Content marketing has been around for more than ten years. However, 2013 put content marketing at its lifetime popularity when the term expanded its reach by nearly sixty percent, and peaked in early 2014. ‘
OK, content marketing is popular. But why is it important for business owners and marketers?
In the last six years, the number of searches for various terms on Google alone doubled to 120 billion in 2012 from less than 60 billion in 2008 . Based on these numbers, we can definitely say that people now look for information online much more than they did earlier.
Content Marketing helps businesses and marketers cater to this information need. Earlier, newspaper, television, and radio along with other print material were the only sources of information. These media mostly supported the Push model of communication as readers had access to only the information that was published through these specific information carriers. Internet penetration and search engines have changed the information access game. Customers now prefer to look for information they need through search engines – an information Pull model.
Content marketing supports this information pull model and helps a small Ma and Pa shop reach customers from a wider area who are looking for the products and services that they offer.
Content Marketing Definitions
In simple words, content marketing is creating information that your target audience wants and making it accessible to them. Let us now look at some definitions put forward by marketing associations and thought leaders.
“Content Marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with objective of driving profitable customer action.”
~ Joe Pullizi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute
“Content Marketing provides consumers with useful information to aid purchase decisions, improve product usage and entertain them while achieving organizational goals without being overtly promotional.”
~ Heidi Cohen, President, Riverside Marketing Strategies
“Content marketing is the production and dissemination of interesting content for the purpose of generating inbound leads or, simply put, posting digital content to attract people to your website.”
~ Carol Stuckey, Assistant Dean, Communications and Marketing, Harvard Division of Continuing Education
“Content Marketing Is … offering a substantial experience or piece of thinking that is useful, entertaining or solves a problem in a way that also helps to promote a product, service or belief.”
~ Rohit Bhargava, CEO & Founder, Influential Marketing Group
“Content marketing is the discipline of creating quality branded editorial content across all media channels and platforms to deliver engaging relationships, consumer value and measurable success for brands.”
“. . . a continuous process of creating, publishing and sharing content that drives business outcomes for a brand. It is a publishing mindset that seeks to deliver the content customers want and the ability to convert that attention into quantifiable results for the business.”
~ Micahel Brenner, Head of Content Strategy, NewsCred
“. . . the creation and application of all marketing content formats across relevant touch points where your brand “touches” customers.”
~ Mark Burgess, President, Blue Focus Marketing
“Content marketing means you consistently create and share information that is packed with utility, seeded with inspiration, and is honestly empathetic to attract customers to you.”
~ Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Based on these different, but converging definitions of content marketing, we can say that,
Content marketing is
- Creating useful, entertaining, and branded content
- Publishing this content across multiple media channels
- attract, engage, and convert the target audience
for the purpose of
- achieving specific business objectives.
What is Content?
Content is the physical part of content marketing that communicates information. People get information about their environment using the five senses – vision, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Anything that communicates to your customers through these five senses is content. Of course, we have not yet reached a stage where computers can communicate through smell, taste, or touch. But I guess innovations similar to 3D printers will soon allow to create a 3D model of products or blast smoke. Until then, we have to restrict ourselves to concentrate on eyes and ears.
So anything the users can see on their screen and hear out of speakers is content. The following image shows classification of content that you can create to communicate information to the users.