Why is content marketing important? Because it gives depth to your company, content offers something people can connect with. Content marketing is how your story gets told, how you create your own narrative, and how you build a brand, leading to a loyal following of connected buyers, customers, and brand evangelists.
The foundation of content marketing revolves around:
Each area has its own place in content marketing, and using them to your advantage will help you build an effective and impactful strategy for all types of content marketing .
Storytelling: People Buy for Their Reasons, Not Yours
Storytelling has been a foundational element of human nature since the dawn of time. People use stories to share history, ideas, and information, as well as to market their products, explain a concept, or simply reach others on an emotional level.
When you want to tap into those emotions and make genuine connections, you share stories. A business that incorporates storytelling into their brand awareness and marketing campaigns offers clients and customers an opportunity to connect on a level that promotes loyalty and brand advocacy.
Helping clients and customers understand your why (and see beyond the products or service you offer) will move them along in their buyer journey, so you can turn them from interested browsers into committed buyers.
Storytelling promotes awareness by educating your audience, promotes interest by giving your business a new and different angle, and helps stir desire by painting a picture of a new reality for your potential clients or customers. Finally, storytelling leads to action by drawing people in further and making direct personal connections, building on community and camaraderie.
Connection: Humanize Your Brand
Connection is what fosters brand loyalty. It can be made through storytelling, engagement, or finding a mutual purpose. Connection is why customers will continue a relationship with you or your business. While most buying decisions include various decision-making factors (like timing and cost), they also depend on how your company makes your prospective clients or customers feel.
In today’s marketplace, there is a large number of businesses competing for customer attention. The number of marketing tactics that crowd our content consumption can make standing out to your ideal audience a difficult task.
New marketing strategies are being developed daily and some prove to be particularly successful. However, one of the most beneficial differentiators that can help you stand out is making genuine authentic connections with your existing audience. Personal connections will always be unique, which is why they are one of the most effective ways to separate yourself from your competitors.
Content marketing— via email, social media engagement, or blog posts— can help you connect directly with your target audience.
Authority: Solve Your Target Audiences’ Problems in Public (and do it frequently)
Content marketing is a proven way to build authority in your industry. Keep your business relevant, reachable, and knowledgeable about industry updates and trending topics.
Use your online presence to be helpful or insightful to draw customers in before they’re ready to buy, then lead them through the buyer’s journey toward decision making and purchasing.
Authority is more than having up-to-date information— although that is an important part. Authority is also showing up consistently, being responsive to your audience, using a schedule to release certain information, and working to continually improve your business. Content that is consistent and reliable leads to loyal readers and consumers.
Using various types of content marketing to stay in contact with your clients also offers a sense of reliability and connection, contributing further to your increased authority.
Branding: Your Audience Should Know Who You Are
Content marketing can help you establish and solidify your brand image, allowing it to unfold across many different platforms.
The success of your digital marketing strategy rests heavily on your ability to stay consistent within your brand across multiple media channels. Using a repeatable content creation method you can expand your brand voice and get your products or services in front of more people.
Valuable content (i.e., that helps build brand awareness) should have identifiable visuals and useful information. A style guide is a helpful tool to build consistent branded content.
Content marketing allows you to present your values to your audience in more than one way, which helps to solidify your position, building trust among your clients and customers.
Having strong brand identity will help you build authority and generate customer loyalty.
15 Types of Content Marketing and How to Use Them Effectively
Now that you understand how implementing different types of content marketing can help your business, take a look at the options available and determine which marketing strategy is right for your audience.
There are fifteen types of content marketing, generally speaking:
An effective marketing strategy should have an organized content creation process, crafted around specific buyer personas at various stages of the buyer’s journey.
Developing the right plan for your business depends on the needs of your target audience:
- Where do they hang out?
- How can you reach them?
- What kind of content do they like to consume?
Having the answers to these questions will help you develop an effective and impactful content strategy that will improve inbound marketing efforts.
Here are the top fifteen ways you can use different types of content marketing, plus tips on how to use them effectively for your business.
Blogging is an ideal way to get long form content on your site. A blog allows you to discuss industry updates, product or service changes, relevant laws, or provide tips and tricks to prospective buyers.
You can also drive more organic traffic to your site with a blog because it can improve your ranking in organic search results— when done strategically and properly.
