Content marketing: what is it? Examples, strategy and definition

Content Marketing 

We often talk about content marketing and are looking for useful solutions to exploit what you have created to achieve good results. content marketing

In practice what does it mean to do content marketing? What are the steps to use the content in the best possible way? I was waiting for the right inspiration to write this little marketing guide asking for creativity help.

But also to the science of those who know how to organize and plan. So let’s start with a definition. A definition to open the doors of this strategy that embraces brandend content , articles, blogs, digital PR, social media marketing and SEO.


What is content marketing: definition

The topics of the post

  • What is content marketing: definition
  • What does the content marketing manager do?
  • How to make content marketing seriously
  • The concept of content marketing strategy
  • B2C and B2B content marketing: differences?
  • Examples of content marketing that works
  • Training and books on content marketing
  • Content marketing in the Italian market
  • Your Content Marketing strategy

Content marketing contains techniques and strategies for obtaining measurable results through work on content. The first point to stress, therefore, is simple: content marketing is not synonymous with writing for the web . And it’s not limited to blogging, on the contrary. There is much more and then we will see it together.

This form of online promotion embraces everything that is put online to satisfy a need . Or maybe to create one. It is also connected, complementary and often indispensable, to the subjects of the web. Type SEO, email marketing, social media marketing . More generally, it becomes an irreplaceable node of inbound marketing , the vision that allows your name to be found when people need you. As always.

To deepen: content and blogging, how to work better

What does the content marketing manager do?

After having explained the meaning of content marketing, it is right to underline another point: the work of the content marketing manager. What exactly does it do? This professional figure defines the strategy, the ideal path to achieve results.

This through the various contents. The content marketing manager must have the skills to embrace and coordinate other figures such as those of the SEO specialist and the copywriter , but must go deeper into the work of analyzing the strategy and the results of the contents as suggested by .

So, there are the people who create the various contents (video, audio, text, images) but there is a figure that gives indications on what to do, with what time and on which platforms. And this is the main occupation of the content marketing expert .

How to make content marketing seriously

At this point it seems natural to question the key point: how do you do content marketing? And what are the essential steps to create a good strategy ? It would take a book to answer. But here it is possible to give references to understand how to do content marketing.

Analysis of the context

In this phase you have to analyze everything related to your company, or in any case the project you need to take care of. It is advisable to have a description of the initial situation so that we can evaluate strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Exact. Having a SWOT analysis available ( here you find a free form ) of the starting situation should be the basis for developing a content marketing plan.


In this way you can understand what are the needs to be satisfied for the reality you are taking care of . And you can find the right way to move choices by evaluating data.

Competition study

Here is the analysis of the competition, an important step to understand what others do from the point of view of content marketing strategy. Here you can use appropriate tools to get good results , such as those that monitor mentions on social and web pages like Mention and Hootsuite .

Indispensable in these cases have advanced SEO tools to observe the result of certain content on the serp and in the activity of link earning. One of the best, in my opinion, is SEMrush because it does a good job of comparing different domains. 

See the screenshot for an idea. You can compare two or more domains to identify the difference in positioning with respect to certain keywords. There are several tools to spy on competitors and study competitors, but Semrush is very versatile. Above all if you work in international settings.

Targets, objectives and contents

At this point in your content marketing plan, you need to focus on your goals. But also on the target and on the type of content to propose. You must understand what the company needs. Some concrete examples ?

  • Lead generation : use the contents to get useful contacts.
  • Branding : take advantage of what you publish to position your name.
  • Link earning : earn quality links with content.
  • Email marketing : in this case the contents feed the message flow.

As you can well see, there are several macro-objectives for doing content marketing. You can reflect on the usefulness of content marketing and in particular on which strategy to implement, without forgetting the analysis of the audience . Who are you referring to? Content marketing funnel

It is right to have the personas, models of readers and ideal users that are a reference for your creative activity. Soon after, however, you have to ask yourself a question: at what stage of the funnel do you operate?

content marketing funnel

As you can well observe the image taken by Moz , in a work of content marketing it might not be enough to produce TOFU content, related to the top of funnel . I’m talking about the upper part of the path, the one that refers to the leads that might be interested in the product or service.

Not all companies have a simple sales process. Often the lead must be powered by email marketing and lead nurturing. In other words, you have to create different contents to respond to different strategic needs and satisfy a certain type of target.

How many types of content marketing do they exist?

