What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a form of digital marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience.

The purpose of content marketing is to engage an audience, create a relationship, and prompt them to take a specific action.

Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on intercepting an existing customer need, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O’Brian 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.”

When businesses pursue content marketing, the main focus should be the needs of the customer. Once a business has identified the customer’s need, information should be presented in a variety of formats, including blogs, news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.

How can content marketing help your business?

When you create content that your audience can’t do without, you’ve developed a strong relationship with your consumer. Most likely, if that content answers a question, solves a problem, or entertains, the consumer will connect with your brand or follow your brand along a journey to becoming a customer.

This content can be helpful in making a prospective customer make a buying decision, for example. Or it may be content that’s delivered to the customer after a purchase, to give them more value and retain them. It’s easier to retain a customer than it is to find a new one.

Don’t forget marketing

Creating the content isn’t good enough. You must market it. But what does that mean?

Sharing your content on Facebook and Twitter is not a marketing plan. Sending it out via email usually isn’t either. You should be using methods to include others in your content, so they are inspired to share it. The more your customers and partners feel invested in your content, the more they will be turned to be amplifiers for you.

Marketing also includes reaching out to media, finding websites that have an audience that would appreciate your content, and more.

We’ve had success

For more than 20 years Dan Holmes has been creating and marketing content for digital. He built his first website in 1993. He started his first blog in 1995. He was doing email marketing in 1998. He’s created content for hundreds of businesses, from heating & cooling companies to plastic surgeons to large restaurant chains to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Several content marketing campaigns that we’ve worked on have had tremendous success. What sort of success? How about tens of thousands of website visits, hundreds of thousands of social media shares, mentions on large websites like HuffPost Culture and the Food Network, and thousands of dollars in sales.