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There’s a lot of confusion these days over the meaning of “content marketing.” 

Part of the problem lies in the vagueness of the term itself, which naturally leads to different interpretations. Other misunderstandings arise from conflicting definitions on the internet and similarities with other types of marketing (e.g. online marketing and digital marketing). 

Common misunderstandings

Some people think content marketing is any type of marketing that utilizes content, but this definition is way too broad. Others confuse it with social media marketing because it often makes use of social media for marketing (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). But content marketing extends beyond the realms of social networks. 

Google’s clear definition

Google defines content marketing as “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” This is an excellent definition that answers many questions and resolves various issues. 

Alternative perspectives

Content Marketing Institute would add that the content should be “valuable, relevant, and consistent to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience.” Others would also argue that “online” should be removed from the definition to account for other types of content. The term “content marketing” may have been coined during the internet era, but marketers have been using similar techniques for decades through printed materials, TV programs, radio shows and more. 

Content that delivers value

While the ultimate goal is increased sales, content marketing also helps optimize search engine results, build brand awareness, build brand engagement and generate leads en route to that goal. Unlike traditional marketing, it does this indirectly by providing value that attracts potential customers and encourages future purchases. Examples include stories that entertain, webpages that supply helpful tools, seminars that inspire, podcasts that provide valuable information and videos that educate. 

Happy customers and clients

People tend to avoid traditional marketing and advertising content that doesn’t provide value, but they seek content that entertains, engages, informs and meets their needs. By providing such content, content marketers can bring their clients attention, trust and higher sales.


An-yal develops social media and content marketing campaigns. Based in Tokyo, we help Japanese and international brands reach wider audiences with our digital marketing expertise and creative brand storytelling. Find out more here