Recently, I realized that there were few clear cut definitions of content marketing that I found suitable for the current state of Internet affairs, so-to-speak. Essentially, in content marketing, the content IS the ad. It’s not the content OF your ad.
Given the increasing importance of content marketing, I must emphasize that content may be king but high quality content marketing is next in line for the throne!
The term “Content Marketing” is a catch-all that means different things to different people. It frequently comes down to a matter of perspective. For example, a content marketer with a TV-based specialty may define the term differently than an online marketer.
Definition of Content Marketing
My perspective is typically of the online marketing, SEO, social media marketing (SMM), social media optimization (SMO), and personal branding type. I define content marketing as follows:
The creation and distribution of useful and valuable content that is used to reach a targeted group with specific objectives.
A Breakdown of the Definition
Ok, I know that can sound vague the first time you read it. So, I will describe it in a little more detail.
Content: Typically this refers to text, photos, videos, and graphics. In the blogging and inbound marketing world, it is most frequently text (although visuals, especially video will be very strong in the next few years).
Creation: In most cases, the content is created for use as part of a marketing plan.
Distribution: This pertains to visibility. If your content can’t be found, it cannot be consumed. It needs to be spread to get exposure.
Useful and Valuable Content: The amount of copying that takes place online is (sadly) astonishing. Most content is not helpful. Fortunately, Google is great at letting the best content bubble up to the top and leaving the rest to disappear. You want your content to be able to answer a question that someone has. For example, suppose someone searches Google for “How do I install a kitchen sink?” If they find a YouTube video where someone walks viewers through an installation or a step-by-step guide in an online magazine which features tips and advice, along with photos, there’s a good chance those will be useful.
Objectives: Your content marketing should always have some short and long-term objectives. It’s kind of like a running theme through them that connects the points and leads users back to you.
- Brand Awareness
- Customer Acquisition
- Lead Generation
- Customer Retention
- Thought Leadership
- Website Traffic
When engaging in content marketing, always have a long-term goal in mind. Don’t just create content and publish it at random.