What is Content Marketing? A Guide to 20 Top Industry Leading Definitions (2023)

What is Content Marketing? A Guide to 20 Top Industry Leading Definitions (1)

Have you ever heard a word or phrase so much that it loses its meaning altogether? As marketers, we’re often guilty of overusing buzzwords so much that our brains sort of shut down when we hear them — kind of like that Ed Sheeran song you loved before you heard it a million times on the radio.

For example, I challenge you to try not rolling your eyes or immediately losing interest when you hear terms like action item, leverage, thought leader, growth hacking, storytelling or synergistic management solutions. (Okay, that last one was taken from the game Cards Against Humanity, but it sure sounds like something you’d hear in a marketing meeting.)

Likewise, it seems as though “content marketing” is used so frequently that it has become one of these buzzwords, too.

Whether you’re new to marketing or looking for a refresher course, this curated list of definitions will help you gain a better understand what content marketing is, what it isn’t, and why it should be a key part of your ongoing B2B or B2C marketing strategy.

What is Content Marketing? A Guide to 20 Top Industry Leading Definitions (2)

First, let’s kick things off with looking at how Google’s Dictionary defines content marketing:

“A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”

The key takeaway here is how content marketing is supposed to promote interest in a brand without explicitly advertising. This distinction is also echoed by Marketo’s definition:

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“Content marketing is the process of creating high-quality, valuable content to attract, inform, and engage an audience, while also promoting the brand itself. Buyers and consumers are already searching the web for answers that your brand is uniquely positioned to offer.”

They go on to say that the three main benefits of investing in a content-centered approach as opposed to other types of marketing is boosting brand awareness, increasing brand preference, and having a greater reach at a lower cost (higher ROI).

So what’s the purpose of content marketing?

According to Content Marketing Institute:

“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.”

What also stands out to me here is the mention of consistency — a concept Neil Patel also emphasizes in his definition:

“…content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.”

In addition to being consistent, content marketing should also have relevance to your target audience.

As TopRank Marketing says:

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“Content marketing is a strategic marketing technique that aligns business and consumer information needs with relevant content. Content can act as a means to attract, engage and convert a specific targeted audience.”

Copyblogger also emphasises the importance of creating content that’s relatable and which adds value to your audience’s lives:

“Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”

Perhaps to better understand what content marketing entails, one must have a clear idea of what is meant by the term “content.” When marketers use this term, we aren’t just talking about blogs, white papers, and press releases. Content refers to anything that communicates a message to your audience, even non-traditional forms like infographics, videos, and memes. Learn more about what we mean by content.

As Moz says:

“Content marketing is the use of that content—any of it—to help meet a marketing goal for your organization. That could be acquisition of potential customers, retention of existing ones, making more people aware of your brand or your products, or really anything else.”

Or as Lynda puts it:

“As a marketing medium, content marketing is the process of a company creating and sharing useful information that educates, entertains, or convinces consumers on topics related to its offerings.”

When it comes to the important role content marketing plays in the customer journey, NewsCred Insights provides a clear answer:

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“Content marketing is a form of digital marketing in which brands develop an always-on relationship with customers through content that is non-promotional and provides value at every interaction…Content marketers create different types of content to attract, engage, and convert people at every stage of the buyer journey.”

Unbounce also chimes on how content marketing leads customers through the conversion funnel, saying that content marketing is:

“The discipline of creating editorial content that serves a business objective, such as attracting prospects, establishing credibility or converting customers. Content marketing is about building a long-term relationship with your audience while delivering as much value and delight as possible.”

Many experts separate media into three distinct categories: paid, owned, and earned. All should be part of a business’s content marketing strategy.

According to Gartner:

“Content marketing is the process and practice of creating, curating and cultivating text, video, images, graphics, e-books, white papers and other content assets that are distributed through paid, owned and earned media. These assets are used to tell stories that help brands build and nurture relationships with customers, prospects and other audiences to drive awareness, generate demand, influence preference and build loyalty.”

In Curata’s definition of content marketing, they touch upon the all-important lifecycle of content development:

“Content marketing is the process of developing, executing, and delivering the content and related assets needed to create, nurture, and grow a company’s customer base. Stages of the content marketing process include: strategy; content development; asset development; and channel leverage across outbound marketing, inbound marketing, and sales enablement.”

On top of these formal definitions, numerous industry leaders have hit the nail on the head when tweeting about what content marketing is and why it matters. Here are few of our favorites quotes:

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“Marketing is about telling the world you’re a rock star; content marketing is showing you are one.” — @Robert_Rose

“The only way to win at content marketing is for the reader to say, ‘This was written specially for me’.” — @AskJamieTurner

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – @tomfishburne1

“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” — @dougkessler

“These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.” — @brianclark

For you visual learners out there, there are plenty of informative and interesting infographics that define the role of content marketing with graphics and images rather than text — starting with this one:

What is Content Marketing? A Guide to 20 Top Industry Leading Definitions (3)

Here are two others to check out:

Why So Many Definitions?

