Content marketing, definition:
A strategic marketing approach that involves the creation and sharing of valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, with the goal of driving profitable customer action. Content can take many forms, such as blog posts, videos, social media posts, white papers, infographics, podcasts and more.
Content marketing is one of the most native and effective forms of promotion in the digital marketing services sphere.
I call it “native” because it delivers the expected results (goals, KPIs) by satisfying a primary, natural human need to communicate.
Today’s article is a broad one.
I’ve been meaning to keep you here for a few minutes, but I want to be super-productive for you to find exactly what you’re looking for here. and, by the time you’re done reading, be satisfied with your time investment. you’ve made.
In the material we have prepared for you today we will discuss:
- What is content marketing
- The history of content marketing
- Famous examples of content marketing promotion
- How content marketing works
- The definition and elements of quality content
- The importance of marketing content
- Content marketing strategy vs. content strategy
- How to define a content marketing strategy
- The elements of a content marketing strategy
- What is Inbound Marketing
- What is copywriting
- Content Marketing vs. Copywriting
- How best to do Content Marketing: in-house vs content marketing agency
I said in the second paragraph that content marketing is effective because it delivers the most relevant results by satisfying a natural human need to communicate.
Therefore, before moving on to our topic, I think it is necessary to briefly clarify the complexity of the communication process and its vital importance in our lives.
Understanding the importance of communication, you will certainly understand, later in this article, what content marketing is, the power that a professional content marketing strategy develops and the huge potential to achieve performances hardly matched by any other digital marketing service.
So, first about communication
Why is communication important?
Communication is one of the most complex and important elements that define us as humans.
All of our performances, starting with the discovery of fire and the wheel, to the exploration of space, have been made possible by this exceptional ability to communicate.
Of course, communication is not a quality that we, humans possess exclusively.
We, however, distance ourselves from the entire living kingdom by complexity of the communication process we have developed.
Intrinsically, the communicative process encompasses an ecosystem of forms, of which we mention the major ones, namely:
- Verbal communication, structured, to in turn, into articulate and inarticulate communication.
- Nonverbal communication, defined by a signs related to posture, movement, gestures, mimicry, appearance and so on
- Paravverbal communication, defined by coded elements such as voice characteristics, speech peculiarities pronunciation, intensity of utterance, rate and flow of speech, intonation, pauses in speech and so on.
Promotion – the role of communication in business
In the early days, communication facilitated the initiation, maintenance and development of human relationships, a process that has remained just as effective and today, hundreds of thousands of years later.
All communication was the basis of the earliest forms of trade, starting with archaic barter and culminating today in transaction processes of extraordinary complexity.
We both know, however, that any transaction is possible through presence of two factors: supply and demand.
The existence of these two factors, in turn, is conditioned by the presence of a third, derived from them, namely promotion.
Promotion has always been an essential element in trading processes.
Where thousands of years ago, promotion was a simplistic process of communicating the offer, limited to the characteristics and peculiarities of the product, today, promotion processes are highly complex.
Today, as then, communication has remained the main facilitator of promotion processes. Information has remained the most valuable asset, regardless of the product or service being marketed.
Given the enormous importance of communication in our lives, and how this process supports the initiatives of influence our needs and desires, we understand why marketing content marketing is so effective.}
What is content marketing?
Of course, in the marketing sphere, it is absurd to say that only content marketing promotion enjoys the privilege of using the advantages of communication.
This exists in all forms of marketing and can offer huge benefits, if the rules are followed and it is used to its true potential.
However, the factor that differentiates content marketing promotion from other promotion services is located in the very essence of what content marketing is, more precisely in the strategy that this service proposes, namely: stimulating the need for consumption by creating and distributing content to the target audience.
From there, we come to the official definition of what content marketing is, offered by the Content Marketing Institute, which says we are dealing with:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, with the ultimate goal of driving profitable action.”
More broadly, content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage and maintain the interest of an audience by creating, disseminating and sharing articles, videos, podcasts and other relevant media tools.
A definition for content marketing refers to the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing and publishing content, through channels such as social media, blogs, websites, podcasts, apps, press releases, print publications and more. The goal is to reach target audiences and increase brand awareness, drive sales, and increase customer engagement and loyalty.
