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What is content marketing?

Wednesday - March 28th, 2012

Written by: Tristan Pelligrino

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of creating and disseminating information to your audience at various stages of the buying cycle. Interesting content fosters brand loyalty and educates potential customers about an industry in which a business provides products or services. Although highly desired, the goal is not to directly promote the sale of a business’s product or service. The objective of content marketing is to build an educated, loyal audience that eventually will desire the products or services of the business that sponsored the informative content.

Types of Content Marketing

There are several types of content marketing tools that are popularly used. You’ll often find that each industry focuses on different types of content. For example, the scientific and research communities rely heavily on whitepapers and powerpoint presentations to educate their constituents. These types of tools provide effective ways to present large amounts of data about technical topics.

On the other hand, businesses that operate within the information technology and telecommunications industry often use blogs, video content, and interactive web forums to present useful content to readers. Interactive web forums are particularly attractive because the audience often extends the ideas originally presented. Other industries such as legal and financial services utilize newsletters, magazine, or e-zine articles. The traditional and alternative healthcare industry seems to use the widest array of content marketing tools that include blogs, newsletters, research whitepapers, interactive web forums, and webinars.

Content Marketing Implementation

Today, people who plan and implement content marketing strategies for companies are often called “content engineers”. It is an appropriate moniker because unlike the traditional marketing analysts of the past, these marketing professionals rely heavily on the knowledge of information technology systems as well as marketing data in order to successfully implement marketing strategies.

Content engineers use marketing analytic tools that are sometimes embedded within a company’s website to gather critical data needed for marketing decision making. This data may help managers decide to launch a marketing campaign and capture the attention of a certain targeted group. It also may help determine if a current marketing campaign offers a good return on investment.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Content marketing has both short and long term benefits for consumers and businesses alike. A key short-term benefit to consumers is that they receive “free” information of sorts. The word free is used loosely in this instance because the consumer sometimes gives up certain identifying information that could be used later for marketing purposes. At any rate, the consumer usually finds the information beneficial and timely as it pertains to their specific needs. A short-term benefit of content marketing for business owners is the opportunity to draw consumers to their website for possible direct sales.

A long-term benefit of content marketing to consumers is that they get to check out the knowledge and reputation of the businesses offering them products and services prior to making purchasing commitments. For example, a company belonging to the health and wellness industry may have an online library of content marketing materials customers may read before deciding to make purchases from that company. Companies also benefit from content marketing in the long-term through the brand loyalty and relationships that are built through regular interaction with customers.

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