Content marketing relates to the discipline of writing timely, appropriate and targeted copy or material for marketing activities, primarily electronically via websites, e-mail and social network platforms.
The distinction between content marketing and online marketing is that online marketing relates overall to the activity that a person or a business undertakes and the platforms they use to advance their interests, whereas content marketing specifically relates to what is actually being said or conveyed on these platforms.
While content marketing is traditionally viewed as relating just to copy or the written word, the evolution of the internet and how people choose to access it means that content marketing must encompass imagery and audiovisual materials. In other words, content marketing relates just as much to online videos, photos, graphics and podcasts as it does to the written word on a blog.
Content marketing as a discipline requires a co-ordination and consideration of any materials being produced. Specific considerations include who the intended recipient of the material is, how it is to be published, how it is to be distributed and in what media it needs to be produced.
Without thinking through what the purpose is of any content that you are looking to produce to share online, your wider online marketing activities run the risk of being ineffectual. It is not enough just to be on a particular social network and post to it; do you know what you want to say, who you want to reach and how you want to say it?
While content marketing covers all material produced for marketing purposes, arguably its main focus is content that is produced for a business’s or an organisation’s website. For most organisations, a website is their primary online asset as it is the one online resource that they (should) have complete control over.
Producing content for a company’s website also comes with technical considerations that often relate to technical aspects of how webpages are constructed for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes.
Content marketing more often than not relates to an ongoing ‘production line’ of materials rather than just one set of co-ordinated messages. This is because organisations looking to engage with other businesses or people online must find new things to say or communicate on a repeated basis. Sharing the same messages over and over again can bore or irritate an audience, and this then means that online marketing becomes counterproductive.
The need to produce and distribute new material is why many websites have a blog component. A blog is an online article that can be on any subject and is often accredited to a specific writer or set of writers. Blogs are a sensible forum in which to publish interesting material with a focus on the needs of the reader or client of the business, which are not overtly sales-orientated.
The same principles to blog writing can and should be applied to other content marketing media such as online videos, imagery and podcasts. There is no benefit in sharing the same video online over and over again, as there is no benefit in doing so with written copy, especially if it is not being mixed with different materials on whatever online channel it is being hosted.
Content marketing relates both to producing copy for a business’s own websites or social networks and for those of others. Indeed, there is an advantage in getting marketing material published on other organisations’ channels as this increases the reach of copy and raises the profile of either the writer or the organisation to which they belong.
In the same manner, a business’s or an organisation’s content marketing strategy should look to incorporate material generated or produced by others. Not only does this provide a variation of voice and possibly a different expertise to a business’s content, it will also mean that the external writer will promote their content on your site via their own online networks, encouraging new visitors to a business’s online presence.
Content marketing requires a strategy and forethought, and it needs to be sustained over a significant period of time to be truly effective. Content marketing should also be regularly and rigorously assessed for its performance, and this can be done through a variety of marketing disciplines, especially via online marketing and social media marketing analytics.
Nick Lewis Communications (NLC) offers the following services related to Content Marketing:
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