This promotional approach encourages brand awareness and keeps your business in the forefront when it’s time to sell products or services.
If we want to look at what content marketing is, we can’t just stick to publishing content and material periodically in the hope that the audience will find it and read it. It’s about intentionally tailoring your pages, videos, e-books and posts for your target audience so that they are tempted to interact with your brand and seek more information.
Today, your content strategy needs to reach your audience in a natural way. Most often, narratives, stories, honest and heartfelt accounts are successful. By doing so, the content you offer to your audience will be more authentic, engaging and tailored to the demands of the market.
There are other relevant content marketing examples, such as newsletters, social media posts and live broadcasts of events. All of these forms of content marketing are designed to provide useful and relevant information that delights users and attracts them to your brand.
The history of content marketing
Some experts say content marketing still dates back to since the time of the cave paintings our ancestors made on the walls of cave walls.
Some experts claim that it really did appear with the first printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440.
What we do know, however, is that the first campaigns that today align with what Content Marketing means, officially recognized, appeared in the late 19th century.
Famous example of content marketing promotion
The first officially recognised content marketing campaigns featured “Doktor Oetker”, “John Deere” and “Michelin”.
Here are the 3 clearest proofs that when you understand content marketing very well, the results are enormous:
In 1891, August Oetker began printing recipes for on the back of baking powder packets “Doktor Oetker’s Backpulver” that he sold.
In 1911, he began publishing a magazine of cake networks, which, even today, sells more than 19,000,000 copies globally each year.
In 1895, John Deere, a farm machinery company, launched “The Furrow” magazine, with useful advice for farmers on how to increase their productivity and profit from their farming operations.
The magazine is still published today in 12 languages and is sold sold annually in over 1.5 million copies in more than 40 countries.
In 1900, the famous Michelin tire company launched the “Michelin Guide”, a 300+ page guide with useful tips on car maintenance, potential tourist locations, restaurants, maps and other advice for those who wanted to visit France.
The Michelin Guide still exists today. Moreover, thanks to the advice given about the best restaurants, today, the Michelin Star is the most coveted distinction recognizing the quality of a restaurant.
These are the oldest and most famous content marketing promotion campaigns known in the industry.
Today, Red Bull is one of the most iconic examples of a company that has figured out what content marketing means and is generating billions of dollars in revenue by following content marketing strategies.
How it works content marketing work?
Unlike other marketing services, content marketing rejects intrusive promotional strategies.
Instead of aggressively displaying products or services to the target audience, content marketing delivers quality information to the audience.
In this way, the essence of what content marketing is all about is the natural closeness between the brand and potential customers, providing the brand with a set of extremely important benefits in addition to sales, such as:
- Positioning as authority
- Competitive advantage
- Evangelism – Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
Important of content marketing
In addition to the benefits that content marketing offers, this service is becoming increasingly important in the new digital paradigm.
When it comes to the Internet, surely we can both agree that information is an essential piece of this ecosystem.
Google, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tik Tok, Netflix and Spotify are just a few – perhaps the most relevant – of the examples at hand that have proven they know what content marketing is and its importance in generating sales and other marketing objectives.
Here we go! Only a few of these companies create and promote their own content.
Except for the Netflix platform, which offers a mix of content, all of the other companies mentioned above use the User Generated Content” strategy to meet business objectives.
Of course, all of these companies run complex content marketing strategies in parallel, on the other publishing platforms they own, where they use their authority to publish guides, courses and other materials on how to use their platforms in the most effective way.
And since I brought up strategies, I think it’s the right time to talk about the content promotion strategy of marketing content.
But before we go any further, we need to clarify one aspect in order to fully understand what content marketing means, namely:
Content strategy vs. content marketing strategy
There is often confusion between a content marketing strategy and a content strategy.
Although, at first glance, they appear to be one and the same, in fact, there is a complementary relationship between them, with content marketing strategy being the “why” of content strategy.
Let me explain.
The content strategy is the overall plan for the use of content, in all its forms, in every aspect of a business.
To understand this better, imagine content strategy as the blueprint of a house; the “on paper” planning of how content will be used to meet business objectives.
A good content strategy addresses – but is not limited to – the following questions:
- Why do you have to create content?
