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How to Create an HTML Form That Sends You an Email

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How to Create an HTML Form That Sends You an Email

Have you ever set up a form on your site, only to lose track of the information? Creating an HTML email form is an effective way to resolve this issue.

Convert anonymous visitors into leads. Try HubSpot Forms free.

Below, you’ll learn how to create a form that sends an email to you, as well as the customer, after a submission. This simple trick will help you build a seamless inbound strategy.

Table of Contents

Ideally, browsers would allow you to route form submissions directly to an email address. However, the reason they don’t is that emailing directly from an HTML web form would reveal the visitor’s email address, making the user vulnerable to malicious activities, such as phishing.

Further, HTML doesn’t offer an option to create a form that sends an email after submission. Instead, you can use the form action element to set a mailto: address (in this case, your own), triggering the submitter’s mail client to open. This is a last-ditch option if you can’t create a PHP-based form.

However, there are a few problems with the mailto: option.

  • It isn’t 100% compatible with all browsers.
  • The process isn’t very user-friendly.
  • You can’t control the formatting of the data when the form is sent by the browser.
  • A warning message will pop up when the user submits the form, letting them know that the information they’re about to send will not be encrypted for privacy.

Instead, you’ll want to look for alternative ways to send an email from a form, which we will discuss below.

How to Make an HTML Form that Sends Email

There are multiple options for creating an HTML form that emails you when a new entry is submitted. The option you choose depends on how you work and what platform you’re using.

This is to say that things are a little different if the plan is to use a mix of HTML and different scripts. Choose the option that works best with your team’s skillset.

Method 1: Create an Email Send Form Using HTML (Not Recommended)

Using just HTML? If you’re starting fresh, our team is here to help. This code will help you create a form that will notify you via email.

The form will ask for the contact’s name and message. It also includes a submit button (not visible in CodePen) that users will click to submit their information.

Note that this code is basic. It won’t look super snazzy. For a more visually appealing form that matches your branding, you’ll have to add lines of code specific to your needs.

Remember: While you can use just basic HTML, this isn’t the ideal option. This form doesn’t directly send to email addresses but rather opens an email client or tool window to submit the form. This can spook the user out of submitting the form at all.

So, what HTML code allows you to send form submissions directly to an email address?

To make the form work with your email server and send it to a mailbox, PHP is the answer. Let’s explore that option now.

Method 2: Create an Email Send Form Using PHP (Advanced)

To create a form that sends an email, PHP is going to be your best friend. PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, and this language collaborates with HTML to process the form.

Before jumping into the process, let’s break down a few form basics.

PHP Forms: What You Need to Know

A web form has two sides: The frontend, seen in the browser by visitors, and a backend script running on the server.

The visitor’s web browser uses HTML code to display the form. When the form is submitted, the browser sends the information to the backend using the link mentioned in the “action” attribute of the form tag, sending the form data to that URL.

For example: <form action=https://yourwebsite.com/myform-processor.php>.

The server then passes the data to the script specified in the action URL — myform-processor.php in this case. Using this data, the backend script can create a database of form submissions, direct the user to another page (e.g. payment), and send an email.

There are other scripting languages you can use in backend programming, like Ruby, Perl, or ASP for Windows. However, PHP is the most popular and is used by almost all web hosting service providers.

If you’re creating a form from scratch, here are the steps you can take.

Step 1: Use PHP to create a page.

For this step, you’ll need to have access to your website’s cPanel on your hosting platform.

When you’re creating a webpage, instead of using the “.html” extension, type “.php” instead. This is similar to what happens when you save an image as “jpg” versus “png.”

By doing this, the server will know to host the PHP you write. Instead of saving the empty HTML page as such, save it as something like this: “subscriberform.php”. After your page is created and saved, you’ll then be able to create the form.

Step 2: Make the form using code.

In this step, you’ll write the code to create the form.

If you’re not sure how to create forms in HTML, check out HTML Dog’s resource for a primer on the basics.