Google processes approximately forty thousand searches per second, so that’s 3.5 million searches per day. Millions of users search Google to find products, services, and (most importantly) answers to their questions. A blog is a great way to answer some of the most pressing questions in your industry, which will help build your authority with potential customers.
Maintaining a blog requires a strong foundational set up and a plan to produce ongoing content with quality information that is accurate, up to date, helpful, and relevant.
According to Hubspot, businesses who blog get 67% more leads than businesses who don’t.
Millions of searches are performed each day, so there is a wealth of opportunity for businesses to offer their insight and advice to existing and future clients.
A good blogging strategy includes a consistent posting schedule and relevant keywords. The most effective way to improve your search engine ranking is by posting useful content, on a reliable schedule, that is easily indexed with strategic keyword placement (which helps Google bots categorize your site and get it in front of the right people).
To get your posts on the first page of google, you have to craft value-driven content, use high-authority/relevant links, and intentionally place keywords in a natural way.
Develop a Keyword Strategy
The importance of a keyword strategy for your blog cannot be overstated. If you’re blogging without one, your posts may never be read, rendering them useless and your time wasted.
Search engines strive to show reliable, valuable content to their users. Crafting content in the terms these users are entering helps search engines classify your posts. Operating within the parameters of a search engine can be difficult because the algorithms are always being updated. There is one aspect of SEO that continues to drive engagement— using a keyword strategy.
Developing a keyword strategy takes research, brainstorming, and specialized tools. The best way to write directly to your audience is to find out what kind of content they’re already reading and enjoying (or what questions they’re asking and entering into search engines) within your industry.
To develop your own keyword strategy:
- Generate a list of relevant terms or phrases. This is also known as a “seed” keyword list.
- Plug these keyword phrases into a tool that can help you determine search volume, competitive metrics, and related terms.
- Good free tools to use include Google Keyword Planner (for volume and ideas only), Answer the Public, and Google Trends.
- Good paid tools include Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, SEMRush, and Moz Open Site Explorer.
With your list of keywords, you can continue to search relevant terms and phrases, or revisit questions, surveys, and feedback for additional topics. Please note that this does not even come close to being a comprehensive keyword strategy.
Create a Content Calendar
After you’ve developed your keyword strategy and have a list of topics to start your content planning, you should move on to creating a content calendar.
Planning content in advance is a great way to make sure you’re writing content to reach each member of your buyer persona, as well as writing to each stage of the buying journey.
Keeping a healthy mix of content pieces that speak to different buyer personas (and at various stages of their buying journey) will help you reach a wider range of people and keep them engaged.
A content calendar will also help you organize content around events, holidays, upcoming employee vacations, and new business developments.
Using your keyword list and a calendar, you should plan your topics out at least three months in advance. The keywords will serve as topic inspiration and a calendar helps keep the content categorized, organised, and relevant.
Additionally, when using a calendar, you can track and rotate throughout the necessary personas and buyer stages.
2. Social Media
Social media is one of the best methods for content marketing available to businesses. It allows your audience to engage directly with your company and makes your business reachable, relatable, and relevant.
To maximize engagement and ROI with social media as a part of your content strategy, develop a method to post and then engage with followers.
Consistency is the key to building your audience. Offering valuable information and responding to follower interactions contributes to brand loyalty and helps keep your followers engaged.
Choosing the right platform to reach your ideal clients is the key to gaining real traction with your marketing strategy. Find out which platform is best for your target demographic to maximize your marketing efforts.
Facebook currently leads the world of social media as the top-used platform. Approximately 68% of adults in the US have a Facebook Profile.
Their platform is simple to use and since a majority of adults hang out there, it offers a great marketing opportunity. The age range for a majority of users is 18 to 65, with an even split of male and female. It is possibly the largest space to connect with a wide range of demographics that is available for free.
Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) is another widely used social media platform, but the two have few similarities. Instagram is visually-based, where images, pictures, and graphics are the focus. Unlike Facebook, you cannot post on Instagram without adding a photo or graphic; there is no direct option for text only.
At over one billion monthly users, Instagram offers a great opportunity to reach your audience, as long as you’re targeting a younger demographic. Approximately 90% of Instagram users are younger than thirty-five.