- Where will we publish this content?
- How will the audience find us?
- When should we distribute content to the audience?
- Which audience do we want to read our content?
- What feedback do we want to get from it?
- What types of content do audiences prefer?
- Who will create, publish and distribute the content?
- How often will we publish content?
On the other hand, content marketing strategy represents a so-called “soft-sales” approach to attracting and retaining customers for your business by creating and distributing quality content.
Practically, it’s a combination of sales techniques and organic marketing – or Inbound Marketing, which I’ll talk about a little later in this article.
The essence of a content marketing strategy is to disguise sales efforts very well behind the content delivered, so that the target audience does not consciously notice the sales process, but feels that they are informed.
A content marketing promotion strategy can take the form of blog articles, case studies, PR, Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Pay-Per-Click Marketing, SEO and other marketing services, depending on the business objectives.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, here’s what’s next we’ll talk about content marketing strategy.
What is a content marketing strategy?
We have explained in the previous paragraphs, roughly, what a content marketing strategy is.
Even so, in order to better commit the information to memory, I return with a clearer definition, and say that:
“Content marketing strategy is a process of carefully planning the steps necessary to attract an audience relevant to your field of activity in order to meet your business goals by creating, publishing and distributing quality content.”
How do we define quality content?
It’s a question that many people ask when when planning a content marketing strategy. From Therefore, I think it is important to clarify this aspect.
So, by quality content, we mean content that is:
You must answer the questions that potential customers ask you.
2. Easy to consume
The information should be easy to understand.
Of course, you could say that in technical or scientific niches, content is defined by a high level of complexity, but you have to keep in mind that if the audience in that niche understands the information and consumes it in an easy way, success is guaranteed.
Being animals defined by imagination and benefiting from a consistent level of imaginative wit, no one appreciates plagiarized content, and those who avoid a negative reaction to it often choose to stay away from the plagiarist.
Continuity created must bring something extra to people, to solve a problem in an efficient way, by providing new information, that competitors haven’t offered.
Customization of content defines the unique quality of the information you provide, but denotes, in equal measure, your personality. That’s why personalized content contributes a great deal to defining an original brand image.
Steps of a content marketing strategy
Summarizing, a content marketing strategy involves the following steps:
1. Setting objectives and KPIs (Key Performance Metrics)
Here we find goals such as: brand visibility, positioning as an authority on the niche, Optimizing SEO or increasing sales.
In terms of KPIs, these are the concrete goals you set, such as: if my goal is to increase traffic to the company’s website, the KPI is to increase traffic to the website, measured in Google Analytics.
If you want to set your marketing goals “Like a Boss”, download our template for setting your SMART goals correctly.
2. Setting the target audience
Locating the target audience for the campaign is one of the most important steps in the strategy.
Achieving a clear “Buyer Persona” will influence other steps in the strategy, such as the type of content used, distribution channels, content timing and even the marketing funnel.
3. Conduct a content audit on business platforms
A content audit involves analyzing content that already exists on company-owned platforms to locate any missing elements, to locate content that is already performing well, to improve poor content or to get valuable ideas for the campaign.
4. Competition analysis
Competitor analysis also involves analysis of content analysis, but this time of your competitors, to see what what’s working well for them, what you could create in addition, but also how you can improve the content they already create.
This last tactic, to improve your competitors’ content, is called “Curated Content”; we will talk more about it in the next articles I will publish on the re7consulting agency blog.
5. Choosing the types of content to be used
There are a lot of content types, from which you can choose the most effective ones. Among the available content types, we mention – but not limited to:
- Blog articles
- Press releases
- E-books (.PDF files)
- White Papers (.PDF files of ample size)
Keep in mind! Choosing the most effective content types for your content marketing campaign will be based on your objectives, audience and distribution channels.
6. Establishing distribution channels for the content marketing campaign
Among the most important channels available in digital, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Tik Tok, LinkedIn or Twitter.
The choice of the most effective channels will depend on your objectives and the audience you want to target.
7. Realising the content calendar
The content calendar will save you a lot of time, helping you to clearly structure your content creation, publishing and distribution schedule. Here’s a great Content Calendar Template you can use to quickly create your content calendar.
8. Setting up the Buyer Journey
The marketing journey is a map of content marketing strategy.
