What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing definitions and what it entails
Content Marketing. News, social media, websites and advertising concept. Handwriitng text in the notebook

This question is one that people continue to ask every year. When people ask, they might not even understand the extent of what they’re asking. But several industry experts have different content marketing definitions based on different perspectives.

But the idea is still very much the same. It is still content in motion, content making your business or brand look good. Content meeting needs. 

Let us delve right into it:

1. CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE:

Content marketing definition by content marketing institute

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

So, the Content Marketing Institute, established in 2011, introduces a critical part of content marketing here, content strategy. From this viewpoint, it is about content creation and distribution. CMI also adds the idea of a clearly defined audience. And then, of course, profitable customer action. 

2. MAIL CHIMP:

Content marketing definition by Mail Chimp

The Email giant gets on the bus here and says:

Content marketing is the development and distribution of relevant, useful content—blogs, newsletters, white papers, social media posts, emails, videos, and the like—to current and potential customers. When it’s done right, this content conveys expertise and makes it clear that a company values the people to whom it sells.

Again, Mail Chimp agrees with the Content Marketing Institute that there is content development and distribution in content marketing. It would be interesting to see someone else disagree. But let us continue. Mail Chimp goes further into details about the audience: current and potential customers. 

Interesting, that means content marketing is the double-edged sword that is key for both customer acquisition and customer retention. Once again, the goal is the customer and how they feel.

3. HUBSPOT:

Hubspot

One of my all-time favorites, Hubspot, also has something to say about the definition of content marketing: 

Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content via channels such as social media, blogs, websites, podcasts, apps, press releases, print publications, and more. The goal is to reach your target audience and increase brand awareness, sales, engagement, and loyalty.

Hubspot is very clear about what they want to do with content marketing. They want to increase brand awareness, sales, engagement, and loyalty. Very intentional goals. It’s not surprising, though; it is backed by research. According to a study by SEMRUSH in 2020, the top priority goals for content marketers include: generating more quality leads (79%), attracting more website traffic (75%), Improving brand reputation (57%), improving customer engagement and loyalty (47%).

So you see, Hubspot nailed it right there. They also give a bit more explanation about the channels. 

But here is an interesting fact, they include print publications as one of the channels. Something some other definitions might disagree with.

Hmm… If this was a fight, I am definitely sticking with Hubspot. 

Ok, before we get too carried away talking about Hubspot, someone interesting wants to join the conversation.

4. Neil Patel: 

Content marketing by Neil Patel

Yes, the one and only, and well, he starts by defining content marketing using the content marketing Institute’s definition. Then he adds some interesting things:

It means that content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.

Smart move, Neil. So he comes from behind to say what its focus is – Building a long-term relationship. 

Right up to this point, everybody agrees that it is consistent. It’s not a one-off thing. Everybody agrees the customer is the goal, the focus, the target, the aim … you can slot in any other synonyms you can find in this context. Trust me, it would be correct!

Ok, thank you, Neil.

5. DemandJump: 

Content marketing definition by DemandJump

They definitely jumped on this one:

In simple terms, content marketing is the creation of collateral and other informational materials, and the distribution of them through various online networks. And above all, content marketing should create some kind of action. A CTA, or call to action, is usually found at the end of any piece of content. If the content worked, then ideally your reader will do what you ask, whether it’s to click through and send an email, or just read another article. 

So once again, we all agree it’s about content creation and distribution. But wait a minute. DemandJump says content distribution online. But Hubspot said it could also be printed publication.

Hmm…  Then they say it’s all about the CTA. They kind of talk about the CTA a lot, which is also very important. 

But well, other definitions seem to focus more on the part of providing information. I mean, Value, valuable content. 

DJ seems to be more on the side of making the sales and closing the deal. Plus, your content might work, and well, they still would not click. Maybe they just came to get some information; they got it and closed the tab. But hey, the content marketing still worked, because now your website appeared in google search. That is some organic traffic smiling at you right there. 

So well, the only metric for measuring the effectiveness of Content Marketing might not be only the CTA.

Although the CTA is very important. 

Away from Jumping Demands and CTA, here comes the next definition.

6. Marketing Insider:

Marketing Insider

Content marketing is the process of consistently publishing relevant content that audiences want to consume in order to reach, engage, and convert new customers. It involves brands acting more like publishers and creating content on a destination you own (your website) that attracts visitors.

Nice one. They go from the customer perspective too. So, we publish what people want to read. But unlike the double-edged sword definition of Mail chimp, Marketing Insider focuses a bit more on the aspect of attracting new visitors to your site. 

Nice. But I still like the double-edged version of acquisition and retention. 

7. Alexa Blog:

Alexa Blog

“Alexa, play me, “Content marketing definition.” 

Enter, Alexa blog:

Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing valuable free content to attract prospects and convert them into customers. The goal is to educate, entertain and inspire people to earn their trust and build brand awareness.

So, Alexa says Content marketing involves sharing valuable and free content to attract visitors. They talk about educating, entertaining, and inspiring people. Then they talk about loyalty and brand awareness. Simple and straightforward. No technical stuff, nice and sweet. 

