What Is Content Marketing?

Explaining Marketing's Burgeoning Service Area

Ever try counting how many different ways you can consume content? There’s television, terrestrial radio and websites, all of which we’ve known about for a while. Then some newer modes: mobile apps, social media, podcasts, paid streaming services, free streaming services. And all of these content platforms can be accessed across multiple devices -- smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, satellite radios to name a few. And it’s all spawned this marketing concept called “content marketing.” Of course, it’s also left many asking: what is content marketing?

Content marketing, essentially, is anything on the internet. That’s because all of these devices can access all kinds of content through the internet.

That sounds overly broad, but it’s meant to be. Content marketing encompasses -- sorry, another list coming your way -- blogs, whitepapers, viral videos, podcasts, infographics and more. Really, it’s any kind of digital collateral that can be distributed to the numerous devices people use in a given day. And that is the key.

Think about a given day. And for the sake of understanding our question -- what is content marketing? -- let’s take a typical day when there isn’t a pandemic ongoing.

You start your day commuting to work. Maybe you drive and listen to terrestrial or satellite radio. Or maybe you Bluetooth your phone to your car and listen to a podcast or music. Some people take public transportation where a smartphone is the primary mode of content consumption: this person might listen to a podcast, read the news or even catch up on a Netflix show.

At work, you might be in front of a computer screen during the day but consuming content. Over the course of that day, you’re focused on work but that might mean you peruse LinkedIn. What’s on LinkedIn? Content marketing. The posts, blogs, videos and infographics you see are industry thought leadership, all of which is content marketing.

You rinse and repeat on your commute home with your smartphone or devices in your car. Then get home and maybe spend time in front of your connected TV. The possibilities there are more endless than you think: Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max are pretty obvious. But maybe you surf YouTube or stream a Peloton class. Or maybe you punt on Netflix and chill and jump on the Peloton Bike or Tread.

Peloton classes are content marketing. And the devices Peloton manufactures serve the same purpose as a tablet or smart TV.

Why does this all matter?

The rate at which we’re all consuming content is accelerating. Across all of these devices, brands are trying to grab mindshare within their target demographic. If you’re a B2B brand, you want to capture the attention of your customers and stakeholders during the work day on LinkedIn.

A consumer brand might want to develop a robust blog that commuters can read on their smartphones. Or viral videos that captivate them on their lunch break. Universally, brands want to share content that adds value to their community. Content that educates and entertains, thereby creating a need for the products or services each company sells.

Remember the definition of content marketing: it’s anything on the internet.

We’re spending more time than ever on the internet. And there’s competition amongst every company globally to own as much of that time as possible.

And to do that, you must be creating content.

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