Twitter isn’t right for everyone but many businesses have found their own unique ways to leverage the platform. Local municipalities use it for traffic updates, corporations use it for faster delivery of customer service, and others use it for dissemination of marketing videos, sales, and other flash announcements.
Twitter has been a reliable source in recent years for news updates and keeping up with real-time information changes. There are approximately 321 million users on their platform to date and an overwhelming majority are male— 69%.
LinkedIn is geared toward executives, or recent college graduates looking to work with or for executives. There are 630 million users on LinkedIn with 90 million senior-level influences and 10 million c-level executives. Male users hold a slight majority and more than 70% of all users are outside of the US.
It is an excellent platform to frame the conversation around professional development, business, motivation, collaboration, or other similar business themes. At the time of this writing, the social network is developing a very similar look and feel to Facebook although with its own unique features like Sales Navigator, InMail, and the ability to showcase professional accomplishments among other things.
Snapchat differs from most other social platforms. Short videos and images with text overlay are shared either directly or on a user’s story, and then disappear within seconds. Snaps typically cannot be viewed more than once and if someone takes a screenshot of your snap, you’re sent a notification so you can see where users engage and what they’re interested in.
If your target audience is younger females, Snapchat is a great way to connect and participate in that demographic.
YouTube is one of the most effective marketing tools available. Over 90% of 18 to 44 year olds watch YouTube videos. You can find entertainment, learn a skill or a language, watch make-up tutorials, learn to paint your fender, or see an in-person review of a new vacuum cleaner or power tool.
Managing Engagement and Reviews
Having a social media marketing strategy is vital to the growth of your business. Your strategy should include methods for promoting your content and engaging with your followers.
Consistently releasing engaging content helps to encourage engagement from your community, within your content. Ask your followers questions, welcome them to comments, or incentivize engagement with giveaways and discounts.
In addition to engaging with ideal buyers, you should have a strategy for responding to reviews left on your social pages. Social media reviews are a great way to get feedback from consumers of your products and services and also demonstrate social proof of the effectiveness of your business to potential buyers.
Responding to positive reviews is easy, but buyers will watch how you respond to negative reviews, they can impact their decision to purchase from you as well.
Responding to bad reviews can be difficult. Negative social reviews can have a big impact on the success of your business. It’s not always bad to have negative reviews, so your strategy should not be to remove them. Leave them up and work out a process to respond to the buyer and hopefully rectify the matter. Showing other consumers, or potential consumers, that you’re open to criticism and can handle all kinds of reviews will help to increase your credibility and authority.
In addition, it will show people that you care about the results of your service or product, so they can expect quality from your business.
The Importance of Measuring Analytics
Creating an effective social media strategy requires tracking of success, failures, and mediocre results. In order to reach the right people, and achieve the results you’re looking for, you need to understand what works for your business and what needs to be improved.
After you’ve developed your marketing plan, create a process to review your strategy at various intervals— daily, weekly, monthly, annually. While you do want to allow a sufficient amount of time to measure results, you do not want to hold on to an ineffective strategy for too long.
Monitoring and tracking results for comparison will give you a granular and overarching perspective on each marketing technique so you can adjust accordingly.
3. Case Studies
Demonstrate great results achieved within your business by using a case study of your results. Case studies are content pieces that help a potential client or customer understand exactly how your product or service has benefited another client or customer in the past.
Case studies offer social proof, occasionally include numbers and statistics, and should be based on real-life results.
How Case Studies Make an Effective Marketing Tool
Using case studies helps demonstrate your value to prospective clients by giving them a real-word scenario with a positive outcome plus a testimonial from a happy buyer.
Case studies are in-depth product, or service, reviews of your business. You can help potential clients understand how your business will help by demonstrating the kinds of results they can expect to achieve.
5 Elements of a High-Quality Case Study
A good case study has to include these important elements; without them, the information may not be seen as credible or reliable.
Creating a template or format for sharing your case study results will ensure you hit each necessary point within your case studies, as well as make drafting them faster and easier.
1. Numbers and Data
You must have numbers and data from your clients to share in your case study. Talking about results is great, and hitting on the points your audience is looking for is necessary, but stories— or case studies— are only as credible as their data.
Include actual numbers if you can; if you’re concerned about sharing specific numbers within a study, use percentages. There’s a notable difference between saying, “We added 125 people to their subscriber list” and “We increased their subscriber list by 400%.”