There are different ways to be tackled to achieve the desired results. You can focus on storytelling , native advertising, video marketing and podcasts. Without forgetting infographics, long form content, ebooks and other solutions. Everything must be managed carefully. If you want some ideas you can take a look at the content marketing techniques put in place by Pornhub . To know more:

  • How to write a successful book
  • Advice for writing a newspaper article
  • How to do an interview online and offline
  • Write and publish an e-book on Amazon

Results analysis and ROI

This is important: the last phase of the content marketing strategy measures the work done. What are the results obtained? Everything depends on the objectives: there are simpler content marketing actions , others more complex to measure. Take as an example the publication of e-books or infographics to get inbound links . In this case you have to evaluate the quality and quantity of the mentions.

content marketing ROI The content marketing ROI – Image source

The same goes for lead generation. You have to evaluate the quality of contacts: are they able to respond to your marketing activities to bring the lead to the status of prospect and finally of customer? Here the job of an SEO tool can make life easier to measure and give value to the work of content marketing in relation to the SEO activity to position one’s own domain.

Last step: the flow circularity. When analyzing data, you do not just create graphs and reports to evaluate your business. You have to adjust what you’ve done, you need to improve your content marketer activity to optimize your work. Thanks to Google Analytics and more.

The concept of content marketing strategy

An interesting concept, as you can clearly see from the map that I indicated above the content marketing strategy follows several steps. But it is not synonymous with isolation: content is a passage that can do much but is not an isolated phenomenon. So your work must integrate.

You have to merge with those who do social media marketing , with those involved in SEO and with the activities of Digital PR . In other words, the content marketing strategy is the gear that makes everything work.


To organize your social media strategy you can follow these tips, but what should never be missing is the merger with everything that surrounds the creation of the content. Without forgetting the investment: publishing content at no cost is impossible. Better to avoid.

To deepen: what is inbound marketing

B2C and B2B content marketing: differences?

This path can be designed to work in the world of content, but the markets are not all the same. There is a need to contextualise the work carried out not only on the basis of the context and the nature of your business . So the question is: is there a difference between B2C and B2B content marketing?

Content marketing for B2B and B2C: the important thing is to evaluate the context well

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By force, they are different realities. In the first case, the customer journey (the path that leads the user from the first contact with the company up to the conversion) is more linear, simple and immediate. Based on instinct and emotional choices such as booking a holiday or buying a mobile phone. What happens when a company communicates with another professional reality?

What are the differences in the buying process? The path is longer, based on a concrete and timely communication. The purchase is not immediate but based on a concrete assessment of the benefits of the product or service. And if you evaluate the PDF document of Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, B2B Content Marketing – 2017 , you understand this mechanism.

The research, in fact, identifies the objectives that allowed companies to achieve good results. In the first place there is the lead generation, an activity that is always valid to trigger a virtuous process.

Get contact from an interested user, then use in-depth content (white papers, statistics, case studies) to convince a manager to follow the funnel and request information, trial a service, or a trial product. So, can you do content marketing in the B2B? Of course, but you must always evaluate the context, and often the blog is just the first of several steps.

Blog and content marketing between B2B and B2C

We often talk about the difference between B2B and B2C in terms of strategy. What works in one sector may be less suitable in another. The blog, however, seems to be a suitable, suitable road. Above all if you work on continuity .

As you can see from this graph of Hubspot there is a common line between B2B and B2C: with the increase of the articles published on the blog also the quality traffic rises, the one that sets in motion the process of inbound marketing. Obviously with the due differences between the different sectors ..

Examples of content marketing that works

Clear, now you want to understand if all this is able to bring noteworthy results. There are no good recipes for every season, what is good for me may be insufficient or unsuitable for you. But you can not ignore these examples of successful content marketing.

Webinars dedicated to professionals: Semrush

A clear example of effective content marketing: creating webinars to attract potential customers. Semrush , a company that deals with SEO tools, involve influencers to create online appointments that attract and engage the public through the sharing of knowledge and interaction.


The work goes further and embraces the concept of video content marketing , but with these events there is a lead generation process that allows the audience to follow the expert and ask questions through the tools to organize simple webinars , but also real marathons of interventions.

Audience loyalty: American Express Open Forum

America Express offers one of the most successful examples of content marketing from my point of view: I’m talking about the Open Forum, a meeting place dedicated to small businesses. In particular, the idea is to relate people who share the same need: do something more for their company. A project of user generated content that leaves its mark.