As you may have already gathered, most of the various definitions and opinions about the definition of content marketing are very similar. It seems the industry is more or less on the same page in regards to what content marketing is and is not.

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However, content marketing must constantly be redefined to keep pace with modern trends and search engine updates. For instance, voice search and machine learning wasn’t on most content marketers’ radar five or ten years ago, yet these factors are now an integral part of many future marketing strategies. As technology changes rapidly, so too must content marketers. And in that regard, the very definition of content marketing must inevitably evolve as well.

Getting multiple viewpoints from industry experts who are diving into content marketing on a daily basis is helpful in providing you with a more clear and accurate picture of the path ahead.

How do you define “content marketing”?

Share your answer below or via Facebook.

FAQs

What is the best definition of content marketing? ›

Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it's time to buy what you sell.

What is the best definition of content marketing coursera? ›

Content marketing is the marketing strategy of creating articles, podcasts, videos, infographics, and other types of media to engage and retain potential customers.

What is meant by content marketer? ›

A content marketer is a professional who creates engaging print, visual and video content that a business can use to engage with their audience. Content marketers typically aim to create educational content that's relevant to the field the business works in.

What is content marketing PDF? ›

Chapman define content as “anything your organization creates and shares to tell its story.” Content takes many forms, but it only qualifies as content marketing if, according to the Content Marketing Institute, it aims to drive profitable customer action.

What are the 4 pillars of content marketing? ›

Four Pillars of Effective Content Marketing
  • Understand the profile of who you want to consume your content. ...
  • Have a plan for publishing. ...
  • Make your content meaningful, useful and interesting. ...
  • Continue building your brand.
5 Aug 2021

What are the 5 essential elements of a content marketing strategy? ›

5 Essential Elements of Successful Content Marketing Strategies
  • Have a Clearly Defined Audience. Before outlining your content marketing strategy, you need to have a clear picture of your target audience. ...
  • A Content Marketing Strategy with SMART Goals. ...
  • Clear Value Proposition. ...
  • Branding. ...
  • Metrics for Success.
1 May 2020

What are the 5 types of content? ›

Those are:
  • Infographics.
  • Blog content.
  • Podcasts.
  • Videos.
  • Social media.
5 Aug 2020

What are the six types of content? ›

6 Types of Content Writing and Their Purposes
  • Blog posts.
  • Articles.
  • Guides.
  • Tutorials.
  • E-books.
  • Case studies.
20 Oct 2021

What is a good example of content marketing? ›

Content marketing examples include media like newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, and videos. All of these forms of content are meant to provide useful and relevant information that delights users and attracts them to your brand.

Why is content marketing important? ›

The number one reason that content marketing is important is that your customers appreciate it. Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing, drives six times higher conversion rates, and has the potential for a 7.8-fold boost in web traffic.

What is the goal of a content marketer? ›

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.

What are the four types of content? ›

There are four content categories used in content creation and marketing—attraction, authority, affinity, and action. It's important to note that the four content categories are not mutually exclusive, and a single piece of content will often fit in multiple categories.

What are the three types of content? ›

The best way to look at the kind of content you're using across your digital landscape, including social media and email marketing, as well as social media and your blog, is to divide it into three types. They are: Creation, Curation, and Creative Curation.

What are the 3 components of content strategy? ›

Industry experts will tell you that an effective content strategy must have three core elements to be successful: brand focus, user experience, and content distribution.

What are the best 6 tips for content marketing? ›

Be the person on the internet that actually answers the questions.
  • Create Content That Is Long And Lean. Longer content often performs better in searches than pieces that are shorter. ...
  • Use Data. ...
  • Don't Forget The Visuals. ...
  • Repurpose Content. ...
  • Pay Attention To Analytics.
5 Nov 2021

What are the seven 7 factors to consider in producing a good content? ›

7 Factors You Need to Create Great Website Content Readers Will...
  • It's Actionable. Have you ever read an article promising you to teach you how to do something and once it was over, you were still left in the dark? ...
  • It's Credible. ...
  • It's Original. ...
  • It's Thought-Provoking. ...
  • It's Easy to Read. ...
  • It Provides Value. ...
  • It Has a Purpose.
2 Feb 2018

What are the 5 steps on developing content strategy? ›

5 steps to developing a content strategy
  1. Define your goals. Great content needs to have a purpose and that purpose needs to be defined by clear goals. ...
  2. Know your audience. ...
  3. Audit your content. ...
  4. Develop content themes. ...
  5. Map your content to your marketing funnel.

What is the golden rule of content marketing? ›

Read into your audiences content and join discussions to learn what's important, interesting, or funny to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than noise to their lives. Build a strong marketing strategy for your brand and stick to it.

How many types of content marketing are there? ›

16 Content Marketing Types to Grow Your Business. Content Marketing is the way to go when it comes to lead generation. And if you really want to get ahead of competitors, it is vital to explore the different types of content marketing that we've selected for this blog post.

What is content marketing cycle? ›

A content marketing cycle is essentially a way of managing and reporting on your content strategy. The cycle describes the entire marketing process, from initial contact through to nurturing ongoing client relationships. Sometimes titled 'listen' or 'buying personas'.