The following code is what’s needed for a basic form:

 

<form method="post" action="subscriberform.php">

<textarea name="message"></textarea>

<input type="submit">

</form>

Because this is similar to the HTML-only write-up, these lines will also create a name for the form and an area for subscribers to type a custom message and send it to you.

An important difference is the action=”subscriberform.php” part. This portion of code is what will make the page send the form when submitted.

Step 3: Make the form send an email.

After you create the form and add all the proper fixings depending on your design preferences, it’s time to create the email portion.

For this, you’re going to scroll to the beginning of the page (the very beginning, even before defining the HTML Doctype). To enable sending data in the email, we have to add code that will process the data. Copy this code or create something similar:

 

<?php

if($_POST["message"]) {

mail("[email protected]", "Here is the subject line",

$_POST["insert your message here"]. "From: [email protected]");

}

?>

Everything inside the first and last lines will tell the webpage to make these functions perform as PHP. This code also checks to see if a subscriber uses the form. From there, it checks to see if the form was sent.

Further breaking it down, “mail” sends the completed form as an email to “[email protected],” and the subject line is what follows. In the next line, you can write a copy of the email message inside the quotes, to be sent from whichever email address you choose.

Once the form is submitted, the page sends the data to itself. If the data has been successfully sent, the page sends it as an email. The browser then loads the page’s HTML — the form included.

With that, you have the basic code you need to create the form.

Note that this is just one way to do this. Alternatively, you can also create a form using a builder, and then embed it on your website.

Method 3: Create an Email Send Form Using a Form Builder

If you’re not using WordPress to build your website and are not coding-savvy, you may be at a loss as to how you can create a form. This is especially true if your CMS doesn’t offer a drag-and-drop page editor.

Each of the tools below allows you to build a form that sends an email without any coding. The best part is that you don’t need to change content management systems if you don’t want to. Instead, you can embed the form on your website using each tool’s embed code.

(Pro tip: A drag-and-drop editor can make it much easier and simpler to create an email-sending form. Try CMS Hub. It’s 100% free!)

1. HubSpot: Best Email Form Builder Overall

html email form builder, HubSpot

HubSpot includes a form builder in the free tier of all of its products. Because HubSpot already has your email, it will automatically send you a message when a new entry is submitted.

HubSpot’s form builder is linked with other tools in the platform, including Marketing Hub and CMS Hub. Plus, you don’t need any special technical knowledge. If you want to extend the form to include marketing capabilities, you can do so as well.

For example, you can build custom forms that connect to your contacts list. You can also customize those forms and trigger automatic emails based on the completion of your forms. (Note that the latter requires a premium upgrade.)

If you want to learn how to receive an email after a form submission, take a look at our Knowledge Base article.

2. Forms.io: Best Quick Email Form Builder

html email form builder, Forms.io

Forms.io allows you to quickly create a form in its drag-and-drop interface. Then, you can embed the form on your site using an HTML embed code. You’ll receive an alert or notification, and you can then manage responses in the tool’s backend.

It’s free for 10 users. If your company needs more seats, you can have access for $14.99/month.

3. Jotform: Best Email for Builder for Multiple Forms

html email form builder, jotform

If you expect that you’ll need more than one form, Jotform is a great choice. It gives you several options for embedding forms on your website: JavaScript, iFrame, or the entire source code of the form. You also have the option of creating a lightbox or popup form.

Jotform is free with its branding. Pricing starts at $24/month if you want a water-mark free form.

Check out more form builders here.

Method 4: Create an Email Send Form Using a Plugin

If you’re running a WordPress website, we have good news: You have a plethora of form builder plugins available to you, most of which are free. These tools will all send an email upon receiving a submission.

