What Is Content Marketing?

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Often, business owners think that intrusive marketing tactics like commercials or pop-up ads work best to set their brand apart from competitors. However, potential customers don’t want to be bombarded with details about products or services. They do want information that would benefit them in some way — information they choose to consume. By incorporating the basics of content marketing into their strategy, businesses can reach a wider audience than they thought was possible.

Diving into content marketing for the first time? In this article, we’ll break down:

    • What content marketing is and why every brand needs a dedicated content marketing strategy.
    • How to decide whether you need an in-house content team or an external content marketing agency.
    • Strategies for promoting your content across digital channels to maximize engagement.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the ultimate form of advertising in today’s consumer-focused world. In fact, in a 2021 survey by Hubspot, 82% of marketers reported actively using a content marking strategy. 

But despite the popularity of this modern marketing approach, the term “content marketing” still elicits confusion for some. According to a global survey on the state of content marketing conducted by Semrush, the search term “What is content marketing?” grew by 22% between 2020 and 2021. The buzz reflects both a growing interest in the practice and the persistent air of mystery surrounding it.

Searchers hoping to uncover the definition of content marketing may be surprised to learn that it is not one thing, but many. Depending on a brand’s industry, available resources, and business goals, a content marketing program may include a mix of social media campaigns, SEO, email marketing, PR strategies, and more. The format of your content and the channels you use to promote it will also differ based on the user behavior of your target audience.

The good news? While every strategy is as unique as the brand behind it, there’s one thing every well-planned content marketing approach has in common: they work. When compared to traditional advertising tactics, content marketing generates three times as many leads, six times as many conversions, and nearly eight times more unique site traffic annually. 

Content marketing works because it puts the consumer first. Rather than bombarding potential customers with flashy and intrusive ads, content marketing relies on delivering high-quality, high-value content.

What makes content marketing so effective? Content marketing works because it puts the consumer first. Rather than bombarding potential customers with flashy and intrusive ads, content marketing relies on delivering high-quality, high-value content to gain their trust and their business. This helpful, relevant content attracts customers organically, building brand awareness and establishing your company as an industry leader. By the time members of your target audience are ready to make a purchasing decision, your brand will be at the forefront of their minds.

Just starting out with content marketing?

Does my business need a content marketing strategy?

Content marketing offers an effective marketing solution to businesses of every size and budget, but maximizing the reach and impact of your content requires a systematic approach. Before diving headfirst into a campaign, take the time to develop and document your content marketing strategy. This document should serve as the blueprint for all future campaigns. 

An effective content marketing strategy accounts for the unique needs, wants, and behaviors of your target audience. Where and how do your potential customers prefer to get their content? How often? What pain points do they have? What solutions can you provide? By answering these questions, you can design and implement a strategic approach that will maximize the impact of your content marketing efforts.

Is your content marketing strategy in need of a tune-up?

Should I outsource my content marketing strategy to an external agency?

Unlike paid advertising strategies that often leave even the largest companies pinching pennies, content marketing is incredibly cost-effective. In fact, a study by Demand Metric found content marketing tactics cost 62% less than traditional outbound marketing. But while many content marketing formats offer a relatively low cost of entry, the need to consistently produce original content can be taxing on creative resources.

To keep up with the demand for high-quality, high-volume content, many companies turn to external agencies for help. According to a 2020 study from the Content Marketing Institute, 50% of B2B brands and 55% of B2C brands outsource at least one content marketing responsibility. While the most commonly outsourced task is content creation, companies also frequently rely on external agencies for content strategy, content distribution, and editorial planning. 

While many content marketing formats offer a relatively low cost of entry, the need to consistently produce original content can be taxing on creative resources.

Outsourcing content marketing can help brands with limited creative resources maintain a competitive digital presence, but it also requires a strong brand vision and careful coordination to execute effectively. By partnering with a content marketing agency that understands your brand voice, you can accelerate the success of your marketing efforts while saving time and money.

Need help scaling your content strategy?

    • Learn what a content marketing agency does, including the most common tasks they handle for clients.
    • Understand the difference between an internal content team and a content marketing agency and determine which model best meets your business needs. 
    • Discover seven reasons to consider hiring a content marketing agency to manage your inbound marketing strategy.
    • Find out how outsourcing your content creation can save your company valuable resources.

How can I promote my content to maximize engagement?

Creating stellar content is only the first step of an effective content marketing strategy. With more than 252,000 new websites created every day, content creators can no longer rely on the quality of their work to speak for itself. Instead, as it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out in a sea of content, the importance of strategic omnichannel promotion increases.

The channels you use to promote your content should align with the goals of your campaign. For example, while social media is an ideal platform for building brand awareness, email marketing is more likely to generate conversions. The most effective content marketing strategies will leverage multiple digital channels in tandem to boost visibility and engagement for their content.

Looking for ways to promote your brand’s content?  

Lightning Media Partners helps businesses craft and execute content marketing strategies that deliver real results. To learn more about our content marketing solutions, including editorial planning, copywriting, and SEO audits, visit our services page.

Sammi Caramela and Lauren Wingo also contributed to this article.

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