Module MM080

Content Marketing


Module authors

Jos Schijns

Open University
The Netherlands



Suzanne de Bakker

University of Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Learning objectives

After you have studied this module, you will be able to:

  • know about content and content marketing, and why it is important in today's marketing field;
  • be able to create a well-structured content marketing strategy using the Content Marketing Framework;
  • know how to execute a content marketing strategy successfully ;
  • know how to analyze and evaluate an existing content marketing strategy;
  • be able to continuously improve the effectiveness of your content marketing approach using the metrics provided.

Chapter 1: Content marketing basics
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Content marketing is hot
1.3 Why is content marketing hot? Changes in consumers' media behavior
1.4 Limitations of the four marketing Ps
1.5 From selling and pushing to content marketing
1.6 Defining content marketing
1.7 Example of content marketing: ‘Stripe up your life' from Stabilo

Chapter 2: Content
2.1 Introduction
2.2 What is content?
2.3 Types of content: entertaining and educating content
2.3.1 Content that entertains
2.3.2 Content that educates/informs
2.4 How to start with content marketing: the Content Marketing Framework

Chapter 3: Customers' needs
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Who is your audience?
3.3 Personas
3.4 The customer's journey
3.5 The creation of buyer personas and customers' journeys

Chapter 4: The business objectives
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Content marketing goals
4.3 Distinctive content
4.4 Examples: American Express and Microsoft

Chapter 5: Media
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Paid, owned, and earned media
5.3 Converged media
5.4 Media types, goals, and the customer journey

Chapter 6: Internal organization
6.1 Introduction
6.2 The Content Organizing Model
6.3 Groups of people with differing goals and expectations
6.3.1 The content strategist
6.3.2 The internal stakeholders
6.4 Alignment
6.5 The content creators
6.6 Example: Law firm Kennedy Van der Laan (KvdL)

Chapter 7: Effective content
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Lack of scientific research
7.3 The complex nature of content marketing
7.4 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
7.4.1 Consuming content
7.4.2 Sharing content
7.4.3 The conversion of content
7.5 KPIs and content marketing goals
7.6 Effectiveness of customer magazines
7.7 Content marketing showcases
7.7.1 ‘The bad breath test' from Orabrush
7.7.2 ‘Stripe up your life' from Stabilo

Workload units 3
Read excerpt Content Marketing


Why Open School of Management believes that competences in content marketing are important

Content marketing is oftentimes used as a catchphrase; however, it is so much more. Content marketing is an essential part of the contemporary marketing process. In this process, content that is considered both, relevant and consistent, is distributed to a highly specific audience over multiple mediums, with the primary objective being to stimulate profitable customer action. This process is comprised of multiple levels of customer engagement.

What is important is to gain a lucid perspicacity of the importance of the term "valuable" as it relates to a specific audience. Value is what distinguishes content marketing from other forms of marketing. Technically, almost any information that is disseminated in multitudinous forms can be considered content; however, that alone does not constitute a content marketing campaign. Value is the key element that solidifies the content marketing strategy. Value is identified by its level of relevance and importance to the target audience. Valuable content will be sought out by the target audience, and it will be consumed and shared, rather than the alternative — avoided at all cost.

Content marketing requires the marketing team to develop content that they know will provide the target audience with a specific answer to an enigmatic question or a resource they can use to engage a specific issue, etc. The idea is to create a specific flow of content that will allow the business to develop a relationship of trust with the consumer.


Why study Content Marketing?

It is paramount that young marketers and PR agents understand the vital nature of content marketing and how it impacts their ability to effectively engage their target audience. Content marketing is an efficient and immensely efficacious method of customer engagement, subsequently allowing marketers to systematically develop a working relationship with their target audience. Additionally, content marketing has the capacity to be disseminated over multiple marketing platforms.

Content marketing allows a business to systematically increase its online exposure, which is remarkably vital in today's competitive business environment. Simply having a company website will no longer suffice. The business world has entered into an era in which companies not only have highly optimized websites that are anchored with relevant content, but they also have multiple social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, to help promote their brand and facilitate non-invasive customer engagement. Relevant content is what facilitates all of this.

