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Content marketing. It’s a term you’re probably familiar with if you’ve been involved in digital marketing in the past few years. Whether you have been consciously focusing on content marketing for a while or have just started in it this year, it’s time step back and take a new look at what really content marketing is.

What is Content?

I realize that when most people think about content marketing assets, they think about blogs, infographics, emails, social media content and other similar items. While those are all examples of content, they are far from an exhaustive list of content assets.

The dictionary definition of content includes the following: something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts. Basically, anything that communicates a concept can be considered content.

This means that your portfolio of content assets includes things like videos and images and all website page content, navigation and design. Even the color scheme chosen for your website is part of your content as it communicates a message or evokes a feeling or response.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is basically any activity consciously involved in the selling process. That runs the gamut from things like product pricing to communications and then some. The common thread in everything is that the goal is to sell something.

What is Content Marketing?

Using the above definitions, content marketing becomes the use of content—in any form—with the intent of selling or assisting the sales process. By broadening the definition of “content” specifically, the whole realm of content marketing expands. You should consider your site setup and navigation equally important content marketing elements as your blog.

Think about your own experiences when visiting a website. How do you choose which sites to stay on and which sites to leave immediately? How easily you can find what you are looking for no doubt plays a part in that decision. What goes into delivering that ease (or not)? Navigation, design and copy just for starters.

This can be especially critical for ecommerce sites. Even if your potential customers can find the product they want, if your checkout process is cumbersome, they can still leave and find another site that offers a better experience in moments. Once they’ve made that purchase, you’re done. For a non-ecommerce site, the door can remain open a little bit longer as offline conversions offer more opportunities to fall through once you leave a site.

What’s the Point?

The point of all of this discussion is to broaden your view of content marketing. You need to be considering anything that communicates to your audience in some form as content marketing. The point of all of it is to move people through a process to conversion. As wonderful as your blog exposes are, you’re not really writing them just for the sake of it. They need to do something. The same thing holds true for your choice in your website structure, navigation and design.

With a new year just around the corner, take this new definition of content marketing and find ways to put it into your 2016 marketing plans.