Content Marketing: Just What Exactly Are We Talking About?

by Alicia Sparks on December 1, 2011

This is where you learn about marketing. Haha, just kidding.

As a freelance writer, content marketing is something you can use for yourself and your clients.

Actually, having a good handle on certain content marketing ideas can help you broaden your range of services and attract more clients (or, offer additional services to current clients).

So, what exactly is content marketing?

In short, content marketing (also known by names like branded content and custom publishing) is a marketing strategy that uses free content as a way to market a business or service.

Some of the most common content marketing examples include:

  • Articles (such as those distributed on popular article marketing sites like Ezine Articles and Hub Pages)
  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Videos
  • White papers
  • Webinars or teleseminars
  • Podcasts

Some marketers even go the extra mile and create larger pieces of content, such as free e-books.

If all this sounds pretty simple, it’s because it is – well, in theory.

In practice, you have to actually create consistent, quality content – the kind that helps your or your client’s branding and fosters customer loyalty.

Want more on content marketing? Check out:

  • Content Marketing 101: How to Build Your Business With Content: This Copyblogger includes an easy-to-understand content marketing definition as well as five links to articles that’ll teach you things like the difference between content marketing and copywriting and how content can help you find customers.
  • Content Marketing Institute: Yes, an actual institute dedicated to content marketing. These folks provide content marketing education and consulting resources and even host events, so if you’re serious about – or want to get serious about – content marketing, this might be the train to hitch a ride on.
  • Content Marketing Today: Similar to the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing Today provides a smorgasbord of information about content marketing, and even explains how it all relates to mobile media and social media.
  • B2B Content Marketing Trends: This 18-page report (in slide form, so don’t freak out) presents the survey results that highlight ideas related motivation to use content marketing, actually producing content for marketing, the most popular content marketing ideas.
  • How 3 Companies Took Content Marketing To The Next Level: This Mashable article outlines how three well-known companies (Mint.com, HubSpot, and American Express) have successfully used content marketing.

How about you, readers? How have you used content marketing, for yourself or for clients? What have you learned works, or doesn’t work, for you?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine December 1, 2011 at 10:52 am

‘How about you, readers? How have you used content marketing, for yourself or for clients? What have you learned works, or doesn’t work, for you?”

For my clients because I need it for my money-support. 🙂 But I really enjoy using content marketing and learning about it specially I do have mentors. ^_^

Jackie December 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

I’ve done A LOT of content marketing for clients (like article marketing, blog posts, newsletters, etc.) – I’ve never done video, but I’d like to (for myself, not for clients, haha).

For some reason, I’ve never thought of podcasts & webinars & the such as content marketing, but now that I think about it, I guess that completely makes sense. I mean, people are providing a type of free content with those things in hopes of building relationships (brand/customer loyalty, etc.) &, eventually, sales.

Alicia December 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

It’s definitely beneficial (financially, and client-wise) to be able to offer a variety of content marketing types to your clients, Katherine!

Alicia December 3, 2011 at 11:27 am

@ Jackie – Here’s a teleseminar “success story” – I signed up for a twice-a-week, 12-week teleseminar last spring; the entire series had an overall theme, but each call was hosted by a different person (with some kind of professional experience related to the overall theme). At the end of each call, the listeners were offered some kind of discount on a product or service that night’s host offered. Did I buy everything? No, but I did buy ONE thing, and that ONE product was the beginning of a mentorship-like relationship with the person. 🙂

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