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 attracts prospects and transforms prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable free content. Content marketing helps companies create sustainable brand loyalty, provides valuable information to consumers, and creates 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.” Content marketing requires continuous delivery of large amounts of content, 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.
Digital content marketing is a management process that uses electronic channels to identify, forecast, and satisfy the content requirements of a particular audience. It must be consistently updated and added to in order to influence the behavior of customers.