What is digital content marketing actually? Whether you are looking for an initial overview or a fresh perspective: We summarised the most important information for you – read on!
Digital developments are setting a fast pace and traditional marketing methods, such as direct marketing, often drag behind. The only ones, who are able to keep up, are methods that recognise the needs of our mobile-first society and are able to communicate successfully with target groups. Curtain up for Content Marketing: With this method, the produced content is of high value for a specific target audience and is being consistently published and updated. Content Marketing can do without eye-catching advertising, but it remains a pioneer when it comes to shaping the image of a brand. It conveys knowledge to a target audience, inspires and entertains them.
What content actually is
Content is the reason a website is attractive and seems worth visiting. It includes the media types image, video and text – and increasingly more relevant: audio formats, such as podcasts. But content also includes social media, newsletters, specifically created eBooks, whitepapers and more. Content enlivens a corporate website and is the opportunity for shaping your brand and creating relevance for customers. One thing should be at the heart of every produced content piece: The added value for a specific target audience. Well prepared content only attracts users if there is a unique added value present. It becomes truly effective when three parameters are taken into account:
But content alone does not make for a solid marketing strategy.
The difference lies in the right foundation
If we compare Digital Marketing with building a house, content is the stable foundation of all activities. Without Content there is no Marketing. A well thought-out content strategy lays the foundations and paves the basement of the Marketing building: Content Marketing is being expanded. The prerequisites for the next stage in the construction phase are in place: time to add Inbound Marketing. On top of the basic structure of Content Marketing, the strategy is being refined with the help of the so-called "Marketing Inbound Funnel". The specific goal of Inbound is to generate contacts, i.e. leads. These interested parties are then qualified as customers through the strategic use of Content. Find out how exactly this process works and discover many helpful tips for implementation in our ebook, "The Playbook". Inbound Marketing complements Content Marketing by adding the roof and interior design. The strategy is wind and weatherproof and the Marketing building is ready to move into.
In some cases, the façade still needs some embellishment: In a B2B environment, the addition of Account-based Marketing is the next logical step in the construction process. The ABM method relies heavily on the process and learnings of Inbound Marketing. Again, relevant Content is created to turn prospects into regular customers. However, the evident innovation lies in addressing individual target companies, as opposed to broader target groups in Inbound Marketing. In addition, ABM embellishments often provide short-term support for sales goals, with Content and Inbound Marketing providing a long-term structure for marketing goals. Our series deals even more with the unique possibilities of Account-based Marketing, read more about it here.
Content therefore always remains the basic building block for Digital Marketing. Every content measure, such as the decision for or against a newsletter, has a direct effect on other forms of marketing. This does not mean, however, that every form of Digital Marketing can be equated with Content Marketing.
Neighbours of Content Marketing
An advertisement for a product or a service, a flashy presentation, loose promises or even clickbait – none of this has anything to do with Content Marketing. The promotion of product ranges and intrusive advertising is left to other forms of marketing. There is an excess of terminology in marketing and it is often not so easy to keep track on what’s what. Especially in the digital world, there are many forms of marketing that also use content as a foundation, but not all are Content Marketing. Rather, these are Content Marketing neighbours, which are located close to the content measures and can also be enriched with Inbound Marketing and Account-based Marketing. The most important of these are:
Social Media Marketing
Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn are used to market a product, a service or even the entire company. In addition, social media channels give a company a great advantage: An interaction with the target audience on a personal level is possible. Through likes, comments and more, interaction is encouraged. The goals can be on the one hand image cultivation and a higher degree of awareness, but also customer support and traffic generation for the company’s website. The foundation of content is visible in every posted video, image, text, comment or story: Behind every activity there is a sophisticated strategy that tries to outwit the ranking algorithms and usually includes advertising, such as Facebook ads. The process of Social Media Marketing, including its planning and execution from A to Z you can read in our series "Follow me!”.
This form aims to create measurable reactions or transactions with users. Performance Marketing likes to use the measures of SEM or Affiliate Marketing. Success is measured with key figures such as conversion rates or traffic data. Depending on the data obtained, the performance is evaluated and the strategy is revised. Beneath the roof of Performance Marketing are:
Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising (SEA). SEO refers to the optimization of the content on a website, with regard to the important ranking factors, such as keywords, article length, links and more. The aim is to rank as high as possible in the organic search results of Google, Bing and Co. Meanwhile, SEA aims to ensure that the website appears in paid search results, e.g. Google Ads. The big advantage: On Google, the top four results are reserved for those ads and are therefore the first thing a user notices. However, the ads must first be purchased by website operators through a bidding process with the relevant keywords. When a user conducts a search, the search engine decides in real time which websites are given the ad space, based on those keywords and the perceived relevance of the website. The ad space is paid for via a pay-per-click model: fees only ocurre, when the ad is published and the user clicks on it. SEM is most effectively, when the optimization of the website (SEO) and the placement of ads (SEA) are cleverly combined.
Affiliate Marketing: Especially known from the program Amazon Associates. Website operators, i.e. companies or bloggers, place advertisements and receive a commission when visitors click on the advertisement and buy a product.
High quality content attracts a high quality audience
Successful Content Marketing supplies a target audience with the content that really captivates them and provides the right answers to their urgent questions. If a prospect comes across an exciting article, chances are that they will browse the blog for more content and remember this as a positive experience for the next time they make a purchase decision. A good content strategy is therefore rewarded with leads, who have a strong interest in the provided content – and ultimately in the brand of a company. By becoming a reliable source for the professional interests of its (potential) customers, a company ensures customer loyalty and trust. After all, a consistent content strategy is also part of image cultivation: A well executed and relevant Content Marketing sharpens the brand image and deepens the company’s perceived identity. In our article you can find out exactly which strategies you can use, to capture the attention of your audience. As a Content Marketer, it is important to respond to the needs of the target group and answer their questions with the help of unique content types.
Measure up for the right choice
Content comes in extremely diverse forms: written word, audio and podcast, moving image or photography – the sky’s the limit. However, a distinction can be made between B2B and B2C communication:
Business to Business (B2B)
Objective: To provide expertise through targeted articles and to market the company as a professional partner. At the same time a positive employer branding happens.
Most important content types:
Business to Consumer (B2C)
Objective: Represent the history and values of the company with the help of content and subtext and to create a personal approach to the topics that move the target audience.
Most important content types:
Social Media posts
The framework for loyal customers and strong branding
Content Marketing lays the foundation for additional marketing methods, such as Inbound Marketing, and also functions as the supporting framework for your Marketing Strategy when applied on its one. It differs from its Digital Marketing neighbours, such as Performance Marketing, in its unique orientation: the strategy doesn’t revolve around your company, but your target audience. In this way, you provide users with added value in the form of relevant content and sharpen the brand identity. Content gives you the opportunity to create an image, including a comprehensive communication made up of stories that are entertaining, informative and inspiring. And an investment in the strong Content Marketing foundations will be rewarded: with a valuable customer base that has a connection to your stories and, ultimately, to your brand.