Skip to main content

Vitor Peçanha (Rock Content): Killing the Term “Content Marketing” and the Emergence of Creativity and Strategy

: Vitor Peçanha (Rock Content): Killing the Term "Content Marketing" and the Emergence of Creativity and Strategy

Adapt or perish is a famous quote known to many. But how is it applicable to the marketing and growth of a company?

In a constantly changing world, companies that are able to adapt to new trends and technologies stand the highest chance of thriving compared to those which fail to adapt. This episode features, Vitor Pecanha, a renowned marketing leader, to discuss the ongoing technological changes in the world and how content companies can best strategize and benefit from the changes. 

Vitor discusses how he copied ideas from the US, redesigned them to suit the Brazilian market, and started a leading marketing firm in the Southern American region. He also dives into the hot topic of AI and shares his thoughts on how companies can make the best use of the current developing and trending technology. 

Vitor Peçanha is a renowned marketing leader in Brazil, known for his innovative strategies and entrepreneurial spirit. He is the co-founder and former CMO of Rock Content, a leading content marketing company in Brazil.

Vitor is also a sought-after speaker and thought leader, sharing his insights on marketing and entrepreneurship at conferences and events around the world. He is passionate about using technology and creativity to solve complex business problems and drive innovation in the marketing industry.


  • Weaving Ideas into a Company
  • Adopting Ideas in a New Market
  • Selecting the right Writers for the Company
  • Mistakes when Communicating with Writers
  • The Influence of AI Content Writing Tools
  • Data Privacy in digital marketing
  • Why Should We Kill the Term Content Marketing?

Show Links

Listen to the podcast:

Key Takeaways:

[10:51] Weaving Ideas into a Company

Use current updates and learn from the current leaders when creating a company in a new industry

“Yeah. So what happened is basically, before rock content, I had a different company, it was called Tex corner. Do you remember content firms? Yeah. Demands media. Remember, the main media, you know, like, you were terrible. Basically, you would just like write 1000s of pieces of content a month, and then you extremely optimized for SEO? And then you will get a lot of traffic and monetize this traffic. Right? You was I mean, that’s how I started, basically, a copycat of Demand Media. But there wasn’t like Google was not sparked. It was not, it’s not that Google could understand semantics. So I couldn’t have the same article that say how to boil an egg, how to boil an egg in a microwave how to boil an egg in Japan, Google will not understand that. Those are basically the same, like the same content, but in three different URLs. So I started doing this, I created a, like a Brazilian ehow, and I went all the way up to like a million sessions a month on this blog. But to be really honest, I was not doing mankind in favor, because without really good content, it was just me and Google. Right? And then in 2012, the Panda update came out where they penalize thin content, low quality content, right after that. The Penguin update came out whether or penalize artificial impurity. So when I looked at it, and the US first, they said, Yeah, you know what, there’s not a good business model. And now, I’m not even proud of what I was doing. But I was learning, right? And say, well, we gotta do something different. So I found my co founders, they had a different setup as well. But it’s also like content blog, business marketer, I have a bachelor’s degree in communication. Specialized marketing, says, Hey, there’s this content marketing thing. It’s quote on quote, all they use in the US. But no, not a lot of people are talking about this in Brazil. So what we did is, well, what why don’t we create a content marketing company in Brazil? So okay, we looked abroad, we looked at US say, what are the content marketing companies in the US? What are they doing? What are their business model? And basically, we saw, we found the key, okay, there are a lot of content marketplaces. I said, Why don’t we create the Brazilian version of a content marketplace? And that’s how we did it, we just basically, copy and paste it. I remember from the top of my head was one of our inspirations. Right? And then we brought this business model to Brazil.”

[13:43] Adopting Ideas in a New Market

Always offer services as per the needs of your target customers

“Exactly. Yes. So it’s freelance writers on one side, and then a platform so you can manage those freelance writers and companies on the other side. So that’s how we started. But of course, Brazil is a completely different country, when it comes to US. Less it back then was way less mature in content marketing. So we needed overtime, we just had to adjust our offer. So it will be useful to for Brazilian companies. So for example, we noticed that just selling content was not enough. People didn’t know what to do with that content. So we need to, we had to build a customer success team. And after that, we needed to build a services team. Because people didn’t have the extra expertise. So in the end, what happened is our model changed a lot. And we became a monthly subscription. Usually, those marketplaces are self-service, right? You just go and buy. But daily became more of a monthly subscription, because that’s how our customers would get success. And then we started offering new types of content we started the more service-oriented so we had, of course, the marketplace side of things, the SaaS side of things because we will charge for the platform In the services side of things, so we became a more complete company. And over time, we learned that, okay, if we were to have all of that we have stopped serving very small businesses. So we went upmarket. So that’s that’s how it started and how it grew.”