What are KPI for content marketing? ›

Content marketing KPIs you should track:

Number of content marketing pieces published per week. Organic website traffic. Session-to-contact rate. Sales opportunities generated from inbound (SQLs).

What is a good content strategy? ›

A good content strategy considers a KPI, and then works towards reaching it. It is a roadmap that plans out the exact steps that need to be taken in order to reach that goal. But of course, even with all the best planning and execution, sometimes, content campaigns don't meet their KPIs.

What are the three categories of content marketing? ›

There are three categories of content that are especially important to startups and small business owners:
  • Passive content: Web copy, tag lines, or your slogan. Your online presence. ...
  • Outbound content: E-mail campaigns, ad copy, or your sales script. ...
  • Inbound content: Blog, social media, ebooks, or white papers.

What is the best type of content marketing? ›

There is no “best” type of content marketing

Additionally, some types of content are better suited for particular stages in the customer journey than others. For example, blog posts, articles, and video can be an excellent way of connecting with those in the awareness stage of the journey.

What is the most popular form of content? ›

According to Hubspot, videos are actually the most popular content type in 2021, overtaking blogs and infographics.

What is the content marketing matrix? ›

A content marketing matrix is a planning tool that helps you map your content inventory and content ideation to meet specific customer needs at different stages of their buyers' journey. It helps highlight what content is most relevant to a customer based on their buying phase.

What are the main types of content? ›

Here's a non-exhaustive list of the most common content types:
  • Blog posts.
  • Emails.
  • Social media content.
  • Guides.
  • Ebooks.
  • Video content.
  • Webinars.
  • Case studies.
18 Feb 2022

› Content ›

Content marketing is on everyone's agenda, but it's rarely done right. Do better using these five essential tips to improve your strategy.
Blog posts are a great way of improving your SEO and driving traffic to your website from search engines. This is especially great for SMEs as it can help to re...
When you hear “content marketing,” what do you think of? If you're like most businesses, I work with, probably blogging that's integrated social media m...

What is the best definition of content marketing quizlet? ›

best definition of Content Marketing? strategic creation of text, imagery, audio or video, that delivers a relevant and interesting message to a customer or a prospect while at the same time paving the way for a sale.

What is content marketing and examples? ›

Content marketing examples include media like newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, and videos. All of these forms of content are meant to provide useful and relevant information that delights users and attracts them to your brand.

Why content marketing is the best? ›

Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate new leads for your brand. By creating content that features engaging call-to-actions (CTA), you'll be able to generate leads efficiently and effectively. Content marketing strategies can also have a great impact on your conversion rates.

What is content marketing Oxford dictionary? ›

[uncountable] ​a way of advertising a company's products by creating and sharing online material such as videos, blogs and social media posts.

What is one of the main goals of content marketing? ›

The business purpose of content marketing is written into its definition: 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.

What are the four steps to creating a content marketing strategy? ›

The content marketing process consists of four steps: strategy, content creation, distribution and conversion.

What are the 5 types of content? ›

Those are:
  • Infographics.
  • Blog content.
  • Podcasts.
  • Videos.
  • Social media.
5 Aug 2020

What are the 5 essential elements of a content marketing strategy? ›

5 Essential Elements of Successful Content Marketing Strategies
  • Have a Clearly Defined Audience. Before outlining your content marketing strategy, you need to have a clear picture of your target audience. ...
  • A Content Marketing Strategy with SMART Goals. ...
  • Clear Value Proposition. ...
  • Branding. ...
  • Metrics for Success.
1 May 2020

What is the most popular form of content marketing? ›

1. Blogs. Blogging is one of the most popular types of content marketing for small businesses. And for good reason!

Who is the best content marketer? ›

15 Best Content Marketers to Follow in 2022
  1. Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary has been one of the most sought-after marketing influencers for a while. ...
  2. Ryan Deiss. ...
  3. Neil Patel. ...
  4. Ann Handley. ...
  5. Rand Fishkin. ...
  6. Larry Kim. ...
  7. Joe Pulizzi. ...
  8. Tim Ferriss.
1 Mar 2022

What is the most important role of a content marketer? ›

The purpose of content marketing is to persuade a person into taking action. Content should entice someone with valuable, engaging, and relevant information. The content marketer's job is to determine not only how to do that, but how to evaluate the efficacy of strategies employed by using metrics.

What are the 3 components of content strategy? ›

Industry experts will tell you that an effective content strategy must have three core elements to be successful: brand focus, user experience, and content distribution.

What are the best 6 tips for content marketing? ›

Be the person on the internet that actually answers the questions.
  • Create Content That Is Long And Lean. Longer content often performs better in searches than pieces that are shorter. ...
  • Use Data. ...
  • Don't Forget The Visuals. ...
  • Repurpose Content. ...
  • Pay Attention To Analytics.
5 Nov 2021

Who uses content marketing? ›

Content marketing is used by leading brands

It's also developed and executed by small businesses and one-person shops around the globe.

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