What does a meringue have to do with content marketing and how is CM different from advertising – let’s take a look at an explanation by Paweł Tkaczyk, author of a popular marketing blog and a longtime member of the jury of the Power of Content Marketing Awards Szpalty Roku. 
On cotojestcontentmarketing.pl, a website developed by our agency along with the Content Marketing Polska association you will find the definition of content marketing which we think is most comprehensive – we compared experts’ definitions and their subjective, professional interpretation of what content marketing is about. Plus a video showing the beginnings of CM – contrary to what you may think, this branch of marketing did not originate recently, it was already present back in the 19th century. 

There is a bakery next to our agency, in front of which the staff has been placing a black board every single day in the past few months. The board informs about the offer, ice-cream flavors, whether the meringue is with raspberries today or not:)
But apart from this product information there’s always a bonus, like a historical or culinary titbit, or a proverb. All this is a smart reference to the bakery’s offer – if it’s eclairs on the menu, they write a few words about where the name comes from and so on.

I really like this black board promotion type, for several reasons. I admire the consistency, choice of information, the neat look and wittiness (there’s usually also an image, e.g. of a smiling donut). I also appreciate how coherent the convention is – a black board in a wooden frame and inscriptions made with chalk suggest that the bakery is more vintage than modern, and the products home-made rather than mass produced.

I appreciate the fact that I can learn something whenever I go by the bakery (and I don’t mean just what promotion they have). I start to think the bakery is run by nice people, that it’s a unique place, there’s a positive opinion forming in my mind… That’s just what content marketing is about. I must put it on the blog!

But there comes the head of our agency Ula Radzińska and throws cold water on me as soon as I share with her the idea of writing about the bakery as an example of content marketing. She says this is simply advertising.

Since that didn’t convince me enough, I decided to ask another expert – full of confidence I send a photo of the front of the bakery to Paweł Tkaczyk, owner of  MIDEA adevertising agency, author of the books “Zakamarki marki”, “Grywalizacja” and the recently published “Narratology”, and also the author of one of the most popular marketing blogs.

I ask him to estimate whether this is advertising or content marketing. I ask him to explain the difference in simple words, as the boundary is vague. And very happy with myself I also add I see this board as an analogue version of a fanpage… I was so sure I was right!
Until Paweł Tkaczyk replied:

Advertising is a “push” type creation, which the user doesn’t look for but it is shown to him. Of course, when it’s interesting we don’t ignore it. Content marketing, on the other hand, is a “pull” type strategy – the user is looking for content offering a solution to his real problem (or entertainment). Which is why I see this board rather as advertising – it’s hard for me to imagine people wandering off their way only to see this black board (without the intention to buy pastry).

And mercilessly he added:

Your analogy to a fanpage is a bit missed, because Facebook is a push and pull platform at the same time. It pushes advertising in between the content the users want to view (I came to see what’s up with my friends, I get sponsored fanpage posts). But it is also a pull type, because some fanpages are so interesting that people visit them to see if they hadn’t missed anything.

Hard to disagree with this interpretation, although I must add – teasingly, but also factually! – that I do always peek at the board without going inside… So maybe there is a bit of content marketing in there? ☺