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What Is Content Marketing?

The answer to the question "What is content marketing?" probably seems self-explanatory. But it is not quite as simple as writing content for marketing purposes.

As Inc. magazine points out, there are a number of common challenges when it comes to content marketing, including the reality that creating content is time-consuming. There is a lot of effort (and talent) involved in creating a steady stream of content that remains fresh and relevant. Adding multiple marketing channels to the mix only makes it more challenging.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) offers an online MBA program with an emphasis in Marketing that provides students with a framework for analyzing consumer behavior, which goes hand in hand with content marketing. Additional coursework in social media marketing gives students pursuing marketing careers an additional advantage.

How Does Content Marketing Work?

At its core, marketing is about connecting with customers. Companies have lots of ways to do that. Advertising is, of course, one of them. What differentiates content marketing from advertising is value.

Content marketing is the opposite of those online ads people like to block. It offers content people want to consume. They might even look for it.

Instead of selling to customers, content marketing is about engaging with them on a more personal, non-commercial level. This requires an understanding of who the customer is and what matters to that customer.

What are some ways a company can implement content marketing? Content marketing typically happens online, with the content taking many forms:

  • Social media posts
  • Blogs
  • eBooks
  • Videos (e.g., YouTube)
  • Webinars
  • Whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Guides
  • Case studies

What Is the Value of Content Marketing?

Best-selling author Seth Godin founded Yoyodyne, an early internet-based direct-marketing firm that was acquired by Yahoo. Godin's take on content marketing: It is "the only marketing left."

Sure, traditional marketing methods are still out there. Companies promote their products and services through print advertisements, television commercials and radio spots. Taken online, those methods get updated to include ads that drive users to the company website.

Content marketing takes a different approach to help companies attract and convert customers. Unlike marketing such as full-page glossy ads, content marketing builds relationships by providing content that is relevant to the target audience. In the process, this type of content can increase traffic, leads and profits.

How Are Companies Using Content Marketing?

Digital marketing agency bMighty2 specializes in helping small businesses succeed online. A blog post on local SEO offers readers do-it-yourself tips to increase visibility. Those who want even more tips can provide their name and email address to download a free checklist. bMighty2 has both provided small business owners with meaningful content and created a way to identify and keep in touch with potential customers.

Starbucks offers another example of effective content creation. With 24,000+ retail stores in 70 countries, Starbucks is already selling a lot of coffee. Why hire a Washington Post senior editor to produce content? Consumers connect to the company's mission to make a difference. Starbucks is building on that relationship with its Upstanders series. These stories that celebrate "ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities" inspire others to make a difference, too.

As these examples illustrate, the value of content marketing applies to small businesses and giant corporations alike. Marketing-focused MBA programs can help business professionals develop tools to build strong brands.

Learn more about the SOSU online MBA program with an emphasis in Marketing.


Sources:

Inc.: How to Overcome 4 Content Marketing Challenges

Forbes: 3 Reasons Why Content Marketing Is the 'Only Marketing Left'

bMighty2: Local SEO for Your Small Business

Starbucks Channel: Upstanders


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