What is Content Marketing? | CK

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The concept of content marketing dates back to the 1670s when Dutch inventor Jan van der Heyden designed white papers, visual content, and catalogs to market his fire hose.

Hundreds of years later, the general content marketing strategy has largely remained the same, although the way content is distributed has evolved significantly, especially with the advent of the Internet in the 1990s.

So what is content marketing?

Content marketing can be defined as a sales technique involving the creation and distribution of valuable information relevant to a clearly defined audience to trigger a desired action.

Businesses use content marketing to increase product demand by providing useful information.

By creating and distributing highly compelling content, businesses are able to capture prospects’ attention while building brand credibility and generating leads.

How Content Marketing Works

Content marketing is designed to support the buying process and lead generation. Unlike advertising that says “we have a product you should buy”, content marketing says “here is some interesting information you need to know”.

Instead of asking prospects to give you money, content marketing lets prospects know they should give you money.

It should be noted that writing acres of text about your business is not considered content marketing. Indeed, even if you have a great story about your brand, your prospects are only interested in content that solves their problems.

So you need to research what’s bothering your prospects and create content that answers their questions using factual, honest, and authentic storytelling.

This will help your business break through the noise.

How Content Marketing Helps Businesses

According to research from HubSpot, brands that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI than those that don’t. Additionally, annual organic traffic growth is 7.8x higher for companies that engage in content marketing.

The study further shows that content marketing generates 3x more leads for participating businesses, yet is 62% cheaper than other digital marketing channels.

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Content marketing isn’t just about opening a conversation with your prospects. This keeps the discussion alive, which leads to customer engagement and relationship building. This increases brand affinity as customers become passionate about the business.

Anyone serious about inbound marketing knows that you can’t win the SEO game without great content. Indeed, creating killer content is the foundation of organic search and the most effective way to increase your traffic.

When businesses produce valuable content that answers people’s questions, Google rewards them with higher rankings in search results, which translates to higher traffic.

Content Marketing Strategies

It’s one thing to understand the importance of content marketing and quite another to create and implement a successful strategy for your content marketing initiatives.

A content marketing strategy is essentially a plan to build a community of prospects by regularly posting content that educates, entertains, or inspires to turn visitors into fans and fans into customers.

Generally, your content marketing strategy document should answer questions such as who your users are, who your competitors are, what is the purpose of the content, how often you should post, how you will distribute your content, etc.

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Your strategy document should also state your preferred type of content marketing, with some of the most popular types being surveys, case studies, white papers, blogs, videos, checklists, and e-books.

Content Marketing Examples

The internet is full of tons of content marketing material – from really great to less than great content. However, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA offers information on how businesses can use content marketing to increase demand for their products.

IKEA claims to produce tons of sustainable content marketing pieces, many and varied, all revolving around a common mission: to improve people’s daily lives.

“We’re really looking at how people live their lives at home,” says Christine Whitehawk, communications manager at IKEA USA.

“We start with the customer and try to see what is important to them…and then how IKEA can help them so that we are partners in improving their life.”

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IKEA actually sends design experts to people’s homes to listen to their concerns and gather feedback. This allows its specialists to create content that solves real problems.

Ms Whitehawk further revealed that content marketing is now a core part of IKEA’s marketing strategy as it “gives us the chance to start telling some of our stories so we can really share with people how IKEA can improve their lives”.