Content Marketing 101

Content marketing has become an essential part of many businesses’ marketing strategies. Here’s why, and how your company can benefit from the popular strategy.

Content marketing involves the creation and distribution of high-quality content that ties back to a clear marketing objective. Its practitioners work to craft material – articles, white papers, newsletters, videos, etc. – that entertains or educates their target audience while aligning with their businesses’ core products, services, and messaging. The key to effective content marketing is understanding your audience and working to create content that is truly useful. This is different than writing a sales brochure or designing an advertisement that touts your company’s merits.

Content marketing is a widely-embraced marketing strategy. In fact, 59 percent of B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget1, and 70 percent of B2B marketers are churning out more content today than they did just one year ago2, according to 2015 research from The Content Marketing Institute.

Why is content marketing so popular?

Content marketing has increased in popularity in part because it’s become more challenging to target audiences via traditional media methods. Consumers’ media consumption habits are fragmented and varied. Consumers also have an enhanced ability to avoid “interruption advertising.” They can fast-forward television commercials and ignore digital banner ads. Content marketing is a way to attract an audience’s attention by providing information they’ll actually want to engage with.

“Content marketing has gained significant popularity in part because an increased percentage of digital traffic comes from mobile devices, where banners and pop-ups are even less effective than on desktops, due to ‘banner blindness’ and the absence of cookies. Advertisers have in turn shifted to a type of marketing that flows with consumers’ natural media consumption rather than disrupting it,” says Lizzie Serber, senior marketing manager at iMedia Communications, a leading digital marketing news and events company.

Common objectives of content marketing campaigns include raising brand awareness, generating leads, building customer relationships, positioning your business as an industry thought leader, driving website traffic, and improving search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the practice of ensuring search engines like Google can easily find and serve your company’s content to users searching for relevant information. It has certainly been one of the key drivers behind content marketing’s widespread adaption, but it’s not the only factor.

“I know it sounds cliché, but content marketing is really about providing content to the right person, at the right time, in the right place. It’s not just about SEO and keywords. You have to understand your audience and their needs,” says Katherine Mears, V.P. of Financial Education and Content Marketing at Regions Bank.

Mears shares that Regions Bank’s use of content marketing is on the upswing. “We are using content marketing as a brand engagement tool and to help people get to know Regions and what we stand for by providing helpful tips and tools for managing your money,” she says.

Content marketing tips

Whether you are a content marketing expert or launching your first campaign, these tips can help make your efforts more effective.

1. Choose the right subject matter.

Identify topics that are truly of interest to your audience, while also showcasing your company’s expertise. Don’t create an infomercial, but be mindful not to swing too far in the other direction and produce content that lacks a clear connection to your company.

2. Be genuine.

“When executed tactfully, content marketing is a creative and effective way to sell a product, service, or concept. If not handled properly, marketers can come across as disingenuous, so it’s important to be transparent and present useful information to consumers,” says Serber.

If you’ve established a clear brand voice and thoroughly understanding your customer, striking a genuine tone in your content should be fairly simple.

3. Start small.

“You’re better off doing one thing well than trying to take on anything and everything,” cautions Mears. Start with one or two initiatives, learn from your efforts, and use your findings to inform subsequent marketing decisions.

4. Measure your results.

Establish clear objectives and analyze your performance. Although content marketing is often tied to hard-to-quantify goals like brand awareness, there are ways to gauge the success of your efforts. For example, if you’re sharing content via your website, be sure to understand your baseline traffic—average visits, clicks, page views, time spent on site, etc. Then you can observe the impact your new content has on those stats.

1. “B2C Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America,” by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, October 2014,
2. “B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America,” by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, October 2014,

This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation. Information provided and statements made by individuals who are not employees of Regions are the views, opinions, or positions of the individual who made the statement and do not necessarily reflect the policies, views, opinions, and positions of Regions. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented.