What is content marketing: an introduction

There is no question that content marketing has become increasingly important in today’s marketing mix. But what exactly is content marketing, and why does it matter to you and your business? This blog post breaks it down.

As a digital marketer, my foray into content marketing was incidental. There was no escaping it. As a former copywriter and aspiring author, I was naturally drawn to it and its power to inspire, educate, inform, and ultimately convert your audience to customers to your biggest fans (ambassadors). 

Let’s get to it. 

What is content marketing?

Depending on the big players in the content marketing game that you follow, the definition of content marketing can vary. My favourite definition of content marketing is from the 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.

There are several reasons why I love this definition (I underlined my favourite bits), which I go into more below.

Emphasis on the strategic marketing approach

Content marketing is not a short-term game. In fact, it’s pretty much a marathon that will yield you long-term results when you commit to it. A content marketing strategy works hand-in-hand with your overarching strategic marketing approach for your business and is aligned to deliver and achieve your business goals over a period of time. Very often, content marketing is approached with a ‘quick win’ mentality and this sets the end game up for failure. When it’s treated as a quick win, the commitment, consistency, and thoughtfulness that goes into content marketing success ceases to exist.

No, this is not a ‘quick win’ approach at all.

Consistent content publishing

If I had to pick one of the most important aspects of content marketing it would be the necessity for consistency. Regardless of where you are on your online business journey, consistency of content publishing should be given the highest priority. There are so many other side-factors for why consistency important such as brand retention, growing audience loyalty, and search engine optimisation (SEO).

Highlights the creation and distribution of content

Unfortunately simply creating content doesn’t mean it will attract your audience. Yup, that creepy whisper “If you build it, he will come” in the middle of a cornfield doesn’t work here. I often come across businesses that pour all their energy into simply creating content and less into the distribution of it. As a result, little growth (traffic, engagement, or conversion) is generated from their efforts.

Creating valuable, useful content for your audience

A lot of parts make-up a successful content marketing approach and one of that is the creation of valuable, useful content. Investing time into researching keywords, search intent is crucial to ensuring that what you’re putting out there is helping your audience solve a problem, or answer a question they may have. By presenting yourself or your business as knowledgeable in the subject matter, you’re also positioning your business on a strategic level. 

Knowing your audience

Whether you’re running a blog as a creative outlet, home-based entrepreneur, or even on behalf of an organisation, it’s important to know who your customers are. While you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) know personal details about them, you must have an idea of who they are as a collective audience. At the core of a content marketing strategy is your audience – after all, who are you doing <insert what you do> for?

Having an understanding of who your audience is will give you insight into what delights and upsets them, which lets you come up with informed useful content. 

Converting your audience into customers

The ultimate goal, am I right? It’s so important not to lose sight of your end game, which is to convert your audience into your loyal, supportive fans who hopefully over time will become your biggest ambassadors as well.

What is content and why is content so important?

Content ranges from various different types. They could be a written blog post, an infographic, eBook, podcast, webinar, social media posts, or video.

You probably already know this but when you think about it, content is the heart of all marketing activities. After all, what will go into that ad space after you book it? You got it, some form of content! 

Social media marketing? Yup, you need good content.

Want to jump onto Clubhouse? You better have good content!

Email sequences? You’re going to need some engaging content.

Lead magnets to hook your audience in? Make that a big cup of content, please!

SEO? That’s right, content again.

Content marketing examples

Now that we’ve got an understanding of what content marketing is, let’s move on to some great content marketing examples.

NYT Cooking

I’m not a huge cooking fan but I do love a good story. NYT Cooking uses storytelling to bring each dish to life, including cultural nuances and personal stories by each chef that are often skipped in many cooking shows today.

For example, I came across this beautiful video after searching “cooking plantain curry” one day (after walking past a shop that sold plantains of course). I was enthralled by the show’s simplicity and Yewande’s sharing of personal stories, and before the end of the episode, I had subscribed to their YouTube channel and email list.

Adelaide Living

It wouldn’t be right to not include Adelaide Living in my list of content marketing examples. Adelaide Living is an online magazine of my last place of employment. It uses the power of storytelling and communities to position and reinforce Adelaide as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

Introduction to Content Marketing - Content marketing example of Adelaide Living
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The success of the website eventually led to extending its repertoire to include a podcast, where it linked up with everyday Adelaideans who have made a positive impact in the world.

 

Amy Porterfield

Need I say more? Amy Porterfield is the queen of community building and digital course creations. I have followed Amy’s journey on and off in the last 5 years and I love how generous she is with her knowledge. I love how Amy’s approach to content marketing incorporates a podcast, blog post, webinars, lead magnets, all designed to support and convert her audience into customers for her signature online courses.

Introduction to Content Marketing - Content marketing example of Amy Porterfield
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Amy segments her super valuable content into three main areas depending on where you are on your journey – she offers them for free and if you’re wanting to dive in a little deeper, you have the option of signing up for her online courses.

Wrapping up content marketing

If you’re a blogger, entrepreneur, small business owner, marketing manager at a large corporation, there is no escaping content marketing. In fact, it should be in everyone’s strategic marketing approach.

If you’re already creating content – amazing! But content creation is only an element of content marketing, and should not be the sole focus of your approach. Align it with your wider business strategy, research your audience, understand what is valuable to them, uncover where they ‘live’ or hang out, learn how they like to consume information, and of course, convert them into your biggest, loyal fans.

 

I hope this post has helped you with understanding what content marketing is.

Want to learn more? Check out my other posts on content marketing:

Hi, I'm Michelle

Hi, I'm Michelle

I’m a former corporate suit wearer turned creator and entrepreneur. I traded suits for smiles in 2020, and now help small business owners, and everyday people with a dream achieve success online. Sign up to my mailing list to receive unlimited access to my resource library. Also, let’s be friends 🙂

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