Content marketing is a marketing discipline with the goal of increasing awareness and scope for products and brands in the desired target group with content published on the web and offline. The content can be made up of text, images and videos, which are disseminated on your own or third-party websites, blogs or via social media. The goals of content marketing are an increase of website traffic and therefore conversion as well as – for SEO – better rankings in search engines such as Google.
Development of content marketing
Content marketing is a marketing technique that is more than 100 years old. In 1895, US manufacturer John Deere published its own magazine in which tips and tricks for agriculture were published. The goal of the magazine was to increase the brand awareness of the manufacturer. The magazine is produced to this day and reaches more than a million readers per edition.
Unlike other forms of advertising, in content marketing it is attempted to reach customers via content, mostly online. This content offers the user added value; it can inform the consumer, benefit them or entertain them. Long before the start of the commercial internet age, of SEO or SEA, there was already content marketing. But it is only with the internet and, most recently, with SEO that content marketing has significantly developed. There are various reasons for this:
- With the introduction of ever more precise algorithms onpage optimization for websites has become ever more complex. Thin content now causes negative signals for search engines.
- The demands of internet users have become higher. With the increasing use of the internet, users expect better content. If content is too sparse, offers no added value, entertainment or information, users leave a website earlier.
- Marketing has changed. Where it was long common practice to advertise to users directly and aggressively and to get actions moving with push marketing, today pull marketing is in higher demand. Target groups are drawn to your website with attractive content.
- Analytical tools and techniques have become better. With the help of big data, artificial intelligence and continuous technical improvement it has become possible to create even more precise data analysis. This evaluation helps to balance marketing measures even more precisely and to even better analyze the target group.
Modern content marketing is based on an exact definition of target groups or personas, the creation of high-quality content tailored to the target group as well as the distribution of this content on the web that is right for the target group. This process is accompanied by continuous evaluation.
What is content?
For content marketing, it is overwhelmingly online content that is used. Here content can be made up of text, images or videos. Typical elements of content marketing include:
- E-books: This media is popular in content marketing. In e-books a topic can be explored in detail. E-book content can be shared an unlimited number of times. Unlike conventional books, it is possible to add links to further integrate other relevant, online content.
- Companions: With this very popular text type target groups can be very precisely addressed. The added value is already created. The distribution usually takes place via search engine optimization.
- White papers: A white paper approaches a topic in a similar way to an e-book. However, it generally deals with an aspect in greater detail and delivers the problem as well as the solution.
- Blog entries: Be it on the corporate blog or as a guest entry on another blog, blog articles offer the opportunity to present topics from a subjective point of view. Blog readers can also react directly to the content via comments.
- Infographics: This graphic-centric material makes it possible to clearly illustrate even complex concepts. The advantage of infographics lies in the fact that they can be very easily shared via social media with the increased likelihood of viral effects.
- Studies: Be it individual case studies or comprehensive questionnaires, studies are very neutral and serious elements in content marketing. Depending on the content, companies can achieve a great deal of attention in this way and create trust in the respective target group.
- Newsletters: E-mail distributed newsletters can be used very effectively for content marketing, as the subscribers are already interested. Target groups can also be very precisely segmented with newsletter marketing.
Goals in content marketing
Content marketing can fulfill various goals, even if strengthening of the brand is most often the trigger. The goals are dependent upon the respective corporate strategy. These goals can also be part of an online marketing strategy.
- Branding: With the help of content marketing, companies can increase their reputation, their scope and their brand awareness.
- Increase of conversions: Content marketing can cause site traffic to increase significantly, in turn increasing the likelihood of conversion to other more desirable activity (like a purchase).
- Increased visibility in the SERPs: Content marketing can increase the number of incoming backlinks and therefore also improve the rankings of relevant keywords. This is how the SEO Visibility of websites can be sustainably increased in search results.
- Strengthening of customer loyalty: Existing customers can be linked to a company in the long term with content marketing.
- Winning of new customers: With the help of content marketing the customer base can be expanded.
- Search engine optimization: As online marketing with matching online content is ideal for the target group, this will also send significantly better user signals than on product pages. And these signals are an important ranking factor for SEO
Implementation of measures in content marketing
As with all online marketing measures, content marketing also touches upon planning, strategy and design. Content marketing usually takes place in the following sequence:
- Definition of marketing goals
- Creation of target groups and personas
- Definition of required content
- Determination of suitable distribution channels for content seeding
- Publication of content about blogs, social media, newsletters or other websites
- Evaluation of the marketing campaign, for example, with Google Analytics or other tools
- Optimization and continuation of the campaign
Whether marketers commission an agency for content marketing or undertake the planning and implementation of the measures themselves is dependent upon their own expertise and personal resources.
Classification of content marketing in online marketing
Content marketing is often described as a part of inbound marketing, as it is a method of pull marketing. At the same time, content marketing is influenced by many other areas of online marketing. This means aspects of search engine optimization also play an important role in content marketing.
In terms of content, content marketing is closely related to native advertising, in which advertising is presented in the form of editorially designed content in an editorial environment. Content marketing also has similarities to storytelling – or storytelling can be a part of a content marketing strategy.
Ultimately, content marketing measures can be combined with further marketing disciplines such as affiliate marketing, newsletter marketing, search engine advertising or social media marketing.
Content marketing can therefore be used in both the B2B and B2C sector.