I’ve been working on revising the content marketing strategy for my company, and as part of that, I’ve been on a quest to educate some of my colleagues about what content marketing is and how it benefits our company. Since programs vary from organization to organization, I thought it might be useful to share our approach here.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of materials that provide value to the customer, with the purpose of building brand credibility, showcasing leadership or expertise and influencing customer behavior. It is a “soft sell” approach, focused on thought leadership rather than product pitches. At its best, content marketing is an integrated part of an overall marketing plan, strengthening customer relationships and sales efforts while promoting industry leadership and insight by delivering the information the audience wants. Content marketing materials can include articles, blogs, videos, papers, social media content and more.
The benefits of content marketing
The sales cycle is evolving, and customers are more likely than ever to do preliminary research before reaching out directly to a company or sales representative. With a thorough understanding of customer desires and questions, our company can use content marketing to build trust and credibility with potential and current customers by providing meaningful, insightful and informative content that enhances our reputation as an industry leader and innovator.
A well-executed content marketing program is not just a reputation- or awareness-building effort. It can create a foundation of understanding that helps both customers and employees discuss our company and our products, technologies and services and make more intelligent and informed decisions. When properly integrated with strategy and communication efforts, content marketing can help provide a framework for discussing the ideas and offers that underlie our tactics and messaging.
For my fellow content marketers out there, I’d love to hear your thoughts on our approach. Is your definition different? Is there a benefit that I missed?