Content marketing was huge in 2012. Whether you ask Curata or MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, about 9 in 10 B2B marketers utilized the tactic to drive sales and leads, engage customers and prospects, establish thought leadership, and boost Web traffic, among other things.
A report from Econsultancy and Outbrain found that 90 percent of digital marketing professionals expect content marketing to become even more important in 2013. However, only 38 percent of in-house marketers and 13 percent of agencies have a content marketing strategy in place, an indication that many marketers and brands have just been dipping their toes in the water up until now.
Marketers and companies that want to get a better grip of content marketing, especially as a key strategy in 2013, would be wise to start by understanding exactly what it is. To that end, we spoke with a handful of experts who offer their explanations of what content marketing is.
Rebecca Steurer, associate director of content strategy at Manifest Digital:
“Content marketing is beyond building awareness. It is a method that provides an opportunity for businesses to inform, engage and build relationships with consumers by providing information that consumers want, and giving consumers the opportunity to provide their thoughts and feedback. Today’s consumer is more informed than ever. They are constantly looking for useful information to help them make educated decisions regarding which services and products to buy. A content marketing strategy can be created to provide the information for which they are searching.”
Jennifer Wong, marketing manager at Optify:
“Content marketing is a marketing strategy of creating and syndicating relevant and valuable information with the main objective of attracting and engaging a specific target audience. It’s a way of communicating with your prospects and customers in a non-intrusive way because you aren’t directly pitching your product or services; rather you’re delivering value so that buyers can make a more informed purchase decision.”
Andi Vance, director at Mulberry Marketing Communications:
“Content marketing, at the most fundamental level, involves pushing out content to sell indirectly and establish your spokespeople as thought leaders in your respective industry. Your goal is to educate target audiences about the industry and important differentiators so that they can make informed purchasing decisions — ultimately buying your product. The thought is that by providing them with helpful, informative content on an ongoing basis, they will not only see you as an expert but reward you with their loyalty.”
Maya Hari, a digital and social marketer who has worked with leading digital companies such as Google, Microsoft and Cond