What is Content Marketing?
"Content marketing" is a blanket term that describes the process of creating and sharing relevant brand information in hopes of engaging current consumers and attracting new ones. Also referred to as branded content and custom publishing, in the internet age, content marketing is the act of relaying this valuable information, such as the launch of a new product or service, via the web to favorably influence consumer behavior. Content marketers believe that sharing specialized content leads to a better informed consumer, and a better informed consumer yields more profitable results.
What are Some Examples of Content Marketing?
Content marketing techniques differ from traditional "interruption" based marketing practices such as the radio and television commercials that have become staples in our everyday lives. Marketing expert David Meerman Scott says in his blog, WebInkNow, "Prior to the web, organizations had only two significant choices to attract attention: Buy expensive advertising or get third-party ink from the media. But the web has changed the rules. The web is not TV. Organizations that understand the New Rules of Marketing & PR develop relationships directly with consumers like you and me. That costs zero."
The most pertinent examples of current content marketing tools are newsletters, video tutorials, and blogs. For instance, offering a subscription to a weekly or biweekly newsletter, like the ECXtra, is a perfect avenue to provide consumers with timely, relevant information, and subsequently strengthen the relationship between a consumer and a particular brand.
Social media is another popular content marketing tool. Just look at Facebook. A July 2011 report published by comScore showed that Facebook has approximately 160 million visitors each month - about 3 out of every 4 internet users - with the majority of them visiting the site on a daily basis. This is a golden opportunity for content marketers. A piece of content published through a Facebook fan page, which users voluntarily subscribe to, ultimately ends up in that users NewsFeed, thus expanding a brand's customer reach. ComScore notes that popular brands such as Starbucks, Coca Cola, and Disney have all had tremendous success with content marketing through Facebook, as each boasts more than 20 million fans as of July 2011.
What Makes a Successful Content Marketing Campaign?
The key to successful content marketing is offering credible, specialized content that consumers want. Content marketing is not selling. Content marketing campaigns usually mix the content a consumer seeks most with periodic promotional material.
Most internet-savvy consumers are looking for an answer to a specific problem, not pop-up, flashing advertisements. It does not matter whether a consumer receives information through a newsletter, blog, or social media site, if the published content does not cater specifically to their needs, it is useless. As detailed by ContentMarketingToday.com, to produce effective targeted- content, content marketers must first and foremost become fully knowledgeable about a customer's company, product, and market.
What is the Future of Content Marketing?
While many in the marketing industry predict that content marketing through social media will continue to produce positive results in the future, others see a renaissance in more "traditional" content marketing methods, such as email. Some believe social media will lose its novelty and become just another standard content marketing tool.
Other experts point to real-time marketing, where content is published as it happens, and video marketing, as the new game changers. In addition, as more and more consumers turn to their tablets and smartphones for information, content marketing will shift its course and focus on creating content for mobile devices and apps.
These days, you can't go one mouse click without stumbling on digital content. Also known as digital media, digital content comes in many forms, from text and audio and videos files, to graphics, animations, and images. Typically, digital content refers to information available for download or distribution on electronic media such as an ebook or iTunes song, but many in the content industry argue that digital content is anything that can be published. Following this line of thinking, it is safe to say that if you are on the internet, most likely you are looking at, watching, or listening to a piece of digital content.