What is content marketing?

May 24, 2019


John Thomas

Explore the realm of content marketing and its transformative power. Understand how creating valuable, relevant content can attract, engage, and retain an audience, ultimately driving profitable customer actions.

Intro to content marketing

It’s no secret that your business needs a good content marketing strategy to succeed in today’s digital age. But when content has a role in every business function, understanding and defining content marketing can be tricky.

Content marketing is a strategic approach to marketing that powers customer acquisition, engagement, and retention through valuable content. Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without hard selling to them. 

It’s all about creating relationships that nurture trust while delivering consistent, compelling content. Done well, it can be one of the most effective ways to differentiate your business from your competitors and build a long-term relationship with your customers. 

This guide will give you an overview of content marketing, what it can do for your business, and what content marketing strategy is in simpler terms.

The history of content marketing

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what content marketing is and how to do it, let’s take a quick look at the history of this important marketing technique.

Content marketing is not a new concept; it’s been around for centuries. One of the earliest content marketing examples comes from John Deere, which started producing The Furrow magazine in 1895. The magazine was aimed at the American farmer and contained articles about best practices, tips for improving crop yields, and other information that would be useful to Deere’s customers.

Another early example of content marketing is Michelin, which published the first Guide Michelin in 1900. The guide was designed to help French motorists find quality lodging and dining while on the road. By providing this valuable information to motorists, Michelin created a long-term relationship with its customers and stayed top of mind for when they were ready to maintain their vehicles and replace tires down the line. 

While these examples are from the late 1800s and early 1900s, the concept of content marketing is even older. In fact, one could argue that content marketing is as old as communication itself.

The modern history of content marketing

Content marketing has evolved and taken on many different forms in more recent times. In the 1950s and 1960s, companies like General Mills and Toyota began running magazine ads that looked more like editorial articles than traditional advertisements.

And in the 1980s and 1990s, we saw the rise of infomercials, which blended commercial messages with entertainment content.

In the early 2000s, we saw the rise of content marketing as a tool for SEO. Companies began producing blog posts, articles, and other forms of content to improve their search engine ranking and drive traffic to their website. With the advent of the internet and social media, content marketing has now shifted to other digital platforms.

Why content marketing matters

In the digital age, content is king. Consumers are bombarded with content from all sides, and they have become very good at tuning out anything that doesn’t interest them. Let’s face it; traditional advertising is becoming less and less effective. People don’t want to be sold to anymore. They want useful, relevant information.

That’s where your content marketing strategy comes in. By creating and sharing valuable and relevant content with your target audience, you can build trust, establish credibility, and differentiate your business from your competitors.

Increase traffic

One of the main goals of content marketing is to drive traffic to your website. By creating and sharing high-quality content, you can attract new visitors to your site and encourage them to take action.

The first step is to ensure that your website is optimized for search engine ranking. This means including relevant keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags.

It also means creating quality content that is relevant to your target audience. The more relevant and engaging your content is, the more likely people will find it when searching for information on the web.

Once you’ve optimized your website for search engines, you can promote your content through social media, email marketing, and other channels. By sharing your content with a broader audience, you can attract new visitors to your site and encourage them to take action.

Cater to your community

Another important goal of content marketing is to cater to your audiences and communities. By creating and sharing content that is relevant to your target persona, you can build trust and establish credibility with your customers.

Think about the kind of information your target audience is looking for, what questions they might be trying to answer, and what problems they’re trying to solve. When you create content relevant to their needs, you can position yourself as a trusted resource and build a loyal following.

Your community can also be a great source of content ideas. If you’re unsure what kind of content to produce, ask your customers and followers for suggestions. They’ll be happy to help you out, and you may just come up with some great ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

Generate leads

You can also use content marketing to generate leads for your business. By creating helpful, informative content, you can build trust with visitors and encourage them to take the next step in the customer journey.

For example, you might offer a free e-book or white paper in exchange for someone’s contact information. Or you might include a call-to-action (CTA) in your blog post, encouraging readers to sign up for your email list.

Using content to generate leads can nurture prospects through the sales funnel and eventually convert them into customers.

Establish yourself as an industry expert

Finally, content marketing can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. By sharing your knowledge and insights on a specific topic, you can position yourself as a thought leader so that your audiences begin to seek out your business and its insights more.

When you become known as an expert in your field, people will be more likely to do business with you. They’ll see that they can trust you to provide quality information and products. In industries like healthcare, education, and financial services, content marketing can be a powerful tool for establishing trust and credibility.

SEO vs. Content Marketing

It’s essential to understand the difference between SEO and content marketing. Although both are important for driving traffic to your website, they serve different purposes.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website for search engine ranking. This means including relevant keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. It also means creating quality content that is relevant to your target audience.

The goal of SEO is to improve your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). You can attract more visitors to your site and increase traffic by improving your ranking.

