Fundamentals of Content Marketing

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The pressure of the SEO competition and the new rules of marketing, which turned up in the new information era, have changed the rules of electronic retailing. Companies and organisations are increasingly struggling to invent new ways in order to attract buyers through inbound marketing strategies. We are talking about content marketing that, together with the fundamental of search engine optimization, can form solid and robust online marketing campaigns.

But in which extent these two disciplines are coming along with one another in the today’s marketers’ minds?

For the purposes of this post I have delve into the background of content marketing, instead of the popular side of tactics and strategies that most of the blog posts are dealing with. After all, everybody today is talking about content marketing, but what is substantially content marketing? As Ralph Waldo Emerson has quoted during the 19th century:

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”

In this post, I will try to attribute an integrated definition to content marketing, then bring in the surface the forces that drove content marketing as one of the leading act for SEO manipulation, and finally refer to the benefits of content marketing concerning SEO. In the end of the text you will find a link leading to a questionnaire for the purposes of my dissertation. This short survey is designed for practitioners in the Web marketing field, and it will only take five minutes of your time.


Essentially, content marketing could be characterized as a pull rather than a push strategy, and so, it does not interrupt but attracts. The viewpoint that content marketing is the art of communicating with the brand’s customers and prospects but without selling is being well discriminated from the traditional marketing aspects.

By creating interesting information through content, people are becoming passionate about the brand and they actually pay attention to it. Also, by sharing content closely related to what the organization sells, people are getting educated so they are becoming aware, liking and trusting the brand enough to do business with it.

Therefore, I could attribute the following definition of content marketing.

Content marketing could be defined as a pull rather than push marketing process that resides on owned or earned media, which makes people aware of how to solve their problems, with the ultimate goal to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.

Such a process could be implemented through the use of articles, videos, blog posts, information guides, podcasts/videocasts, presentations, RSS/XML feeds, widgets, and other content forms.

Old and New Rules of Content Marketing

The fact that so much of a company’s presence is now dependent on multiple streams of media has emerge different ways on how marketing activities are being implemented. In the past, the only way buyers would learn about a company’s press releases was if the media wrote a story about it. In addition, clip books were the only way to measure the efficacy of press releases as it was noted each time a company’s release was deigned from the media to be picked up.

With the new rules of an online wired world, companies harness the power of reaching the buyers directly and ignore the old rules. In particular, marketing is not even more a one-way interruption, but instead a content delivery process exactly when the buyer needs it. Blogs, news releases, online videos, webinars, and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate. Emphatic is the fact that social networks allow people all over the world to share content and connect with other people and brands that they do business with.

Given the extravagant transformation from the old rules to the new ones, great content in the new Web era could brand an organization as a trusted and authoritative resource and drive customers to action. The actions of purchase, subscribe, apply, or donate are exactly what companies are willing to accomplish. With the development of great content, interested people return again and again, and the company achieves goals such as building traffic, adding revenue, and generating sales leads.


It should be savvy to divide the benefits of content marketing into two groups: the one addressing the benefits from an SEO perspective and the other one stressing out the advantages of the content marketing itself.

Getting started from the latter, efficient content marketing can attract and convert prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers. We could also support that content marketing can educate, entertain, and enthrall in order to build relationships and trust. At the same time, it can serve a company’s reflection and assist in promoting the products and services related to the brand. Furthermore, concerning potential customers, relevant and valuable content can reach out a targeted audience and promote a brand’s solutions regarding on what customers are searching for, and therefore promote their commodities.

Likewise, delving into the opportunities content marketing engenders in conjunction with SEO, significant benefits could be produced from this complex allegation.

A high ratio of content update means that fresh content is hosted to the page, and this particular activity relies on one of the major factors that search engines look for when crawling for valuable websites—the content freshness. In addition, given the fact that the major search engines have already infused social signals into their search algorithms, the shared, liked, retweeted, and +1’ed content will be identified, increasing the likelihood of that page for higher rankings.

Generally, by distributing a great stream of strategic content via social media, the building of social media brand and the maximization of the social signals could be advanced. Furthermore, by generating socially viral content, natural link popularity for SEO gets imminent, and thus, a certain degree of authority is attributed to the page and the website, as well. In general, authoritative and trustworthy websites that effectively treat search engines’ ranking mechanisms by gaining powerful backlinks coming from external sources are more likely to gain high places on the search results.

A final point considered as advantage is that content marketing is facilitating keyword phrases to be more competitive. As content generation allows new, long keyword phrases to be introduced, websites are facing increased chances of ranking for particular keyword phrases.

Finally, the cost effectiveness of content marketing on reaching a wide audience base is phenomena in contrast to other forms of outbound marketing that firms need to invest a fortune (HubSpot, 2012). It only requires time, effort, and expertise. The figure below illustrates a classification of each lead generation category as below average cost. Businesses consistently ranked inbound marketing channels such as having costs lower than other outbound channels.

