Content Marketing: What Is It?


Marketing Overview Summary

First there was Integrated Marketing. Then there was Direct Marketing. Then Online Marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing and now Content Marketing.  With all these marketing buzz words, one can easily become confused. (Apologies if I missed a few 🙂 )

What’s the difference?  Is there a difference?  Interestingly, there can be quite a variety of definitions, even among marketers, about similarities and differences.  And yet there are both similarities AND differences between them.

Integrated marketing seeks to develop coordinated marketing strategies across a broad range of channels.  Typically direct marketing refers to a marketing message that seeks to drive a specific behavior that creates measurable results. Online marketing specifically uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages in a strategic way.  Search engine marketing targets the promotion of websites using Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Digital marketing focuses on using a variety of digital channels—TV, Radio, Internet and Mobile—to promote brands, products or services. Social media marketing is centered around creating content that is shared on the social networks to drive website traffic.

Looking at the different descriptions above, most of these marketing terms refer to the strategy and/or channel being employed in marketing efforts. Integrated marketing is an over-arching approach that may include some, if not all, other types of marketing. Differences in audiences, expectations and challenges of each business and organization require a different mix of strategies. Most of us recognize that B2C marketing is a totally different animal than B2B marketing.

Customization of a marketing strategy that is the right fit for your business is important.

One significant change in marketing, with the advent of social media, is that the conversation has gone from a one-way to a two-way conversation; and from a two-way to a multiple threaded conversation.  Despite that development, there are three foundational principles about all marketing that haven’t changed over the years:

  • It’s all about the relationship
  • Know your audience
  • Provide solutions your customers are looking for

 Content Marketing—Definition

Content marketing, aka Inbound marketing, aka Permission marketing, concentrates on developing and publishing valuable content, about topics your audiences are interested in, as a way to inspire loyalty and trust among your readership.  It’s a kind of “soft-sell” approach to marketing that gives credibility to your claims of expertise and experience.  The strategy behind content marketing as I’ve heard it explained, I think by Marketo, is a slow-drip approach to getting your prospects’ attention and earning their trust, with the intention of nurturing the relationship  through a sequence of behaviors that indicates where they are in the buying cycle.

Content Marketing—Results

 To conclude this segment, let’s talk about some results that content marketing, done right, can accomplish for you.  Content marketing will:

  • Improve your search engine rankings
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Help nurture existing leads

Like all the other types of marketing, there is a process to content marketing that involves building a framework with specific goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.  Over a series of the next several posts, we will first give an overview of the process and then go more in-depth looking at the approach, share ideas for developing valuable content and talk about resources available to help you with this type of marketing.

Are you using content marketing as one of your strategies?  What’s working?  What’s not?

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