1. HubSpot Form Plugin: Best for Lead Generation

If you’re planning to use your form as a lead generation tool, then we highly recommend using the HubSpot form plugin. It links directly to your HubSpot account, allowing you to use it in conjunction with HubSpot CRM, Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and more.

html email form plugin, HubSpot

2. WPForms: Best for Embedding Anywhere

WPForms is a drag-and-drop form builder that allows you to configure it to email you upon receiving a submission. You can also embed the form anywhere on your site, including the sidebar and footer.

html email form plugin, WPForms

3. ARForms: Best for Adaptability

ARForms allows you to receive email notifications based on conditions you’ve set, but you can also get email notifications for all submissions. You can also integrate it with other tools in your tech stack, including HubSpot, PayPal, and Google Sheets.

html email form plugin, ARForms

The Importance of HTML Forms that Send Emails

Whether you want to convert more visitors to leads, collect information for your sales team, or create loyal brand advocates, forms are imperative to an inbound strategy.

If you don’t have a form that sends emails, you could be missing out on more leads, increased conversions, and engaged customers.

Start leveling up your forms today.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to choose a content marketing automation platform

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How to choose a content marketing automation platform



A 1917 poster says in bold capital letters: “I WANT YOU FOR THE U.S. ARMY,” along with the famous image of Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer.

In 1917, most advertising was blunt and direct, but in the following 100+ years, consumers have become desensitized to typical marketing strategies. As a result, companies have turned to new forms of marketing to reach their audience.

One of these forms of marketing is content marketing: an indirect type of advertising that delivers blog posts, podcasts, and other forms of content to indirectly market a brand to consumers. Today, businesses can automate many aspects of content marketing, and choosing the right platform for content marketing automation unlocks new efficiencies and return on investment for companies.

Key takeaways:

  • Content marketing is a powerful way to reach customers by providing value through content.
  • Automation makes content marketing efficient and convenient.
  • Optimizely can help you take your content management to the next level.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a new strategy for reaching potential customers by delivering content they want to consume. Content marketing improves the brand’s image by providing useful or entertaining content which builds goodwill and brand recognition among potential customers.

Content marketing takes many forms: podcasts, digital video, webinars, articles, infographics and more. Creating and delivering quality content is difficult because it must deliver on multiple levels: it must be useful, entertaining and informative, but it must also inspire confidence and credibility. In other words, quality content marketing must be both good content and marketing material.

Why would a company spend its marketing dollars on content marketing instead of more direct forms of advertising? There are several reasons content marketing is a good choice for companies:

  • Content marketing improves organic reach by delivering content that customers want to consume. This can range from entertainment like TikTok videos or online quizzes to more serious informative content like how-to guides and video conferences.
  • Content marketing inspires confidence in your brand by establishing your company as an expert and key player in your industry.
  • Content marketing improves goodwill by delivering personable, relatable content that meets customers where they’re at. Rather than trying to make customers interested in your company directly, content marketing capitalizes on the things your customer is already interested in.

image source

 

How to automate content marketing

AI can’t host a podcast or present a webinar (at least not yet), but automation plays an important role in content marketing.

Social media

Social media is one of the largest opportunities for marketers. Social media is the second largest market within the world of digital advertising, second only to search marketing. Content marketing is uniquely poised to cover both categories as it can optimize content for organic search results and social media sharing.

This is where automation comes into the picture: automation can’t take over your social media presence for you, but it can take on some of the most tedious and error-prone aspects of your digital presence. Some key ways you can automate your social media content marketing are by scheduling posts, connecting various social media platforms to publish content on multiple platforms at once, regularly sharing your content, automatically promoting content and more.

Recently, AI has taken significant steps forward in Natural Language Processing (NLP), which makes AI chatbots a powerful way to connect with users on social media platforms (as well as on your platform).

 

Email marketing

A fan of the television show Arrested Development would finish the phrase “The money is in the…” with “banana stand,” but experienced marketers know that the right answer is “the money is in the list.”

This popular phrase refers to the fact that email marketing is one of the most important aspects of a marketing plan, and a longer list of quality leads is one of the most reliable ways to grow sales. Email newsletters are one of the most popular forms of content marketing but sending email after email is a tedious and treacherous process as it creates limitless opportunities for human error.