Thank you, Alexa

8. OPTINMONSTER:

Content marketing definition by Optinmonster

These guys just opted in and gave a pitch! 

Content marketing is the intentional creation and curation of content with the goal of both attracting new prospects and nurturing them into leads. It includes any form of messaging that you use to attract, educate, inform, persuade and inspire a prospect to move them closer to becoming a customer. The goal of content marketing isn’t necessarily immediate sale but rather lead generation combined with strong brand recognition.

Interesting things here. They also talk about the intentionality of content development. A strong hint at content strategy, just like what Content Marketing Institue described. They also aim to attract new customers and turn them into leads. And yes, they say something, which is one of the reasons I don’t really agree with what Demand Jump said earlier. The goal of marketing isn’t necessarily immediate sale! So, your CTA might actually not work now. 

But hey, there is some brand recognition there! A potential lead is there, and of course, Google is happy with you. And look, even if no one else is happy with you, once google is, you can still sleep a little. Just a little I should say, cos when google finds out people are not happy with you, well, Google can punish you and send you home.

Ok, next definition!

9. Oxford Languages:

Content marketing definition by Oxford Languages

Defines Content marketing as “A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” 

So this school of thought believes content marketing is in the creation and distribution of online material that subtly promotes a brand while stimulating interest in its products or services. 

10. Marketo:

Content marketing definition by Marketo

Content marketing is the process of creating valuable, relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your audience. 

These guys summarized the syllabus in one sentence! I have nothing to say! 

11. Fannit:

Fannnit

They paraphrased Content Marketing Institute’s definition and then gave some notes:

Content marketing is a long-term, customer-centric promotion technique where companies attempt to build a strong relationship with potential customers through quality and transparency.

12. Search Engine Journal

Content marketing definition by Search Engine Journal

Content marketing is the proven practice of generating interest in a business and its products/services by creating value for customers through engaging and informative content. As a marketing practice that spans traditional and digital channels, content marketing is an integral component of any successful marketing organization.

Nice. Proven, yeah, content marketing is tested and Trusted. One statistic showed that 82% of marketers report actively using content marketing in 2021. And yes, Marketers who blog regularly experience ROI 13 times greater than marketers who don’t blog, according to another study. So, yeah, it’s proven. They also believe that content marketing is not limited to online channels. Traditional channels are involved too.

13. Copyblogger

Copyblogger

Content marketing shares informative content that is relevant, interesting, and useful to your target audience.

They emphasize creating content that is useful to the audience, that is, valuable content. A simple short definition. 

14. Adobe Experience Cloud

Adobe Experience Cloud

Content marketing is a strategy and business process that uses valuable and relevant digital assets like images, text, and video to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Concise. It uses valuable and relevant digital assets for customer acquisition and retention. 

15. The Tilt

The Tilt

“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.

16. Brafton: 

Brafton

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of digital marketing collateral with the goal of increasing brand awareness, improving search engine rankings, and generating audience interest. Businesses use content marketing to nurture leads and enable sales by using site analytics, keyword research, and targeted strategy recommendations. 

Obviously, this definition is strongly tilted towards the SEO angle of things, and that’s ok, really. Straightway, they narrow it down to what they are about and how relevant it is to them.

17. Postcron

Postcron

Citing San Diego University defines content marketing as “the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and build customer loyalty among a clearly defined audience with the goal of generating profitable actions among consumers.”

18. I-scoop:

I-scoop

Content marketing is an umbrella term covering a set of strategies, techniques, and tactics to fulfill business and customer goals by using the most relevant content to serve, attract, convert, retain and engage customers in a trustworthy and valuable way.

            The nice thing about this definition is that it is customer-centric. It focuses on the customer almost throughout and yet still describes content marketing succinctly.

19. Rock Content

Rock Content

Content Marketing is a way to engage your audience and raise your number of clients based on relevant and valuable content creation. This strategy is capable of attracting, involving, and creating value for a brand’s audience. This method builds a positive perception of your brand and generates more business for your enterprise. It is no more a market trend, but a strategic investment to achieve more business success. With Content Marketing, a brand may win more relevance and online visibility and grow recognition from its clients.

Comprehensive, and they establish that it is not a market trend. It has become a sort of investment in your business for more success. Nice!

20. IMPACT PLUS:

Impact Plus

Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy in which companies create honest, transparent, and educational content on a consistent basis for an ideal buyer profile. Typically, the goal is to use the publication and promotion of content to drive organic website traffic, increase qualified lead generation, and (ultimately) empower the sales team to close more deals faster.

Consistent themes of strategy. They also discuss the educational and honest nature of the content produced. Clearly defined audience and goals. Traffic, leads, conversions, as we have seen all through these definitions.

21. Spiralytics:

Spiralytics

It’s regularly creating and distributing valuable, educational, and highly-relevant content for your target market. When you add value to their lives with the content that you create to help solve their problems, you build trust and industry authority. So, when they’re ready to make a purchase decision on a related product or service, you’re the brand they think of first.

