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Search for a Hachette book, and you'll most likely find what you're looking for at either Amazon or Goodreads, an Amazon-owned website that adds a social dimension to reading and book buying.

That is why the long-running battle with Amazon over e-book pricing is such a high-stakes battle for Hachette—and all publishers. Amazon owns the coveted first position for millions of books; but, more importantly, it owns the customer relationship.

To a large degree, Amazon has achieved its enviable position via content marketing. Which means that an online retailer has effectively beaten a content company at content marketing.

How did that happen? That's a question all marketers need to ask, especially if they want to know how to maximize their content marketing strategy.

Here's a look at some takeaways from the battle between Amazon and Hachette.

1. Educate first, sell second

Seeing Amazon as the biggest, baddest animal in the e-commerce jungle is easy. It has been called the Wal-Mart of the Web because the company is so intently focused on making sales—even at the expense of profit. But how does Amazon attract customers in the first place?

Price and order fulfillment play big roles, but in theory, anyone should be able to undercut and out-deliver Amazon (at least in a specific category in the short run). What keeps Amazon's customers loyal is great content. Providing customers with great content helps Amazon prove its worth as an educator first and seller second.

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image of Seth Dotterer

Seth Dotterer is vice-president of marketing for Conductor, a provider of Web presence management solutions.

LinkedIn: Seth Dotterer

Twitter: @Dotterer