What is content marketing, and why does it matter?

Content marketing is a necessary digital strategy for all brands, whether owned by large, small, or very small companies, or focused on B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer). Read on to find out why.

Content marketing is part of what is known as digital marketing, which in turn falls under a company’s strategic marketing plan. Strategic marketing is focused on the medium and long term and includes such important aspects for a brand as branding, product strategies, price, distribution, communications, and target audience engagement, among other elements that define the essence of a company’s positioning, sales, and communications.

For content marketing to be effective, it must first be in line with the company’s overall goals and, more specifically, with its strategic marketing objectives. Digital is a channel, and therefore digital marketing will allow us to convey all these elements in an increasingly creative and innovative way thanks to great advances in technology.

So, how do we define content marketing? Content marketing is about creating quality and relevant content for a brand’s target audience, connecting with their emotions, aspirations, and lifestyle.

Content marketing: different approaches

To create quality content marketing, our first step is to understand the audience we want to reach. Brands determine their target audiences through market research or digital marketing strategies that allow them to test which digital audiences are interested in a product or service. Once we are clear about who we want to reach, we can start working.

Some agencies offer content marketing without analysing the target audience: this is common but not advisable from my point of view. How will we know the best way to connect with our target demographic if we don’t know who they are, what they are looking for, or what their digital consumption and shopping habits are?

Once the target has been defined, content marketing teams set out to devise the strategy. These teams involve digital content creators in different formats – video, photo, text, podcast, graphic design… – and SEO and SEM specialists, and normally a project leader who will manage the team and define the lines to be followed in the project, the calendar, the timings, and the investment.

This strategy includes the main message to be conveyed – derived from the message defined in the global brand strategy – as well as the complementary messages. It also decides the communications tone, the level of closeness or seriousness to be observed in messages, the branding code to be followed (colours, fonts, and filters to be used) and all the details that will provide a brand with its own personality; a brand which communicates and empathises as though it were a person.

Another aspect to bear in mind is that all this work must generate value for the user. Why would people want to consume our content instead of another brand’s? Because it provides something unique, different, interesting… something of value.

And this value must be provided on an ongoing basis, which is to say, the effort is useless if it doesn’t extend in the medium to long term. Creating content for a month and then forgetting about it will not produce results. Strategies should be designed with a minimum timeframe of six months to a year, and during this time they should be revised regularly according to the results they provide.

So, the key points that we must consider when creating a content marketing strategy are:

  • Understanding our target audience is essential.
  • Good content marketing is a team effort.
  • Without empathy, content does not work.
  • Content marketing must provide value.
  • Consistency and working in the medium and long term are essential.

Why is content marketing important?

Content marketing conveys the brand’s values and personality, connects with audiences, adds value, and ultimately, sells. The primary purpose of these strategies is not to sell but to engage, to be present in the lives of our targets in a friendly, valuable, and constant manner. If we achieve this, the magic happens all by itself, and sales take place.

Obviously, “magic” is a figure of speech here, because there is a great deal of work behind every online sale, not least in terms of good storytelling, an effective and well implemented content marketing strategy, including SEO, SEM, referrals, the value of the product or service itself, and much more. In other words, this is all about work, work, work… and in the right direction, of course.

In short, any brand looking to implement effective content marketing should do so following a set of basic principles and, for excellent results, by putting itself in the hands of professionals.