This is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days. Depending on what you read it can mean almost anything. In fact, there’s a lot of confusion as to what it actually is. As a result, it’s often confused with email marketing (direct marketing), social media marketing, online advertising, and even blogging. For this reason, we’ve created this brief but definitive guide. To finally answer the question: what is content marketing?

Content Marketing Is Not

To begin with, let’s eliminate the Marcom activities that aren’t considered to be content marketing. That should, hopefully, give us a clearer picture of what it actually is.

Here goes.

Content marketing isn’t…

It’s not…

What is it, not?

If content describes anything you create and publish, then isn’t every aspect of Marcom ‘content marketing’?

Surprisingly, yes.

What IS it Then?

Well, it’s become a bit of a buzzword within digital marketing. It’s basically, marketing. Online.

You see, content marketing uses a whole range of age-old Marcom practices. It’s marketing. Doing exactly what it’s always done. Just in digital form.

For example, email marketing is the new direct mail marketing. Social media marketing is the new TV, Radio, Press, advertorial marketing. Online advertising is, well, still advertising. Just online.

That is to say, the methods remain the same. It’s just the channels that have changed.

So, whenever you hear someone talking about content marketing, what they really mean is digital marketing. Marketing online. Or just plain marketing. But using the internet to reach a specific audience.

In short, it’s editorial writing. Advertising. Social media. Email. Landing pages. Video. Infographics. Blogging. Podcasts. PR. Sales copy.

Ultimately, it’s anything you create and publish online to market a product or service, increase brand awareness, or generate traffic, leads, conversions, and sales.

In fact, it’s just marketing. By another name. For a digital medium.

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Gareth Alvarez
Gareth Alvarez

Gareth, Social INK’s Head of Content (sometimes playfully referred to as ‘spellcheck’), just adores words. He’s written copy for ads, websites, and blogged extensively. Content marketing is his bag. He loves getting creative with his writing.