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Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses in order to achieve the following goals: attract attention and generate leads, expand their customer base, generate or increase online sales, increase brand awareness or credibility, and engage an online community of users. Content marketing attracts new customers by creating and sharing valuable free content. It helps companies create sustainable brand loyalty, provides valuable information to consumers, and creates a willingness to purchase products from the company in the future. Content marketing starts with identifying the customer's needs. After that the information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video,
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e-books An ebook (short for electronic book), also known as an e-book or eBook, is a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, ...
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infographics Infographics (a clipped compound of "information" and "graphics") are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly.Doug Newsom and Jim Haynes (2004). ''Public Relations Writ ...

infographics
, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos,
blogs A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the f ...
, etc. Content marketing requires continuous delivery of large amounts of content, preferably within a content marketing strategy.


History

Traditional marketers have long used content to disseminate information about a
brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business Business is the activity of making one's living or making mon ...

brand
and build a brand's
reputation The reputation of a social entity (a person, a social group, an organization, or a place) is an opinion about that entity typically as a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria, such as behaviour or performance. Reputation is a ubiquitou ...

reputation
. Taking advantage of technological advances in transportation and communication, business owners started to apply content
marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adv ...

marketing
techniques in the late 19th century. They also attempted to build connections with their customers. * During the golden age of TV, between the 1940s and 1950s,
advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasi ...

advertising
took over the media. Companies focused on sales rather than connecting with the public. There were few ventures into content marketing and not many prominent campaigns. During the baby boom era, Kellogg's began selling sugary cereal to children. With this change in business model came sociable animal mascots, lively animated commercials and the back of the cereal box as a form of targeted content marketing. Infographics were born in this era. This represented a new approach to make a brand memorable with the audience. In the 1990s, everything changed for marketers. The arrival of computers and the Internet made websites and blogs flourish, and corporations found content marketing opportunities through email. E-commerce adaptations and digital distribution became the foundation of marketing strategy.
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
also helped content marketing become a mainstream form of marketing. Traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and TV started to lose their power in the marketplace. Companies started to promote and sell their products digitally. The phrase "content marketing" was used as early as 1996, when John F. Oppedahl led a roundtable for journalists at the American Society for Newspaper Editors. * In 1998, Jerrell Jimerson held the title of "director of online and content marketing" at Netscape. * In 1999, author Jeff Cannon wrote, “In content marketing, content is created to provide consumers with the information they seek.” By the late 2000s, when social networks such as
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
,
Twitter Twitter is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actu ...

Twitter
, YouTube were born, online content marketing was accessible, shareable and on-demand anytime worldwide. By 2014, Forbes Magazine's website had written about the seven most popular ways companies use content marketing. In it, the columnist points out that by 2013, use of content marketing had jumped across corporations from 60% a year or so before, to 93% as part of their overall marketing strategy. Despite the fact that 70% of organizations are creating more content, only 21% of marketers think they are successful at tracking
return on investment Return on investment (ROI) or return on costs (ROC) is a ratio between net income In business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Sim ...
. Today, content marketing has become a powerful model for marketers.
Storytelling Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Improvisation in the ...

Storytelling
is part of it, and they must convey the companies’ messages or goal to their desired audience without pushing them to just buy the product or service.


Implications

The rise of content marketing has turned many traditional businesses into media publishing companies. For example: *
Red Bull Red Bull is an energy drink sold by Red Bull GmbH, an Austria, Austrian company created in 1987. Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, with 7.5 billion cans sold in a year (). Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich ...
, which sells a high-energy beverage, has published YouTube videos, hosted experiences, and sponsored events around extreme sports and activities like mountain biking, BMX, motocross, snowboarding, skateboarding, cliff-diving, freestyle motocross, and Formula 1 racing. Red Bull Media House is a unit of Red Bull that "produces full-length feature films for cinema and downstream channels (DVD, VOD, TV)." The Red Bulletin is an international monthly magazine Red Bull publishes with a focus on men's sports, culture, and lifestyle. * The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product." Content on the blog included how-to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interviews and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." The popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content." The rise of content marketing has also accelerated the growth of online platforms, such as
YouTube YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, an ...

