What is content marketing? Is it a noun? A verb? An adjective? When talking about the term “content marketing,” categorizing its part of speech isn’t the point. (It’s a noun, by the way.) What’s really important is a content marketing definition, which, according to Forbes, is a “marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract acquire a clearly defined audience.” The objective is to drive profitable customer action.
More Content Marketing Definitions
That definition makes sense, but it is not the only one out there. Brafton defines content marketing as “the creation and distribution of digital marketing collateral with the goal of increasing brand awareness.” They also stress the importance of “improving search engine rankings and generating audience interest.” A lot of words, certainly, but both of these content marketing definitions make sense.
Moz.com explains that content marketing is used to meet marketing goals, whether it be getting new clients, keeping current ones, or increasing brand awareness. To understand even more about content marketing, one needs to become familiar with linking and search engine optimization, or SEO.
Website pages, emails, texts, and tweets have links with keywords. For example, the link: https://www.wordsmythcontent.com/ directs users to wordsmythcontent.com. You usually can’t see links because they are covered up by keywords. But when you click on a keyword, it links to a particular website address.
How Does SEO Work?
Search Engine Land explains SEO in layman’s terms. The goal of SEO is to improve a website’s chances of being found in relevant searches. The more visibility a site’s pages has in a list of search results, the better chances it has of pulling in potential and existing customers.
Google, Yahoo, and other search engines use “bots.” This software crawls the web, going to countless websites to collect information, which is all indexed. The search engines have algorithms to analyze the index pages, and as they do this they look for ranking factors. These factors determine which order the pages will appear for any given query entered into the search bar.
Obviously, being close to the top of the list is best. The search engines prioritize content that have substance, multimedia, valuable information, skilled writing, and timely news. Outdated or shallow content will make its way to the bottom of the list. With thousands upon thousands of pages listed for a given query, most people are not going to keep clicking through until the end. Who has time for that?
Other Types of Content Marketing
Forbes also mentions other kinds of content marketing, like videos. Companies produce videos themselves or hire others to do it for them, and once they are posted, people can see and share them. It is a great way for small business to create and spread their brand awareness.
Podcasts are also big business. They can be educational, informative, and/or entertaining, and they can sell a lot of products and services. Many are heard on iTunes, but this is not the only podcast platform. Folks like to listen to experts (and others) chat about newsworthy topics, and this is only one way that products and services can get mentioned in podcasts.
A perhaps less-familiar form of content marketing is infographics. In most cases, they are long and vertical, with graphs, charts, and statistics. The best ones get shared all over the Internet, and become trusted sources for information provided by what is – or soon becomes – a trusted company.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
Junto can’t say enough good things about content marketing, and they also explain basic content marketing strategy. Before consumers buy things, they realize a need, or a problem that needs to be solved. (“My back hurts every morning when I wake up.”) Instead of driving to the mattress store, modern consumers often take time to research and understand their problem before making a buying decision.
Successful content marketing plans help potential customers see that they have a problem that needs to be solved (back hurts), to understand the problem (“I need a new mattress!”) and how to solve it (“ABC Mattress is having a sale!”). Larger purchases like this can involve longer decision-making times, which can involve a lot of Google searches. Content marketing allows companies the opportunity to build relationships with their customers, who can write good reviews and return to make future purchases.
Why Content Marketing is Better
Many businesses rely on paid advertisements that come up on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. The problem with these is that users can easily block them with a click or simply scroll by. Paying to run ads on TV and radio can be overly expensive, and audiences can easily change the channel.
Content marketing gets extra points for increasing brand awareness, too. As an example, Company XYZ sells high-end makeup. Their creative director writes an interesting and informative article about skin care that includes links to the company website. A consumer looking to find ways to make their skin look brighter could enter “how to make dull skin brighter” into a Google search bar, and see Company XYZ’s article. She could learn why her skin looks dull, and discover XYZ’s wonderful new day cream for the first time.
Each article posted means more links, more information, and more customers visiting websites. This can also be tied in with social media, which as we all know, spreads information like wildfire. If you don’t already have a content marketing plan or are more than ready to take yours a step further, now is the time to start putting your thoughts and words (and pictures and audio) into action.