What is content marketing? (or content marketing)

When a travel blog is linked to a hotel website, it is content marketing. The owner of the business offers the Internet user content (for example the description of a region) with the aim of building loyalty among his audience. The hotelier thus strengthens the image of his establishment and ultimately increases his sales.


The origin of content marketing is attributed to John Deere, an American manufacturer of tractors and agricultural equipment. At the end of the 19th century he wrote articles of advice to farmers in the newspaper Il Solco. A few years later, in France, the Michelin brand published its famous guide whose aim was not to sell tires directly, but to offer advice and the famous city maps. By publishing free addresses of restaurants or lists of mechanics (the guide only became paid in 1920), André and Edouard Michelin indirectly invited readers to consume… tyres. Their addresses are worth the detour.

Definition: What is content marketing?

The goal of content marketing is not to sell a product directly and quickly. For its promoters it is a question of gaining visibility. In the age of the Internet, visibility is measured by the number of clicks. Digital marketing strategies systematically include the consideration of content optimization. From the hospitality industry to computer manufacturers to financial advisory firms, content marketing is taking the web by storm. Unlike direct advertising actions, the content, as long as it is current (this is called evergreen content), remains. The results are not immediate and depend on the quality, relevance and sustainability of the content.

 Nota bene : définition du référencement naturel ou SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Example: the Lenovo brand

To attract new technology professionals, the Chinese company Lenovo has developed a very effective content strategy. It created a hub aimed at IT decision makers by providing quality technical information. “Content is what connects us to our target audience”, specifies Rod Strother, head of “social networks” at Lenovo. The hub contains nearly 300 technical articles that have more than thirty million views. The brand is also very present on Linkedln with Sponsored Updates which allow it to reach all technology enthusiasts.

The advantages of content strategy

Investing in content marketing is a profitable long-term option. The main advantages are:

  • greater visibility
  • a stronger brand image
  • the multiplication of new perspectives
  • the perceived value of the company is increasing

For companies that have little means to finance expensive advertising campaigns, the content strategy can be limited to a regular newsletter and posts on LinkedIn. Others invest more in terms of skills and time, creating ad hoc media and multiplying distribution channels.

The main phases of content marketing

Regardless of the size of your company, it helps to follow certain steps to develop a successful content strategy.

  1. Choose a relevant theme that would be of interest to your main target audience
  2. Know the needs and expectations of your target
  3. Choose SMART goals: branding, acquiring potential customers, enhancing brand image, etc.
  4. Analyze topics of interest on social networks
  5. Define a long-term editorial line (editorial planning)
  6. Isolate the search trends of Internet users in relation to the chosen topic
  7. Define the best formats: blog, post, etc.
  8. Adapt the contents to the chosen formats
  9. Define result indicators: interactions, visits, clicks, leads, etc.

Find the right editorial line

The editorial line, known in the world of the press, is the DNA of the content strategy in Web marketing. Provides long-term consistency that builds branding. A good editorial line reconciles substance (the themes) and form (the tone). A high-tech company will naturally choose a technical and friendly tone. A financial advisory firm will avoid a humorous tone and favor seriousness and accuracy. The fundamental objective is to convey a coherent image of the company to the target audience in the long term. It is recommended to establish a principle document defining the editorial line. It is a very useful medium to guide content creators.

Choose suitable formats

An effective content strategy involves wise choices of formats. The hotelier who adds a blog to his site, publishing weekly articles about the extraordinary sites of his region or the best culinary specialties, sees a significant increase in visits to his web page in less than three months. Furthermore, editorial, video, infographic or audio content must find the best support. To do this, it is important to know the channels frequented by potential prospects: YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, etc. For example, quizzes or surveys are welcome on LinkedIn. A video on Facebook sometimes allows for a high engagement rate. It’s a popular format that continues to grow.

Track performance

Completing the steps does not guarantee a perfect strategy. The media could turn out to be defective, the contents too poor. In addition, it is essential to analyze the results and adjust your strategy. This allows you to:

  • determine the most useful keywords
  • stick to search trends

The analysis, through Google Analytics and Google Search Console, takes into account the metrics appropriate to the initial objectives:

  • SEO results/natural referrals (keywords, backlinks)
  • User behavior
  • Internet user engagement (sharing, liking)
  • Sales (conversion rate)

This sometimes tedious work allows you to prioritize content, keep the best, update obsolete content and eliminate the worst (pages without traffic).

Less expensive than a one-off ad campaign, content marketing is also more challenging. It involves a long-term strategy. Widely adopted by companies, it roots a brand over time.

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