Content Marketing: What it is and Why it Works

Content Marketing ROI

Content Marketing for PA and MD businesses – Part I of a Six Part Series.

A marketing and PR phenomenon has exploded online and its name is content marketing. Businesses of all sizes know content marketing brings active participants more traffic, leads, and conversions.  Data shows the more content you have, whether it be website pages, blog articles, or landing pages, the better your results.

Please define content marketing.
Wikepedia’s definition is on target, “Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases….as a means of achieving a variety of business goals. These may include: thought leadership, lead generation, increasing direct sales, introducing specific brand language and improving customer retention.”  According to Wikepedia, I’m a content engineer – “a new breed of marketer who creates, optimizes, and distributes the different types of content required to engage customers on the social web, based on the data of many analysis tools.”

What does content marketing look like?
Take a moment and scroll through this useful content marketing infographic by Marketo:

As you can see, content marketing has many faces: Social Media, Article Posting, In-Person Events, ENewsletters, Case Studies, Blogs, White Paper, Webinar/Webcast, Print Magazines, Videos, Promoting Content in Traditional Media, Microsites, Print Newsletters, Research Reports, Data Driven Content, Podcasts, Digital Magazines, Mobile, Virtual Conferences,  and Ebooks.  Engaging content is shared FIRST on one’s website and or blog and then distributed through Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and/or other social media.

A worthwhile challenge
According to Marketo’s infographic, businesses struggle with creating engaging content. That’s understandable considering the skill set needed to do so.  Engaging or compelling content requires creative thinking, product/service knowledge, marketing savvy, the art of writing, the science of search engine optimization, and an understanding of website construction.  In addition, for best ROI, a competent digital marketing group uses analytics and social media monitoring tools before, during, and after content creation and distribution.   As mentioned in “Businesses Boldly Invest in Digital,” optimizing websites using analytics data is 2011’s most deployed digital marketing tactic. Clearly, content creation is far more creative and strategic than copywriting.  And, because it’s so effective, content marketing budgets continue to grow as businesses of all sizes strive to participate in what can be described as the best pull marketing strategy of all time.

Digital marketing for businesses
Content marketing is one of many effective digital marketing strategies The Creative Marketing Channel provides for businesses.  It’s no wonder we’re Pennsylvania and Maryland’s first choice for SEO, SEM, animation, website design, content marketing, print design, email marketing, and all things interactive and digital.  Connect with us on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook. Email us at [email protected] and stay tuned for Part II of this six part content marketing series.


About Catherine Lockey

Catherine Lockey @oz2designs | oz 2 designs LLC


24 Responses to Content Marketing: What it is and Why it Works

  1. Jeannette Paladino October 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    I was interested to see that social media, excluding blogs, ranks #1 for the spread of content. But most blogs are posted to social media so the question I have is: are blogs responsible for a lot of content that is posted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter? I think so which bolsters my contention that all businesses, large and small, should have a blog and post regularly.

  2. Catherine Lockey October 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Hi Jeannette – nice to see you here. Yes blogs and websites are business content hubs. Research data shows the more content you have the more traffic, leads, and conversions you will get. What can be confusing is blogs are categorized as social media. The difference is, a blog belongs to you whereas all other social media (Linkedin, Twitter, FB etc) belongs to someone else. Those channels which belong to others should be used to distribute what belongs to you – the information on your website and blog. Some businesses mistakenly post only to FB, Twitter, or Linkedin rather than on their own channel – this marketing mistake doesn’t carve out individual digital space for the business. Adam Singer refers to this as yielding to the stream.

  3. Jeannette Paladino October 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Catherine – I just read Adam Singer’s blog about yielding to the stream. Thanks for pointing me there. I hadn’t heard that term but I totally agree and have written several posts myself on the importance of having a blog, especially for small business owners.

  4. Susan Oakes October 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Hi Catherine,

    One of the interesting things that stood out was article posting at 78%. I am wondering why it is so high. Was there anything in the research that broke the stats down by industry for example.

    Also I think the creating of engaging content will become more of an issue as most businesses produce and even today you see lost of similar information. That is probably good news for companies like yours.

  5. Catherine Lockey October 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Hi Susan,
    Good idea about industry based research on article marketing. I haven’t seen any research that specific yet and now that you mentioned it, I’ll keep an eye out. I agree with your take on the future of engaging content and predict there will be a shortage of content engineers in the near future.

