In other words, it’s the marketing of a business or brand through the sharing of educational, entertaining, or insightful information that will ultimately help readers improve their lives.
This may be in the form of a change in personal behavior or, as most marketers hope, it could be in the form of a purchase decision.
It’s not about forcing a sales pitch at people, but helping them move towards the best course of action (that just may be buying from you).
Content marketing is also defined as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
I’d say that accurately sums it up, but perhaps a more accurate description is provided by Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.”
In 2016, few businesses doubt the power of content marketing, but sadly, only a few companies are executing it with the skill and expertise truly needed to make an impact.
This guide will show you how to successfully promote your brand, attract more qualified leads, and nurture customer relationships through content marketing.
If you’ve read any of our content, you’ve probably heard us throw around the term “inbound marketing.” Content and inbound are often used interchangeably, but for the sake of minimizing confusion I will explain the difference.
Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing
The difference between inbound marketing and content marketing depends on who you ask. In fact, a HubSpot survey found that most marketers agree that content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing.
More specifically, however, content marketing refers to the act of sharing knowledge, advice, or entertainment in a consumable format that may include:
- Blog articles
- Social media marketing
however, is more focused on using tactics like content marketing to generate and nurture leads towards a sale. Inbound includes all aspects of digital marketing and sales.
Another distinction between content marketing and inbound marketing is how they target their marketing. Content marketing focuses on a broad “target audience” and inbound focuses on specific “buyer personas.”
Blogging is the Foundation of Content Marketing
Blog articles pioneered content marketing. Blogs have become commonplace in the business world, as well as society in general. It allows for people to access high-quality information for free.
When informative content is shared through a business blog, you inevitably come across as an industry expert, which will not only keep visitors returning to your blog, but can also turn these readers into potential buyers.
When you freely share content, it allows for your business to build trust with its readers. After all, you’re providing them with industry tips and information — for free.
eBooks, Videos, and Email
Blogs are just a gateway for other mediums of content marketing. While blogs articles are often on the shorter side, quickly but thoroughly addressing industry topics, these other forms of content marketing act as a more detailed vehicle to share information and convert customers.
eBooks, for example, allow for an extensive amount of information to be shared regarding some aspect of your business. These usually focus on the most frequently asked about part of a business, and go to great lengths to explain and point readers in the right direction — to you!
Videos are oftentimes a nice change of pace and are more engaging to your buyer personas. Have fun with it, as the great ones have a tendency to go viral, which can bring all kinds of traffic and attention to your brand.
Most of what is done through the advent of content marketing is done in hope that businesses can obtain the reader’s contact information. Whether the readers are subscribing to your newsletter, or simply filling out forms to access eBooks or other helpful tools, they are granting you future contact with them by giving you their personal email address.
Having email subscribers allows your brand to share more content, nurture leads, and eventually close those leads into sales through various email campaigns.
Why Content Marketing?
After asking “What is content marketing?” the next question should be “why?”
Muskan answers this question in a Forbes post about content marketing.
“First you need to understand the four steps of the typical buying cycle:
Traditional advertising and marketing is great when it comes to the second two steps, but after that it tends to trail off. Content marketing taps into the first two stages of the buying process by raising awareness of solutions and educating consumers about a product they may have never considered before….
The return on investment for content marketing can be phenomenal….It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines.
In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.”
How Long Does Content Marketing Take to Work?
The Benefits of Content Marketing on SEO
There are many tasks you can do to improve SEO, but as John explains, nothing comes close to the impact of content marketing on your website’s SEO power.