What Is Content Marketing?

When it comes to developing your brand as an authority, building a sustainable customer base, and generating sales, content marketing is considered a valuable tool for any business—whether direct to consumer or within the B2B space. 

The old days of flooding existing and potential customers with ads are just that—the old days.

Consumers are increasingly online, they want to engage with brands, and don’t want to feel like their data is being leveraged to sell them goods or services based on their browser history. In fact, more people are simply blocking ads altogether, with 91% of users feeling they’re more intrusive than they used to be.

So, where does this leave marketers today? How can brands reach audiences if there’s a fair chance we’re being blocked out in the first place? That’s exactly where content marketing comes in.

This guide explains the basics of content marketing, how to strategically deploy different forms of content, and how this organic, multi-layered approach can benefit your organization, regardless of industry.

Illustration of woman using phone and computer with checkmarks showing progress

What Is Content Marketing?

Inbound content marketing is the creation and distribution of articles, white papers, podcasts, newsletters, videos, emails, and other strategic content to attract new customers; establish trust with new and existing customers; and ultimately, develop a more sustainable business model. Delivering useful content throughout the buyer’s journey, this approach is also far less interruptive than traditional advertising techniques—also known as “outbound marketing”—which attempts to grab your audience's attention without forming a deeper and more engaging relationship with them. 


In contrast, content marketing is an organic approach that works in tandem with the average consumer’s online habits: Conducting research to become more informed before potentially purchasing a product or service—or what experts refer to as the “buyer’s journey.” 

Nearly half (49%) of shoppers conduct online research to learn about products prior to making purchases, and 54% of decision makers spend more than an hour each week reviewing thought leadership content.

Such content goes a long way in building trust with consumers and establishing yourself as an expert before—ideally—earning their business.

Infographic demonstrating statistics - 49% conduct online research prior to making purchases - and - 54% review thought leadership content for over an hour weekly

Content Marketing & Inbound Marketing

When users perceive value in your content (and brand), they’ll naturally want to recommend you to others. Over time, this strategy helps build momentum—like a flywheel that keeps spinning.

This flywheel is the central tenet of the inbound marketing methodology, coined by leading marketing and sales CRM platform HubSpot

If done right, inbound marketing can improve your business by: 

  • Generating a greater long-term return on investment (ROI) than outbound methods
  • Costing less to acquire leads
  • Yielding higher conversions—since users were already seeking a solution when they came to you

This is supported by data: 

Now, let’s talk more about engaging and helpful content you can leverage to support your business.

Inbound Marketing illustration with Growth in the center surrounded by Attract, Engage and Delight stages

Types of Strategic Content 

There are myriad forms of content you can utilize as part of your digital marketing strategy: 

  • Blogs
  • White Papers
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Emails
  • Case Studies
  • Live Demos

Instead of trying to be an expert in everything, you should strategically develop and share content relevant to your target audience and marketing goals.

An Example of Effective Content Marketing

For instance, after merging with three companies, secondary packaging and printing company Oliver Inc. enlisted Hypha to create a new website and brand identity reflecting its sustainability messaging to potential and existing clients.

By strategically leveraging email marketing, social media, and SEO-driven content, Hypha coordinated a cohesive online presence that helped position Oliver as a leader in sustainable packaging. “The Sustainability Imperative” webinar campaign alone drove organic growth 207% from October 2020 to February 2021, and converted 267 new contacts.

Building on the company’s reputation as a leading provider of creative, sustainable packaging, the cohesive strategy communicated the brand’s care for the environment, and its expertise.

Learn more about how Hypha deployed content marketing strategies to drive organic growth at Oliver Inc.

Oliver Inc Website Thumbnail

To maximize the success of your strategic efforts, let’s revisit different forms of content and explain their relevance to the buyer’s journey

Awareness Stage: Buyers Face a Problem

Consideration Stage: Buyers Research a Solution

Decision Stage: Buyers Select a Solution

Impactful Content Marketing Strategies

When developing a content marketing strategy, organizations should consider both their marketing goals and their target audience’s needs.

Comprehensive strategies entice, engage, and warm up leads; help retain existing customers; and even encourage your brand’s evangelists to leave positive reviews and pass along referrals. 

