What Is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing Institute

Useful content should be at the core of your marketing

Traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute; as a forward-thinking marketer, you know there has to be a better way. Enter content marketing.

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.

Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.

Content marketing is used by leading brands

Our annual research shows the vast majority of marketers are using content marketing. In fact, it is used by many prominent organizations in the world, including P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and John Deere. It’s also developed and executed by small businesses and one-person shops around the globe. Why? Because it works.Here is just one example of content marketing in action:

Content marketing is good for your bottom line — and your customers

Specifically, there are three key reasons  — and benefits — for enterprises who use content marketing:

  • Increased sales
  • Cost savings
  • Better customers who have more loyalty

Content is the present – and future – of marketing

Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.

Marketing is impossible without great content

Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Quality content is part of all forms of marketing:

  • Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
  • SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
  • PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
  • PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.
  • Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
  • Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.

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What if your customers looked forward to receiving your marketing? What if when they received it, via print, email, website, they spent 15, 30, 45 minutes with it? What if they anticipated it and shared it with their peers? If you are intrigued and ready to learn more, we can help. Here are a few popular ways to dig in:

  • New to content marketing? Check out our getting started guide, where you’ll learn the definition of content marketing, as well as basic steps for putting a content marketing plan in place.
  • Need a content strategy? Read the CMI Content Marketing Framework, which outlines the essential building blocks for a successful content marketing program.
  • Looking for some content marketing examples? Download our Ultimate e-book: 75 Content Marketing Examples.
  • Are you in marketing leadership? Subscribe to our free magazine, Chief Content Officer, to stay on top of the latest industry trends.


2019 Content Marketing and Social Media Strategy:

Here Are 5 Content Marketing Trends That You Can’t Ignore This Year

Business team meeting and discussing project plan. Businessmen discussing together in meeting room. Professional investor working with business project together. Finance managers task.

Technology is evolving at a very rapid rate and as marketers or business owners, this means that you constantly need to be aware of the latest changes, developments and be prepared for change at any minute. And it’s not just technology that keeps changing, but so do your audience’s preferences.

When it comes to content marketing, it’s essential to stay on top of these things if you’re going to make a real impact with your content and get results.

So what should your 2019 content marketing strategy look like?

Here are 5 content marketing trends that you really can’t ignore this year.

Content Marketing and Artificial Intelligence

AI is already heavily impacting content marketing and most likely, Artificial Intelligence will change content marketing in big ways over the next few years.

A lot of powerful AI technology already exists; however, it’s not highly accessibly. As this changes over the course of these next few years, that’s when we’ll truly see the impact of Artificial Intelligence on content marketing.

One of the biggest ways that AI will affect content marketing has to do with analytics and machine learning. Artificial Intelligence can gather and interpret huge amounts of data, amounts that would take months of work from dozens of people, while AI can handle it in seconds.

So, what does this mean, specifically, for content marketing?

For one thing, it will allow marketers to build better content marketing strategies. The more data you have about your audience and their interests and preferences, the easier it will be to create and deliver the types of content that they actually want to see.

What’s more, with all of this data you can also build powerful, highly targeted audience segments; this in turn will allow you to create truly personalized content for each of your audience segments: personalized based on their personality traits, their shopping behavior, their interests, their location and their needs, among other factors.

A real need for an actual content strategy

So you have an editorial calendar; but do you have an actual strategy behind your content marketing efforts?

Surprisingly, as many as 63% of businesses don’t have an actual content strategy – but while that’s bad news for them, it can be great news for you if you start developing a content marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals.

