Content marketing is a huge hype. In the first years, there were mainly empty slogans such as Content is king! And later came the woolly and inaccurate definitions that were even adopted by authoritative sources such as Wikipedia.
Many marketers and bloggers give definitions such as:
“A form of marketing (branding) in which the provision of relevant information (content) for the target group is central.”
The above definition would fit well with a library or non-profit organization, but not with a commercial company. For a commercial company, the goal is NEVER to “provide relevant information”!
Or how about the definition below… which is slightly better, but still not correct for commercial companies:
But what is the definition of content marketing?
Content marketing is the publishing and distribution of content with the aim of increasing the awareness of the target group up to the point of purchase or repeat purchase.
For commercial companies, the goal of content marketing is ALWAYS to sell something. That can be to a prospect or to an existing customer, but the ‘sale’ is always the ultimate goal. It, therefore, does not matter whether it concerns an online sale or whether content marketing supports the offline sale.
Contentmarketinginstitute.com has a definition that is closer to my Dutch version:
Enul what is content again?
Content in marketing can be seen as a collective name for information and media, such as text, images and video. See below for a more detailed illustration of elements:
As I described earlier in my definition, the goal of content marketing is to increase awareness of the target audience up to the point of purchase.
This brings me to the most common mistake in online marketing. Because many companies spend almost all their budget and efforts on optimizing the sales funnel, but they forget the marketing funnel, which is just as important.
In my article about the difference between a sales and marketing funnel I explain the difference in detail, but for now the illustration below will suffice with explanation:
Content marketing sales funnel
As you can see above, the marketing funnel has a larger share in the customer journey than the sales funnel . I would say the ratio is 75/25.
Content marketing is mainly done in the marketing funnel, unless the awareness of the target group is higher than level 4 (which I will come back to in a moment).
Each blue dot in the illustration above illustrates a piece of content that increases the awareness of the target group. The green dot is the hypothesis. At that point in the funnel, the target group realizes which solution it wants for its problem. Now he just needs to be convinced to buy it from you.
The orange dots are pieces of content that convince the content to buy your solution. This part of the funnel is no longer about educational content, but about content that conveys the proposition.
Who is content marketing suitable for?
But not everyone has the same budget and not everyone has to educate their target audience. Take the example of Porsche. You don’t have to convince someone who is going to spend more than €100,000 on a car that he needs a car. Or that a car is a faster and more comfortable alternative to a horse and carriage.
Porsche’s content marketing strategy is therefore very different from that of a relatively unknown service provider.
But every company should do something about content marketing. The service provider could showcase his knowledge on a blog to build authority. Porsche uses content marketing to respond to the emotions and desires of the target group. I use content marketing to ensure that more people realize that they have to think from the funnel.
But what does content marketing cost? A difficult question to answer because it varies a lot per company, market and the resources you have at your disposal.
It is clear that a large part of the budget is spent on producing content, so if you can write well yourself, are handy with video or can produce images yourself, it is a relatively cheap way of online marketing.
If you are not good at that, you will have to outsource it and the costs can be quite expensive. The big advantage of content marketing is that you can start small. And if you do it right (optimized for findability and conversion), every piece of content becomes an asset that delivers long-term returns. This means that you can/will stack the results of each piece of content so that your results continuously increase.
And what is the return on content marketing? The same applies to that. It is difficult to link a hard return to this, but as you can read on the Oracle blog, the return from content marketing is a lot more favorable than paid activities, such as CPC campaigns.
Below you can see how the costs per lead develop over time. The initial costs are high, but then you see that the costs per lead decrease to almost ‘0’ after 24 months.