What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing defined

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing digital assets, such as blog posts, videos, ebooks, technical and solution briefs, and a variety of other digital content to provide information to your audience.

Content marketing is essential to search engine optimization (SEO) success. To rank at the top of online search results, you need to create engaging, high-quality, in-depth content related to your industry, business, and message.

What is content?

Before we can master content marketing, we need to define content. Digital content comes in a variety of forms including articles, blogs, case studies, diagrams, ebooks, free offers, games/quizzes, social media posts/hashtags, infographics, knowledge articles, lists, music, news and opinion pieces, podcasts, reviews, slide shows, toolkits, user-generated comments, videos, widgets, XML feeds, and cartoons.

Experience TV: Content and CX.

What is content management?

As potential customers enter the sales funnel, content has become one of the main ways businesses interact with them. For content marketing to generate leads, a content management system is needed to create, manage, update, and deliver content, consistently and efficiently.

What is the difference between content marketing and content management?

Content management supports your content marketing efforts. Content management is a set of processes and technologies that support the collection, management, and publishing of information in any form or medium. For example, content management is how you organize your digital documents, pictures, videos, graphics, and videos, typically using a content management system (CMS) or content management platform.

What’s the purpose of content marketing?

Content marketing is a lead generation tool, but it also increases brand awareness, sales, reach, customer interactions and engagement, and loyalty. It also helps educate customers and potential customers about your products and services, build stronger customer relationships, and create a sense of community around your brand.

How does content marketing work?

Content marketing works because it offers people informative and useful material that they need as they conduct research and travel through the buyer’s funnel—from research and investigation all the way to the decision to purchase. Using blogs, ebooks, social media posts, graphics, and videos, content marketers attract potential customers, keep them engaged, and move them along their path to purchase.

What is the difference between content marketing and content strategy?

Content marketing is focused on driving and converting leads using the material that was designed under the umbrella of the content strategy.

Your content strategy is the glue that connects all of your content efforts with organizational goals and customer needs. It can include your editorial strategy, content structure, and content governance.

Content management governance (1:42)

How to build a content marketing strategy

Building a website with a CMS can be as simple as writing copy and inserting images and graphics directly from a control panel or dashboard. Depending on the platform used, there are numerous website building options.

For effective lead generation and conversion, you should consider these elements as part of your content marketing strategy.

Goals Set goals that are specific to your business that will complement your broader marketing and company goals.
Context Deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. Build out an ideal customer profile to understand their online behavior, and how and where your ideal customers consume content.
Funnel alignment Potential customers want different kinds of content at different points of their research and purchase process. Prospective customers need different content than long-term customers. Build a timeline for each of your customer types and brainstorm what kinds of content they’ll need to help move them forward.
Content type Be creative in choosing the type of content that you’ll create. Move beyond what you have always done and work to bring something new to the table. Start by thinking about your target audience and ideal customer profile. Focus on what (challenges do they need to overcome?), why (do they need your product or service?), and where (do they spend their time looking for information?).
Budget Content marketing takes time and money. Set priorities based on business needs and anticipated expenses, such as graphic design, paid advertising, or staffing. Some questions to ask include:

  • Does any new software or technology need to be purchased for content creation?
  • Do you need to hire any content marketers or designers?
  • Do you need to pay for ad space or display advertising?
  • Do you need access to specific tools or resources to enhance or measure specific types of content?
Create and distribute To ensure that you are consistently producing content and sharing it, use a social media calendar or an editorial content calendar. These calendars will help your team manage all the content being created and allow you to align scheduling with completion.
KPIs Set KPIs (or key performance indicators) for each goal that is quantifiable and can be used to measure actual performance against goals. For example, KPIs for brand awareness could include site traffic, media followers, subscription sign-ups, or customer mentions.

What is a content marketing platform?

A content marketing platform (CMP) manages and centralizes all upstream content marketing processes. It identifies content topics and determines formats, channels, and voice to make content recommendations, and supports actual content creation. A CMP lets marketers spend more time creating great content and driving marketing-attributed revenue and less time reinventing workflows, gathering approvals, overseeing manual collaboration efforts, and struggling with operational inefficiencies.

What is a content services platform (CSP)?

A content services platform helps businesses manage and control important documents, records, and related content items. They are critical components of the digital workplace and digital business.

What is content management software (CMS)?

Content management software is a system that manages content. To dig deeper, content management software (CMS) lets content marketers create, collaborate, archive, publish, and distribute—without the need for IT intervention.

How to build a website with content management software (CMS)

Building a website with a CMS can be as simple as writing copy and inserting images and graphics directly from a control panel or dashboard. Depending on the platform used, there are numerous website building options.

What are the types of content marketing?

