This is part one of a three-part series on understanding content marketing. Additional parts will be posted shortly.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a method of marketing your business or product using content that’s produced and published on the Internet.
What is content?
There are many different types of content available on the Internet, and content marketing often overlaps with social media marketing and SEO. Your content could be graphics, infographics, videos, slideshows, blog posts, articles, white papers, eBooks, courses, or even interactive games or activities.
In the Internet marketing sphere, SEO content refers specifically to content that’s optimized to allow easy indexing by search engines. SEO content is often used as a way to boost the keyword count on a particular page. While SEO principles may be observed by content writers, they’re often operating differently. The SEO expert is focused on boosting your Page Rank – that is, how early you show up in search engine results. The content marketer focuses more on engagement than traffic – getting readers to interact with you through your content.
Content also overlaps to some extent with social media marketing, because great content is often shared and re-tweeted and passed from person to person through social media. However, social media marketers will usually (but not always) focus more on engagement at a personal level. Social media marketers will often use a combination of content creation and content curation (finding content from other people to share) to produce content for the social media account.
Where do you find content?
Think of the last time you were online to play. What did you do? If you’re a typical Internet user, you probably checked your Facebook, looked at some of your favorite websites, and maybe used a search engine to search for more information about something that piqued your interest. You may have checked in with some of your favorite blogs or watched a few videos on YouTube. Throughout your entire Internet session, you were probably consuming content.
On Facebook, a friend shared an inspiring video from UpWorthy (video content). Your favorite blogs contain blog content. You may have checked out Cracked to see what new article content was posted. YouTube is filled to the brim with video content. You may have looked at a new list from BuzzFeed (list-icle content). You might have re-pinned a great recipe from Pioneer Woman that you found on Pinterest. All of this is content, and we consume vast amounts of content each day without even realizing that it’s actually content.
One advantage to content marketing is that you’re able to market to your customers where they’re at. A customer comes to your store when they want to make a purchase, but content marketing allows you to reach out to your customers through a blog, social media, YouTube, or other content channels. You’re able to interact with your customers no matter where they happen to be, even if they’re not ready to make a purchase yet or they don’t know that your company or product exists.
How does content marketing compare to other marketing methods?
|Method||SEO||Social Media Marketing||Advertisements||Conversion Optimization||Content Marketing|
|Attracts new site visitors||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Builds credibility and trust||No||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe||Yes|
|Uses social proof by encouraging sharing||No||Yes||Not usually||No||Yes|
|Builds name recognition or brand recognition||No||Yes||Yes||No||Maybe|
|Encourages engagement with potential customers||No||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Builds brand loyalty||No||Maybe||Yes||No||Yes|
|Cost||$ – $$||$$||$$$$||$$ – $$$||$$|
|Directly drives sales||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Easy to determine ROI||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
What type of content marketing is best?
It depends on what your goals are for your content marketing campaign, as different types of content marketing have different effects.
|Type||Video||Ebook||White Paper||Article||Short Content|
|Easy to share||Very Good||Poor||Fair||Good||Outstanding|
|Cost to produce||$$$$||$$ – $$$||$$||$ – $$||$|
|Boosts authority||Fair||Outstanding||Outstanding||Very Good||Fair|
|Encourages feedback and engagement||Good||Poor||Fair||Very Good||Very Good|
How do I do content marketing?
Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I explain the process of creating content marketing!