2. Client Name
Anonymous case studies won’t have the same credibility as a case study with a client’s name, someone the reader feels they can identify with.
Having an anonymous case study may be better than not writing about or publishing stellar results, but it’s ideal to seek out a client who would be a willing participant.
3. Information on Prior Methods
Every case study should include some background on the client spotlighted within the piece. Helping the reader understand where the client started and what position they were in prior to engaging with your company will help the reader connect to the story.
Show the reader how you’ve worked with people in positions similar to theirs and talk about methods the spotlight client used in the past that weren’t able to produce the desired result. This gives your potential customers a point of connection within the story.
4. Action Taken to Achieve Results
Talk about the specific steps that were taken to achieve the desired results. When people read a case study, they want to know the results, but more importantly, they want to know how those results were achieved.
You don’t have to tell them in detail how your business gets the job done, but helping readers understand the basic principles, and inviting further discussion with a call to action, will help harbor interest and curiosity.
The very point of the case study is to discuss the outcome. A conclusion must be included, otherwise it’s not worth writing.
Each section of the case study should lead up to the conclusion in some way, then make sure you’ve articulated your conclusion so the results and benefits are clearly understood. You should also make sure the process is easily understood and the data clear.
How to Get People to Read Your Case Studies
Writing a case study is useless to your marketing efforts if you can’t get it in front of your ideal audience. Promoting your case study to the right group will help you gain traction, build a list of qualified leads, and generate traffic to your site or social pages.
Here are three effective ways to use your case study:
- Lead Magnet: Using your case study as a lead magnet on your website is an ideal way to grow your email list. You’ll be targeting people who are interested in the results you can provide and can continue engaging with them via email.
- Social Media: Sharing on social media will help you reach a large audience and get traffic to your content. You can publish case study results right on a social platform like LinkedIn or Medium or you can add links to your email sign-up page, so people can get a copy sent right to their inbox.
- Website: Publishing case studies as blog posts is a great way to mix up your blog content and keep your audience interested in the results your business can offer. Continually publishing new case studies with new clients helps to keep your information up-to-date and demonstrates a pattern of positive results.
Service and product based businesses alike can benefit from case studies. It’s a great tool to give an in-depth outline of your work and associated outcomes. Clients should be able to identify with the client spotlighted in the study to see how working with you will lead to achieving their desired results.
An ebook is an in-depth way to share ideas and insight about your industry. You can teach others to implement certain strategies or provide an outline for successful business practices.
Writing and publishing an ebook does not require you to be an author, and you don’t need your idea approved to publish and sell an ebook. It may be beneficial to hire a professional writer to create the content, an editor to check for quality assurance, and a marketing strategist to help you market and launch the book.
Promoting and Marketing an Ebook
When you write a book, it’s a good idea to start your marketing efforts early. You can begin before you’ve finished the book by announcing the release date and requesting pre-orders or launch notifications. It’s also a great way to raise pre-launch funding to help with release and marketing.
One of the best places to market your book is through social media. If you already have a following, they will be more likely to purchase a piece of content that embodies your work.
You can purchase ads on any social platform, but due to the sheer number of users across a wide range of demographics, Facebook is a great place to spend your money on ads, build your email list, and set up audience retargeting.
Self-Publishing and Independent Selling
An ebook can be released in any format and there is no requirement to have your ebook sold on Amazon or to be picked up by a publishing house. Books don’t have to become best sellers; their purpose can simply be to help build your audience, grow your email list, lead to speaking opportunities, or promote other business growth strategies.
A book can be written, converted to PDF format, and sold on your own website. You can also send it out to an existing email list or promote to your social following.
If you want a published book that would be sold on sites like Amazon, the most cost-effective way to accomplish this is through self-publishing. You can list and promote directly through Amazon.
If you already have a large following, promoting your book within your email list should prove to be successful and publishing at all may not be necessary.
5. White Papers
White papers serve as a marketing tool specifically for a new product or service launch. Using a white paper to outline new features, highlight business improvements, or demonstrate a cutting-edge solution is a way to offer education and updates to your customers.
A white paper is a thorough announcement, giving in-depth information and details on a recent launches, improvements, updates, or major changes. They can be published on a website or blog, shared in a topic journal, or used as a lead generation tool.
