What is Content Marketing? Definition, Applications, and more. (2023)

Content marketing is one of the most popular ways to reach new customers and engage your current audience, but for many, there is still only a vague understanding of content marketing. What is it? How is it different from traditional marketing? How can you optimize your content to fit this mold?

This guide to content marketing should help you answer all your questions and more.

Content Marketing Definition

So, what is content marketing? Content marketing is a specific method of positioning your content towards the needs of your users. Our definition for content marketing is:

  • Content marketing is a marketing strategy that emphasizes pushing high-value content to consumers in an attempt to broaden your audience and ultimately increase profitable actions from those consumers.

This approach attempts to increase profit from customers by providing consistent and valuable content to them. The value of your content should be driven by the needs of the audience, and by providing solutions to their problems content marketing seeks to drive profitable action.

There isn’t necessarily a specific kind of publicity that is unique to content marketing, so it can sometimes be difficult to clarify what is and isn’t considered content marketing.

For some piece of marketing to be considered part of a content marketing strategy, you must consider the interpretation of the reader. If the person consuming your blog post is doing so with the intention of learning a new solution to an issue they face, that would fit the mold. Because this type of outreach is primarily focused on providing tangible value to the customer, you should be able to determine if it fits by asking yourself “did the recipient receive value from it or not?”.

Because there are so many unique avenues to reach users, content marketing is not focused on the type of content that is produced. Instead, focus on the positioning of that content relative to the customer’s search intent.

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Ultimately, If you only gain one piece of knowledge learning about content marketing, it should be the importance of adding value. This is the main distinguishing feature that transforms regular blogging into content marketing.

If you aren’t sure how exactly to add value, just ask your customers what they are struggling with or what they are looking for. They’ll tell you what they need and that’s where you need to focus your content.

Content Marketing Advantages

Here are some of the biggest advantages of using a content marketing strategy.

Saving Costs & Converting Sales

Content marketing creates a coherent, consistent, and organized method of bringing valuable solutions to the customer. Because of this, your marketing strategy loses the wasted cost of overlap and is able to effectively target your selected audience.

Providing solutions to your customers helps your brand twofold. Firstly, by creating content specifically targeted at helping your audience, you negate the need to create a large ad campaign that would effectively tell them the same thing. Secondly, you create a sense of brand loyalty that engages your customers not only with your content but with your product as well. This is a great way that content marketing helps convert sales.

Trusting & loyal customers

As your content continues to reach and assist your customers, they will become trusting of your brand and eventually advocates. Their advocacy is a great way to increase sales because customers often trust other users much more than the people selling to them. Beyond converting sales thanks to content engagement, your brand advocates also act as important salespeople.

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Because your content is specifically geared towards giving your customers utility, you will continue to build an engaged audience instead of only fleeting impressions. Building a trustworthy audience is incredibly important online and as long as you help solve the user’s issues, they will return to you for more help, effectively engaging your marketing strategy.

Attracting new customers

As your content is able to engage more people and answer their questions, you become a more credible source for others seeking the same answers. You are backed by other customers who trust your brand, and that helps bring in new potential customers. Because of your credibility online and with other trusted users, content marketing helps attract new members to your already strong audience.

Content Marketing Best Practices

There are four essential best practices for content marketing -- Positioning, Value Proposition, Overall Goals, Strategy & Approach. These essentials are the best practices for content marketing and are necessary to ensure your strategy is successful.

Positioning

When determining the positioning of your brand, think about the larger ecosystem of products and where you play. This will help define your brand and find consistency in your marketing.

Positioning is especially important because it allows you to curate your marketing strategy to a specific audience and reach them consistently. Reaching your users is the main goal of any content marketing strategy, so figuring out your positioning is critical to your success.

If you aren’t sure about where your brand resides in the larger ecosystem of products, think about your direct competitors, the ideal experience you seek to provide, and what makes you unique relative to other brands.

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Value Proposition

Understanding your brand’s unique value proposition is key to having a well-put-together content marketing strategy. Knowing what makes you unique and valuable helps drive the overall theme of your content and also helps target users that your solutions address. Every brand will address problems from different angles so it’s important you understand how you stand out.

If you are having trouble identifying your value proposition, think about these questions: what elements would make you choose your content over someone else's? What unique value does your content bring to the table?