COMMON THEMES IN ALL 21  DEFINITIONS OF CONTENT MARKETING

Common themes in the definitions of content marketing
  1. It involves planning. So no content without a content strategy. 
  2. It involves content creation.
  3. It involves content distribution through several channels
  4. Online content is mostly agreed as the content that is distributed
  5. Content solves the needs of the customer. The content must be valuable and relevant to the customer.
  6. It is more suitable for long-term than short-term goals. 
  7. The most common goals for content marketing include brand awareness, lead generation, conversion, credibility, and customer loyalty.

THE BENEFITS OF CONTENT MARKETING

Content marketing benefits

1. YOU WRITE WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY NEED

Plan, strategize, research before you even start writing a word – that is where to start in content marketing. Content strategy and planning would give you a focus, and then Keyword research and analysis would help you choose what to write. You can write a million words, but if people are not looking for what you wrote, guess who’s going to read what you wrote? You and those who believe in you. Maybe your Integrated science teacher too…if they actually believed in you. 

2. INCREASED BRAND AWARENESS

Of course, when content marketing is done well, your business will have an increase in brand awareness. You write what people are looking for, what they need, they keep checking you out. They get information that they need from you and then come back for more. That means people would be more familiar with your brand and what it stands for. Brand awareness would happen through consistent, effective, and strategic content marketing. As the definitions have clearly described, you do not make one post and disappear if you want to see results. You are in this for the long haul.

The battle of backlinks would forever rage on until maybe Google changes its algorithm for ranking posts or something, and that is unlikely to be any time soon. When you do your content marketing well, you stand a chance of getting great sites to link back to your post because you are producing great content. They see the need, and so they connect. As a matter of fact, great content marketing strategies would involve promoting the content to sites that would value the content produced.

4. INCREASED SERP POSITION

Look at google first page for competitive keywords, and you will see the products of effective, consistent content marketing. Moz tells us that 71% of people would click on a Google first-page result. So, you see, the higher your SERP position, the better your chances of getting more traffic that can lead to conversions. The way this works is simple, you plan and create good content, people check your website out, link back to you, and brand awareness shoots up. Google sees that and rewards you by pushing your page up since it seems relevant to your audience. Really, it’s all connected.

5. INCREASED LEADS AND CONVERSIONS

It’s a game of numbers. More people means a higher chance of getting a lead to become a buyer. More people keep coming because you have done your research and analysis well. You create quality content, and the next thing you see is an increase in sales, thanks to strategic content marketing.

 I should just say this here:

Most times, you would rarely ever find people who go from your blogs to your service page and then convert. No, it almost never works like that! But what really happens is that as more people come to your website for information, more backlinks come to your site, then your SERP continues to rise. Your posts continue to rank well until the day the transactional clients search for your niche. Then you are on the first page, and you have a higher chance of being clicked for a purchase.

Yeah.. and it works. You can get a continuous source of leads and conversions. Hubspot found that marketers that engage in content marketing are 13X more likely to see a positive ROI. Imagine that, 13 times more! Don’t be among the guys that don’t prioritize content marketing.

6. INCREASED LOYALTY AND CUSTOMER RETENTION

You keep turning quality content out, and your customers would stay. They would stay because you are helping them to solve their problems and make their business better. They would also stay because your consistency reminds them of what you do every time. It’s like you are constantly reminding them of your brand and what you do every time you post something. It is so effective. If you keep telling people to buy from you, they will soon get tired of your content. But you keep teaching, informing, entertaining or helping their businesses, and they would keep coming back!

7. MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY

It’s incredible how content marketing is self-sustaining. An effective content marketing strategy helps you stay consistent with content marketing. Yes! For instance, part of planning content marketing involves creating an effective SEO content calendar. So, you have a schedule for when and where to publish. Your writing is well structured, and you are not running after every random topic or trend. This way, you are well organized, and it is easier to be consistent when there is a structure

8. A NEVER ENDING POOL OF IDEAS

I have experienced this over and over. As you start content marketing, from planning to execution, ideas would start forming and developing. You might notice a gap somewhere in your content while analyzing or even writing. As I am writing this post, I have written several content ideas down that we would work on here at Writersco. There is just more and more.

9. ESTABLISH YOURSELF AS AN AUTHORITY

Consistent content marketing efforts would eventually establish you as an authority. When you consistently keep writing about a subject matter, your audience would begin to perceive you as an authority in that niche. This means better credibility and trust in your brand ad your products. 

10. CONTENT MARKETING GIVES FOCUS TO EVERY FORM OF MARKETING

Content marketing would enter email marketing, social media marketing. It would help you see which of your blogs can be turned into a video. It would also help you know which would be better as an infographic. Content marketing is the roadmap for every other form of marketing. Actually, it is evident that there is no marketing without content. And whenever content would be used, content marketing must be in place!

So, there you have it, 21 definitions of content marketing, 7 themes common to all, and 10 benefits of content marketing. 

It’s time to start effective and strategic content marketing!


Testimony Olajire

Testimony Olajire is a prolific content writer with more than six years of experience. He specializes in SEO, Health and Business content. He is also a medical doctor.

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