White Papers v. Case Studies
A white paper differs from a case study in that a white paper is meant to focus on the features of a product or service. The specifications are highlighted in a way that helps potential buyers understand how they benefit from engaging with your business.
Case studies focus on a particular outcome while using a product or service. In a typical case study, there would be a user or customer experience would be highlighted and the results are focused on their experience. A white paper does not focus on a user, but will instead outline the specifications of a product or service with anticipated outcomes and results.
When to Publish a White Paper
A white paper is an effective marketing tool, when it’s used the right way. If you publish white papers every quarter, or even bi-annually without good cause, you may reduce the value of your marketing materials.
An in-depth, thorough, detailed marketing tool should be published when it’s absolutely necessary and there is a place for it in the market. The concept outlined in the white paper should generate excitement and your industry should be looking forward to the release.
Here are examples of when it’s time to publish a white paper:
- There has been a significant change within your industry
- Your business has rebranded, has improved, or is planning a relaunch
- You have created or refined an existing product or service
Repurpose into Evergreen Content
Creating content that is focused on a particular development doesn’t mean that content cannot be reused or repurposed at a later date.
You can turn a white paper into evergreen content by reviewing and updating the piece often, keeping the overarching theme about the industry development present. Add updated information about how it’s worked, how it’s changed, or how it continues to prove its capabilities.
White paper content can later be broken up into social media posts, released in a blog post series, or expanded upon to create an ebook.
6. Gated Content and Lead Magnets
Gated content, or lead magnets, can be any kind of content that a user has to trade personal information to access. For example, creating a landing page for access a case study or ebook, or encouraging users to sign up to a waitlist for new announcements and releases.
Users provide their name, email address, and occasionally some additional details about themselves or their business in exchange for more information. Creating gated content can make your content offers more appealing with an elevated status. Since the content is not available without trading information, it can be assumed to hold more value than freely released content.
You can also connect with you audience in a different way when you have access to them personally. You get to know who’s visited your site and what they’re interested in, so you can continue refining your marketing efforts with specific, personalized information.
Growing Your Email List
Growing your email list is the best way to keep track of your following. Social media profiles are borrowed platforms, and while growing a social media following is important and necessary in today’s marketing landscape, any changes to the platforms mean you lose access to your followers.
Using gated content to gather email addresses will help keep you in contact with your ideal audience. When you grow an email list, you’re able to protect the information and guarantee that you don’t lose access to it.
A customer relationship management system, or CRM, is where you can store email address and categorize prospective clients and customers; however, you should keep a copy of your email list in a more tangible or protected space
Curating Content to Share
Developing a lead magnet is the best way to get sign-ups for your email list. A lead magnet can consist of an ebook, a white paper, case study, a checklist, or some other document that offers value to a reader, or it can be a collection of curated content.
There is a lot of information online and when someone has set out on an internet search to find answers, they are often led down a rabbit hole that keeps them clicking, reading, and spending time on websites.
A good way to serve your customers is being creating guides of curated content, or creating a hub where content can be accessed easily. Helping interested buyers find information quickly, and return to it when they need to, helping establish your authority and reliability.
Another way to generate leads, or gather email addresses, is through a paid membership site. A membership site can house all of your content, ebooks, webinars, white papers, case study, or even a collection of archived blog posts.
Creating a paid membership is a great way to generate passive income, and it’s also a great way to keep your audience relying on your material. Developing a space where clients and customers can continually return for past information and updated information will facilitate loyalty and brand advocacy.
When you think about content marketing, podcasts are not typically the first tool that comes to mind, but they are content and can be very effective for content marketing.
When launching a podcast, one of the most important aspects of success is consistency. Before your podcast is released, make sure you’ve outlined a posting strategy, a content calendar, and a schedule for release.
It’s not necessary to release podcasts daily, or even weekly, but it is important to keep a reliable schedule. Keeping a consistent schedule depends on having content to discuss. Create a content calendar to plan out your episodes and streamline your content creation process.
A strategic, repeatable content creation process that can be easily followed will guarantee you’re able to produce unique, personalized content for your audience for each episode.
Developing a Strategy to Create
Develop a strategy for creating new content consistently. In order to fill your calendar with interesting, value-driven ideas, you need to have a method for seeking out inspiration.
