What is content marketing?

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star, content marketing is showing them you’re a rock star” – Robert Rose

  • Are you confused by content marketing?
  • Do you think it’s just another marketing tactic?
  • Would you like to find out more about how you and your business can benefit from understanding content marketing?

We get asked this perfectly valid question A LOT – “What is content marketing?”. We are very aware that there are many business people out there that have never heard of content marketing, and if they have, they don’t really understand what it is, or what it means for their business.

What if you could get your audience to spend more time with your marketing? What if you could get your audience to look forward to receiving your marketing? This is what content marketing can do for you and your business, and it will change everything.

I have prepared for you four key definitions of what content marketing is, along with some related articles, videos and podcasts, to help you get to grips with what content marketing is and how you and your business can benefit from embracing a content marketing philosophy.

What is content marketing?

Before you move on, first watch this:

Definition one – Joe Pulizzi

“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi

What does this really mean?

  • Valuable and compelling content – content that your audience are actually interested in and will enjoy spending their time reading, watching, listening, etc
  • Attract, acquire and engage – content that speaks directly to your audience and pulls them closer to your business/organisation
  • Profitable customer action – content that encourages desire to purchase your products or services

(Source: Page 5 – Epic Content Marketing)

Definition two – Joe Pulizzi

“The art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyers more intelligent or perhaps entertaining them to build an emotional connection.”

What does this really mean?

  • Communicating with your customers without selling – I personally love this! You can deliver information to your audience that’s helpful and useful that does not directly sell your products or services
  • Non interruption marketing – It’s content that your audience want to spend time with – they may have even asked for it by subscribing to your email list
  • Entertaining – Content that your audience enjoy and get value from. After reading, watching or listening they don’t feel like they’ve just wasted their time
  • Emotional connection – Assuming your content ticks all the boxes above, you will start to build a relationship and an affinity with your audience

(Source: Page 6 – Epic Content Marketing)

Definition three – Marcus Sheridan

“Do you see yourself as a teacher, truly as a teacher, in other words, do you embrace the idea that your prospects and customers have questions, and that you really want to answer them?”- Marcus Sheridan

Marcus Sheridan - The Sales Lion
Marcus Sheridan – The Sales Lion

In this short and highly recommended video Marcus Sheridan hits it home with a clear, concise and grounded explanation of what content marketing is and what content marketing really means for small businesses.

  • Can you listen better than anyone else in your industry or niche?
  • Can you hear their questions, the way that they’re saying them, your customer or prospects?
  • Can you empathise with them?
  • Can you really, truly understand what they’re feeling?
  • Can you communicate in a way that they get you? That they understand you? That they say “that person is just like me, he understands my problems and he speaks on my level, not on his level, but on my level”?

What does this really mean?

In essence, what Marcus is asking you to do is to change the way you communicate with your audience. How can you be the teacher or advisor, instead of directly selling your products and services? How can you be the business or organisation in your industry that is completely transparent and truly helpful?

(Source – Click here to watch the full video on YouTube)

Definition four – Ann Handley

“The beauty of content marketing, and I think the ability for us all to be publishers, means that we can speak directly to the people we want to reach, and we need to talk to them in a more human, accessible way, and we need to tell them why what we do or sell matters to them, so really turning that corporate-centric communication to a customer-centric communication.”

Ann Handley
Ann Handley

What does this really mean?

  • The ability for us all to be publishers – If you have a computer and access to the Internet there really are no barriers to becoming a publisher
  • Speak directly to the people we want to reach – With access to the Internet and various platforms you can deliver a message directly to your specific audience
  • Why what we do or sell matters to them – Again this is about changing how you communicate; put yourself in your customers shoes and think about how what you do will benefit and add value to them and their lives
  • Customer-centric communication – Stop using corporate language and ‘Frankenspeak’. Instead communicate with words that your audience will find easy to understand.

(Source – Click here to listen to Ann Handley on The Content Marketing Academy Podcast)

Highly recommended related articles

“Content is the butter to your bread – it makes everything better” – Robert Rose

Are you ready to go down the content marketing rabbit hole? Let’s get started!

01 – The Advanced Content Marketing Guide (Resource)

Content Marketing - The Advanced Guide

Neil Patel and Quick Sprout really know how to put a fantastic resource together. In fact, when you are reading through this just think “this is an awesome example of content marketing in action”.

The Advanced Guide To Content Marketing is for anyone looking to take their success on the Web to the next level: bloggers, business owners, eCommerce sites and even affiliate marketers. This guide provides you with dozens of actionable tactics you can put to work today to begin engaging your ideal customers with high-value content.

02 – Getting started with content marketing (Article)

I’ve mentioned Joe Pulizzi a few times in this article. Joe is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). He was the first person to really popularise the term ‘content marketing’. We really couldn’t discuss content marketing without signposting you to CMI resources.

The best place to start is with the Getting started with content marketing article which answers the questions below and signposts you to many more relevant articles. It’s worth the time to go down the content marketing rabbit hole on the CMI website to help develop your content marketing knowledge.

  • What exactly is content marketing?
  • How is content marketing different from other forms of marketing?
  • Who is using content marketing?
  • How do I get started?

03 – “I don’t know where to start with content marketing” (Slideshare)

What is content marketing?

As you probably know, Marcus Sheridan from The Sales Lion is one of our favourite content marketers here at Learning Everyday.

To be honest, there are a tonne of articles from Marcus that are worth sharing, however, this Slideshare is a different way to present content and a deliver a message in an engaging way.

Click here to dive into our guide to getting started with Marcus Sheridan.

04 – The five C’s for content marketing success (Article)

Are you curious about how to start your content marketing journey? Are you interested in how other people started there’s and became successful?

The five C’s map out the start of your journey to becoming a great content marketer. This is how I started my journey and how other’s I’ve spoken to have mapped out their own journey. The five C’s will help you develop your content marketing strategy, build your platform and help you communicate with your audience.

  • Consumer
  • Curator
  • Creator
  • Consistency
  • Commitment

Click here to read all about the five C’s.

05 – What is content marketing? (Video)

In this video Marcus Sheridan hits it home with a clear, concise and grounded explanation of what content marketing is and what content marketing really means for small businesses.

Your turn

  1. What questions do you have about content marketing?
  2. What are you doing within your business to embrace content marketing?
  3. How do you think your business could benefit from content marketing?

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About Chris Marr

Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.