Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses in order to:
Content marketing means attracting and transforming prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable free content. The content should be relevant to the business area and category so that the audience will remember and make a selection. The purpose of content marketing is to help the company to create sustainable brand loyalty and provide valuable information to consumers, as well as create willingness to purchase products from the company in the future. This relatively new form of marketing usually does not involve direct sales. Instead, it builds trust and rapport with the audience. 
Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O'Brien of Contently wrote on Mashable, "The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story." For content marketing, continuous delivery of large amounts of content is required, preferably within a content marketing strategy.
When businesses pursue content marketing, the main focus should be the needs of the prospect or customer. Once a business has identified the customer's need, information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs, etc. Most of these formats belong to the digital channel.
Digital content marketing is a management process that uses digital products through different electronic channels to identify, forecast and satisfy the content requirements of a particular audience. It must be consistently updated and added to in order to influence the behaviour of customers.
Traditional marketers have long used content to disseminate information about a brand and build a brand's reputation.Business owners started to apply content marketing techniques in the late 19th century due to the technological advances in transportation and communication. They also wanted to build connections with their customers. For example:
Between the 1940s and 1950s, TV was in their golden age, and advertising took over the media. Companies focused on sales rather than connecting with the public. There were few ventures into content marketing, and no very prominent campaigns.
During the baby boom era, Kellogg's began selling sugary cereal to children. With this change in business model came sociable animal mascots, lively animated commercials and the back of the cereal box as a form of targeted content marketing. Infographics were born in this era. This represented a new approach to make a brand memorable with the audience. 
In the 1990s, everything changed for marketers. The arrival of computers and the Internet made websites and blogs flourish, and corporations found content marketing opportunities through email.
E-commerce adaptations and digital distribution became the foundation of marketing strategy.
Internet also helped content marketing become a mainstream form of marketing. Traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and TV started to lose their power in the marketplace. Companies started to promote and sell their products digitally. 
The phrase "content marketing" was used as early as 1996, when John F. Oppedahl led a roundtable for journalists at the American Society for Newspaper Editors.
By the late 2000s, when social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube were born, online content marketing was accessible, shareable and on-demand anytime worldwide.
By 2014, Forbes Magazine's website had written about the seven most popular ways companies use content marketing. In it, the columnist points out that by 2013, use of content marketing had jumped across corporations from 60% a year or so before, to 93% as part of their overall marketing strategy. Despite the fact that 70% of organizations are creating more content, only 21% of marketers think they are successful at tracking return on investment.
Today, content marketing has become a powerful model for marketers. Storytelling is part of it, and they must convey the companies' messages or goal to their desired audience without pushing them to just buy the product or service.
The rise of content marketing has turned traditional businesses into media publishing companies.
The rise of content marketing has also accelerated the growth of online platforms, such as YouTube, Yelp, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, and more.
Businesses actively curate their content on these platforms with hopes to expand their reach to new audiences.
When creating content, businesses will typically go through three preliminary steps:
The first step in creating a successful content marketing campaign is to define a target audience, commonly known as user segmentation. Successful content marketers deeply understand their customers' needs and desires, beyond just their sole interest in their products or service. For example, somebody marketing a food truck, may define their target customer as young millennials who work within a 5-minute walk of downtown San Francisco and who enjoy trying fresh, healthy foods. The more narrowly the customer can be defined, the easier it is to define content for that target audience.
The most commonly used type of content is blog posts, though other types of content can resonate with your customer as well. Content includes:
The appropriate type of content for any business will depend on the business' goals and target customer. For example, an architect provider targeting real estate developers of large residential complexes may benefit from creating a list outlining all the considerations that a real estate developer should consider before entering a deal. Conversely, a local catering service targeting busy families may benefit from a video showcasing the warmth and convenience of a home-made, freshly-cooked meal.
To get started, businesses will need to find a content management system (CMS). Though there are many CMS and they each offer a slightly different value proposition, most include functions to help with content creation, publication, and analytics to track the success of posts.
Metrics to determine the success of a content marketing are often tied to the original goals of the campaign.
For example, for each of these goals, a content marketer may measure different engagement and conversion metrics:
Businesses focused on expanding their reach to more customers will want to pay attention to the increase in volume of visitors, as well as the quality of those interactions. Traditional measures of volume include number of visitors to a page and number of emails collected, while time spent on page and click-through to other pages/ photos are good indicators for engagement.
Businesses want to measure the impact that their messages have on consumers. Brand health refers to the positive or negative feedback that a company gets. It also measures how important a brand is for consumers. With this companies want to find out if brand reputation influences their customers to make a purchase.
Measures in this part comprise
For businesses hoping to reach not only more - but also new - types of customers online, they should pay attention to the demographics of new visitors, as evidenced by cookies that can be installed, different sources of traffic, different online behaviors, and/or different buying habits of online visitors.
Businesses focused on increasing sales through content marketing should look at traditional e-commerce metrics including click-through-rate from a product-page to check-out and completion rates at the check-out. Altogether, these form a conversion funnel. Moreover, to better understand customers' buying habits, they should look at other engagement metrics like time spent per page, number of product-page visits per user, and re-engagement.
Companies want to analyze if their social media campaigns are generating commentary among consumers. This helps them to come up with ways to improve their product and service. This involves "high level of brand engagement and builds brand loyalty".
Digital content marketing, which is a management process, using digital products through different electronic channels to identify, forecast and satisfy the necessary of customers. It must be consistently provided to maintain or change the behavior of customers.
The supply chain of digital content marketing mainly consists of commercial stakeholders and end-user stakeholders which represent content providers and distributors and customers separately. In this process, distributors manage the interface between the publisher and the consumer, then distributors could identify the content that consumers need through external channels and implement marketing strategies. For instance, Library and document supply agencies as intermediaries can deliver the digital content of e-books, and e-journal articles to the users according to their search results through the electronic channels. Another example is when consumers pay for the acquisition of some MP3 downloads, search engines can be used to identify different music providers and smart agents can be used by consumers to search for multiple music provider sites. In a word, the digital content marketing process needs to be conducted at the business level and service experience level because when consumers are accessing digital content, their own experience depends on the complex network of relationships in the content marketing channels such as websites and videos. The consumers interact directly with distributors in the big supply chain through various digital products which have an important role in meeting the requirements of the consumers. The design and user experience of these channels directly decides the success of digital content marketing.
Electronic services refer to interactive network services. In the electronic service, the interaction between the customer and the organizations mainly through the network technology, such as using E-mail, telephone, online chat windows for communication. Electronic services are different from traditional services and they are not affected by distance restrictions and opening hours. Digital content marketing through electronic service is usually served together with other channels to achieve marketing purposes including face-to-face, postal, and other remote services. Information companies provide different messages and documents to customers who use multiple search engines on different sites and set up access rights for business groups. These are some channels of digital content marketing.
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