To define content marketing, one must start with the fact that it has changed the business world forever.
Why? Because content marketing isn’t about the trickery, lies, and overinflation so often used in traditional marketing.
We define content marketing as a process of thoroughly informing your audience who you are and what you do by providing them with great articles, stories, and ideas This is often done through a collection of posts. More in-depth products, like white papers, podcasts, or video content, are also given away by savvy content marketers. Most do so by offering the information product in exchange for an email address.
If this isn’t how the marketers you know define content marketing, well, they probably aren’t real content marketers. They’re marketers in content marketers’ clothing. Content marketing is about the content and the audience before it’s about selling products.
You give away content for free to prove you’re worth buying from.
Customers and clients want a sense of a person or organization before investing their money. Content marketing is about creating these relationships, and offering paid products afterward. Any company seeking to define content marketing in any other way is heading in the wrong direction.
Content Marketing > Buying Ads
Ads can be ineffective and even damaging. Sorry – I don’t mean to be harsh if you’re currently spending a lot of your marketing budget on ads, but let’s face the facts. Ads are everywhere, especially online. People have grown so accustomed to them that they’re almost immune to any potential impact.
Smart marketers are reaching their audiences in other ways, and it starts by informing these audiences; not by an attempt at coercion.
Here’s another way of looking at it: Advertising tells something about a product or service, while content marketing shows it directly. You don’t have to believe someone’s buzzword attempt in content marketing – the proof of their expertise will be seen directly from their content, regardless of their preferred medium.
According to The Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2B businesses are using content marketing. And 70% of B2B businesses are creating more content than they created a year ago.
Clearly, content marketing is the new school of thought, even though it has been around for awhile. Buying ads is among the old-school marketing practices that many businesses are turning away from.
Content marketing is here to stay.
It’s clear that content marketing isn’t just a trend. As mentioned above, more businesses are creating more content because they see the value in content marketing.
Ultimately, the Internet has allowed for the growth and usage of content marketing. With the ability to create and publish digital content with much greater ease, there’s the chance to create massive collections of informative content.
According to Curata, which cites the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, “38% of B2B marketers rate the effectiveness of their organization’s use of content marketing as ‘effective’ or ‘very effective.'” CMI and MarketingProfs define effectiveness as “accomplishing your overall objectives.”
With more companies turning to content marketing and better content marketing strategies being devised, it won’t be surprising to see content marketing become even more successful in years to come.
Content Marketing for Everyone
Content marketing is for everyone, from the smallest companies to the largest ones.
Not surprisingly, some of the larger companies are getting very involved with content marketing. Take Condé Nast, which recently launched a native advertising agency powered by editors.
According to an article from The Wall Street Journal, “Condé Nast said in a statement its ‘primary editorial mission remains the creation of original, independent and compelling premium content in all of its forms’ and that ‘great quality content will break through, even if it is identified as paid.'”
This new agency from Condé Nast is a content marketing agency. They’re combining great content and stories with the brands’ marketing power. It’s the process of writing advertorials and then promoting them in the most effective ways.
Are You Using Content Marketing?
We define content marketing in a very specific sense. Many others would agree with us, because we believe in showing the value of products and services before trying to make a hard sell.
Are you using content marketing? If so, we’d love to hear your story on how it has worked for your brand thus far. If you haven’t started using content marketing, we’d love to know why. Please let us know in the comments section!