What is Content Marketing?

If you landed on this website, you probably already know what content marketing is.

You already get it. You’ve seen it work for other companies. You’re ready to make it work for yours. You totally buy in to the philosophy.

But the problem isn’t you… the problem is your boss.

Whoever it may be at your company – the owner, managers, C-suite, etc., you may have an uphill battle to face when pitching content marketing if they either a) don’t know what it all entails or b) just don’t want to invest in it (often the first leads to the second).

So here’s your little guide to clearly outlining what content marketing is, isn’t, and how it can help you convince your boss that content marketing can help your business reach its goals.

Our Definition of Content Marketing

  • Content marketing is the art of providing relevant, useful content to your customers without selling or interrupting them.
  • Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your customers more informed before they buy.
  • If you deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information to your customers, they ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.

Content Marketing Is…

  • A philosophy and a culture
  • An integrated system of strategy, research, creation, promotion, distribution, nurture, measurement and more
  • Owning online real estate
  • Helping not selling
  • A long game
  • Talking with your customers

Content Marketing Is NOT…

  • A campaign, tactic or strategy
  • A one-time effort or stand-alone content piece
  • Traditional advertising
  • Talking at your customers
  • Just “blogging” or just “social media”

What Your Bosses May Think

Your bosses may think content marketing is something like traditional advertising, except for the digital world. Let them kindly know that they’re wrong or maybe let Robert Rose, expert content marketer sum it up for you in this quote:

“Traditional marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.”

Traditional advertising is like renting an apartment. You know you have your lease for only so long and then you’re outta there. Content marketing, on the other hand, is like owning a home. Yea – you have a mortgage every month you work to pay, but those keys are all yours. You can come and go as you please, and that house will always be there when you return.

Content marketing is a whole different ballgame than traditional advertising. It’s about creating a relationship with your customers built on trust, loyalty, and above all – usefulness. When you offer useful content that address a prospects’ pain points, questions, and concerns, you are giving them what they were looking for. Key word: YOU. You, and not your competitors, become an authoritative source and the first business they think of when they’re ready to buy. Why? Because they already like you, and as we all know, people buy from people they like.

What Content Marketing Is Really All About

Paraphrasing bestselling author and marketer, Jay Baer: Don’t try to be the best at content marketing. Be the best at your business – become the expert in your field – show your authority and expertise in what you actually do for your customers, and let the content come from that place. Find that thing that you know will resonate with your boss (hint: if they are in business, it’s inevitably going to boil down to more business which equals cold hard cash) and tell them how content marketing can help them get there. Play the long game,  and you’ll be able to go far with your content marketing goals.

Let’s Hear it from the Experts

We know sometimes it can be helpful to hear how others define things so you can pull from multiple sources and make it your own. So here are a few top definitions we’ve found, and if that’s still not enough, we recommend this free guide, aptly titled “What Is Content Marketing?”

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Content Marketing Institute

“The essence of content marketing for businesses comes down to three principles: Great listening, communication, and teaching.” – Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion

“Content Marketing is the carefully orchestrated art and science of using words, images, graphics and video to educate, build trust and instill confidence in your customers and prospective customers.” – Pat Strader, Digital Relativity

“Content marketing, in its most simple form, is the act of educating potential customers rather than selling to them. By doing so, your brand becomes the go-to source of information in your line of business. When people are interested in a product or service, the first thing they do is gather information, not necessarily talk directly to that business.” – Chris Bird, President of Vertical Measures

“Content Marketing … [is] helpful content that converts invisible buyers into visible sales.” – Tom Martin, Founder of Converse Digital

“Content marketing is quality non-promotional information targeted at answering prospects’ questions regarding an organization’s products or services. At its core, content marketing tells stories to enable its facts and information to break through and be memorable.” – Heidi Cohen, HeidiCohen.com