What is Content Marketing?

Elements of Content Marketing

Content marketing includes development of on-site and off-site content. Image via Flickr user toprankblog.

While social media captures much of the public arena in digital marketing, it is content marketing that actually drives much of what companies do to attract, motivate and retain target audiences. Content marketing includes the creation and promotion of written copy, such as on websites, in blogs or via external websites.

The Foundational Value of Content

Jay Baer famously said, “Content is the fire and social media is the gasoline in referring to the relationship between quality content and social media. His point was that much of what companies do in the digital realm centers on driving traffic to content and retaining people once they land.

For retailers, content could include a page of interesting product images and supporting descriptions. For a magazine or topic-based publication, the focus is on engaging, useful, interesting or entertaining copy that appeals to the needs or emotions of readers.

Promoting Your Content

Promotion is a central stage of marketing. This point is no different with content-based marketing. After you create a great blog post, for instance, you can share it on Twitter, Facebook and other social media to attract readers.

Search engine optimization is another major traffic-generating activity tied to content promotion. With SEO, the promotion takes place naturally as search users enter phrases into engines like Google and Yahoo. Optimizing important on-page and off-page SEO factors is a critical area of content strategy.

Retaining Site Visitors

Just as consumers want to attract and retain loyal customers, content marketers hope to retain visitors to their websites. This goal is often achieved through such devices as an e-mail newsletter subscription or a feed subscription. Companies marketing goods and services may ask readers to fill out other types of contact or registration forms to capture them as visitors.

With captured registrants and subscribers, you have a database of contacts for future dissemination of content, updates and newsletters. Beyond that, information or resources valued by visitors typically leads to repeat visits.

Distributing Content Off-Site

Article marketing involves the distribution of content off site. Directories, social sharing platforms and other sites and blogs are common mechanisms to deliver your work. Benefits of off-site distribution include:

  • Broader reach to communicate with target audience members
  • Opportunities to build credibility for you, your company or your website
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Potential back links that contribute to SEO


An online presence is a virtual must by now for any company or publisher looking to earn a profit. A website and/or blog is a starting point for an online presence. As you create, promote and distribute quality content, you achieve many of the long-term communication goals companies have always sought with marketing; you establish or maintain a brand image, appeal to the interests of your audience and capture them through expanded promotional tools.

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