Content marketing refers to marketing that does not openly promote a particular item or brand. Instead, it attempts to create a buzz around a company’s services or products by offering content that will appeal to the desired audience. Depending on the target demographics, this may take many forms, ranging from blogs and how-to guides to brief social media posts. Video-based content marketing is also very common. This form of marketing does not attempt to create new demand, but to meet a demand that has been identified as already existing in the relevant marketplace.
The origins of it go back over 100 years. The Michelin Guide, first published in 1900, is an example of early content marketing which has retained its success into the 21st century. The phrase “content marketing” itself did not become popular until the late 1990s when the internet was becoming a realistic venue for commercial transactions. By the turn of the 21st century, both the concept and the phrase were well established online, although it took another decade for the concept to become used by a majority of organizations.
Effective content marketing depends on “user segmentation”, the ability to pinpoint a target audience and understand what its members want, feel and believe. To be successful, this process must take a wide view of customers’ needs, rather than simply look at how they might react to the specific product being marketed. The combination of a tightly targeted demographic and a widely targeted set of interests within that demographic is what most contributes to a profitable content marketing campaign. Poor content marketing strategy can actively harm a company by annoying prospective customers; discontent may spread very quickly within the target group.