Interactive infographics and visual content: Microsoft

There are many infographics, and these tools are decisive for making successful content marketing. These graphics bring traffic, improve the user experience and act as a tool to attract links . Do you want an example that blends the infographics with web design? Here is the work done by Microsoft . I know, it goes beyond your expectations. If you want something special you need to be ready to go further.

Storytelling: General Electric and video content marketing

You have noticed this point: I often quote General Electric as examples of strategies related to content marketing. The reason is simple: these people manage to bend the contents in favor of the branding positioning objective. That is all that makes you perceive a brand with certain values.


As you can see from this video marketing example on YouTube, General Electric uses visual codes to communicate their point of view. Above all, use this code to make storytelling , to tell your values through images and voices. Obviously this is not enough

The company works on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram , Facebook and other social channels. Without forgetting a section of the site dedicated to reports. No content marketing is done only with photos or videos.

To read: how to create a successful blog

E-book, blogging and long form content online: Seth Godin

A classic example of content marketing base: the creation of highly detailed text content ranging from long form content, long and detailed articles, to various ebooks to download.

The benefits to be had from this activity? This content acts as a lead magnet (free incentive) to get contacts from interested people if, for example, you want to download free PDFs.

In any case, they are a link building tool. Especially if you work with digital PR and blogger outreach . Last analysis: branding, the content becomes a tool to let you know. The case study is that of Seth Godin with Unleashing The Ideavirus , perhaps the most famous free ebook.

Native advertising and branded content: AirB & B

Native advertising is a tool for doing content marketing . This content allows companies to enter the editorial calendar of large publishers with articles aligned to their daily activity. The idea is this: you have to create a page so interesting as to make you forget the presence of a different signature from the original one. Here the brand becomes the protagonist of creativity. 

Do you want a good example of native advertising and branded content? That of AirB & B in the New York Times is spectacular. Look, there’s everything: writing, audio, video marketing, quality images , data storytelling, interactive elements and a web design that makes everything look like a work of art.

Newsletter dedicated to a specific audience: Ann Friedman

There is not only public content, this is clear. Another way to do content marketing is through the newsletter, an event dedicated to people who subscribe to a specific channel and want to receive themed updates. Here we do not talk about email marketing designed to sell.

In these cases you have to push offers and discounts. For example, Ann Friedmann’s newsletter is different with its 28,000 subscribers and 50% open rate . Monetize by selling advertising, but just take a look at the archive to understand how carefully the contents are selected, compiled and written.

Training and books on content marketing

To become a good content marketer you need a quality: the desire to get your hands dirty. You need to gain experience in the field, and focus on the apprenticeship to learn in person . But it is true that you can do a good training to learn the basics. Any advice for the titles?

  • Content Marketing. Promote, seduce and sell with content
  • Take advantage of content, generate new customers and do content marketing
  • Manage blogs, social and SEO with content marketing
  • Content marketing: Practical guide to creating content for social and blogs

Here are the best books on content marketing . It takes? No, in this field it is important as I have already said the experience. But you have to think about a good one to one training to learn.

Content marketing in the Italian market

It works? Does not work? We often tend to make clear differences between the Italian and the Anglo-Saxon sectors. Which offers more opportunities, a pool of top users and different markets .


Content marketing in Italy works when contextualises what is published. If you only imitate what is done in America you lose, if the action is designed to meet the needs of the area, everything becomes easier. Content marketing is not just about writing e-books or creating a blog .

Do you want an example of a complete content marketing strategy? I can do one of them, that of the Bimby company that produces the famous robot well known to those who have a cooking blog . On the home page of the website you will find the item recipes and a series of contents that have a specific task, making the user loyal to:

  • Platforms for recipes.
  • Community for tips and questions.
  • App to download on your mobile phone.
  • Paper books with recipes.
  • Paper and digital journal.
  • Cookidoo

This last item is interesting: a collection of recipes that you can save on your personal profile. In other words, create your Bimby profile and, through a USB key, transfer all contents to the machine. In this way you do not have to do is add the ingredients. A good example of Italian content marketing, do not you think? To deepen virtuous cases of online content:

  • The best Italian personal blogs
  • Corporate blogging in Italy, successful cases

Your Content Marketing strategy

What does it mean to do content marketing according to you? Here you have a series of useful references to make the most of the contents in all possible and imaginable forms. That’s why now you have to leave your opinion: only with your help and your questions can I complete the content marketing guide.