In the early days of the Internet, if you wanted to market your business online, you had just a few options:
- Write articles
- List your website in directories
- Join a traffic ring
- Purchase banner ads on another website
There was no podcasting, video marketing, social media, or PPC advertising. And there were only 3,000 websites, so you didn’t have a lot of options.
Over time, however, all of that has changed. Search engines began indexing web pages, forums provided a place for people to hang out and get to know each other, paid advertising models have made it easier for marketers to reach their target audiences, social media sites make hanging out much more fun and efficient, blogging allows companies to reach more people in a shorter period of time, and video and audio podcasts offer a new medium for online marketers to exploit. Of course, there are also photo sharing sites, infographics directories, slideshare and webinar platforms, and much more.
In a word, there are more ways to develop content than ever, and more are popping up all the time. It’s even lead to a fair amount of specialization. Content marketing is not just writing articles and spreading them around the Web.
What Is Content Marketing?
The term “content marketing” came about in part because of the splintering in tactics. Marketers have more than just a few options. We have hundreds of ways to reach our audiences now. That’s a good thing, but it also offers special challenges.
Instead of just spreading articles all over the Web, blogging to your siloed blog, or managing a single YouTube account, your marketing team can think about the most effective ways to reach your audience and focus on those tactics that promise the best ROI. The splintering of the content marketing ecosystem has led to more opportunities for companies doing business online.
The end result is this: If you do any marketing online, in any medium, through any content format, then you are engaged in content marketing. But not many content marketers would encourage you to just stick to one format. You should pick a handful of content formats and put them all into play for your online marketing efforts. If you do that, you’ll increase your chances of reaching the right audience.
Which content marketing tactics are you using to expand your reach and engagement?