There are many names for it: corporate media, corporate publishing, corporate journalism, custom publishing, custom media, branded content, branded media, and content marketing.

But what is content marketing?
Content marketing is a technique of creating remarkable content with the intention of attracting and engaging potential customers or clients. When businesses create content that serves their potential customers by answering their questions, solving problems, or educating them in some way, the business becomes more than a business to those customers — it becomes a resource. More importantly, a trusted resource.

Start the Conversation
Customers aren’t always ready to by right now, which is why it is important to be there when they are ready to buy. Using content to market your company can help accomplish that. Creating valuable content, online or offline, helps you stay in front of your customers (and not in the “I’ve seen this commercial 100 times today” kind of way).

When you create valuable content for your customers, they keep coming back to you for more information, maybe they even sign up for your newsletter or to download your free report. This gives you another way to stay in contact with them. When the time is finally right, and they are ready to make the purchase, you can be sure that your company will be top of mind.

Content Strategy
Just creating content isn’t enough. You must have a strategy that will guide your content creation. Some of the content tools that you can use include:

•    Whitepapers
•    Custom Print Magazines
•    Photo-sharing
•    Microblogging (Twitter)
•    Videos
•    Case Studies
•    Articles
•    Testimonials
•    Newsletters
•    Blogs
•    e-Learning Series
•    Facebook Apps
•    Webinar/Webcast

The great thing about content is once it’s created, it can be reused in many different ways. For example, several articles can be grouped together and be used to populate a newsletter, or slightly rewritten to form a free report (or white paper) for customers to download. This is why it is so important to plan your content strategy and even create an editorial calendar. It’s time to think of your company as a publisher.