What is content marketing?


In this blog, I have answered the question, “What is content marketing?”. I started by pulling in a screenshot with a question from one of my FB friends. I then included definitions of content marketing from other content marketers. I have illustrated authentic examples to clearly explain my point. Lastly, I have presented statistical figures showing why content marketing is a growing trend.

Content marketing and its timely relevance

You must have heard about content marketing a lot! Yet, it isn’t so clear to you. Congratulations! This blog is for you. But first, let me tell you an anecdote. I once posted on my Facebook account that a client discovered through my content marketing effort. One of my friends asked in our local lingo, “Unsa diay ng content marketing, sir?” (What is content marketing, sir?)

I would like to present first how other content marketers define content marketing:

Here’s one from Forbes (2014) by Josh Steimle:

Content marketing
 is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

And here’s another from Content Marketing Institute (2010):

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 — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

There is common denominator between the two definitions, right? Now, it’s my turn. To me, content marketing is the means of attracting audiences by providing them with valuable “content” before they become customers and, eventually, your brand ambassadors. Technically, I am referring to the top of the funnel (awareness stage).

What is content?

Content is the information, the idea or the experience you publish online. It is anything that you produce and publish for the purpose of offering it to your audience (or visitor). Content may come in the form of a text, but it can also be visual, audio, or video. 

In the realm of the digital world, eMarketing Institute states that content should be:

• useful
• easy to consume
• shareable
• original
• relevant
• compelling
• timely
• personalized
• authentic
• engaging
• educational
• entertaining
• insightful
• conveying a story
• contextual

As for business, content is a tool that you can use to directly connect with your target audience. The main purpose of content in the context of business communication is to encourage their interest to the products or services offered.

Content has become a fundamental part of any digital marketing strategy. It is a pillar supporting all your efforts and attempts to position your brand on the market and achieve your business goals. No longer can a business be successful and establish a relationship with the target group without some type of content involved (eMarketing Institute, 2018).

Content has to be well-planned and carefully designed; thus, it is a goal-driven ‘adventure’. This does not only involve creativity, but it also involves skillfulness in crafting a piece that is valuable to your audience.

What is content marketing?

Here’s how you can simply explain content marketing:

When you are asked by your family members, “What are the benefits of the products that you sell?” Your initial way of figuring it out is perhaps consulting Mr. Google. In the search box, you may type in there, “benefits of hair stimulating shampoo”. After which, what do you get? You get content. Yeah, that’s right. Basically, content marketing is about educating people.

However, contrary to what I just said, content marketing is not limited to awareness campaigns because you can still (and must) do content marketing even in the middle and bottom of the funnel.

In content marketing, you can do blogs, social media updates, infographics, photographs, quizzes or surveys, and a lot more!

Here’s a sampler of what I did. Take this “Andam Na Ba Kang Kaslon?” quiz.

In English, are you ready to get married?
In English, are you ready to get married?

Check What kind of content should you push for each part of the marketing funnel? to learn more!

Technically, content marketing is a type of marketing focused on creation and distribution of online materials that directly or indirectly promote a brand. Direct promotion refers to the creation of promotional materials and content used for advertising purposes. This type of content is usually
used in paid ads (SEM) or affiliate links (affiliate marketing). On the other hand, content marketing is frequently void of any direct promotion. The purpose of this kind of content is simply to increase interest in your products or services. This way, content marketing indirectly attracts and acquires leads and customers (eMarketing Institute, 2018).

Is content marketing a growing trend?

Content marketing has positively affected business over the years. That’s probably the reason why digital marketers cannot neglect content marketing per se. These are some amazing statistical figures that would tell us how to make our content relevant content marketing is in any business strategy:

• 2 million blog posts are written every day (MarketingProfs).

• 60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority (HubSpot).

• 37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (38%) (Social Media Examiner).

• Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts (HubSpot).

• The length of the average blog post is up 19%…about 1050 words. Shorties are on the decline: the percentage of posts that are 500 words or less is half what is was two years ago. Big posts are on the rise: the percentage of posts that are 2000+ words long has doubled every year (Orbit Media).

• 41% of B2B marketers say their organization is clear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like; 59% are unclear or unsure (Content Marketing Institute).

• Most marketers attribute increase in success to content creation which includes higher quality and more efficient content creation (Content Marketing Institute).

• Email, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are top 4 channels used by B2B business for content marketing distribution (Content Marketing Institute).

• 83% of B2B marketers use email newsletters for content marketing (Content Marketing Institute).

• Lead generation and brand awareness, in that order, are the two most important content marketing goals of most B2B marketers (Content Marketing Institute).

• Business to Business (B2B) marketers cite website traffic, sales lead quality, and sales as the top 3 most important metrics (Content Marketing Institute).

• Most B2B marketers state producing engaging content is the biggest challenge they face (60%), followed by measuring content effectiveness (57%) and producing content consistently (57%) (Content Marketing Institute).

• 72% of marketers say creating more engaging content is top priority for them. (Content Marketing Institute)

• Marketers plan to increase their use of videos (73%), visuals (71%), blogging (66%), live video (39%), and podcasting (26%), in that order (Social Media Examiner).

• We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65% (BrainRules).

• 76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content (HubSpot).

These have provided evidences that (1) companies that use content marketing have better results; (2) lead generation is the most important content marketing goal; (3) visual aspect boosts the performance of content; (4)video and visual content will gain even more importance; (5) email and social networks are the most important channels for content distribution; (6) longer posts usually perform better; (7) producing engaging content and (8) producing content consistently are some of the most common challenges for marketers. Yet, these are the top priorities for most
marketers because this is the road that brings success with content marketing strategy and digital marketing at a broader sense.

If you would like to know why I am so in love with content marketing, the answer is so simple: I am a teacher. Hence, I really love to teach in any way I can through any means. That’s why, of all disciplines of digital marketing, content marketing is my favorite! It’s usually organic — but it’s the most powerful!

Lastly, let me say just this:

Content marketing is the only marketing that matters most in this generation. Why? Godin (2015) says, “content marketing is the only marketing left”. I will leave that to you and thank me later! Content marketing will stay. Content will make you infinite in the digital space.

TL;DR (The bottom line):

Content marketing is a growing trend anyone who’s inclined into business and freelancing should learn. In essence, content marketing delivers valuable material that will primarily drive awareness to an audience. In fact, businesses have experienced significant improvement in their venture with the help of content marketing. Content marketing is therefore a success indicator in business. 

Editor’s note:

This post was originally published on February 6, 2021 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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