What is Content Marketing?

Found in an ever-increasing variety of formats, content marketing is a marketing strategy that puts the creation and distribution of educational or compelling content at the forefront. It converges advertising and media, and is chiefly used to accomplish core objectives such as building awareness, educating potential customers, building engagement, interest, and lead/customer conversions.

Content marketing is distinct from traditional marketing because instead of the marketing strategy consisting solely of one medium - a pitch for its products - the marketer's core activity is as a branded publisher of its own content. Because of this, any content marketing definition will often highlight this distinction from traditional marketing, particularly given that the popularity of the former has been largely brought about by the latter's limitations. The limitations of tradition marketing include:

  1. Oversaturation of online traditional marketing
  2. Increasing ability of readers to subconsciously filter out traditional marketing
  3. Limited ability to engage customers, as traditional marketing offers little information for the discerning potential client

Content marketing provides a solution to these limitations by offering readers informative and enriched content that they are not only less likely to filter out, but even more crucially, less likely to want to filter out. Articles and content for social media are the most popular form of content marketing, and most content marketing contains targeted content for SEO. The benefits for the consumer and company alike of content marketing include:

  1. A higher visibility and wider reach than traditional marketing
  2. The ability to customize content for each stage of the customer conversion process (optimized through content automation)
  3. The ability of the potential customer to find you and find out useful information on your industry and your products
  4. The ability to achieve higher trust levels from customers through marketing

Generating Content

The question of how to get content for website content marketing has a complex set of answers. Companies often use a wide variety of content types, i.e. support articles, blog posts, white papers, tutorial videos, lead nurturing e-mail scripts, tweets, status updates, paid media advertisements, ppc, customer advocacy calls to action and landing pages. The purpose of this content is to speak to the interests of the audience, inform them about key industry issues, and often tie this into to the marketer's offered solutions. More information can be found in our section on content marketing methodologies.

In particular, B2B companies use content marketing as an intuitive way to gain new customers. A 2011 study of 1,092 marketers by The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that 9 out of 10 organizations used content marketing, regardless of the size or industry of the company.

Among the companies using content marketing, an average of eight different content marketing strategies were used, and spent an average of over 25% of their budget on content marketing. It was also found that content marketing was on an upward trend as 60% of businesses employing this strategy reported that they planned to increase their expenditures on this type of marketing over the next year.

Content Relevance

Relevance is a key concern for content marketers, as the objective is to satisfy a need in the prospective customer for desired information. Good content marketing necessitates the creation of content that is relevant, but it can be difficult to establish the effectiveness and impact of existing content. However, savvy content marketing often uses an intuitive approach to determine what is relevant to the reader; to use a very basic example, customer advocacy calls to action are often used for more advanced stages of reader engagement.

As the creation of relevant content can be a very complex science, many companies have turned to content automation to generate the right kind of content at the right time for the right audience. Content automation is particularly a boon for smaller companies without the resources of a large team to manually generate intuitive relevant content.

There are three main types of relevancy for content:

  1. What is relevant to a particular target audience, in general
  2. What is relevant to a particular target audience, given their current stage in the buying cycle when they are viewing the content
  3. What is relevant to a company's goals at that stage (i.e. what do they want the audience to do next?)

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