Content marketing is about establishing your brand and its authority. You write articles; prospects read them; then one day when they actually want to buy something, and they see your company name in a Google search, they’re inclined to click on your result. It’s all quite straightforward stuff, even if it’s often hard to explain to senior management.
Just because it’s not about direct selling though, doesn’t mean your “content” should be divorced from your sales material. Sure, most people will just read your articles and leave, hopefully with a slightly greater awareness and appreciation of your brand. But at least make it easy for them to move on to the sales material, should they want to. There’s no reason why an educational article or case study can’t have a call to action at the end. And for goodness’ sake, if you’re mentioning products in the text, do link through to their product pages.
Integrating your content marketing material into the “web” of your website should be taken for granted. Too often the content is just orphaned off into a blog which doesn’t really seem part of the website at all.