Fundamentally, content marketing strategies create positive momentum by ensuring your valuable messaging reaches the right person, in the right way, at the right time.

But just how does this happen? Which tangible actions can you take today to create an impactful strategy?

All effective content marketing strategies include:

  • SEO Keyword Research
  • SEO-Driven Blogs & Resource Pillar Pages
  • Targeted Email Campaigns
  • Website Pages & Appropriate Calls to Action (CTAs)
  • Social Media Posts
  • Landing Pages With Relevant Content Offers
  • White Papers & Ebooks

To learn more, read our comprehensive piece about effective content marketing strategies.

Analyzing Your Content Marketing Efforts

After you organize a strategic campaign, set smart goals, and plan content, it’s important to measure the success of your efforts over time.

When executed well, your content strategy is likely garnering organic visitors to your site, converting more leads, and transforming those leads into happy, returning customers—perhaps even brand evangelists.

However, when done poorly, you’re not only wasting time and money, but risk jeopardizing your reputation.  

Key performance indicators (KPIs) utilize measurable, relevant data to quantify gains and losses and identify areas for improvement.

Here are 10 of the best KPIs to consider:

  1. Average Monthly Website Visits 
  2. Average Session Duration 
  3. Bounce Rate 
  4. Page Views
  5. Average Time on Page
  6. Traffic Sources
  7. Search Engine Rankings
  8. Open Rate
  9. Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
  10. Conversion Rate

Content management systems such as HubSpot provide these analytics so you can harness the power of content marketing and its many benefits. 

To learn more, read our piece about 10 of the best KPIs for measuring the success of your content marketing efforts.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Leverage content marketing’s distinct benefits by engaging audiences in the way they prefer, before they have any intention of becoming a customer.

Here are several notable advantages:

  • Incredibly Cost-Effective, Saving Time & Money: Content marketing provides competitive ROI compared to the cost of trade show booths (around $100 to $150 per square foot of floor space) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns (between $2 and $4 for a single click on Google). This is largely due to its evergreen nature—continuing to work for you for months and years after you post it, in contrast with PPC, which stops working when you stop paying.
  • Boosts Brand Awareness: By creating high-quality content that’s available when users need it, you become a known resource in your industry. Along with continually providing prospects value over time, content can also “go viral” across multiple social media channels at little or no extra cost to you—further growing your brand exposure.
  • Generates Quality Leads & Increases Traffic: Seventy-eight percent of customers feel their relationship with a company should include custom content, and 60% are more likely to pursue a product after reading up on it, reads an account from Canadian advisory firm Demand Metric. That said, it’s no wonder content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing per dollar spent—and at 62% less cost.   
  • Sustainably Grow Over Time: While 67% of consumers begin their buyer’s journey by searching the web for a product, 75% never scroll past the first search engine results page. This underscores the reality that for your content to be noticed by consumers and garner its intended benefits, it must rank highly. While it traditionally takes anywhere from three to 18 months for organic content to take root with search engines, once it does, it fosters sustainable, long-term growth by continuing to garner value and recognition with time.
  • Fosters Trust & Establishes You as an Expert: Consumers are more inclined to do business with brands they trust. In fact, 81% of buyers consider trust a deciding factor in purchasing decisions, reads a research study titled “A Moment for Trust” by British media company Clear Channel UK and multinational advertising corporation JCDecaux UK. Offering free content that helps consumers solve a problem goes a long way in building that trust and establishing your company as a knowledgeable resource. 
  • Your Content Is Your Greatest Asset: The key to garnering these transformative benefits resides within an organization’s ability to strategically leverage valuable content. 


Content marketing is an incredibly beneficial tool to establish your brand’s authority, generate sales, and develop a sustainable customer base. 

By engaging prospects organically throughout their buyer’s journey, you create a seamless experience built around creating trust and value.

Like a flywheel that keeps spinning, this strategy builds momentum over time, yielding greater brand awareness, more quality leads, and sustainable growth. 

Hypha is a New York-based HubSpot Partner Agency that helps mission-minded businesses Grow For Good™ with B2B inbound marketing, content engineering, web design, custom integrations, and digital accessibility services. To strategically leverage your valuable content to set your business apart, drive sustainable growth, and make an impact, contact our team today.

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