    I couldn't put it down. I found it so fascinating and compelling, that as soon as I finished it, I started it again. Whilst I haven't put into action as much as he suggests, the book certainly changed my attitude, and I feel far more like I'm on the road to success because of him.

    Now if you want a book that was well marketed and was, in my own opinion, absolutely boring and useless, there's "The E-Myth Revisited" which was also a #1 bestseller, and claims to revolutionise your approach to business. I had to struggle to finish it, and felt like I didn't get anything useful from it at all.

    So, I agree with your general point, but I don't think "The 4-Hour Workweek" got such great sales purely from the marketing. I would recommend it to anyone.

    Ta ra

  10. I haven't read Tim's book but I did read Michael's. I got a lot out of it. When starting a business build it so it can run automatically. So you don't have to be the one wearing all the hats.

    Tim's book is still getting great reviews all over the net. I may get just out of curiosity. I think perception has something to do with it also.

    If you perceive someone as an authority on something you tend to follow their thinking. Whether it's good or bad.

    Great marketing makes up for bad content. The opposite of that gets you unknown.

    Great post Lynn!

  11. Hey Lynn,
    I agree with Alan on this one. I bought 4HWW after seeing it a few times at B&N and was honestly a little bit skeptical about it at first...

    But by the time I was halfway into the first chapter I couldn't put it down. In fact it's become sort of an 'operating manual' for how I'd like to run my business in the very near future.

    Maybe you didn't like it because you were more familiar with stuff that was totally new to me, like using VA's and such? Or were there other reasons?

    But all that aside, you are correct: great content without great marketing is a recipe for frustration and burnout. Good thing you do a great job at both! (content and marketing, that is :))


  12. Dave Doolin says


    The value is in the strategy, not the tactics.

    Tim is promoting a meme, and provides examples in the book showing how his tactics follow from his strategy.

  13. Jermaine Fitzgerald says

    Your articles are very clear and easy to read. I just started to write and I hope one day I can write as well as you.

    This is a very good point you are making here. I guess now I have to put together a marketing plan for my blog.

    My girlfriend wants to see that movie, but i am tired of all these girlie flicks. She will get me to see it she always get what she wants.

    anyway. Good post! Now I have something else to think about. Thanks.

  14. First time here, Lynn, so I don't want to get on your bad side. But frankly, your content sucks. All you've done in this post is repeat the same point over and over again: "Great content is important, but you need to Market that content." Whoop dee doo! That's why Tim Ferris has such a loyal fan. If his book sucked so much, then people would buy the book because of the buzz, and then would tell their friends that the book sucked, so that Tim Ferriss wouldn't be able to sell anymore copies. But no, the books still spreading, and his popularity is increasing. He just came out with a pilot on the History Channel about his "experiments."

    What I thought this post was going to be about, based on the title, was a look at when Marketing only worked, and a look at when great content only worked, and then perhaps a look at some examples when both worked to create a unique masterpiece. But I didn't find that here.

    Not a very good first impression. But I guess I can say the same for you impression of me.

    - Parth

  15. Stacey Mathis says

    You are so right. You've expanded on my mantra. I just finished having a discussion along this line with an attorney about why one firm (not a good one, but a household name in NYC) pulls in top notch clients, while the firm in question (with very talented attorneys) does not and is not well known in legal circles.

    It's great marketing, great PR, great web marketing, good social marketing, networking...!!!

  16. Amen - Amen- Amen!!! People DO buy a book because of the cover - which is all part of the marketing. A major company did an experiment where they sold a product but "forgot" to include the promised CD. The CD case was empty and only 30% of purchasers contacted the company to complain.

    Great marketing trumps everything else.

  17. I believe both content and marketing just as important as each other, both also depend on eaach other to become successful

  18. I totally agree. I read the 4-hour workweek, and felt cheated for my money. I got a couple good ideas for time management, but that's it. Then I couldn't figure out what the big deal was about it - everyone in my circle was talking about it like it was the best thing since sliced bread. At first, I thought I was missing something, but going back to the book confirmed my initial thoughts - just well marketed "junk content."

    Anyways, it worked for Ferriss - he's got a TV show now - but it looks like it will just be a re-run of his book launch.

    Thanks Lynn!

    John Sifferman

  19. Point taken, but I find it strange that you're using the 4HWW as an example of a terrible book. I think it absolutely deserved to be a best-seller. Harry Potter, on the other hand...

    Anyway, opinions will differ of course, but I agree with you about the importance of marketing.

  20. Andrei,

    Great marketing is all you need if you're only interested in the one-off sale, and don't care about your reputation.

    To build a business, you need great content as well. That keeps people happy post-sale, which is vital for long-term success.

    Ta ra

  21. Exactly!
    Marketing should have higher priority in whatever project that we have because even the best product would not sell very well without good marketing.

  22. You are right, good marketing is always needed.
    And if you are committed in what you are doing and work hard for it, even if the quality is not so good, it will be a top seller (if marketing is done right). There are all kinds of souls out on internet, there must be at least a few that loves you:-)

    /Ali -

  23. I guess I'm an idealist. I wish that the best marketing was simply to produce great content.

    i.e. "Build a stadium they will come"

    Pure "Hollywood" of course.

    More correct is, "Get a good PR gal, they will come"


    All The Best


  24. James Clark says

    Well I could not agree you more. In 21 century thinking you need balance. There is talking these days about Knowledge vs. Imagination. That is, which one is more important?

    My answer, is you need both. You will find that in order to be successful, balance will be the end result.

    But keep in mind, you were born with imagination, knowledge is something you gain through your parents, and the education system.

    For the new marketer, I don’t know what advice I could give; accept learn both, in what every way that is possible.


  25. Thanks Lynn.

    Solid as usual.

    For regular readers - notice the WAY Lynn delivers content. She's leading by example in content and marketing and for SEO results.

    Reread the article from the three different views... 1. a content standpoint. 2. A marketing standpoint. 3. An SEO standpoint

    Merry Christmas!

  26. I am learning from you every post. Thanks Lynn

  27. Cath Lawson says

    Hi Lynn - I'm glad you said at the end that you liked the Australia film. It's out in the UK on the 24th and I've been looking forward to it.

    Good marketing and an average product wins over bad marketing and an awesome product any day.

    I wouldn't say 4 Hour Work Week was the worst book I've read. But I knew a lot of the stuff in there. And I thought some of it was complete bull. It made Adwords sounds like a money machine that you could set up and leave forever.

    And it might be just me but I've found it way tougher than that - and even using a great Adwords guide, I didn't find it easy. In fact - I've found it much harder than SEO. And I couldn't imagine being able to set up a campaign and leave it, while I travelled the world.

  28. alocalseo - Boris says

    I just came across your blog, read a few posts, and wanted to says thanks before leaving. I enjoy your common sense approach!

  29. Completely agree about the 4-hour Workweek. Way over hyped. This first and only one I saw challenge Ferris on his ideas was Donny Deutsch of The Big Idea ... until now. Nice call on that one.

  30. You've pretty much said it all. Marketing takes effort, and in the end the work will return the favor. Just depends on how hard you try.

  31. Hi, thanks for the opportunity to cover this important topic. Great stuff my friend.

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