Everyone is talking about content marketing these days. It’s the practice of creating useful content (articles, posts, graphics, and videos) instead of advertising. The idea is good: If you give people something interesting to read, they’ll come back to your website to learn more.
Unfortunately, it’s usually done awfully. Companies hire spammy services to write a bunch of advertorials and pay to cram them into unrelated blogs. Guess what? Bad content in the wrong place is no more effective than bad advertising in the wrong place.
That’s why I really like CMO.com, which is produced by Adobe. It’s a rich site fill of real content and useful info — a real magazine, worth reading. Of course, it takes a team of 4 full-time people and more freelancers. (Which is probably cheaper to run for a year than a handful of average magazine ads.)
Also important: They don’t hide who they are. There’s no deception or stealth, and everyone clearly knows that it’s a marketing site for Adobe. That’s ethical — and effective, because tricking people never works.
(Disclosure: Adobe is a customer, but not the folks who have anything to do with this project.)