Automation revolutionizes email marketing by automatically sending emails. With a customer relationship management platform, email automation can automatically send emails based on milestones and timelines and personalize emails based on the customer’s name and history. This level of personalization is difficult for small businesses and impossible for large ones, but with automation, it’s straightforward and convenient.

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Tracking performance 

One of the keys to marketing automation is tracking marketing communication performance. Marketers should be performing A/B testing to see which campaigns perform the best and merit further expansion, but tangibly measuring the outcome of these tests is difficult without the right tools.

Automation helps companies track the performance of their content marketing by collecting data from various platforms, bringing it all into one convenient place and providing metrics about the traffic and conversions coming from each piece of content. 

Features of the right content marketing platform

Harnessing the value of these powerful automation options requires a quality content marketing platform. The right platform should include some qualities that maximize its usefulness.

  • Flexibility. One of the essential functions of automation is the ability to share content on multiple platforms simultaneously. While this is already a powerful option, it becomes more powerful with a headless API that empowers you to deliver content on various platforms.
  • Personalization. 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% become frustrated when companies don’t personalize their communications. The right content marketing platform makes personalization second nature with robust personalization tools that go beyond copy-and-pasting names. Content marketing platforms like Optimizely target personalized digital experiences to dynamic customer segments.
  • Capacity. Your business has unique needs, and your content platform shouldn’t hold you back. Rather than making your job harder, the right content marketing platform makes your job easier by offering a wide range of options and high-capacity storage for all your needs.

When it comes to content management, Optimizely is an industry leader. Optimizely’s advanced tools range from A/B testing, e-commerce support and headless digital experience management.

To learn how Optimizely can help you harness the power of automation and revolutionize your content marketing, request a meeting today to start the next chapter of your marketing journey.


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Skills to Look for in a Freelance Software Developer

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Skills to Look for in a Freelance Software Developer

According to Statista, the number of software developers around the globe is expected to increase to 28.7 million by 2024.

Freelance software developers benefit companies because of the ease and speed with which they can be onboarded and used as project-specific resources. This blog will answer the most asked concerns about using contract services.

Benefits of Hiring Freelance Software Developers

When hiring a freelancer, your first expectation is impeccable skills and expertise, followed closely by cost savings, or vice versa. Here are the most popular reasons why companies choose to hire freelance talent.

Cost-efficiency

Full-time employees cost an organisation a salary, as well as added investments in training, equipment, perks, overheads of utilities and rented space, and benefits such as healthcare and social security.

Freelancers work remotely using personal resources; businesses reduce investments without losing quality.

Reduced Risk

Businesses reduce financial risk by working with freelancers on an hourly, monthly, or project basis. Setting a clearly worded contract that the freelance software developer agrees to and signs, mitigates financial risk and clearly stipulates ownership of intellectual property.

Expertise

Freelancers with niche expertise such as software development company in London, provide companies with the best talents for their projects. Hiring freelancers for different projects allows businesses to match the varying demands of each project, streamlines workflows and ensures productivity.

Global Talent

Businesses choose professional freelancers expecting them to complete any given task with minimum input from the organization. You can access talent from across the globe on platforms such as UpWork, People Per Hour, Fiverr, and Toptal, amongst others. Client reviews on such portals help in assessing proficiency and expertise.

Work Quality

A freelancer is as good as her or his portfolio. Successful freelancers achieve credibility by building long-term relationships and providing consistent quality. Freelancer work depends on referrals and good reviews, hence a potential contract employee’s work portfolio, and reviews showcase their abilities.

Skills of A High-Quality Freelance Software Developer

The first criterion for hiring a developer for your project is knowing what skill sets are needed. List your project specifications to customise your search and determine the expertise required for the project. Freelance developers may work on web development (front-end, back-end, or full-stack developers) or mobile application development.

Front-end freelance developers

Front-end software developers design websites and web applications and manage the graphical interface of websites. They use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and technologies like Foundation, AngularJS, Bootstrap, Backbone, DOM, and EmberJS to create layouts and graphics.