[17:10] Selecting the right Writers for the Company

Set a strict quality bar when hiring writers for your company

“So the first thing that we learned is you got to have a very strict selection process. Even for freelance writers, if you want to keep going, I don’t want to compete with with Upworks and Fiverrs, right? Because Upwork is a generic marketplace. So you have programmers, you have designers, it’s all horizontal marketplace, Fiverr is, the same horizontal marketplace. I’m a vertical marketplace, it’s, it’s for content marketers. It’s for marketing. So I have to like raise the bar. So we have a thorough selection process with tests. We have specializations. So they want to write about technology. So there’s a technology test, and setting the bar high. I think that was one thing that we learned over time. And now we take that really seriously, because our customers expect that from us. So that’s one thing that we learn. So we became like, strict and strict when when hire freelance writers.”

[20:16] Mistakes when Communicating with Writers

Avoid short and vague briefings when communicating with the writers

“Yeah. So, especially when you have like new customers, after we do, we do have like a customer success team that gives like, like support. So they can do like a proper briefing. Because I mean, the most common mistake is, you know, I have an idea in my mind, but it cannot translate it into words. So usually, the briefings are too short. And, and I have an idea, and I expect the writer to read it and understand what I’m trying to say. So what you tell them is, hey, for the like, write a really good briefing, you should create the headings, no title, subtitle, and write like, a small paragraph on each one of them. If there’s any, like technical term that that you’re going to use, like you have time to write it down. And in our platform, you can have like some, like beans instructions. So imagine, like in the I’m in the healthcare market, right in the healthcare world, there are some words that the freelance writers need to know we’re gonna have to write them all over again, again, it’s kind of like it’s saved there. So the most common mistake, it’s like short to too vague briefings, I think that’s the most common one.”

[23:46] The Influence of AI Content Writing Tools

Not all content from AI is correct

Yes, Jasper just raise a huge round, Chat GPT I’ve been testing it. It’s amazing. So I’m, of course, I’m monitoring everything. The progress being done, there is amazing. But I think it’s too early to tell if it’s a real threat to rewriters I don’t think is because one of the flaws of Chat GPT for example it’s, it’s like it’s a very confident writer. But I mean, there’s confidence doesn’t mean that you’re right. No, so it’s like, you know, you’re not a very confident person that says everything but doesn’t mean that the person understand what they’re saying. Because AI is one challenged by itself. So it’s not judging, it’s gathering information of course, with huge data set, right it will be right a lot of times but when it comes to new ones are various things are not black and white. They’re not good. Yeah. Right. And this thing is gonna take a long time if it ever gets them. Right, but what is what they how they see AI now. Now, of course, I cannot predict the future. It’s really hard to make predictions, especially about the future. So I love it… So right now I see AI is a really good system. A really good system, a really good assistant for our customers looking at my product, right? For example, helping them write briefings, choose the next topics for their, for their content, right? This really good for freelance writers to say, Oh, it is a briefing. Hey, Jasper, or hey, Chat GPT, can you give me like some ideas of topics that I can cover? These are really good. But in the end, we’re still going to need a writer.

[34:57] Data Privacy in digital marketing

With the implementation of Data Privacy Policies, marketers need to focus in establishing their brands more

“So, because I think that’s one of the things that fascinates me the most right now, it is imagine, like for the last 20 years, when digital marketing became a thing. Like, we were, like, so obsessed with data. And we’re not wrong was like, hey, we can measure everything, right? We can like we can track we can attribute every single dollar to marketing to marketing initiatives. So we were so in love with data. And we started like, basically creating this war of data collection. And then the big companies, the big tech companies like Google Facebook, they started to the advertising business. But and Facebook is a social media company. It’s not it’s a data collection company. Google is a search is also a data collection company. Right? And then we lost track of okay, is that dangerous? Or is that is that bad for like the end user? Right? And we didn’t question that until recently. But recently, government started cracking down on those companies. You have GDPR in the US, you have CCPA in California, say, hey, folks, you cannot simply like, gather and hoard all this data… So first solution here. First, you gotta go back to the, the essentials of marketing the principles of market is, you got to build a strong brand, you got to build a brand that people will recognize.”

[42:08] Why Should We Kill the Term Content Marketing?

All marketing departments are interrelated and should not work separately

“Oh, for that reason, you know, you know, if you look for the word content on Wikipedia, in the media business content is something that’s meant to bring valuable information or valuable data to the audience right that’s kind of the definition I don’t know the exact wording but it’s kind of definitional. So I’m viewing content I likes podcasts is something that it’s information that we’re trying to, to bring to people and it has to be valuable. Okay, so what happened? What Why did we need Joe Pulizzi 2000 or 20 years ago…. But and then call the marketing departments were created. And then content marketing, I know, Institute was created, and then content marketing became a thing. But it still really should detach from other marketing departments. And that’s a problem. Because if you think about it, everything’s content, like the the ads, the banner assets to create their content. If they don’t interest me, they’re not valuable. But if they do interesting, they are valuable, right. And there’s a big mistake in running all of these operations separately, right? We need to look at all everything, everything as content, but each type of content has a purpose, a different distribution, a different format.”

Get the Field Notes

Weekly learnings from working on B2B content & SEO for dozens of companies.

Alex Birkett

Alex is a co-founder of Omniscient Digital. He loves experimentation, building things, and adventurous sports (scuba diving, skiing, and jiu jitsu primarily). He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog Biscuit.