You may have bursts of ideas at one time, if that is the case, you should make a list and store the ideas as soon as they come to mind so you can refer back and plug in the topics to your calendar.
Otherwise, you need to actively look for ways to curate content that will stay relevant to your audience and provide value that keeps clients engaged with your business.
Find content ideas through:
- Keyword research: search for terms relevant to your industry; find related words and topics to generate additional ideas
- RSS feed: using an RSS feed is a great way to monitor blogs you follow that offer similar or relevant content; you can use these to spark ideas or create reactive content
- Survey your list: engaging your existing clients and subscribers is a great way to find out what they hope to learn from you
Gathering content is a great way to spark ideas; organizing your ideas into a calendar will help you develop a long term strategy that can be repeated over and over again.
Podcast success is dependent on consistency and value, both of which can be easily achieved with the right strategy.
Repurposing Prior Content
Repurposing prior content provides you with an opportunity to update content you may have previously released. There might have been industry changes since the content was last published, there may be additional tools and resources available that’s relevant to the content— or it may just be great content that should be shared in another format.
Reviewing content you’ve previously published can offer new ideas and help lead to additional content inspiration. The best way to edit and refine previously released content is to continue reviewing, editing, and updating even after it’s been released.
Promoting well-established methods and ideas is a proven successful way to build a loyal following. If you’ve had success releasing an idea or perspective on one platform, it’s possible to duplicate that success on another. Repurposing content also requires less effort than creating fresh new ideas.
Importance of Reviews
Gathering reviews for your podcast is social proof that your content and ideas are valuable and worth a listen. Having a lot of reviews will help your podcast appear established and credible.
You’re not likely to get reviews without asking for them so it’s important to include a CTA in your podcast, as you would within any content you’re using for marketing purposes. At the end of each podcast episode, you should make a point of requesting that the listeners provide a review of the show.
This will help with feedback and finding what resonates with your audience, as well as demonstrate your authority and credibility.
Another effective way of generating multiple reviews is by incentivizing your listeners with a giveaway or contest where eligible entries depend on authentic reviews.
After Google, YouTube is the second most accessed website. Videos are easier to watch than a blog post is to read. It’s also easier sometimes to understand certain concepts when you see an associated action.
Video is one of the most popular types of content marketing tools available. While YouTube is a very popular site, there are other social platforms where you can post videos, recorded or live, and engage with your audience.
Where to Post Videos
Because of YouTube’s popularity, you might believe that you should post videos to YouTube before sharing them elsewhere. Fortunately, you can record videos on other platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, so starting with YouTube is not necessary.
Creating a YouTube channel to release videos as part of your content marketing strategy requires building a following for that specific media platform. If you already have an established Facebook following, it might make more sense for your business to post videos through Facebook, either pre-recorded or live.
The content creation process for videos is similar to the content creation process for other types of marketing materials, you need to have a repeatable process for generating new ideas or repurposing old content. You’ll also need a consistent posting schedule, and method for promoting your content.
When you use a platform like YouTube to grow a following, it’s important to maintain consistency and, similar to podcasts, avoid posting too often so you are not duplicating or repeating your own material and ideas.
Using a platform like Instagram or Facebook, you can be more sporadic with your videos as long as your standard content is maintained on a schedule.
Optimal Video Length
According to Hubspot, the optimal length for a YouTube video is two minutes. If you have a lot of content that could not be expressed well within two short minutes, you can release a series of videos.
The optimal length for a Facebook video is one minute. Users want to be able to digest the material quickly and then continue scrolling their feed so short bursts of information work best.
Live Videos v. Recorded
Live streaming has become one of the most popular forms of content consumption and interest in it continues to rise.
According to Facebook, live videos are three times more popular with their audience. If you’re going to record a live video, you should have a script outline, and should consider practicing what you’re going to talk about before you start recording.
Pre-recorded videos are a great opportunity to create custom-branded content and include text overlays, adjust lighting, and make sure the content is refined and error-free.
With a shortening attention span and a crowded digital marketing space, using images and graphics in your marketing helps your information stand out. Infographics are a great way to communicate ideas at a high-level, as they can outline a concept or deliver information in a quick and fluid manner.
Many concepts can be broken down into easy-to-digest steps and stages which can be transferred and expressed simply with an infograph.
Using an infographic, you can present an overview of certain concepts or ideas, take a blog post outline and create an image.