Back-end freelance developers

Back-end developers handle server-side processes such as website security, speed, databases, servers, application logic, and APIs. Back-end developers are typically skilled in Java, Python, and PHP, as well as SQL, Git, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Full-stack freelance developers

Full-stack freelance developers handle both the front and back ends of the website. They are responsible for everything from project planning to website coding. Front-end frameworks include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and backends employ NodeJS, ExpressJS, Django, Flask, and C++. Full stack programmers manage database systems (such as SQL SERVER, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Oracle Database), version control, and web hosting.

Mobile app developers

Mobile app developers develop, create, and test mobile applications for iOS and Android operating systems. Mobile app developers have programming language skills such as NodeJS, PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails. They must also be proficient in back-end frameworks, database management and security, and hardware interaction. They need expertise in UI/UX design, security, and the Internet of things (IoT) for mobile devices.

How to Locate the Best Freelancers  Online

Talent portals such as Upwork, People Per Hour, and Fiverr showcase many talented freelance software developers. Here are steps on how to hire talent from an online opportunity marketplace.

Set a Hiring Budget

Look for similar job postings to learn what are the current hourly rates for the work you require. Define a reasonable budget. Beware that a freelance software developer may have higher hourly rates than regular employees.  

Clearly Define Project Requirements

Freelancers can be effective resources when you provide clear details about your project requirements. Be sure to mention the following

  • Allocated Budget
  • Payment terms
  • Project start and end dates
  • Clear job descriptions
  • Project expectations

Shortlist and Assess Freelance Software Developers

Top software developers typically work harder and achieve results because client reviews are essential to their ongoing success. The details you post make it easier for them to determine if they fit your requirements. Once you begin receiving qualified responses, choose according to their ratings and reviews, your interview process, and any sample project to build software and check their skills.

Six Factors to Consider when Hiring Freelance Sofware Developers

Hiring a freelancer revolves around their technical skills, certifications and education, attitude towards work, and ability to deliver results. Here are some crucial pointers to help you find the most appropriate fit for your project.

Technical Expertise

Freelancers must be able to handle the technical requirements of the project. They should be well-versed in software stacks, coding, development and task management software, version control tools, and deployment processes. Freelance software developers may charge more for specific technical abilities such as mobile app development, web development, or project rescues.

Experience

Freelancers who have worked on similar projects will have come across pain points and solutions. Any relevant experience enhances their expertise for your project and boosts their ability to strategise toward productive outcomes. Note that a freelancer’s experience typically increases their pay rate.

Cost

Experience and expertise increase a freelancer’s worth, but their services must provide value for your money. Knowing current hourly or project rates ensures that you are connecting with the right candidates. Freelancers that accept less payment may be new to the market and want to create a client base. Or, are choosing to supplement their income with multiple projects, which may reduce their work quality.

Professionalism

Education and certifications improve a freelancer’s pay scale, but they do not signal a freelancer’s abilities. The easiest way to gauge work ethic is from social proof such as client endorsements and their portfolio. A professional freelance software developer will openly share these details, with their client’s approval, of course.

Reliability

A reliable freelancer will have a long-standing client base, developed by consistent efforts and proven results. The more repeat customers a freelancer has, the better the chances of them being dependable. The following actions demonstrate the integrity of any freelance work and can be testified by customer reviews.

  • Following instructions
  • Regular updates
  • Quickly responding to queries
  • Willingly accepting critique
  • Meeting deadlines consistently

Location

One of the best features of acquiring freelance talent is access to global resources. Ensure that your communication skills match. Also, check that the culture and holidays in the freelancer’s location do not conflict with project development. Location can also affect fees, where freelancers in the USA charge the highest as compared to their Asian counterparts.

Conclusion

Finding and hiring the right freelance software developers is easy when you have the necessary checklists in place. Software development work is complex, make sure you are vetting your candidates carefully to get the best fit for your project. Good luck!

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State of Content Marketing in 2023

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State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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