The New Rainmaker: Why the Key to Business Success is Media, Not Marketing

If you’ve been following Copyblogger for any length of time, you know we’ve been teaching people online marketing for over eight years. Specifically, something that is now known as content marketing.

The key point being that this type of marketing is different from traditional marketing, but it accomplishes what marketing is supposed to do. And it’s the differences that cause so many people to struggle with it.

At this point, I’ve come to the conclusion that the terminology is part of the problem.

First of all, there’s the word content. What a horrible term to characterize what are essentially creative works — whether articles, audio, movies, books, or music. It’s all technically “content” … like something that fills a bucket.

Apparently, the Louvre in Paris is filled with “content” that just so happens to be surrounded by frames. Let’s face it — it’s a bad term that’s unfortunately what we have to work with.

Media not Marketing

But worse, I think, is the word marketing itself. Again, what we’re talking about here does what marketing is supposed to do, but it operates in a way where people actually want it instead of wanting to avoid it.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my 15-year entrepreneurial journey lately. And I remember that I was completely clueless about marketing when I started publishing online in 1998. Never took a class, never read a book … not a clue as to how traditional marketing worked.

I wasn’t even interested in marketing … and that turned out to be a huge blessing.

What was fascinating to me was media. That’s what I wanted to be involved in … and finally, thanks to the Internet, no one could tell me no.

This focus on media, rather than marketing, is the key difference between “content” that fills a web page and the creative output that counterintuitively works as online marketing. This is what makes you a new breed of business rainmaker.

Introducing New Rainmaker

New Rainmaker is our new (and free) educational resource for 2014. It reflects this “media-first” perspective, and it’s our hope that it helps content marketing veterans and newcomers alike.

It acknowledges all the mistakes I made along the way. But ultimately, you’ll understand what worked, and why.

It’s not accurate to call it a podcast, at least not in the sense you’re used to. Plus, beyond audio lessons, interviews, and transcripts, it also involves free reports, video presentations, webinars, and stuff we haven’t thought of yet.

The best I can say at this point is check it out. We’re kicking things off with the first audio lesson, complete with transcript for those who’d rather read.

In the quick 22-minute opening episode you’ll discover:

  • The two business fundamentals I learned as an unhappy attorney
  • Why you don’t need privilege or sales skills to make it rain
  • The true nature of the commercial Internet
  • That the fundamentals of human nature haven’t changed (and what has)
  • The problem with “content marketing”
  • How to create marketing people actually want
  • What a personal media brand is, and why you want one

Sign up for free over here, and let us know what you think.

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Reader Comments (42)

  1. says

    I like the term “content marketing” for one reason -because my boss understands it and our clients understand it. I guess those are two reasons. :)

    Now, what’s this Rainmaker Platform I see linked in the footer? Premise 3.0?

    • says

      That’s why we use it as well — but it’s so vague that sometimes I think it creates as much confusion as it clears.

      Keep your guesses coming. 😉

  2. says

    I think you’re absolutely right about the confusing terminology, Brian. When people say “content marketing,” I know they truly mean “marketing through media arts.”

    All of this “content” is simply an art form — something the pragmatic business world downplays frequently. If only they knew how driven people were for those arts, maybe they would invest more money and time in its qualitative production?

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys are sharing on the Rainmaker!

  3. Joe R says

    That’s what I’m talking about! Actual useful stuff as opposed to this vague content (only yesterday I gave the example of a glass filled with orange juice as ‘content’ a la your Louvre remark)

    Huzzah for sense! \o/

  4. says

    Like the content so far and it’s a great name!

    Two things to maybe note, I would add a volume button to the audio player if you can, it blasted out quite loud and usually it’s someones instinct to turn audio down on the site player first before either pausing or using the volume controls on a computer.

    Also it would be nice to have the ability to download the transcript as a PDF as well.


  5. says

    I just signed up and I’m actually really excited about this!

    Admittedly, when I went onto the New Rainmaker site the other day, I wasn’t convinced, but I use Copyblogger to help me come up with and write posts for a blog that is, for all intents and purposes a media site and not a business, so I think New Rainmaker is exactly the type of thing that I’d been looking for to add to my Copyblogger experience.

    Looking forward to seeing more from it!


  6. says

    Just signed up!

    I’m very excited to check out the New Rainmaker. I’m all about creativity when it comes to marketing your business and media allows us to really connect with an audience and build a brand that stands out.


  7. says

    Cool, a new thing to behold on the Copyblogger block.

    I am wondering what exactly does “Media” mean to you?

    Just curious, that’s all.

    I wish only success to you and your new start-up, Rainmaker.

  8. says

    Content + Marketing is something that I am passionate about and according to me the content is the MONA LISA of online marketing.I can’t sleep without reading a good post(like this).going to check the new rainmaker

  9. says

    That is one beautiful site. Copyblogger is a first-class operation and a real asset to the online community. Solid interview, too. Never knew that about the Native Americans!

  10. says

    For many years I was in the liability insurance business working with architectural and engineering firms. They can have big liability issues when things stop working on construction projects or many years after.

    When I started I knew very little about these people and their often multi-million dollar headaches however I had these professionally written 1-2 pagers covering different practice issues that lead to the problems. I’d send these out to the firms plus surveys on certain issues and was always asking open questions.