Condensing the content can help capture a reader’s attention and give them an overview of what they’ll learn within the content.
Outline Strategies, Ideas, and Concepts
Infographics are ideal for delivering an outline in a simplified format. Ideas are easily communicated from beginning to end and the right images or color patterns can help make people more receptive to certain ideas or open to learning.
You can also explain a concept using an infographic which can help to classify certain steps or stages, bring attention to specific areas of focus, or highlight important steps.
Where to Use Infographics
Infographics can be used within blog posts, as social media images, or within books, case studies and papers. They’re a great complement to text-based information and can help someone digest information that is otherwise complex or highly technical.
Use infographics strategically, there is no need to create one for every blog post you write. They are a great option, however, to repurpose content, and can be created and shared more quickly than other types of content.
Webinars are a helpful, and sometimes more sophisticated, alternative to videos. A webinar is a presentation, sometimes including a video feed of the presenter, that either educates or offers and overview of a concept or idea.
Most webinars include:
- Chat or Q&A box
- Education or Directive
Webinars are typically used for education purposes and are promoted in advance so that the audience can sign up and set aside time to attend.
Determining the length of the webinar and content provided, you can either offer it as a lead magnet and build your mailing list or you can set a price point and position it to generate passive income for your business.
Webinars Educate and Provide Insight
There is a lot of work that goes into creating a webinar, especially with a branded presentation that offers value and invites continued engagement.
When a potential client signs up for a webinar, they are committing to spending time listening to your content. You have their attention and a great opportunity to demonstrate your value, as well as what a continued partnership will look like to them.
Your webinar contents need to be unique, helpful, and most importantly, actionable. After watching an educational video, a viewer needs something to take away and implement right away, even if that’s as simple as a mindset shift.
Including something actionable in your webinar will help provide value and demonstrate credibility within your business.
Where to Use Webinars in a Buyer’s Journey
When planning your content marketing strategies, it’s important to consider different stages of the buyer’s journey regardless of the platform you’re using.
At the beginning of their journey, they’ll experience awareness about your brand or business. In order to help move them along through each stage and help them convert to a buyer, you’ll want to use content that speak to them at their specific stage.
Free webinars are a great tool to transition a potential buyer from awareness to consideration. Offering free content that provides value will help them move toward the decision to work with you or purchase from your business.
Paid webinars are a great tool to offer classes, instructions, or training on tools or software. Once someone has made the decision to purchase from you, it’s easier to upsell your bigger ticket items or services.
Best Equipment to Create a Quality Webinar
A qualify webinar must be produced with quality equipment to be effective in marketing. Great ideas and information are the base for creating a useful webinar, but beyond that you need to have the right hardware to produce a professional webinar.
To create a high-quality webinar you will need:
- Presentation software, i.e. Keynote or PowerPoint
- Recording Software, preferably with screen sharing
- Laptop or Camera
Using a specific platform to house your webinars gets a buyer off a social platform and focused on your content. Within the platforms you can include additional free or paid resources to engage your viewer further and keep them interested in your products.
Market your content to people who’ve already expressed an interest in your business by building an email list. Once someone has provided you with their email address, you can begin to nurture the relationship.
Offer subscribers unique content that interests and engages In order to nurture and grow your relationship with your subscribers.
Exclusive Content for Your Email List
Keep subscribers interested in your business by offering them a reward for staying on your email list— exclusive content.
You can provide notifications of new content that’s been released, expand on previously released content with a more in-depth take, or open your email to questions and suggestions to keep readers active participants in your marketing efforts.
Discount or Pre-order Offers
Pre-orders for new products or discounts for products or services is another option to offer your email list with exclusive content. You can not only increase the number of sales you make during your launch, but you’re able to share exclusive offers with loyal customers.
Rewarding customers for their loyalty and showing appreciation will lead to paying customers becoming brand advocates and business evangelists.
Most Valuable Marketing Asset
Your email list is your most valuable marketing asset because it’s the only group of information you own. Working within social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a great way to build a community, but you do not own the platforms, so you could lose your following, your profile, and your connection without notice.
Having personal email addresses for your customers means that regardless of what happens on social platforms or with Google algorithms, you can still reach your ideal clients.
