What is Content Marketing? A Misconception Made Simple

by Josh Barney

What is content marketing?

^If this is a question that you’re asking yourself, stick around for the next few minutes^

Some marketing terms come and go, others disappear as quickly as they’re uttered, but what about content marketing?

Is it just another flash in the pan? Is it a necessity or a fad?

And what does ‘content marketing’ mean?

You may have heard the words dashed around by modern marketers, but do you actually know what it content marketing is?

Content Marketing: Necessity or Fad?

Traditional marketing is a combination of advertising, strategy and pinpointed campaigns – and whilst these are all still important elements of modern digital marketing campaigns – there’s a new way too.

Content marketing is an essential and fundamental step in digital growth and domination – making it a must have for modern digital marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs.

Instead of going out to our target customers, content marketing makes something else happen – those customers come to you.

In an age where trust has never been more important and pushy sales tactics and over-egged marketing promises have never been so badly received – content marketing has stepped out of the background and onto the main stage.

But that still doesn’t answer the question – ‘what is content marketing?’

A Tale of Two Words

what is content marketing

‘Content marketing’ might sound complicated, but it’s actually very straight-forward to understand when you grasp the meaning of its two terms.

Content marketing is made up of two elements:

  1. Content
  2. Marketing

When you understand what each of these terms mean individually, how they work together and their role in the marketing process, a clear picture emerges about ‘content marketing’.

Let’s analyse content and marketing in the simplest possible words (because why make it more complicated?)…

What is Content?

Content is anything that takes up space on a website or social media platform.

content marketing example blog

It’s the written, imagery, video and audio mediums that are directed at an end user’s experience with a social media profile or website.

For example, this blog is content, every video on YouTube is content, every single post on Instagram falls under the content bracket and the last podcast that you listened to is content as well.

Dictonary.com defines content as: “something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts’.

content marketing example tweet

If you publish stuff online – be that on your personal social media profiles, you create content too!

What is Marketing?

Marketing is the act of taking a business, brand, product or offer to its target market.

marketing example facebook ad

The first fundamental step of marketing is knowing who your target audience are.

Then you must find out where they are, when they’re there and how you can take your product/brand to them.

Content + Marketing = Content Marketing

Content marketing, on its most basic level, is nothing more than the combination of these two terms.

It’s the use of those online published materials to take your business to where your target market is, in a form that they will best respond to, so they take action.

That means publishing blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics and images (in addition to other content forms) on the platforms that your market spend the most time.

This is done to drive profitable actions from your audience and ultimately, return on the time and monetary investment that you’ve put into your content marketing efforts.

What Content Marketing Isn’t… 

good customer experience

Content marketing isn’t publishing blogs, podcasts or videos.

^This is a small part of content marketing, but not the whole thing^

Creating and publishing content without a plan or strategy to drive action from your target market isn’t content marketing, it’s just content.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the world of content marketing.

If you’re already running a blog, publishing videos or posting tons on social media, and you’re not seeing any results off the back of this, it’s because you haven’t mapped out a content marketing strategy – you’re just publishing stuff.

Everything you create and publish online should fall under an over-arching content marketing strategy – that’s been formulated to drive a desired result from your target market.

Consider the difference in these two mindsets:

  1. I’m going to start a blog for my business because I can see others are doing it and I think it will help
  2. I’m going to start a blog for my business because I’m aiming to generate an additional 1,000 leads per month. I want to use targeted, relevant content to drive qualified audience members to my website so that I can capture their attention and present them with personalised, relevant offers to capture their lead details.

Many of the entrepreneurs and digital marketers who take their first steps into content marketing do so blindly.

They take the mindset of number 1. (above) and quit before generating any results.

The better mapped, planned and thought-out your content marketing strategy, the faster and bigger your results will be.Click To Tweet

Content Marketing: The Future Of Business Growth

Content marketing is an essential element of any form of digital marketing – and it’s not going anywhere.

We have seen marketing fads come and go, but content is only going to continue to grow.

Those businesses who are able to build engaged audiences and sculpt content marketing strategies that actually drive results are the brands who will get ahead of the game.

getting results from blogging

This takes time, consistency and a dedication to:

  1. Your audience
  2. Your strategy

The sooner you begin on your content marketing, the sooner you’ll see the benefits!

As more and more people rely on digital, and a generation grow up alongside it as a communication, socialising and buying mechanism, it’s plain to see the importance of content marketing to any business.

The Content Marketing Difference

Who would you rather buy from?

  1. Somebody who constantly appears on ads on every channel, telling you to buy his stuff
  2. Somebody you follow on social media, who produces engaging video content that helps you, works in an industry that you’re actively interested in and recommends a product that will help you solve a problem.


A world of buyers and interested leads are becoming increasingly alienated by 1 and much more reliant on 2 to make their buying decisions.

Content marketing allows you to make your brand that valuable, trustworthy resource – and capitalise on it.

So, What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the production and publication of online materials that takes your business to your target market and influences them to make a profitable action.

Content marketing is a form of marketing that you should already be adopting.

And if you aren’t, it’s about time you caught up with the competition and got started.

Want more content marketing advice, strategies or tactics? Check out some of our most popular ever articles from our content marketing category: 

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the www.joshbarney.blog. He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

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