A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing: What is Content Marketing? (#1 of 5)

What is Content Marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is:

A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Let’s break that definition down, especially the first part: “Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.” Essentially, creating content for a segment of people—your target audience, those people that you as marketer define as the most attractive for the products or services you sell. This all sounds pretty standard, right? As marketers, we do that all the time with our marketing messages. But what sets content marketing apart are the operative words: “valuable” and “relevant”. These simple words are what makes content marketing different from other types of marketing, especially those that offer little value or relevance to the consumer (i.e. spam). Whereas, content marketing, by design, is intended to be both of those things and that’s what helps it cut through all the noise created by the vast amount of messages hitting us all the time. If done well and consistently, overtime content marketing turns your customers and prospects into brand promoters. But to be clear, content marketing must never be about selling, rather it should be about creating useful, engaging content that your audience can learn from, even enjoy.

So how does it benefit your business? Well, content marketing is about strategically distributing valuable content to your audience so you can establish a trusting relationship with them, which leads to their willingness to do business with you when it comes time to make a purchase. In short, it is about attraction. The right content to attract the right people to engage with your online properties, and over time qualifying and nurturing them so, as we just said, when the timing is right they will become high value customers.

In a series of posts, I will attempt to guide you on your way towards that vision: content marketing success. Herein you’ll find a basic framework for implementing a strong foundation for your program so you will be well positioned to realize it, including:

  1. Developing Customer Personas
  2. Brainstorming Content Topics
  3. Choosing the Right Channels
  4. Creating Your Content Calendar