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Technology Concept: CONTENT MARKETING

Content marketing: what is it and why is it important?

Content marketing is an increasingly popular area of marketing, enabling marketers to reach and attract their target audiences – and build their brands – through the creation and sharing of valuable, relevant content that engages, informs, and fosters relationships with potential customers.

It’s a strategic, innovative approach when compared with traditional marketing. It subtly, rather than directly, promotes products and services – perhaps through a soft call-to-action (CTA) – and instead focuses primarily on providing users with information, entertainment, or educational content in various formats. Doing so can build trust, credibility, and brand awareness, all while nurturing a relationship with the audience – and positioning business and organisations as experts in their fields. 

By consistently delivering high-quality, great content, businesses can:

  • Attract organic traffic to their websites.
  • Expand their visibility in search engines.
  • Increase engagement metrics on social media platforms. 
  • Build a loyal customer base.
  • Generate leads for sales teams.
  • Increase conversion rates and sales.

Examples of content marketing

Content marketing can take various forms, including:

  • Blog posts and articles. Blogging is one of the most commonly used forms of content marketing. Through blog content, content marketers can distribute insightful and informative articles that will be of interest to their target audience while also establishing their brand’s authority in its respective field and driving traffic to their website.
  • Videos. According to recent HubSpot data, video is the most popular format used in content strategies, with 87% of video marketers saying that video has increased their website traffic, and 80% claiming that video has directly increased sales. Video content is often created for sharing tutorials, product demonstrations, behind-the-scenes insights, and compelling brand narratives. The Content Marketing Institute, meanwhile, says that webinars are the videos that produced the best results for B2B marketers in 2021.
  • Infographics. Infographics are graphics that transform complex data and other information into visually appealing, digestible formats that can easily be shared and understood across different platforms.
  • Podcasts. Through their conversational format, audio podcasts can help brands establish a more personal connection with their audience, and create a greater sense of authenticity and trust.
  • White papers and case studies. By delving into in-depth research and analysis, white papers and case studies can underscore a brand or organisation’s expertise, helping to foster trust and respect within their industry.

These different types of content can be shared in many ways. For example, social media platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn are a powerful tool for content marketers, allowing them to share a piece of content – such as videos, images, or other content types – that can resonate with their audiences. Brand websites and blog sites are also commonly used platforms.

The benefits of content marketing

According to HubSpot’s 2022 Annual State of Marketing Report, more than 60% of marketers measure the success of their content marketing strategies through sales, with 82% of marketers actively using content marketing, and 70% of marketers actively investing in content marketing:

“Consistent, high-quality, and engaging content impacts audience decision-making more than any other technique,” says HubSpot on the importance of content marketing.

This impact is achieved through enhanced:

  • Brand awareness. An effective content marketing strategy ensures consistent visibility and recognition, fortifying the brand’s digital presence and carving it a distinctive niche in the market. Content marketing efforts can also help safeguard brand reputations.
  • Audience engagement. By delivering insightful, consistent content, brands foster meaningful interactions, ignite conversations, and cultivate a sense of belonging within their target community.
  • Lead generation. Useful content serves as a powerful magnet, attracting potential customers and skillfully guiding them through to conversion.
  • Trust-building. Through the creation of well-researched and reliable content, brands can position themselves as trusted industry leaders, nurturing long-term relationships that are founded on credibility and transparency.

Other areas of digital marketing

Good content marketing helps to complement and augment several other areas of a digital marketing strategy, including:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO). The creation of high-quality content, infused with relevant keywords and bolstered by backlinks from other sites, has a significant influence on a website’s search engine ranking. This free, organic visibility – different from PPC, or pay-per-click, marketing campaigns – propels potential customers toward the brand’s site and increases the likelihood of conversions. 
  • Inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is similar to content marketing in that it aims to engage users with valuable content that’s tailored to their needs and preferences. However, while content marketing focuses more on reaching out and attracting target audiences in, inbound marketing is more focused on consumer behaviour and the customer experience during interactions that are initiated by the customer.
  • Email marketing. Email marketing – such as online newsletters or messages about sales or discounts – is one of the most popular types of digital marketing. It also has close ties with content marketing: by receiving valuable content, users have a good incentive to subscribe to newsletters or other types of content, enabling brands to sustain meaningful engagement and progressively nurture potential new leads.
  • Social media marketing. Social media is another area of digital marketing that’s closely connected to content marketing. By creating engaging content that can be easily shared across different social platforms, brands can kindle conversations, expand their reach, and nurture new, dynamic online communities. Social media marketing can also include working with influencers and other high-profile people to build brand awareness and create new content.

The future of content marketing

As technology evolves, content marketing is similarly poised to transform, with growing trends in areas such as:

  • Personalisation. Content tailored to individual user personas can increase relevance and engagement for audiences.
  • Interactive content. The integration of interactive elements – such as quizzes, polls, and 360-degree videos – can amplify user participation and offer immersive experiences.
  • Voice search optimisation. With the surge in voice-activated virtual assistants, optimising content for voice search will be imperative for maintaining visibility and accessibility.
  • AI-driven content creation. Artificial intelligence-powered tools have the power to revolutionise content creation by quickly and efficiently generating content on behalf of marketing professionals.

Deepen your expertise in content marketing

Develop a robust understanding of business, leadership, and management in a marketing context with the 100% online MSc Management with Marketing from the University of Lincoln. 

This part-time Master’s degree is designed to provide you with a well-rounded understanding of the fundamental subjects needed to manage a business within a complex and ever-changing environment, with modules in organisational strategy and project management, as well as leadership development, strategy, and financial analysis. You will also have the opportunity to develop your understanding in key areas of marketing, including:

  • International marketing and planning
  • Digital marketing
  • Global relationship marketing
  • Applied consumer behaviour