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Content Marketing

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content Marketing’s basic premise is to “provide some valuable information or entertainment – “content” – that stops short of a direct sales pitch or call to action, but which seeks to positively influence a customer in some way.”[1] This information can be presented in a variety of media, including text, video, Q&A’s, photos, etc.

The Advantages of Content Marketing

Content Marketing has steadily risen in popularity with marketers. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, over 90% of Business-to-Business (B2B) and 86% of Business-to-Consumer (B2C) markers use one or more methods of Content Marketing[2] , including social media, eNewsletters, and articles on a company website.

By embedding information that refers to the Brand, often with a “brought to you by” message, persuasion occurs because the media consumer’s experience with the content is positive, and so becomes associated with a positive experience with a Brand.

Other forms of advertising, particularly online, may be intrusive. One study notes that 61% respondents noted that banner ads “distract them and take them away from what they are doing”[3] , in addition to fears of spam, viruses, or simply receiving content that is not engaging.

Content Marketing provides an alternative to intrusive advertisements by offering branded content endemic to a users browsing experience. By intertwining the content with a brand’s equity, users are engaged by and create a positive correlation experience with the Brand, making them more likely to purchase the Brand.

Another advantage of Content Marketing is that the Millennial Generation (the largest, currently composed of 1.8 billion people) has expectations of media that are often better met by Content Marketing than by traditional advertising. In an Edelman Survey, 8 in 10 millennials expect brands to entertain them, while 31% expect brands to create “online content, such as videos, photos, games, and blogs”[4]

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Sourcing and Creating Content

Because The Web has democratized access to publishing (Wikipedia a case in point), and computers have democratized the creation of content, anyone can create content and publish it online. This creates a large diversity of content quality online.

In the domain of commercial content, normally created to support advertising, content is developed by publishers etc. Content is referred to as “original” by its publisher if the publisher created it or paid for its creation. A related trend is Curation, in which content is selected from one place, and put onto another. The downstream publisher may or may not have explicit rights to use the curated content.

In the ad industry, before content is created or sourced, an advertiser and its agencies work together to coordinate which content will align to brand equity and identify the intended audience. Ad agencies will work with the brand to develop the overall creative strategy for the advertising campaign, while media agencies (like Carat, OMD, and Razorfish) will be tasked with implementing those initiatives across multiple media.

In commercial advertising, content creation is executed by editors, or an editorial process for print media, and much of online media. For video, directors supervise the content creation.

Creating Audience

Once content is created, it must be published. Clearly the intent is to attract an audience to the content. A content creator thinks of publishers as distributors. The overall intent is to connect content with its intended audience. There are various means to do this:

Social Platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, among others, allow content to be shared fluidly and rapidly between social communities.

Search Engines: Google, Bing, and AOL are three premier search engines which people use to find content. Search Agencies are intimately familiar with such sites, and enhance a brand or content's SEO to be optimized on these sites.

Content Sharing Tools: Different from Social Platforms, content sharing tools are explicitly utilized to share and promote existing content. Pinterest, Yelp, and Pixable are all tools which aggregate and promote content sharing.

Media: Media can be purchased which directs users of one publisher to content appearing on another publisher. Also, content can be placed directly in to Media units, such as display advertising.

Syndication: This is the process of putting the same content on multiple sites, destinations or platforms.

A History of Content Marketing

The following examples demonstrate early use of content to disseminate information about a brand, and build a brand's reputation:

1895 - John Deere launches their magazine, The Furrow, providing information to farmers on how to become more profitable. The magazine, considered the first custom publication, is a success and is still in circulation today, reaching 1.5 million readers in 40 countries in 12 different languages[5].

1900 – Published in France, Michelin develops the Michelin guides, offering drivers information on auto maintenance, accommodations, and other travel tips. 35,000 copies were distributed for free in this first edition[6]. Eventually, the company began selling these books, yet the publication set a precedent for both informative guides and content marketing distribution.

1904Jell-O salesmen go door-to-door, distributing their cookbook for free. Touting the desert as a versatile food, the company sees its sales rise to over $1 million by 1906[7].

How Content Marketing is Measured

The effectiveness of Content Marketing is determined through a variety of quantifiable measures, most of which are used to asses the value of advertising generally. These include traffic, time on site, brand equity surveys, etc.

