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What exactly is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is rapidly growing in popularity.  It’s used interchangeably with “inbound marketing”, although some argue they are different.  It can also be used as part of an off-page SEO strategy.

So what is Content Marketing? Exactly as it says: marketing with the use of content.  Content can be in a variety of forms. The most popular are blog posts, videos, infographics, eBooks, and guest contributions.  There are endless more options though, from podcasts to media opportunities and so on.

I’m not going to suggest a specific type of content.  You need to decide on that. I want to share the concept, however.  It’s simple, but needs to be understood and remembered: content marketing focuses on sharing content with your customers they find valuable and interesting.

You don’t need a “sexy industry” to make this work.  This has been used for years by a variety of major brands: Ikea, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Apple, Toyota, and so on.

But it doesn’t take a huge budget or brand recognition.  Local small and medium-sized businesses can benefit as well; as long as they provide value to their audience.

When creating content, you want to do at least one of three things:

  1. Educate
  2. Engage
  3. Entertain

Content marketing isn’t perfect for everyone.  You need to invest the time into having your team create content, or hire an outside firm or freelancer to help you with it.  As always, balance the investment with the benefit it can bring you and your ideal customers.

There is no single, perfect answer to what the best form of content is.  Some people may find highly targeted traffic from podcasting, while others may have an audience that doesn’t listen to podcasts.

Another might consider infographics and videos effective for visual communications, but discover it can be too expensive to outsource and take a lot of time in-house.  Find what fits you.

Types of Content to Consider:

  • Podcasts
  • Blog Posts
  • Guest Blog Posts
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Guides
  • Videos
  • Lists
  • Case Studies
  • White Papers
  • Resource Compilations

David J. Bradley, MBA is the managing director of Bbg, Inc. and a published author. He regularly contributes to several publications and has been featured on Business Insider, Investopedia, PR Daily, Capital One’s Spark Business and more. Connect with David on Twitter: @DavidBradleyMBA.

This article is an adapted excerpt from “Getting Digital Marketing Right” (David J. Bradley, 2015).