January 09, 2013, 3:08 PM — In one form or another, content marketing has been around at least 100 years. It began in the late 1800s, when John Deere started publishing a magazine for farmers with the hopes of selling more tractors and farm machinery, says Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media, which offers content marketing advice and software. The idea took off with the rise of radio soap operas in the 1930s, he adds, as Proctor & Gamble targeted housewives.
In recent months, content marketing has become a hot buzzword as businesses strive to navigate Google algorithm updates and convert targeted prospects into customers.
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In the era of Panda and Penguin, Google's recent algorithm changes, content marketing has taken on even more importance. But what exactly is content marketing? Why is it important? How can businesses do content marketing effectively? CIO.com asked three experts for their best content marketing strategies and examples.
Content Marketing Is Anything That Builds a Relationship
For starters, content marketing is an umbrella term that "captures all the different ways to communicate within a marketing, lead generation and retention framework," says Scott Fasser, director of digital marketing solutions for Optify, a B2B digital marketing software company.
Clark adds that content marketing refers to any piece of content-including tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos, downloadable white papers, email newsletters, webinars and website articles-designed to build a "direct relationship with prospects and customers."
The goals of content marketing are to convert prospects into customers and customers into brand advocates. Through effective content marketing, a business engages its target audience by answering questions they have, helping them solve problems or entertaining them. The hope is that prospects will see the brand as a trusted, reliable source and, most importantly, a company they want to do business with.
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