That said, it’s important to understand that a content strategy is not just an editorial calendar that you plan a few weeks or a month in advance. Rather, it’s a documented strategy that involves:

  • Setting goals for your content marketing strategy, particularly goals that will align with your overall business goals so that any content you produce helps you reach more business goals:
    • generating more traffic, more leads, making more conversions via your website, blog or email, and so on.)
  • Establishing KPIs (key performance indicators) for measuring your content marketing ROI
  • Audience segmentation for increasingly personalized content
  • Content repurposing strategy
  • Content curation strategy
  • Different strategies for different customer acquisition channels

Get your content ready for voice search

FILE- In this Oct. 9, 2018, file photo a Google Home Hub is displayed in New York. Technology companies are pushing the “smart home,” selling appliances and gadgets that offer internet-connected conveniences you didn’t know you needed. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

FILE- In this Oct. 9, 2018 photo a Google Home Hub is displayed in New York. Technology companies are pushing the “smart home,” selling appliances and gadgets that offer internet-connected conveniences you didn’t know you needed. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

If you’ve not yet taken to using voice search in your day to day life, you might be surprised to learn how popular it actually is and how many people use it on a regular basis. And chances are that with the increasing popularity of devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa along with services like Apple’s Siri, voice search will only continue to grow – until, perhaps, it even becomes the new normal. Some even believe that as many as half of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020.

When it comes to content marketing, this means that marketers need to start optimizing their content – or, at least, some of their content – for voice search. Unfortunately though, each device seems to be pulling data from different sources and offering completely different results; that said, there are still things that you can do to get ahead of the competition and make sure that your content is the one that voice assistants will recommend.

One of the most important aspects is that you need to get your content to be the featured snippet – the short blurb that sometimes appears at the top of a Google search result that answers your search query – and know which searches result in featured snippets.

A different way of collaborating with influencers

Usually, one expects influencer collaboration to mean having the influencer promote a brand or its products/services on their own channels.

And while that’s definitely still a great strategy, there is another approach that is starting to trend right now: having the influencer create content for your very own brand channels (your blog, your social networks and so on).

This has quite a few advantages for brands, from boosting credibility to boosting traffic and followers as you attract that influencers’ audience.

So how do these types of campaigns work? Quite simply, by having known and respected influencers from your niche creating content for your channels. They can then promote this content on their channels and help drive traffic to your platform.

For example, if you sell food products, you could have popular chefs sharing exclusive recipes on your blog – that will likely attract a large audience of foodies to your blog. Or, you can take things one step further and have an influencer take over your channel for an entire 24 hours – similar to Snapchat takeovers.

As I mentioned before, these types of influencer marketing projects can help you boost your credibility simply by associating yourself with a respected and well-loved influencer from your niche as well as help you with more practical goals, such as building up traffic to your blog and website, helping you generate more leads, as well as helping you make more sales and acquire new customers for your business.

Incorporate more types of content in your strategy and reach a wider audience

Headphone, movie clapper board, note pad and virtual reality glasses on white background.

Headphone, movie clapper board, note pad and virtual reality glasses on white background

Content marketing isn’t just blogging; it’s also social media content, it’s marketing videos, email marketing, podcasting and so much more.

People consume a lot of different types of content every day, using various devices; in order to reach these audiences, it’s important to not only have a presence on multiple channels but also to create different types of content for different segments of your audience:

  • Video is one of the most popular forms of content right now. People watch as many as 5 billion videos on YouTube every day and 100 million hours of video on Facebook – and these are just 2 platforms
  • Podcasting is rapidly increasing in popularity as well, with 44% of the US population having listened to at least one podcast in the past few years
  • Interactive content such as AR lenses can help you reach a huge audience; for example, Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat Lens generated an impressive 224 million views 

Conclusion

Content marketing is widely used by a large majority of marketers and businesses; in fact, as many as 91% of B2B marketers claim to use content marketing to reach customers, as this study from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs found. That is a lot of content to compete with and, unfortunately, it’s easy to feel this competition when your content isn’t appearing in search results or in your audiences’ newsfeeds.

In order to perform well this year and generate great results from content marketing, stay on top of these trends and use them to inform your strategy: create a documented content marketing strategy, leverage AI, optimize your content for voice search, leverage different types of content and collaborate with influencers in unique ways.