What is content marketing?

It’s funny how when you stick two words together, they often mean something totally new – civil and war, for example. As someone who deals with words, I’m well aware that this can cause some confusion.

The same is often said of content marketing. Most people could tell you that “content” is what you create for your website or social channels – blogs, videos, images. Right? And “marketing” – even the average Joe could tell you it’s all about selling to people.

But throw ‘content marketing’ at them and even those who actually work in content marketing might struggle to offer a clear and consistent definition.

The truth is content marketing can mean a lot of things. It initially started back in 1895 by none-other than John Deere of big green tractors fame. He published a magazine to help provide both education information about his tractors and guides on being a better farmer.

In our guide, we’ll walk you through the basic principles of content marketing today, why content marketing is important, and how it’s an essential tool for attracting customers new and old to your business.

Article summary:

  • Content marketing is an important way of promoting your website through various digital channels
  • ‘Content’ often refers to written words but can also include videos, graphics and imagery
  • Usually, content marketing is related to non-brand content.

Table of contents:

What is content?

Simply put, content is the way you communicate with people. This could be written content in the form of blogs or press releases, visual content like videos and graphics, or audio content like podcasts. Content is the medium through which you communicate your message. Choosing the right medium for your audience can often be as important as the creation of the content itself.

What is content marketing in digital marketing?

Content marketing is about using content to provide the right information at the right time, while raising awareness of your products and boosting your brand.

There are many different ways to distribute that content – whether that’s through organic search, social media or email marketing.

As a digital search agency, Edge45®considers each of these channels when we are creating content for our clients. When we’re talking about content marketing, we’re talking about how it can be used to grow your audience, create a stronger bond with current customers, make life easier for those looking to learn about your products, and, eventually, boost conversions.

Learn more about our content marketing services.

Let’s break it down into bite sized chunks.

First, let’s discuss what is covered in content marketing. And the answer is ‘a lot’. While many take content to mean written content, a fully thought-out content marketing strategy considers all ways of communicating to the audience at every point on their user journey – from awareness to conversion.

Content marketing types:

  • Blogs – Ok, so it’s probably a bit more complex that your standard blog. Think educational guides, how to pieces, engaging pieces, and product updates.
  • Social media – From Instagram Stories to simple Tweets, social media is still a vital cog in your content marketing plan.
  • Email – One of the easiest ways to reach people directly – and something that’s still not used properly by a lot of companies.
  • SEO – By understanding what questions your audience is asking, you can unearth valuable ideas and topics. You can then attract new streams of traffic to your site when you answer these queries effectively.
  • Video – Whether in search, on your site or on social, the kids love a video. Short, long, pro or amateur, it’s all good as long as it’s right for your audience’s needs.
  • PR – Product launches and event coverages can help push your brand to whole new audiences.
  • PPC landing pages – Creating relevant advertising content that matches the needs of your audience will help your campaigns to perform better.
  • Graphics – It’s not just about words – a high quality infographic can help spread the word, especially when used alongside a good PR campaign. Visual content marketing can cover graphics, imagery and charts.
  • Audio – Podcasts are fast becoming a great outlet for industry insights and ideas.
  • AI Content – The new kid on the block is content created by artificial intelligence tools. If that sounds complex, the give our AI content generation team a call to guide you through this new horizon in content strategy.

That’s a lot of content to get your head – and budget – around. The good thing about content marketing is that you probably don’t need it all. Find out where your audience are and when, and produce content for them.

Why is content marketing important?

Content marketing is important as it helps you get in front of your audience at a time when they’ve not yet decided who they are going to shop with. People often use content marketing to building their brand.

There’s also a famous phrase – ‘The internet is a great place to hide content’. No matter how good your product or how great your insights, if you’re not making sure they are being discovered they will languish on page 10 with 1 visit a year.

Regardless of whether you’re a SME, B2B or multinational, content marketing is important. For small businesses, content marketing is a way to help you compete with the big boys. For B2B organisations, you can use content marketing to position yourself as a thought leader in your field.