Overall Goals

In order to structure a good content marketing strategy, it must align with your overall business goals. If your content doesn’t push solutions that are related to your brand, then it’s not aligned properly. This might sound obvious but it’s important to stay consistent with the approach you take to your consumers in order to maintain credibility with your audience.

Make sure that when you create your content that it’s focused on the specific solutions you present to the user. This should work twofold by both helping solve the problem the customer is experiencing and present your unique solution to them.

Strategy & Approach

The strategy and approach of your content marketing is the cumulation of the aforementioned practices, and are the actionable tasks that integrate your goals, value proposition, and positioning. Decide what population you want to reach and then formulate a strategy to solve their problems.

Content Marketing Examples

Webpages

Websites are obviously one of the main places content marketing exists because the internet is where people go with their questions. When determining if your site is optimized for content marketing, consider other places that users go because of interest, and sites that are trafficked because of demand.

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Sites like Fresco and their articles detailing the definition and advantages of online whiteboards , and WithOurs with their comprehensive article on prenupital agreementsare examples of content that seeks to solve consumer issues. These articles are not seeking sales directly, they are solely focused on providing as much value to the user as possible.

By focusing on providing strictly value-based articles, they engage an audience focused on solving those problems, one of the principal uses of content marketing.

Videos

One increasingly popular marketing strategy is creating videos, usually on websites or on youtube, that target customer demand. Creating video content is an easy way to express your point while also being able to engage in other mediums and hopefully reach a younger audience.

Videos can be short and sweet, addressing points clearly and thoroughly while strictly focusing on the customer's needs. Short videos are some of the easiest content for users to consume as well which makes them ideal for content marketing strategies.

Graphics

Similar to video content, making infographics can be a great way to provide fast and lasting value to your customers. Infographics are appealing and digestible to users and are able to provide helpful statistics in a memorable way.

Using infographics makes people more likely to remember the value they gained because you can provide a visual aid for them that represents your unique brand.

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The ability to give infographics lasting association to your brand while also providing streamlined value to the customer makes them a great content marketing strategy.

Conclusion

Content marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies for online brands because it provides them deep-rooted credibility and continued engagement from their audience. I hope this guide helped answer all your questions about what content marketing is and how to best apply it in 2021.

FAQs

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? ›

The 5 Elements of a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy. An effective Content Marketing strategy should have these five core elements to be successful: audience personas, brand positioning, owned media value proposition, business case, and an action plan.

What is content marketing example? ›

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.

What is content marketing strategy? ›

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 process of content marketing? ›

A successful content management process must include planning, creation, publishing, distribution and analysis.

What are the benefits of content marketing? ›

Top benefits of content marketing
  • Increase website traffic.
  • Establish authority and trust.
  • Create brand awareness.
  • Develop brand personality.
  • Connect with your audience.
  • Fuel social media and PR.
  • Support the conversion funnel.
  • Improve conversion rates.
24 Apr 2020

What is content example? ›

Content is defined as what is inside or included in something. An example of content is beans inside of a jar. An example of content is the words inside a book.

Why is content marketing important? ›

Why is content marketing important? Content marketing is important because it answers your audience's questions and helps you build trust, develop relationships, improve conversions, and generate leads. In today's age, customers expect high-quality, consistent content from their favorite brands.

What is the purpose of content? ›

This diagram represents the four main purposes of content, which include to entertain, to inspire, to educate and to convince. Failure to create content that aligns with these criteria could result in missing out on attracting your potential audiences.

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 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.

Who uses content marketing? ›

Content marketing is used by leading brands

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.

What are 5 examples of marketing? ›

  • Get on the Phone and Cold Call. Whether they call current customers or members of the general public, companies often simply call people up on the phone and offer them services. ...
  • Send a Punchy Newsletter. ...
  • Search Engine Marketing. ...
  • Meeting Customers at Trade Shows. ...
  • Product Placement in Entertainment.

What is the best marketing content? ›

Our Top Content Marketing Examples for 2022
  • Interactive content marketing.
  • Video content marketing.
  • Social media content marketing.
  • B2B content marketing.
  • B2C content marketing.
  • Ebook content marketing.
  • Creative content marketing.
  • Blogging content marketing.
15 Apr 2022

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 3 types of content? ›

Developing a Content Approach

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.

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