Content is information or an experience aimed for consumption by the end user. Through the use of content marketing strategy, content is a powerful way to build a relationship with users and strengthen the bond between them and a brand.
There are many types of content, and this is not a comprehensive list, but here are some of the most popular types of content found online:
- Websites and web pages
- Blog articles
- Apps and mobile apps
- Do It Yourself (DIY) content
- Graphics, images, animated graphics
- White papers
- Case Studies
- Social Cards
Delivery of Content
Content can be delivered via many different digital media channels including websites, blogs, social media networks, and email.
Effective marketers create content that is suited to each step of the sales funnel, helping potential customers move through the process until they eventually perform a transaction. For example, a website might contain blog posts that describe the use of a product, user-submitted videos, technical white papers that show ROI, testimonials, each designed to appeal to a user who is at a certain stage of the sales funnel.
A digital marketing strategy should contain a content marketing strategy that outlines the content to be created, how it will be marketed, and how it will be measured.
Social Media’s role with content
Social media can also be content. For example, a Tweet is both a piece of content and it’s a marketing channel (Twitter) to distribute content. A good content marketer knows how to create content specifically for a channel, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, tying it in with a digital marketing strategy.
History of Content on the Internet
Probably the first content on the early Internet was academic papers and emails. After the introduction of HTML, web browsers, and the World Wide Web, content began to live on websites, user groups, and other communities that served as precursors to social media.
As the WWW matured it became more capable at delivering more sophisticated content such as video, audio, database applications, and so on. As early as the mid-1990s, industry leaders recognized the importance of content to the success of brands online.
Content is King – Bill Gates, 1996
Email was the original “killer app” that transformed the ability to produce and distribute content directly to end users. At first, email addresses were personal and not shared outside of small groups of people who shared a topic of interest, often these people were in the same work environment. Gradually, as companies began to launch websites, more content was being produced and content strategies were needed to get the material to end users and potential customers.
Much of the first content published online in the 1990s was “after market” materials, that is content that was helpful to the end user after they had become a customer. For example, many companies moved their user manuals, documentation, and help centers online.
The explosion of ecommerce and the lowering of barriers for companies to sell online resulted in the need for more content. As users started to “surf the web” more frequently, their habits changed from seeking information to seeking entertainment or to be distracted. Companies began to create games, surveys, videos, and other types of content to entertain the end user.