YouTube
,
Yelp Yelp, Inc. develops, hosts, and markets the Yelp.com website and the Yelp mobile app A mobile application, also referred to as a mobile app or simply an app, is a computer program In imperative programming In computer science, imperative ...

Yelp
,
LinkedIn LinkedIn () is an American business- and employment-oriented online service that operates via websites and mobile apps. Launched on May 5, 2003, the platform is primarily used for professional networking and career development, and allows job se ...
,
Tumblr Tumblr (stylized as tumblr and pronounced "tumbler") is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its con ...

Tumblr
,
Pinterest Pinterest is an American image sharing and social media service designed to enable saving and discovery of information (specifically "ideas") on the internet using images and, on a smaller scale, animated GIFs and videos, in the form of Bulletin ...

Pinterest
, and more. For example: * YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, is an online video platform driving (and benefiting from) the surge to content marketing. As of 2016, YouTube had over 1 billion users, representing 1/3 of all internet users and reaching more people 18–34 years of age than any cable provider in the U.S. * Yelp, an online business directory, has seen 30% year over growth in the number of reviews, ending the second quarter of 2016 with 108 million reviews for over 3 million businesses. Businesses actively curate their content on these platforms with hopes to expand their reach to new audiences. Part of transitioning to a media publishing mindset requires a change in structure and process to create content at "the speed of culture." Marketing content production is transforming from an
advertising agency An advertising agency, often referred to as a creative agency or an ad agency, is a business dedicated to creating, planning, and handling advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating dem ...
model to a newsroom model, according to one consultant.


Common metrics

Metrics to determine the success of content marketing are often tied to the original goals of the campaign. For example, for each of these goals, a content marketer may measure the different engagement and conversion metrics:


Brand awareness and visibility

Businesses focused on expanding their reach to more customers will want to pay attention to the increase in the volume of visitors, as well as the quality of those interactions. Traditional measures of volume include the number of visitors to a page and number of emails collected, while time spent on page and click-through to other pages/ photos are good indicators for engagement. * Number of visitors to a page * Time spent on the page * Click-through across pages/ photos * Number of emails collected


Brand health metrics

Businesses want to measure the impact that their messages have on consumers. Brand health refers to the positive or negative feedback that a company gets. It also measures how important a brand is for consumers. With this companies want to find out if brand reputation influences their customers to make a purchase. Measures in this part comprise * Share of voice (SOV) is the number of times a brand has been talked versus its competitors (conversations). Outside the digital world, SOV stands for the space and frequency a brand advertisement is placed on traditional media. * Sentiment is when the brand has positive, negative or neutral feedback. * Brand Influence refers to the number of times a post, comment or tweet is shared on different platforms.


Diversified user base

For businesses hoping to reach not only more - but also new - types of customers online, they should pay attention to the demographics of new visitors, as evidenced by cookies that can be installed, different sources of traffic, different online behaviors, and/or different buying habits of online visitors. * Demographics of visitors * Sources of traffic (i.e., SEO, social media, referral, direct) * Differences in buying patterns and user-behavior of visitors


Sales

Businesses focused on increasing sales through content marketing should look at traditional e-commerce metrics including click-through-rate from a product-page to check-out and completion rates at the check-out. Altogether, these form a conversion funnel. Moreover, to better understand customers' buying habits, they should look at other engagement metrics like time spent per page, number of product-page visits per user, and re-engagement. * Conversion through the sales process (the process from sign-up to check-out), including click-through-rates at each stage of the conversion funnel * Time spent on the page * Re-engagement (i.e., % of returning visitors) * Click-through across product pages


Innovation metrics

Refers to companies that want to analyze whether their social media campaigns are generating commentary among consumers. This helps them to come up with ways to improve their product and service. This involves "high level of brand engagement and builds brand loyalty". Examples: * When a company makes a post through their social media platforms and shares their ideas, consumers can be influenced or motivated to share their opinions. * Trend spotting refers to the latest consumers' comments about a brand, product or service that must be targeted. Some tools can be provided by Google Trends, Trendsmap (Twitter) and other sites that report what is in everybody's mouths worldwide.


