I didn’t know until just now who coined the phrase “content marketing”. But having done a little research, it seems that Joe Pulizi is the person widely accredited as having done so.
It’s not a new concept at all. After all, the phrase “content is king” has been around for years. And it has been associated with marketing strategy for as long as I can recall; in the late 80s, when I was studying for my marketing exams, it was a mantra that was trotted out for practically every marketing tactic, be it advertising or direct mail, product brochures or PR. Although the concept isn’t new, it does seem that everyone – not just marketers – is now talking about content marketing.
So what is it? Content marketing involves creating and sharing content – usually, but not exclusively digitally – in order to attract and engage with prospects and customers. Successful content is interesting and compelling enough to the target audience for them to want to consume it, use it, reply to it and share it.
It takes many forms: blog posts, white papers, podcasts, video, documents, photos, webinars, e-newsletters, and so on.
Marketing agency Base One has just created this great little burger infographic you see above, which demonstrates the growth in demand from B2B buyers for content. Buyers were asked what influences them most, and as the graphic shows, compared with a year ago, they are now using many more web searches and visiting supplier websites more. Other areas like social media have also increased in importance, but offline events are less influential. Interestingly, word of mouth is also less influential than a year ago. I am surprised at that, because this is usually the area that companies rate extremely highly. Ask any company where they get new business and often they will put it down to a recommendation.
So, with a new appetite for content, more and more businesses need to think and act like publishers, and they need to have a strong content strategy in place. The companies that plan for what to do, and then follow it through are the ones that will reap the rewards. They will be seen as thought leaders, who are both expert and credible, and they will have more opportunities to engage and interact with their target market.
The full sized graphic can be downloaded from http://www.baseone.co.uk/beyond/B2B_content_marketing_growing_appetite.pdf