On the other hand, content marketing is about creating helpful, relevant content that your target audience will find valuable. It’s not necessarily about optimizing your content for search engines, although that can be a by-product of creating quality content.

How to get started with Content Marketing

If you’re new to content marketing, you might feel overwhelmed by the need to learn how to write, design, and market your content. That’s why startups and established companies alike use content marketing agencies like Draft. 

At Draft, we take care of all the details for you. Our writers understand how to create content that is both search engine optimized and engaging, and our editors will make sure that your content is ready for the web. We only accept the top 1% of writer applicants, so you can be sure that your content is in good hands.

No matter how many words you need to write and the deadline for these words, our team can handle it. Here are the steps we recommend taking in order to get started.

1. Inform yourself

Before you get started with content marketing, it’s important to understand the basics. This means learning about things like SEO, social media, and email marketing. You can find a lot of information in our Guide to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy.

You’ll learn all about content types and how to create your own content strategy.

2. Sign up for Draft

Our platform is designed to make content marketing easy for busy marketers. After booking your demo, you’ll have access to a pool of talented writers who can help you with all aspects of your content marketing.

Our pay-as-you-go plans mean you only pay for the content you need, so you can scale up depending on seasonality or other factors affecting your marketing strategy. From blogs and guides to social posts and ad copy, our team can help you go to market fast.

When you’re ready to start, submit a content brief and our algorithm will find the best writer for the job.

3. Create your first piece of content

That’s it! Once you submit the job requirements through the platform, our pool of content experts will get to work on creating your first piece of content. We offer free revisions so that we can be sure that you’re happy with the final product. You can message your writer at any time using our chat function, and they can also use it to ask you questions about the brief.

Content types for your marketing strategy

Now that you understand the basics of content in marketing and how easy it is to get started with Draft, it’s time to start thinking about what type of marketing content you want to create. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Blog posts

One of the most popular types of content is blog posts. A well-written piece can cover anything from current events to your company’s history.

When it comes to blog posts, quality is more important than quantity. Google rewards websites that publish high-quality content regularly, so aim for 1-2 blog posts per week instead of trying to publish ten all at once.

Keep SEO in mind when you’re writing your blog post. Make sure to include relevant keywords throughout the body of your text, and try to get links from other websites back to your own. Draft’s outline assistant pulls in relevant data from across the web so you can see what others have written about your topics before submitting your brief. 

Landing page copy

Your website’s landing pages are crucial to your success. They’re often the first thing a potential customer will see, so it’s vital to ensure they’re well-designed and informative.

Your landing page copy should be clear and concise, and it should explain what your product or service is and how it can help the reader. Include a strong call to action, and make sure that your landing page is responsive and looks good on all devices.

An effective landing page includes:

  • A brief explanation of what you do

  • The benefits of working with you

  • Some testimonials from past clients

  • Strategic links to other pages on your site

  • Compelling calls to action

Email and newsletter copy

After capturing a lead’s information with a landing page, the next step is nurturing them with email marketing.

You can send out regular newsletters, including updates about your product, announcements about new features or content, or even just a personal note from the CEO. No matter what you use it for, make sure that your emails are well-written and concise.

People receive tons of emails every day, so you need to make sure yours stands out. Include a strong subject line and preview text, complementary visuals, and make use of segmentation to send out targeted content that’s relevant to each individual subscriber.

The ROI on email marketing is still high, so it’s worth investing in. If you’re not sure how to get started, a Draft writer can create a high-converting email campaign that gets results.

Social media posts

Social media is a great way to connect with your audience and promote your content. Every social media platform has its own culture and etiquette, so it’s important to learn the ropes before you start posting.

When creating social media posts, make sure that they’re visually appealing and easy to read. Facebook and Twitter are great for short, attention-grabbing posts, while LinkedIn is better for longer, more informative articles.

Whichever platform you’re using, our team at Draft can help you create social media awareness through a series of curated posts.


If you operate in a field where the layman might not know all of the jargon and technical terms, an e-book can be a great way to educate your audience and show them that you’re an expert.

E-books are also a great way to generate leads. You can offer them for free on your website in exchange for an email address, or you can use them as gated content and require a subscription to your website to download them.

If you’re not sure how to get started, our team at Draft can help you create e-book copy that will dazzle your readers. 

Case studies

A case study is a great way to show off your work and demonstrate the results that you’ve achieved for your clients. When writing a case study, make sure to include information about the challenge that your client was facing, the solution you implemented, and the achieved results. Be specific and use statistics and data wherever possible.

The content market

There’s a lot that goes into building an effective content marketing strategy beyond just throwing posts up on a blog. In fact, for many, it’s a full time job! 

When you’re ready to scale your content efforts, Draft is here to help. Our marketplace is intuitive and easy to use, and it’s filled with passionate, experienced copywriters from varying industries and backgrounds.

Drive ROI for your content efforts.
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