I recently came across a quirky iTunes podcast called Content Marketing and Merlot. The two hosts Brody Dorland and Jayme Thomason chat about what’s up in the brand content world over a glass of quality wine in a Kansas City bar called Cellar & Loft.

The discussions deal with how content marketing is developing into a fully fledged marketing discipline alongside advertising, in what is still a nascent industry in America, even at the end of 2011.

It’s clear from this and other new material written about brand content that this new marketing approach has more in common with magazine editing and publishing than pure hard sell advertising. The core principle that’s developing is brands can and should use their own valuable content assets to add value to customers’ lives and not use content as disruptive, old-school advertising.

This means the main skill sets required for brand content marketing is the creation, finding, editing and dissemination of interesting stories and visuals for consumption by brand fans across a variety of platforms, including digital and print. Traditional advertising pros find it difficult to do, as background experience in journalism, editing and media management is required, rather than hard sell advertising creation.

As brands slowly come to understand they are automatically in the content business these days, alongside whatever else they’re doing, they’re realising a cultural shift towards content and the creation of content assets is required.

In one particularly interesting podcast the founder of the Content Marketing Institute Joe Pulizzi explains how the industry is now taking shape in America and what they’re doing to promote it. It’s thought-provoking how he compares the magazine industry to doing brand content marketing well.

Pulizzi is a particularly vocal advocate for brands taking ownership of quality, valuable, direct communication with fans and has created 42 Content Marketing Commandments.

The most important commandment? For me it’s: Interruption isn’t valued, but engagement is. But maybe you like these two best: A news release isn’t meant to be picked up by the press, but rather to help customers find your great content on the web and Marketers can and should be publishers.

At Twisted Toast we live by: All brands are content brands™.