Content marketing has been the “it” thing for online marketers over the last half decade. You have likely seen the headlines or heard the advice – if you run an online business, you have to be doing content marketing.

But why?

First, it helps to quickly explain what content marketing is. You might think you know, but the term has quickly been adapted to mean lots of different things to different companies. So an overview here will help.

What is Content Marketing

Content marketing comes in many forms. But they all share two things in common. They are pieces of content intended for prospective customers. And they are not ads.

They might be blog posts, articles, lists, images, videos, stories, or experiences. They might live on your website, on social media, on websites you work with or advertise on.

Why Content Marketing

The reason that content marketing became so popular is because there has been a general rebellion against all things advertising. The theory (and evidence proves this) is that customers are so overloaded with ads these days that they are adapting to them. In other words, they are better able to recognize when they are being advertised to when that advertising is more traditional (think banners and billboards and commercials), and in turn are better able to tune them out or ignore them.

Content marketing is the brand’s answer to that. By offering up free content intended to engage with potential customers, the goal is to bring them into, or move them through, the marketing funnel without traditional advertising.

What is Your Content Marketing For

That brings us back to the question in the title. Just like anything else that marketers do, your business must have a defined reason for getting started with content marketing. What is your goal?

Many companies today spend time and money on content marketing for no other reason other than they feel it’s something they are supposed to do. Or maybe someone on the board or in the executive office told them that they wanted to see more content marketing.

But unless you have identified a clear goal, how do you know if you’re succeeding?

Success in content marketing will look different for different brands. Some have seen great success writing articles for their users. These users spend more time with the brand, and become more valuable customers.

Some have seen similar success with Facebook videos – which are funny and engaging and easily shareable. Users end up disseminating these videos and the brand’s recognition grows accordingly.

These are two examples, of hundreds. So your job today is to decide why you are doing content marketing? What is the goal?

Once you’ve defined a goal for your organization, you will know what kind of content will help you achieve that goal.