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What is Content Marketing & Why It's Important for Your Business


content marketing


How is content marketing different from all the other types of marketing?


It helps to think of content marketing as a smarter, more surgical discipline than traditional marketing. Traditional marketers lacked nuanced tools, so they just threw everything up against the wall and hoped something would stick. That approach basically amounted to using a blunt object instead of a scalpel to perform surgery. No matter how brilliant the campaign, if it never reached the right audience, it could only be so effective.


Content marketing is defined as the creation and distribution of valuable, informative content with the intention to attract, engage, and maintain a targeted audience. In essence, it matches your customer with the product or service they need before they go out and start looking around, even sometimes before they know they need it. 


“Content marketing should provide helpful information to audiences that can solve problems and address pain points; It attracts audiences to informative content, whereas traditional marketing is more pushy in nature, forcing products and services on audiences.” says Rachel Denton, distinguished faculty member at General Assembly.


What is the role of a content marketer?

Content marketing evolved with today’s lush information landscape, making it closer to a science than an art. From social media to paid search, there are more ways than ever before for marketers to interact with an audience. Content marketers use data and other tools to target their audience and match them with content that helps inform their decisions. In this way, content marketers can have more reach and make a far greater impact. The better they can identify, locate and target their audience, the more bang they get for the buck.


Content creation is commonly the purview of a creative team of designers, writers, and developers. This talent may be in-house or contracted out, depending on the organisation. The types of content a content marketer may use includes emails, display ads, blog posts, white-papers, videos, infographics, and longer-form content such as eBooks and webinars.


Quality content comes in many forms but has one thing in common: It tells stories and makes meaningful connections with an audience.


While the immediate goal is for content to stimulate demand, the larger, more holistic goal is all about being remembered by your audience during the decision-making process. Quality content inspires action and engagement. Poor quality content is often purely promotional, and any content created without the audience in mind is one of the fastest ways to weaken a brand.


Content marketers drive brand awareness. They make sure that content reaches the right eyes and ears — and they get results that can be measured. Executives focused on the power of branding to deliver business objectives recognise the value of a good content marketing strategy and a good content marketer.


What is content marketing strategy?

A content marketing strategy can be simple or complex. Even a marketing strategy involving just one or two channels needs a good amount of back-end preparation to ensure the strategy is successful.


One example of a simple marketing strategy would be using blog articles and social media posts to share valuable information with your audience in a consistent and engaging way. An example of a more complex content strategy might involve bringing in an influencer or leveraging multiple channels at once to yield a truly integrated campaign where all aspects of paid, owned, and earned media come together.


What does good content marketing look like?

A smart content marketing strategy that’s thoughtfully executed can be a real game-changer. It can catapult a brand into the public consciousness in profound ways and go beyond the borders of a transactional customer relationship.


“The #LikeAGirl campaign from Always was a campaign that took a brand associated with periods and sanitary pads and went to a whole other level of women empowerment,” Denton says.




The campaign highlights included video on YouTube and Facebook, influencers and paid ads, Twitter posts asking women to tweet amazing things they do #LikeAGirl and a 60-second spot that aired during the Superbowl. The results were astounding. The brand garnered over 90 million views for a video that went viral globally, and social media numbers were off the charts. Most significant, Always received a huge lift in brand preference from a 50% growth in purchasers who claimed intent. Incredibly, almost 70% of survey respondents said that “the video changed my perception of the phrase ‘like a girl.’”


That’s proof that a truly integrated campaign can make meaningful connections that have lasting and profound impact.


What is the role of data in content marketing?

The sheer amount of data available has enabled content marketing to be more precise than ever. Watch this video to learn more about valuable sources of data and how to use them in a content marketing strategy:



Knowing how to interpret and use data ensures that you are putting out the right campaign at the right time. “Data is so important in the world of digital marketing,” says Denton. “Almost everything is trackable these days, those that aren’t on top of measuring the performance of their campaigns are going to be left behind. Start with clear, measurable objectives from the onset and then test, test, test. Use your findings to optimize the campaign. Leverage in-app and web analytics such as Google Analytics to help you on your way.”


How does content marketing work together with digital marketing?

In industry parlance, content marketing lives under the digital marketing umbrella. It is not uncommon for a digital marketing strategy to start with a content marketing strategy.


“With a clear vision for a content marketing strategy and a well-defined audience, businesses can make smart decisions about how to leverage digital marketing channels to share out that content,” explains Denton. “That’s what you call a strong, integrated digital marketing strategy.” 


When content marketing and digital marketing work together on a holistic approach, campaigns achieve real, measurable success.

This article was originally published on the General Assembly blog in May 2021. General Assembly is a global pioneer in education and career transformation, specialising in today's most in-demand skills. The leading source for training, staffing, and career transitions, GA fosters a flourishing community of professionals pursuing careers they love. GA offers free events, multi-hour workshops, and multi-week part-time and full-time courses – now all online – in tech, design, and business topics.


Find out more about General Assembly's Digital Marketing offerings here.

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