See also


  1. ^ Studio One / Duncan, Tim (November 28, 2012). “Branding and Content: Finding the Right Balance – A Content Marketing White Paper”
  2. ^ Pulizzi, Joe (November 14, 2012). “2012 B2C Content Marketing Research: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends”
  3. ^ Yahoo! Finance (April 19, 2011). “Top Reason Users Don’t Click Banner Ads”
  4. ^ Edelman Insights (December 4, 2012). “The Evolving Role of Brands for the Millennial Generation”
  5. ^ Gordon, Josh (November 1, 2011). “A History of Content Marketing In Under 3 Minutes”
  6. ^ Via Michelin (February 3, 2009). “The Michelin Guide: 100 Editions and Over a Century of History”
  7. ^ The Content Strategist / Lexi Lewtan (February 27, 2012). “The History of Content Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]”

External links

Automotive Marketing Discussion Forum

Car Dealers Reduce Advertising Expense PVR with Content Marketing - Infographic

Started by Ralph Paglia Jan 16, 2013. 0 Replies

Would an effective and consistent Content Marketing program provide Car Dealers with the impact required to reduce their dealership advertising cost Per Vehicle Retailed (PVR)?  The following…Continue

Tags: Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing, PVR

Content Marketing for Car Dealer SEO Results

Started by Ralph Paglia Jan 15, 2013. 0 Replies

Is Content Marketing the Key to Achieving Dealership SEO Objectives?…Continue

Tags: SEO, Results, Dealer, Car, Marketing

Anatomy of Content Marketing Infographic

Started by Ralph Paglia Jan 15, 2013. 0 Replies

Is Content Marketing at the Heart of a Car Dealer's Online Success?…Continue

Tags: Online Marketing, Marketing, Infographic, Content, Anatomy

Jeff Bullas's Blog Feed

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The post 10 Ways To Create Contagious Content for Your Social Media Marketing appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.

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The post The 10 Pillars To Creating a Personal Brand in a Digital World appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.

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I started this digital platform built on passion, purpose and the beckoning of exciting new frontiers. It was invigorating. This portal to the world gave me a voice I didn’t know existed. It was a journey into the unknown. I created and crafted content, built connections on Twitter and published. I signed up for learning. [...]

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 21, 2014 at 4:49pm
Comment by Alexander Lau on March 25, 2013 at 11:01am

A massive subject to cover. Glad to be a part of this. Forget about SEO, it's all about SCM or Search Content Marketing.

Comment by Aaron Wirtz on January 21, 2013 at 6:31am
Comment by Roosevelt Gist on January 16, 2013 at 1:21pm

@Ralph We have BBS in common. Mine was called Community Business OnLine (CBO). CBO became a .com. Sold url to Credit Suisse.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 16, 2013 at 1:17pm

Roosevelt - I was an avid user of the BBS access to defense contractor systems in the San Diego area in the 80's and early 90's.  Yes, I did primarily post inventory, both new and used, along with service specials to employees of each company.  However, that was at a time when there were no graphics and my posts were on BBS's that were primarily used for listing used items for sale by employees of that company.  

Those old days of BBS's remind me a lot more of than either email or blogging. Email was around then and blogging came later.

For those of us in the car biz, a familiar and valid example of true Content Marketing is the traditional publishing of articles in automotive magazines that are written by experts on a subject matter employed by a supplier... The articles are usually required by the magazine editors to be free of directly pitching products or services, but the content positions the author and their employer as an authority on a subject or topic relevant to what they sell or provide to car dealers. 

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on January 16, 2013 at 12:52pm

@Ralph Understood. Meant content marketing is a derivative of detailed product descriptions without any purchase requirements and blogging is a derivative of email with more features. Remember the BBS system, showing my age, before the Internet?

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 16, 2013 at 12:42pm

Response to Comment by Roosevelt Gist: When I business posts detailed descriptions of products or services offered for sale, it is an Advertisement. When posting such offerings on social media, if the posts are not balanced with valuable content that is non-promotional, at least 8 times the volume, there are many people who describe it as "Social Spam".  Content Marketing is not unpaid advertising, it is successful when the content delivers value to the targeted audience without requiring a purchase from your company.

Also, I do not consider blogging to be a "long form of email"... Blogging is visible to everyone, email is only visible to who you target it to... There are an infinite amount of things i would put in an email that i would never post on a blog and vice versa.  Blog posts live on for n indefinite amount of time, email does not. And there are many more major structural and content differences.

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on January 16, 2013 at 1:57am

@Ralph I thought when a business gave detailed descriptions of each product and/or services with proposed uses was content marketing? Is the term content marketing just another way to describe the above? Like blogging is a long form of email.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 15, 2013 at 9:05pm
Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 15, 2013 at 9:00pm

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