Content creation also plays a significant role in the use of blogs, video, infographics and more as a means of establishing a relationship of trust with the target audience.

Relationships are built on trust

The relationship between the business and its customers must be viewed in that light, and relationships are built on trust. If a consumer does not trust a brand, they will not buy that brand's product of pay for their services. The expanse of the internet and massive reach of social media platforms has created a situation in which consumers are more informed than any time in the past. Subsequently, their expectations of companies that are courting their patronage is extremely high.

Content marketing is the bridge that closes the relational gap between a business and its customers or potential customers. The moment that a relationship is created, the chances of a consumer purchasing a company's product increase drastically. The more that the relationship is cultivated through content, the chances of developing customer loyalty also increase. This alone has exceptional value; however, it extends beyond sales conversions. Content marketing allows a business to ensure customer satisfaction. Content marketing, in essence provides a company with a voice that they would not otherwise possess.

The impact of content marketing in today's economy

Today's global economy, despite its perceived volatility, has facilitated the launch of a record number of small businesses. This is due to the corporate restructuring that has taken place worldwide. With a significant number of high-level executives and skilled positions being laid off, many of these individuals have been forced to redefine themselves while launching their own small firms. This is good news in the sense of opportunity; however, with the launch of so many new businesses also comes an intense level of competition.

It is this competition that further illuminates the importance of content marketing. Not only is content marketing exceptionally effective in the development of relationships, but it is also highly cost effective. This means that small businesses that may have limited marketing budgets can still place themselves in a position to remain competitive in their market.

Content marketing also allows the business to create and disseminate precise messages that help form the expressive message of the company's brand, further allowing the company to distinguish itself from its competitors.


Module overview

The module on content marketing is designed to prepare marketers and PR agents to be well-rounded when it comes to developing content marketing strategies. With content marketing consistently increasing in relevance, the ability for marketers to effectively design and develop content marketing strategies will be paramount to their ultimate success. This comprehensive module will introduce several levels of awareness, skills and the capacity for practical application.

The introduction phase of the module will introduce students to the importance of content marketing, and why it is vital to implement it into the general marketing strategy of any company. This all begins with the lucid presentation of the definition of content marketing, while explaining how it differs from other marketing mechanisms.

Skill and competency

Additionally, skill and competency will also be one of the primary learning outcomes. It is one thing to understand the importance of creating relevant content for a specific audience; however, it is an entirely different thing to have the operational and developmental skillset to properly execute a content marketing campaign.

This skillset is developed through the use of content marketing framework — a specifically structured blueprint that will ensure that optimal results are achieved on a consistent basis.

The ability to execute a content marketing strategy

Although there will be a great deal of specificity involved in content marketing campaigns based on the industry and the market, there are some steps that are considered universal, and it will be important for the student to gain a keen perspicacity of these steps. One of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign, including content marketing, is the successful identification of the company's ideal customer. There must be a concise and clear understanding of the target audience to ensure that the content that is being created will be of value.

Additionally, it is also extremely important to determine the type of content that will garner their attention. It is an extremely noisy world online, meaning there are a multiplicity of distractions that a customer will have to navigate through; however, the more precise and relevant the content, the easier it will be to gain and hold the attention of the target audience.

Analytics and evaluation of existing strategies

It is not important for a marketer to have the capacity to create a marketing strategy. It is also vital for them to be able to anatomize and evaluate existing strategies to determine if the current strategy is effectively meeting the need of the business. They will need to determine if the current strategy effectively disseminates the desired message. Is it effectively engaging the target audience? After a comprehensive analysis, the marketer must be able to suggest and implement the necessary changes to ensure that the campaign is functioning optimally.

Continuous improvement

An exceptional marketer will have an understanding that marketing is a dynamic. It is the flow of the plan on a continuum that requires constant adjustment. This means that they will need to possess the ability to find methods to improve the overall effectiveness of the content marketing strategy. They will be able to do this by evaluating the metrics that are produced during the progression of the campaign.

This module will prepare marketers for a marketing world that is rapidly evolving and heavily dependent upon content marketing. Content marketing has an immensely complex nature that requires understanding and the ability to adjust. In this module, students will be introduced to a blueprint that works.


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