By Consumer Dummies

Part of Small Business Marketing Strategies All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Content marketing includes all forms of content that both add value to consumers and that directly or indirectly promote a business, brand, products, or services. It’s the content aspect that sets it apart from other marketing. Content marketing occurs online and in the real world, but the tools of the social Web allow companies of all sizes to compete alongside one another, not for market share but for voice and influence.

Marketing a business using content isn’t a new concept, however, it has evolved in recent years to mean far more than creating a company brochure filled with overtly promotional messages and images. Today, content marketing focuses on creating content that is meaningful and useful to consumers with promotion taking a backseat to adding value, particularly adding value to the online conversation happening across the social Web.

Modern consumers try to avoid being interrupted by ads and marketing messages. Although companies used to use tactics such as shock advertising and sexual innuendos, now consumers can simply click away from an online ad or skip commercials on their DVRs. Even the most attention-getting ads go unnoticed by fast-forwarding consumers.

Yet consumers are also hyper-connected. They have access to enormous amounts of information, such as instantaneous access to real-time news, from their homes, offices, and mobile devices. Simply interrupting consumers and delivering marketing messages doesn’t work anymore. Companies have to quickly demonstrate the added value they can deliver, especially if they’re interrupting consumers in order to deliver that value.

With content marketing, companies engage consumers rather than interrupt them. Rather than take control of consumers’ online experiences, businesses need to enhance those experiences, and they can do it with content that adds value and engages consumers.