The key hurdle you must get over with your content marketing is making sure your messages get noticed. Using the tools mentioned – SEO, email, social media etc – you can surface that great insight or useful guide to the right people at the right phase of their journey.

Think of the sales funnel but as a bridge. On one side, you’ve got on-site content to raise awareness (blogs, guides etc). On the other, you’ve got on-site content to help convert (product pages, CTAs).

In between is a deep off-site valley filled with competitor crocodiles ready to eat up your leads. This is the consideration phase. When people leave your site and go looking elsewhere.

Content marketing techniques like email, social, video, and even paid and organic search can help provide direct bridges from awareness to conversion. If you can keep your brand in your audience’s thoughts during the consideration period, you are one step closer to conversion. And you can help your audience to achieve what they want to do.

Content marketing and user intent

In the digital search industry, we place the utmost importance on user intent and how this steers the format of the content we create. What does your audience want to do? What problem do they have that your product can solve? What question are they asking that you can answer on your blog? What pain point are they suffering that you can alleviate?

Digital content marketing consider the user’s needs and provides the answers for them at the right time and in the most useful format. Got a leaking pipe – we’ve got a simple and short video on how to fix it. Want to know how to wash your new silk pyjamas? Our how to guides will give you the answers. Looking for accessories to make the most of your new phone?  Our follow up email will give you links to the right ones.

We can break down the key aims of your content into these simple categories:

  • Educate – how can we provide industry insights, educational videos, or simply useful guides to give the audience the answers they need in the research phase.
  • Engage – what content is going to keep people engaged and encourage them to share? Is it a big PR campaign, funny Instagram story or shareable listicle.
  • Reassure – for big purchases people want to know they’re not being ripped off – so this kind of content is all about building trust in your business and emphasising your expertise. A clear About Us page, content on returns, and any other delivery and warranty information could be vital.
  • Entertain – create emotive articles, social posts, videos and infographics that resonates with your audience and speaks to their needs and desires.
  • Increase VisibilitySEO tactics are vital to content marketing to capture people in the research phase. A well optimised piece of content will be more visible.
  • Build Relationships – you can use content marketing to increase brand awareness, and make sure that people associate your brand with high quality. Having pieces of useful content ranking well helps build a relationship between your brand and your audience.
  • Create a community – social media can be used to create a tight knit and loyal community around your brand. Don’t use it to simply sell products but to provide posts that resonate with your audience, that speaks to their needs and desires.

So how does informational and entertaining content make money for your business? While it might be hard to directly associate content marketing to conversions, a study by Spring claims:

“Brand awareness significantly impacts consumer decision making. The frequency of exposure to brands significantly enhances the probability of the brand being chosen, even if consumers are not aware of such exposure.”

What is a content marketing strategy?

To develop a solid and impactful content marketing strategy, you need to know your brand inside and out. And not just the brand’s aims, but also their current audience and their targeted audiences. Defining these things can be a lengthy process – and every agency or in house marketer will probably tackle it differently.

At Edge45®, we tend to split the process into four key stages:

  • Discover: Gather together as much information as you can – analytics data, audience insights, keywords – anything that relates to your brand and audience.
  • Planning: Once the data has been analysed and you know exactly who your audience is, you need to start creating a content marketing plan – this is usually a 3- or 6-month plan to cover everything from content creation to social posts and PR events.
  • Creation: Start creating that content – bring in experts when you need, consider how you can repurpose available assets, and look at lead times for things like imagery and graphics. We’ve integrated AI into our creation process for certain tasks – read about our AI content generation service.
  • Distribution: Get it out there – whatever way you choose to send it out or have it discovered, you need to monitor success. Is it open rates for email, likes for a social post, organic traffic for blogs that provide those key signals of engagement?


And that’s it. Content marketing is simple – it’s about creating content your audience wants and making it as easy as possible for them to find it at the right time.

But actually, it’s not that simple – because knowing who your audience is, what they want, and creating high quality and highly relevant content takes time, effort, and skill. However, if you ensure your content is geared to the key needs of your audience it can be a very powerful strategy for marketing your business effectively.

At Edge45®, we are experts at creating a content marketing strategy and delivering high impact campaigns. Contact us today to find out more.