What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the opposite of the hard sell, and in our era of advertising-weary consumers it’s become one of the most potent ways to influence purchasing decisions.


In simple terms, content marketing is the targeted distribution of sales messages in formats that don’t feel like sales messages at all. The ‘camouflage’ comes from the exceptional value that the content represents to the consumer’s lifestyle. And once the consumer’s mind is captured, your sales messages are welcomed in.


Content marketing can be anything, from a magazine article to a web game to a YouTube video. Printed and online magazines are particularly effective content marketing tools as they create an entire environment in which sales messages can be packaged in highly valuable ways.


For example, our Edition magazine for John Lewis is now the UK’s fifth most popular retail magazine, with an ABC of 484,991 readers. A recent survey revealed that 70% of readers visit more departments after reading the magazine; either in-store, online or via mobile, and 30% purchasing a product. Exceptional content marketing can also generate its own revenue streams. For example, beauty advertising in Edition is 9% higher than in the market overall.


There are many factors that contribute to a successful content marketing programme. The content must be driven from an in-depth knowledge of your target audience, and distributed using the media they most enjoy engaging with. The sales messages must also be packaged extremely carefully. Too subtle and the consumer might miss them. Too heavy and they might consider it a blatant attempt to push your products or services.

Want to know more?

John Brown Media devises and delivers content marketing programmes for some of the world’s best-loved brands. You can read more about how we do it, including our distinctive approach to strategy and insight and content strategy, or talk to a member of our team in your region if you have a specific question.