12 Content Marketing Elements

Actionable Marketing 101

The Mad Men’s interruption approach to messaging has lost its credibility among consumers, for whom the trust is gone. By contrast, content marketing attracts and engages prospects, customers and the public to take further action towards a business goal with useful, well-written information. Unlike advertisements created to break through and make multiple quick impressions, content marketing takes a longer view to connecting with its target audience by creating an extended interaction. Further, content marketing is at the heart of many social media strategies since it provides the food for social media interaction.

12 Content marketing elements

Here are the twelve elements of content marketing that distinguish it from other marketing messaging and communications.

  1. Supports business and marketing objectives. As with most forms of marketing, these goals are to acquire new prospects and persuade them to take the next step towards purchase. Content marketing provides for multiple selling opportunities but doesn’t look, smell or feel like an ad.
  2. Tailors information to a well defined, target audience(s). This means marketers must listen to prospects, customers and the public to know what their pain-points are and to figure out how to help them. To this end, it’s useful to create marketing personas.
  3. Provides value to readers in the form of useful information. Content marketing employs a pull strategy, knowing what prospects, customers and the public want to read and helps them. Most often the information educates and/or entertains.
  4. Persuades not interrupts. Content marketing isn’t advertising in the traditional sense nor is it a thinly disguised promotion. It takes advantage of the longer format and extended time spent to allow the reader to reach their own conclusions.
  5. Creates a context for conveying an organization’s story. At the center of content marketing are company and product stories to which readers can relate.
  6. Integrates elements of an organization’s brand. Among the important branding factors are colors, typography, voice, language and graphic elements. As a result, old-fashioned interruption techniques aren’t needed since the brand whispers its message.
  7. Can be developed by internal employees, outside resources and/or customers. As a minimum, a professional editor is useful to ensure a consistent voice and good English – two elements that reflect on your brand.
  8. Encompasses a wide range of formats. Among the options are articles, custom magazines, white papers, conferences, other live events, websites, books, blogs, videos, podcasts, photographs, webinars, forums, emailings, newsletters and e-books. (Here’s a full description of 42 different content marketing formats.)
  9. Distributed on owned, third party or social media. To maximize content marketing’s reach, it can be delivered on different platforms.
  10. Is delivered via a variety of devices. Due to the variety of formats, content marketing can be distributed via offline, online and mobile devices (including but not limited to smartphones and tablets.)
  11. Drives specific customer actions. Content marketing targets the longer-term marketing process with different customer actions at each step. To this end, content marketing contains contextually relevant call-to-actions. To aid tracking, use targeted promotion codes that can be measured.
  12. Yields measurable results. Unlike many shorter advertising formats, content marketing aims to get readers to take actions. As a result, content metrics can be more easily tracked.

Regardless of your business, content marketing is an important addition to your marketing arsenal to support your prospects, customers and the community by paying it forward with useful information.

Do you have any other factors that you’d add to this list?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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  • http://shamokin.biz Damian Konopka

    Hi Heidi, this is such a great post because you explained content marketing in a clear and succint newbie-friendly way that I’m sure any of your inexperienced readers will be able to relate to and act on. When I tell people I meet that I do WordPress content marketing, I usually get the blank stare. Thanks for this little piece of validation! And some great link, too.