With the help of this funnel, you will be able to closely monitor the evolution of your target audience from the moment they are “cold”, i.e. they don’t know you yet, to the step where the same audience makes a purchase and becomes loyal to your brand, recommends your offer to others (Evangelism Marketing) or makes multiple purchases.
Here’s what the Content Marketing handout looks like (Feel free to download it – right click + Save image as):
9. Planning the content distribution strategy
Content distribution is also a vital step in your content marketing campaign. Why? Because it’s no use producing the highest quality content; if you don’t get your distribution strategy right, you’re creating it for nothing.
Distribution is achieved in three ways:
- organic – by distributing content on social media pages relevant to your business, or by publishing content on other sites relevant to your niche, through outreach strategies (press releases), guest posting or natural pickup of your content by other sites, facilitated by the quality and usefulness of the content.
- paid – through ads placed in Social Media or Google (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Linked Ads, etc.)
- paid – by placing paid articles (advertorials) on other sites relevant to your niche.
We see, then, that a content marketing strategy incorporates both organic content distribution practices and paid practices.
While in terms of paid promotion things are relatively simple, when we talk about organic targeting we enter the realm of Inbound Marketing, and things get a little more complicated.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is defined as:
“a distinct marketing strategy aimed at achieving business objectives through exclusively organic strategies, using organic promotion elements of Content Marketing, SEO, Blogging, Social Media, PR, etc.”
Unlike Outbound Marketing, which uses the full spectrum of organic and paid strategies to reach the target audience, Inbound Marketing relies on strategies that attract and gain the attention of potential customers through content created exclusively organically.
Content marketing vs. Copywriting
Copywriting is another service that is often confused with content marketing. Between the two services exist, however, quite a lot of similarities, the relationship between them being, again. complementary.
What is copywriting?
Well, copywriting is defined by the process of writing of advertising materials. Copywriters are responsible for the texts for brochures, billboards, the On-Page content of a website texts for newsletters, advertisements, catalogues and many other materials. promotional material.
The main goal of copywriting is to stimulate concrete actions from people who come into contact with the promotional material (hits, conversions, sales, etc.).
All 3 services mentioned above, to which Branded Content can be added, can be applied individually, but, equally, can be integrated in a complex content strategy, which meets the business objectives.
Finally, intuition (sic!) tells me that you are here to learn more about content marketing, or you want to see if it’s worth it to adopt a content marketing strategy in the a business.
If you want to learn, it’s ok, I hope this article about what content marketing means has made you completely clear and I invite you to stay on our blog to learn more about this service and the other online marketing services our agency offers.
If you have a business, the situation is more delicate, because a number of more pressing factors come into play than when you’re just curious to learn something new.
When you have a business, time is money. More specifically, time wasted time means wasted money.
These promotion services we have discussed so far deliver results, but to master them effectively, you need thorough training in this direction.
That’s why, when you’re running a business, and you set out to take the next steps in promoting it, you inevitably ask yourself:
Whether content marketing in-house, or with a specialized content agency?
I could go on for dozens more paragraphs on this topic, but I’ll just stick to a series of structured advantages and disadvantages for each situation.
Promote by In House marketing content
- The thorough understanding of values, vision and brand culture
- An overview of strategies
- Better process control
- Lack of experience in this direction
- Lack of necessary tools
- Lack of full understanding of these tools
What is content marketing with a content agency
- Partnership with content marketing specialists who know best what content marketing means
- You have all the tools you need
- Guaranteed deadlines
- Additional investment in agency work in addition to investment in promotion
- The need to provide a clear brief to the agency to ensure a properly implemented campaign
Promotion through the elements that define the ecosystem of what content marketing is all about develops a flexibility unlike any other online promotion service available, having a huge potential to deliver the goals set, while providing additional benefits when you implement the strategy correctly.
In today’s digital ecosystem, however, most existing promotion solutions are interdependent. Each existing service can deliver consistent results, but the best results are achieved when the promotion strategy integrates a mix of digital marketing services.
Therefore, when it comes to what content marketing means, although we are talking about a distinct online marketing service that can be implemented independently of other promotion methods, the best results are achieved when you integrate the benefits offered by other services into the strategy.