Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses in order to:
Attract attention and generate leads
Expand their customer base
Generate or Increase online sales
Increase brand awareness or credibility
Engage an online community of users
Content marketing means attracting and transforming prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable free content. The purpose of content marketing is to help companies create sustainable brand loyalty and provide valuable information to consumers, as well as create a willingness to purchase products from the company in the future. This relatively new form of marketing does not involve direct sales. Instead, it builds trust and rapport with the audience.
Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O’Brien of Contently wrote on Mashable, “The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story.”For content marketing, continuous delivery of large amounts of content is required, preferably within a content marketing strategy.
When businesses pursue content marketing, the main focus should be the needs of the prospect or customer. Once a business has identified the customer’s need, information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs, etc.Most of these formats belong to the digital channel.