What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is all about establishing an “authoritative” view of a brand. Companies create content to distribute online to get people to talk about their brands and offers. They typically perform research and develop documents to prove the value of their branded content to consumers. As we define it, the role of content marketing is to “sell, not sell-buy” and inform, inspire and support marketing plans in addition to providing vital infrastructure to drive sales.

Content marketing focuses on three broad areas: The content itself, such as articles, blogs and videos; its delivery, including sponsorships and forums; and its distribution, through digital publishing as well as social and other media channels.

Since a significant amount of content is created by consumers, it offers a potential for new types of marketing campaigns to leverage. An example is how Whole Foods Market created campaigns to engage their consumers on social media platforms to call out small vendors that received unsolicited mentions on their Facebook pages. Through engaged content with consumers they ended up with a recall rate of 99 percent.

A third area involves the process of content creation. Organizations develop marketing programs based on key insights from brand research and the needs of the target demographic. They then conduct creative, data-driven research, develop editorial material that reflects those insights and create execution plans to align that content with strategic marketing plans. They execute these campaigns using a number of different tools and strategies that deliver their content to consumers on the desired channels of distribution.

Now, the big question: What are the different types of content marketing strategies? What kind of content and how does it connect with your target market?

Marketing in the Age of Content

Content marketing does not limit itself to traditional media outlets, such as print magazines and television programming. It is equally as relevant to online publishers. Traditional media tend to have fewer traffic opportunities in an age of online content, while companies that create content more often have the content reach a wider audience on the Internet.

Through a broad range of distribution methods, content marketing can leverage social media, YouTube and Instagram to distribute content.

Consumers are increasingly engaging in conversations about brands through social media, particularly through blogs, Facebook groups and Twitter feeds. This means brands can amplify content without investing in editorial projects and create social conversations that support their sales and marketing efforts. Brand discussions, such as those resulting from Amazon’s sales walk-around, spread by word of mouth and on Twitter, are less costly to create than traditional ad campaigns and, therefore, have greater benefit for business.

In addition, these types of conversations can often carry over into more conventional environments. Quaker Oats created a series of character videos that connected with consumers. These videos featured current and former NFL players who trained to provide tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle and share workouts and recipes. These videos generated over $40 million in direct advertising revenues.

Content marketing tactics are increasingly considered major marketing tools and have provided success for companies of all sizes. Marketers looking to grow revenues and content publishers who rely on digital advertising and building a strong brand are taking advantage of this. These tactics are gaining momentum. Through appropriate strategies in the right content types, organizations will be able to capitalize on opportunities for growth.

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