HubSpot. (2012). The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing

Without a doubt, the time for content marketing is now, and organizations should really pay attention on its adoption. Below, you will find a very short questionnaire dealing with e-retailers’ Content Marketing strategies regarding SEO. This questionnaire is part of my Master’s dissertation with topic “How e-retailers could improve their search organic visibility by implementing content marketing strategies” and concerns only online marketing practitioners. It will only take five minutes of your time and it would be very helpful for my research.

Kostas Kostalampros
Kostas is an Inbound Marketing enthusiast mostly dealing with Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing. He is editor in chief of where he is the author of the SEO column.
Kostas Kostalampros

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  • Hi Kostas,
    as you mentioned i n your post, above, content marketing strategies are not an option but rather a must for every business that wants to generate higher revenue streams from search and search engines. Most link building strategies will loose their effectiveness in the future, at least the not so ‘white’ one and what will remains is people linking to amazing, engaging and original content pages and domains.
    The same accounts for e-retailers of course. Their content strategies will help to build customer trust as well as help to share their brand, products etc. online. From an SEO perspective though it needs to be ensured that the site and internal linking strategy supports the objectives of the content strategies implemented. Pages the need to rank due to their higher conversion points need to be considered in the content creation. Content Marketing rocks – it’s a win-win.

    • Indeed Mannie, webmasters and online marketing practitioners must combine the expertise from both content marketing and SEO fields to create a complete content strategies. It’s painful and it takes a lot of time to achieve good results, but the more the efforts the best the future for a brand in the high competitive online world.

  • Great post! Finally someone that understands what content marketing really is. It seems ever since Google did those updates many marketers (specifically article marketers) are calling article marketing , content marketing now because they are scared to say article marketing now.

    The funny part is content marketing (as you have described content marketing above) and article marketing are 2 totally different things. I find it refreshing that someone actually talks about content marketing the way it was meant to be explained.

    • Thank you Ord! I could supplement that online article is just a special form of content. Thus, article marketing could perceived as a subsection of content marketing. My research shows that online articles along with blog posts indicate the most effective way of promoting products and services from e-retailers.

  • One of the biggest changes from old to new content marketing is that anyone can become a publisher. Companies are no longer the ones pushing information about their brands and products out. Customers have just as strong and powerful a voice, if not more so. That dramatically changes the game.

    • Absolutely right! That’s the powerfull underlying situation that making even small companies seeking to reap the benefits of the online world and succeed into their industry. Brands have no more the need to send a story to media to publish it out. Disintermediation has change a lot of things in the online world even from a marketing prespective.

  • I think what resonated most with me about your post is the concept of content being used to pull people rather than push them. The new content is interactive and informative rather than being a blatant sales pitch. It provides real value to the reader and a golden opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions. In turn, businesses are able to gather invaluable information to improve their offerings. Excellent post.

    • Thank you Ryan! Indeed, at some big extent content marketing is required to solve the buyers problems. And thus, they would be able afterwards to seek their solution into firm’s goods.

  • Great post. We work with a wide array of professionals some of whom make the mistake of always trying to “sell” on their web sites and blogs. Our mantra is that educating is a far more effective way to build one’s professional practices.

    • My personal point of view is that people got bored of sales pitches and thus more indirect ways like “buyers’ education” are leading at the moment. The game has changed a lot!

  • I agree with Ord above. It’s good that you were able to define the difference between article and content marketing. It’s quite amazing to note how many even apply these understanding (if they did). I, myself, get a little mixed up every now and then and these sorts of information really help in a huge way. Thanks for sharing, Kostas!

  • Great explanation of content marketing. I love the idea of attracting, engaging, converting, and retain customers and followers with strong and compelling content. Yes, content marketing is the way to go and companies that are not adopting this will be behind!

  • I had to reread this twice just to take in all the information here. I’ve always believed that there was more to SEO than just linking and getting links. There’s something that’s incredibly difficult to recreate when you can generate content that just draws customers in and converts them into repeat clients.

  • By creating interesting information through content, people are becoming passionate about the brand and they actually pay attention to it.

  • thanks kostas, i am really great to read this whole . As much i know that the content is only the thing at last which will be best to assist user queries , if we do provide them that sort of interesting helpful content then we got the idea how should be CONTENT.
    Again thanks for exceptional definition of content marketing which really impresses me a lot

    • Nice to hear about the usefulness of the post rambabu!

      • i would love to get more same interesting stuff from you!

  • What a definition of content marketing!! I completely agree that it is a pull process which works for itself.

  • Randy Milanovic

    Agreed. Content is king. However, creating great content isn’t easy. It requires a certain amount of skill and talent, and even if you have those, you need time, inspiration, and (usually) a couple of aspirin close at hand. (Just check out the abandonment rate for business blogs.) For that reason, a lot of companies are tempted to turn to copywriters and digital agencies like ours to help them put their content plans into action. We don’t mind that of course, but we caution against simply hiring someone and assuming that everything will be handled for you. We remind people that it’s your content, the future of your company that’s at stake, and your reputation that’s on the line. So choose wisely and be sure you sync well.