    What was really funny was firms who had been paying tens of $1000 to other agents were coming to me for their insurance because I was an “expert” and would often pay more than before. When I think back it seems that we were actually using good content to become the trusted adviser which worked very well since today the program covers 70-80% of the market.

    I really like what you’re doing Copyblogger; I love your content!

  11. Phil says

    Can we have subtitles/transcription please? Many of us (an estimated 1 in 7 or thereabouts) have hearing difficulties. Personally that’s the reason I chose to do business over the internet.

  12. says

    Just visited the Rainmaker site and find its pristine design and copywriting annoyingly b r i l l i a n t….

    It’s so artistic, and so clean, and I feel utterly on edge because I want to know more…but to know more I have to subscribe. Which I just did.

    Also, I love the focus on “media” as opposed to “marketing.” “Media” has more of a creative flavor. And it seems to pay homage to the new artistic and connection-driven facet of business today.

    This new digital entrepreneurial world is way cooler than the world of T.V. car commercials I grew up in, and I’m so grateful for Copyblogger to opening the doors and making it rain! (Is that too corny?)

    Anyways, thanks!

  13. says

    I’ve just subscribed…and thanks for your generosity of sharing what has always proven to be valuable, and above all good, advice.

    However, Gary Vee would say that whilst content is king, context is god, and I sort of subscribe to his thinking. With, according to Eric Schmitt, more content being produced in any 48 hour window now than there was from the beginning of history through to 2003, how can simply producing content – no matter how good – break through the noise of everyone else’s content?

    • says

      We’re getting to that. 😉 And Gary V is an example I use in the first episode. There’s something very specific he did in both the case of Wine Library and his video show to break though the noise. And don’t dare say “it was just easier then” because it wasn’t, and that misses the point of the very specific context he differentiated himself from.

    • says

      Gary (and we) talk very specifically about how to leverage context and break through clutter. I’ll be doing a post with more specifics in a couple of weeks, also.

  14. says

    I think “content” doesn’t work because it lumps all the different types of expressing oneself into one big lump, which changes its colors from a beautiful rainbow range, into one of pure gray.

    Perhaps that’s why it sucks, because it takes out the individual and replaces it with common-stuff. I mean every single piece is uniquely its own, even though they come from the same person or place.

    What word would be better though? In what ways could we describe all the different types of content, that would makes sense to anyone? Perhaps a new term, derived from one already existing?

  15. says

    In the simplest terms, “marketing” has become associated with “brainwashing consumers and obsessively-compulsive consumerism” (or at least according to some recent conversations I’ve shared with my immediate acquaintances.) On the other hand, “media” implies “engagement.”

    Often times, I catch myself trying to defend an industry based on “taking advantage of the psychology of human behaviors, needs, and wants.” Although I am a huge advocate for innovative and honest brands (as branding is truly my passion — because of the art of storytelling and the values that brands hold as well as the influential power that brands possess), I cannot deny the fact that I’ve caught myself in some relatively strong debates as I try to defend a “misguided” industry. Is it true that the origin of the marketing/branding/advertising industry birthed from pure pursuit of profits and other self-interests? Maybe so… but if you’re a true marketer, you’d know that marketing is not sales and more importantly that marketing an art in itself. What a history and what a future.

  16. says

    Thanks again for another great product. I do not know where I’d be without the important information and products that have come out of Copyblogger. I just signed up and looking forward to some great educational content. Thanks again!

  17. Murray Johnston says

    I liked your introduction of Rainmaker and the whole emphasis on “Media” … In fact “RAINMAKER- Media Marketing” has a nice sound to it. Wouldn’t you agree?
    Anyway, good luck with the whole project. I look forward to participating and contributing as appropriate.

  18. Duff Gardner says

    I like ‘media’ because it implies dynamic expression across multiple touch points, while ‘content’ has always felt like a thud of static soapbox expression.

  19. says

    Signed up days and days ago, but just can’t wait to add rainmaker, this new information source and training to my arsenal of resources I am building up from you guys, including Authority, StudioPress Themes, Scribe and Premise. Wow hope to get access to teachingsells when it reopens also. You got me hook line and sinker, and I love it :-)

  20. says

    I love how it has been changing over a period of it. For a while it was just offpage SEO or backlink building. Then it turned into SEO as a whole both onpage, offpage, etc.. Just recently it was marketing adding everything such as social media, now it’s turning into Media by itself. It make sense and I agree.

    Great write up, I look forward to more as well, this is my 2nd one every reading.

    Have a great day.

  21. says

    Hey Guys,

    Just signed up too and also put my name down on the list for Rainmaker Platform Beta List… Hope to here from you soon :)

    Kind Regards


    Little Blue Ninja

  22. says

    Enjoying the great … ahem, content Brian – and the fresh approach.

    I never thought the term content marketing would stick either.

    It seemed awkward to me, much like a term used in the landscape industry where I used to work – plant material.

    Plant material? They are plants!

    Anyway, also agree that marketing as many of us learned it in traditional MBA programs years and years ago is dead.

    Looking forward to more great insights.

  23. says

    I’ve listened to 3 of your New Rainmaker podcasts. They are excellent. I’ve also signed up to receive your other materials.

    I know an Old School Rain Maker. He’s my boss. If he wasn’t around, our business would stop.

    I am really interested in learning about the New School Rain Maker. I am going to read and listen to all you have to say.

    Thank you for the education.


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