  6. Keyuri Joshi October 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    This material really intrigues me and lots of questions are popping up. First, social media ranks as a top strategy. I’m thinking of Facebook in particular. Would you agree that it is more beneficail for larger corporations or are you witnessing small business with less to give away equally successful?

    This particular sentence in your post blew me away.

    “Engaging or compelling content requires creative thinking, product/service knowledge, marketing savvy, the art of writing, the science of search engine optimization, and an understanding of website construction.”

    That’s a lot… perhaps a full time job right there. I’m going to start saving so I can hire you!! :)

  7. Catherine Lockey October 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Hi Keyuri,
    Social media pages like Facebook are definitely helping large businesses but, according to this research, almost half of all small businesses do not participate in social media at all. I think it would be equally beneficial for small businesses. At the same time, if you take a look at the infographic, 15 out of 20 of the most used content marketing tactics listed are items one can house on one’s website and then distribute using social media. I think the most interesting factoid (which is not on the infographic) is that bigger websites get more traffic, leads, and conversions. Adding new website content weekly or even monthly increases business.

  8. Austin Helsel October 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    My job as a Small Business Consultant is to help them do what bigger co’s are doing with Social Media. To understand that talking about their “kitchen Remodeling” and “landscaping” projects. Once I get them started and “sell” them on the long term relationship building, they get it and put it into their schedule.
    Social Media is not going away! Live it, breathe it and embrace it!

  9. Julie Weishaar October 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Hi Catherine. I agree with Keyuri and kudos to you for being “Pennsylvania and Maryland’s first choice for SEO, SEM, animation, website design, content marketing, print design, email marketing, and all things interactive and digital”. I can see why – you must be exhausted :) Great post – sharing!

  10. Catherine Lockey October 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Thanks for the visit and the tweet and Linkedin mention Julie. You are like a ray of sunshine always.

  11. Catherine Lockey October 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    So nice to meet you Austin. We’re certainly having a fun little conversation on Linkedin. :) Together, everyone, with me and Austin…Breathe in the New, Breathe out the old.

  12. Julie Weishaar October 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    “A Ray of Sunshine?” – Oh my! I don’t think I have heard that one before and I know of many around me who would NOT agree LOL but I graciously accept your compliment!

  13. Leanne Hoagland-Smith October 6, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Funny, the more things change they remain the same. Content marketing now appears to be the updated new term for education based marketing (EBM). Actually I prefer the previous term EBM because there is an implied purpose within EBM in that its connect inbound and outbound marketing activities. Having engaged in EBM for the past 6 plus years through article marketing (inbound) and speaking (outbound), I can agree that this approach has dramatically increased results. However, education based marketing or content marketing is not an excuse to constantly pitch your solution in every post or article.

    Yet, the old axiom slow and steady wins the race is still very true. Content marketing takes times. There also must be some research, alignment, consistency and quality for this marketing approach or any marketing approach to be truly effective.

    If you are patient and committed to using this approach, it can generate incredible results. Yes it is free if you do it yourself, but do not forget the amount of time involved.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith
    Author of Be the Red jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits

  14. Catarina Alexon October 6, 2011 at 4:49 am #

    Chapeau Catherine! You are really doing well!!

    Interesting article above all that social media and articles seem to be most popular when it comes to content marketing. Not least since we are all doing well in those areas.

    By the way, comment luv doesn’t work. My latest post is “What a wonderful surprise – Saudi women will work!”

  15. Catherine Lockey October 6, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Hi Leanne, I suggest EBM is about 2/3 of the content marketing pie. For example, content marketing includes viral humor in all formats. Also, consider content marketing is a pull marketing strategy which means good content marketing doesn’t include anything close to a hard sell style. It’s true, anyone is can employ content market on their own although even businesses with big budgets struggle with the creative and production aspects. Still, businesses see its great value and continue to allocate a big chunk of their budget to it.

  16. Catherine Lockey October 6, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Hi Catarina – thanks for the visit. Sorry about the lack of LUV – did the same thing to me on another blog the other day.

  17. Sherryl Perry October 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm #


    I don’t believe I’ve ever head content marketing referred to as a PR phenomenon before. That’s a very interesting take on it. I’ve often thought that I neglect PR but I guess I don’t neglect it at all! I do need to step up my game with webinars, podcasts and YouTube though. Thanks for sharing the infographic. I really enjoyed the visual.


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