Digital use


Digital content marketing

Digital content marketing, which is a management process, uses digital products through different electronic channels to identify, forecast and satisfy the necessity of the customers. Examples: * On March 6, 2012,
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launched their online video campaign. In the first 48 hours of their video debuting on YouTube they had over 12,000 people signing up for the service. The video cost just $4500 to make and as of November 2015 has had more than 21 million views. The video was considered one of the best viral marketing campaigns of 2012 and won "Best Out-of-Nowhere Video Campaign" at the 2012 AdAge Viral Video Awards. *
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, launched in 2008, aimed to redefine the ''
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'' by allowing people to submit their website as the definition of their chosen word. The project, created to fund two Masters students' educations, attracted the attention of bloggers worldwide, and was featured on
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and ''
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''. * In mid 2016, an Indian tea company (TE-A-ME) has delivered 6,000 tea bags to
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 and launched a video content on YouTube and Facebook. The video campaign received various awards including most creative
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after receiving 52000+ video shares, 3.1M video view in first 72-hour and hundreds of publication mentions (including
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) across 80+ countries.


Way of digital content marketing


Combination of the supply chain and the users' experience

The supply chain of digital content marketing mainly consists of commercial stakeholders and end-user stakeholders which represent content providers and distributors and customers separately. In this process, distributors manage the interface between the publisher and the consumer, then distributors could identify the content that consumers need through external channels and implement marketing strategies. For instance, Library and document supply agencies as intermediaries can deliver the digital content of e-books, and e-journal articles to the users according to their search results through the electronic channels. Another example is when consumers pay for the acquisition of some MP3 downloads, search engines can be used to identify different music providers and smart agents can be used by consumers to search for multiple music provider sites. In a word, the digital content marketing process needs to be conducted at the business level and service experience level because when consumers are accessing digital content, their own experience depends on the complex network of relationships in the content marketing channels such as websites and videos. The consumers interact directly with distributors in the big supply chain through various digital products which have an important role in meeting the requirements of the consumers. The design and user experience of these channels directly decides the success of digital content marketing.


Interaction with the consumer through electronic service

Electronic services refer to interactive network services. In the electronic service, the interaction between the customer and the organizations mainly through the network technology, such as using E-mail, telephone, online chat windows for communication. Electronic services are different from traditional services and they are not affected by distance restrictions and opening hours. Digital content marketing through electronic service is usually served together with other channels to achieve marketing purposes including face-to-face, postal, and other remote services. Information companies provide different messages and documents to customers who use multiple search engines on different sites and set up access rights for business groups. These are some channels of digital content marketing.


See also

*
Brand languageBrand language is the body of words, phrases, and terms that an organization uses to describe its purpose or in reference to its products. Brand language is used in marketing to help consumers connect specific words or ideas to specific companies or ...
* Content strategy * Custom media *
Earned mediaEarned media (or free media) refers to publicity In marketing Marketing refers to activities a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natura ...
*
Interactive marketingInteractive marketing, sometimes called trigger-based or event-driven marketing, is a marketing strategy that uses two-way communication channels to allow consumers to connect with a company directly. Although this exchange can take place in person, ...
*
Permission marketing Permission marketing is a concept introduced in a book of the same name in 1999 by marketing expert Seth Godin. Permission marketing is a non-traditional marketing technique that advertises goods and services when advance consent is given. Histo ...
*
SEO Seo or SEO may refer to: * Search engine optimization Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page ...


References

{{Reflist, 30em Publishing Promotion and marketing communications Public relations