What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a term that describes how companies use content – information created by the company that can be read, watched or viewed by the audience – to represent the company’s authority, credibility, and branding.

In other words, content marketing seeks to build a favorable impression of an individual or business’s expertise in a specific area by generating unique, original content.  The content, whether it is a blog post or an infographic, has the goal of informing, educating and engaging members of the company’s target audience as a means of attracting and earning new customers.

What Types of Content Are Included?

‘Content’ in content marketing can mean many different pieces of work.  This includes (but is not limited to) the following:

–          Blogs and blog posts

–          News articles

–          “How-to” articles

–          Instructional videos

–          Infographics and animated graphics

–          White papers

Content marketing word map

–          Ebooks and books

–          Newsletters

–          PDF guides

–          Podcasts

Any content used in content marketing is designed to be instructive rather than promotional. It should give some value to the consumer.  Consumers who receive value from a piece of content created by a brand tend to feel more positively about the brand and are more likely to take action as a new customer or participant.

Is Content Marketing the Same as Inbound Marketing?

Many view the two terms as the same, but inbound marketing excludes any kind of paid or non-organic advertising or marketing, whereas content marketing can be used with paid or non-organic marketing.

For example, inbound marketing focuses on attracting the attention of a customer by creating meaningful, useful and engaging content.  This typically involves content marketing. Content marketing, however, can also be used in conjunction with direct mail, paid advertisements, and other sales activities.

One defining characteristic of content marketing is the same as a fundamental principle of inbound marketing, however; the importance of content that isn’t promotional (or that isn’t primarily intended to promote a company, product or service). A sales letter, for example, is designed solely to influence a customer to take a specific action, which frequently is to move toward buying a product or hiring a company. A blog post entitled “Painting Your Home in Three Easy Steps”, on the other hand, seeks to inform and help first and foremost.