According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), content marketing is "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience." This information is shared for free, though its ultimate goal is to "drive profitable customer action" for the company's products or services.
Understanding Content Marketing
The phrase content marketing is not just another way to describe marketing copy or promotional literature. It involves more than just conveying general information or pitching people on why they should purchase a company's products or services. Content marketing content has to be both valuable and relevant to members of the target audience. That's why these two words (valuable and relevant) are integral to the definition.
What Content Marketing Is
It may be easiest to understand what content marketing is through contrasting it against what it is not.
- Non-example: A letter that focuses on key features and benefits of a product or service and pushes for a buying decision does not represent content marketing. Instead, it is an example of sales literature.
- Example: A blog post or video that provides prospects with unique, expert insights that help them solve a specific problem is an example of content marketing.
How It's Delivered
Content marketing can be delivered in many ways, including (but not limited to) blog posts (on your blog or as a guest blogger on other sites), e-books, articles, newsletters, whitepapers, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, and more.
Key Content Marketing Benefits
Marketo indicates that content marketing provides a unique way "to attract, inform, and engage an audience, while also promoting the brand itself." Content marketing is inexpensive and can provide support for other marketing activities. There are numerous benefits to using this tactic. For example, content marketing can help you:
- Increase brand awareness
- Reach customers not likely to pay attention to advertisements
- Build trust with key customers and prospects
- Attract new customers through viral shares
- Improve search engine marketing results
- Drive traffic to your website
- Boost conversion rate (conversion of site visitors to customers)
Modernize Your Approach to Marketing
Content marketing is a necessary aspect of effective marketing in the 21st century. If you're looking for ways to promote your company effectively, be sure to consider various ways content marketing can factor in to your marketing plan.