What Is Content Marketing? An Explanation in 5 Images [infographics]

3 min read
May 14, 2015


Businesses and organizations across the globe are using content to build awareness, generate leads and delight customers. And with so much hype and growing budget centered around content marketing, it's important to have a clear grasp on exactly what content marketing is.

So, whether you're a business owner who's looking to gain a better understanding of content marketing, or a marketer who needs a helpful, shareable overview, this collection of infographics will be right up your alley.

Want an answer to the question, "What is content marketing anyway?" This collection of infographics addresses 5 big content marketing questions:

  1. WHAT is the purpose of content marketing?
  2. WHY should businesses use it?
  3. WHO would make a great content marketer?
  4. HOW does content marketing work?
  5. WHEN did brands start using content marketing?

1. What is the purpose of content marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, the purpose of content marketing is to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. So what does this boil down to? It means that content marketing can help a business drive toward anything from lead generation to delighting existing customers.


source: ExactTarget

2. Why should businesses use content marketing?

When it comes to lead generation, using content marketing and inbound will deliver a stronger return on investment than outbound marketing, hands down. In fact, leads generated from inbound marketing cost, on average, 61% less than leads from outbound marketing.

(And if you're a little fuzzy on on the differences between inbound and outbound marketing, take a look at this inbound vs outbound post.)


source: Cieron

3. Who would make a great content marketer?

If you're looking to bring a new content marketer onto your team, then you'll want to be on the lookout for a professional that brings a wide range of skills and expertise. A great content or inbound marketer is someone who brings together a wide range of skills and strengths – outstanding writing skills, creativity, a strong analytical mind, a little graphic design skill, and a foundation of basic HTML and CSS.


source: uberflip

4. How does content marketing work?

Content marketing could go one of two ways – it could go remarkably well and generate great results at a strong ROI, or it could flop and cause you to believe that content marketing is a waste of time and effort.

There are a lot of factors that can weigh into a business's success with content or inbound marketing, including company culture. But it should come as no surprise that having the right person – or the right team – with the right set of skills (see infographic above) is a critical factor in driving success. Here's how content marketing works when you have a novice vs a skilled content marketer running the show...


source: BrightEdge

5. When did brands start using content marketing?

The relative widespread adoption of digital content marketing is a fairly recent trend. The Content Marketing Institute, a thought leader in the industry, was established just five years ago in 2010. But if we look more generally at permission marketing – a cornerstone of inbound and content marketing – then we can roll the calendar back to 1999 when visionary Seth Godin published his book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers.

Here's a more comprehensive look at the history of content marketing...

history-of-content-marketingsource: Content Marketing Institute