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What is Content Marketing?

content marketing

A study conducted by Smart Insights revealed that nearly half of marketers claimed they were performing digital marketing without a clearly outlined strategy. The same study showed that just 34 percent of marketing professionals thought their company had a clear, fully integrated digital marketing strategy.
Those figures are disturbing because content marketing is often viewed as a multiplier to a comprehensive marketing strategy. In our view, content marketing is one of the seven foundational pillars of an effective digital marketing strategy. While these things are accurate, how can you possibly get the most out of your digital marketing in general or your content marketing in particular if you don’t have a definitive understanding of your overall marketing strategy?
The fact is simple – organizations that have a well-defined, documented content marketing strategy are more effective than businesses that lack a content marketing strategy that’s spelled out. Rather, companies that have a clear, documented content marketing strategy and use it are more effective than those that don’t.

An Explanation of Content Marketing

Of course, you can’t have a content marketing strategy and integrate it into your broader digital marketing strategy without having an understanding of what it is. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is defined as follows:
“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.”
You’ll notice that definition says nothing about making a sales pitch. Instead, it discusses creating content that’s truly meaningful and relevant to your target audience, content that will help those people solve their problems or satisfy their needs and wants.

The Difference between Content Marketing and Content

To fully appreciate the inherent value of content marketing, read the definition of content marketing once more. Now, read it again but skip the words “relevant” and “valuable” in the definition. Without those two words, you’re reading a plausible description of everyday content that’s designed to sell you something.
In other words, without relevant and valuable in its definition, content marketing would be akin to the spammy messages you get every day. Those messages don’t relate to you or your problems, wants and needs. Instead, they’re generic and without any real value. They don’t motivate you to buy something, learn more about a brand or tell your friends about them.
Because content marketing involves messaging that’s relevant and valuable, content marketing stands apart from other kinds of content that often falls flat or is quickly forgotten by consumers.

Why Use Content Marketing

If knowing that companies that have a well-defined, documented content marketing strategy are more effective than those that don’t isn’t enough to convince you that content marketing is the backbone of a successful digital marketing strategy, consider the following. Content marketing is used by some of the world’s most recognizable brands, such as Microsoft, John Deere and P&G. Small businesses and solopreneurs also employ content marketing.
Why do businesses around the world, both big and small and everywhere in between, use content marketing? The answer is simple. Content marketing works.
Well-executed content marketing can increase your sales. Well-executed content marketing can save you money. Well-executed content marketing can attract customers who are better qualified and have greater loyalty to your brand. Aren’t these things enough for you to integrate content marketing into your digital marketing strategy?

Content Marketing Is the Heart of a Digital Marketing Strategy

For a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to be as successful as possible, it’s vital that you look at content marketing as an integrated part of your process, not as a separate, independent undertaking. Content of some sort is involved with every aspect of marketing, after all. When you incorporate content marketing into an integrated digital marketing strategy, it ensures your content is of the highest quality and aligned with your marketing goals and brand voice.
Here are some of the ways that content marketing influences your digital marketing:

  • Content marketing is what drives your social media marketing because you need content to post on social platforms
  • Content marketing can help you rank better in search engine results pages because search engines reward websites that have high-quality, current content
  • Content marketing is behind your public relations because PR is intended to discuss issues that your target audience cares about, issues that are relevant to them
  • Content marketing is necessary for a PPC campaign to be successful because that kind of campaign can’t succeed without high-quality content
  • Content marketing is critical for driving traffic and generating leads
  • Content marketing will dictate your content strategy in many cases
  • Content marketing is instrumental in how you respond to comments made about your business and your goods or services on review websites – it’s what can turn a bad review into a lead-generating interaction online

Content Marketing Is the Key in Today’s Relationship-Based Digital Marketplace

Years ago, consumers had little choice but to rely on a store employee for help if they had a question about a product or service. Today, many people find answers to their questions on their own. To get those answers, they contact brands directly and they do research on this thing called the Internet.
Today’s typical buyer will walk themselves through the majority of the sales funnel on their own before they even reach out to a brand or seek assistance in a store. More specifically, modern consumers will take themselves through as much as 90 percent of the sales funnel by themselves.
How do you guide people through the critical phases of the sales funnel when they haven’t even contacted your business for help? Content marketing. By having high-quality, relevant and valuable content available on various marketing channels, you can influence consumers as they make the journey through the sales funnel even if they don’t contact your business directly.

Contact Musselwhite Marketing

If you’d like to learn more about content marketing and digital marketing, we applaud your interest! We offer training that will teach you everything you’d like to know about content marketing and digital marketing and we encourage you to sign up for our informative program.
If you’d prefer to leave your content marketing in the hands of experts who have the proven experience to create and implement a highly effective, integrated digital marketing strategy for your business, contact Musselwhite Marketing. We firmly believe that content marketing is one of the foundational pillars of successful digital marketing and we have a team of writers who have the skills to create content that speaks directly to your target market.

Contact Musselwhite Marketing to schedule a Discovery Session today.

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