There are many types of content that are used in content marketing. Each requires different editorial strategies, content structures, governance, and marketing plans to be used in your content marketing initiatives. When deciding what content to create, consider all the different channels you might use. Today, people are constantly on their phones and other mobile devices. So your content should be easily viewable and readable on mobile just as much as on any other channel or platform.

Additionally, many people don’t have the time or inclination to read through your content, even if it’s just a short email. A longer digital asset—a technical or business brief, ebook, or case study—may not work well in a mobile marketing strategy. An infographic might, though, as it can deliver all relevant points in one image. A video might work as well, since it's highly consumable via mobile.

Visualization is a powerful tool. Words matter, but add more to your words. You can incorporate art, music, maps, games, and various interactive features.

Perhaps your ideal customer would prefer a song or even a music video? What about a podcast or a comic book?

Content offers many possible ways to connect and engage with people. Which type of content you use depends on you and your audience. If it fits your brand and is acceptable to your audience, you can (and should) give it a try.

How does content marketing work with account-based marketing (ABM)?

As with all of your content marketing efforts, aligning the right content to account-based marketing (ABM) strategies will drive targeted traffic to your site. Your content management strategy should focus on personalization and scale, since the goal is to create a variety of personalized content pieces for your ABM program. Here are four steps to keep in mind:

1.  Research your audience well for complete understanding.

2.  Identify what content already exists and speaks to your target audience and identify content gaps where old content needs to be replaced, retired, or updated.

3.  Build a content strategy for your targeted accounts using a content/message matrix to map what content or message you will use to reach your target accounts across the entire buying journey.

4.  Personalize at scale by repurposing and curating a content library with variations. For example, you may modify content, or create different versions, to speak to a specific company or industry. Or you can expand the messaging to speak to an executive versus a practitioner.

What is a content/message matrix?

A messaging matrix is an important element of a successful content management strategy. It’s a chart that summarizes and systemizes your company’s messaging and then aligns your content library with that message.

Why use a content/message matrix? Content creation can quickly overwhelm even the best of marketers, so this matrix helps prioritize content production and makes sure that the right content is be being created—not just content creation for the sake of content creation.

What is a content/message matrix?

Content marketing is a key tool in your lead generation strategy because it will drive targeted traffic to your site. There are typically five goals when it comes to content marketing:

1.  Increase marketing conversions by driving traffic to key landing pages

2.  Expand brand awareness

3.  Build and enhance customer relationships

4.  Bring in revenue

5.  Boost SEO efforts

How is content marketing evolving?

Content marketing is moving towards audience enrichment and away from product promotion. Increasingly, successful content will be more empathetic, purposeful, and customer-first. Let’s take a look at four areas:

Visual. In many cases, your message comes across better if your audience can watch it. Video is very popular and very engaging. Which is why it is expected that the explosion and expansion of video as a crucial medium for content marketing will likely continue.

Quality. Increasingly, content marketers have to create material that stands out from the crowd. To do so, you need to create quality content. There is no way around it; to connect with your customers and drive traffic, you need content that is concise, easily understood, well-crafted, relevant, and engaging.

Social. Both B2B and B2C marketers are continuing to adapt their use of emerging platforms, such as TikTok and Snapchat (for B2C) or discover new ways to use tried and true channels (such as LinkedIn and YouTube for B2B).

Mobile. Developing content specifically for mobile-oriented marketing strategies is essential, and savvy content marketers are always looking for new opportunities. This means that blogs (and other digital assets) need to be easily navigable on smartphones and that video content needs to available for viewing on mobile devices.

What role does content marketing play in B2B marketing?

B2B marketing success relies on engaging content. Content marketing—if done right—can be your secret weapon. Not only can it engage readers/viewers, generate leads, and close deals, but it can also build that initial audience and then be used for feedback to improve/enhance products and services, and refine the customer journey and marketing efforts. Bottom line, content marketing can help your business find out how to help your customers more.

What role does content marketing play in B2C marketing?

Quality content is imperative to any B2C marketing strategy. Engaging content builds customer trust in addition to driving traffic and conversions. Although emotions are more likely to drive B2C customers, marketers can easily pull those emotional triggers—and weave in their products/services—through stories targeted to B2B audiences. B2C customers, like their B2B counterparts, are looking for solutions to their problems, and your content should always communicate answers.

How to make B2B content more engaging—like B2C content

How to make B2B content more engaging—like B2C content

B2B audiences now expect more of a B2C experience in the content they consume. According to Forrester, 60% of B2B customers prefer not to use sales reps as their primary source of information. In fact, 68% of B2B customers would rather do their own research independently online.

Historically, B2B content marketing sought a more professional and business-like tone, while B2C marketers could be flashier and more emotive. Now the walls between B2B and B2C are crumbling. TV and radio advertisements are still not the best fit for B2B audiences, but marketers can learn a lot from mass media B2C advertising about how to intrigue and engage customers.

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