12. Interviews and Industry Highlights
Performing interviews with subject matter experts in your industry can be a great resource for potential buyers, but also for other businesses or individuals you’d like to add to your network.
There are various ways to release reviews and highlights:
- Email blast
- Blog posts
Interviewing and connecting with others in your industry is a great way to demonstrate your authority and knowledge, as well as your stability and commitment in working within the industry.
Choosing Partners Strategically
Interviews and highlights are great content marketing tools, but it’s important to choose interview subjects strategically.
When choosing a subject to interview make sure they’re well-known within the industry or have specific results or data to share with your audience.
Talk with the subject prior to scheduling the interview so you can walk through the content of the interview and let them know what you’re hoping to offer to your readers or listeners by doing this interview.
If you choose a partner with a loyal customer base of their own, you can request that your interview or highlight piece be shared with their community, helping to garner interest in your business from customers interested in relevant information.
Increased Authority through Connection
Aligning yourself with subject matter experts is a great way to increase your authority by association. Demonstrating that you know the key players in your field or stay up-to-date on industry developments shows your commitment and continued interest.
Working with established players in your industry will increase your borrowed authority, increasing your overall authority by association.
13. Interactive Content
Interactive content can consist of any piece of content that encourages interaction from your audience. A CTA (or call to action) can make any piece of content interactive. However, truly effective interactive content requests feedback from the audience.
Allowing clients and customers to contribute to your business and its development helps engage them further and move them toward brand loyalty.
Quizzes, Questionnaires, Chatbots
Quizzes, surveys, questionnaires, and chatbots are an impactful way to engage your audience. Providing questions and accepting feedback helps to balance the relationship with the potential customer and build trust between them and your business.
You can include a quiz to determine archetypes, personality types, or business management styles. Doing so helps the quiz-taker learn more about themselves and hopefully triggers a desire to engage with your content further or move to the decision-making stage in their buyer’s journey.
A great way to gather content ideas is to ask your readers what they want to learn from you. Sending out a questionnaire to your email list will help draw out content they’re looking for and give you an edge in connecting with them further.
Chatbots can be used to engage with customers who’ve visited your website or social media platforms. Using a chatbot can help you answer frequently asked questions— which can also be turned into new content— and it will give you an opportunity to keep the potential buyers attention by offering them a point of engagement.
Feedback is Invaluable for Ongoing Marketing
Using interactive features in your content marketing efforts is invaluable. When you’re able to communicate with your ideal customers, you can find out what they want from you and what they hope to gain from reading consuming content.
Personalize content further by using interactive responses and frequently asked questions as ideas to generate more content that will serve your clients and customers.
Real Engagement v. One-sided Content Sharing
Interactive content allows businesses to engage with their ideal audience. When a blog post is published, an email is sent, or a social media post is released, the content is one-sided.
Offering the information without encouraging interaction means there is no way to continue engaging with a potential customer after they’ve moved on from the content.
Encouraging interaction leads to continued relationships and additional opportunities to serve your audience.
14. Reactive Content
Respond to Information and Events
Reactive content marketing is a way of releasing content that reacts to events or industry changes.
Using reactive content in your content marketing strategy builds authority and credibility demonstrating expertise and active participation in your industry.
Incorporating reactive content can be as simple as strategizing a response to major industry changes. It’s not necessary to respond to everything that has occurred, but it helps to show a commitment to your field to become an active participant in updates, changes, and adjustments.
Publishing Reactive Content
Reactive content can be published in many different formats. If the matter being addressed is a major industry change or update, reactive content can easily become evergreen content. Helping your audience understand a change or trace back to a previous methods is an ideal use for reactive content.
Responding to industry fads or newer marketing tactics can produce dated content. It’s important to strategically release reactive content to keep your marketing platforms relevant, useful, and up-to-date.
Reactive content can be published on:
- Social media platforms
- Publishing Platforms like Medium
Evaluating whether the content can become evergreen or will stay relevant for only a short period of time can help you determine where you can share it with the most impact.
Provide Thought Leadership
Reactive content is a great opportunity to become a thought leader in your industry. If you’re continuing to stay up to date with industry changes and can provide valuable or informative perspectives, people will come to rely on your take when news breaks.
Content marketing is about creating relationships, telling stories, and sharing information. The best way to do that is by staying engaged in all aspects of your industry and demonstrating the relevance and value of your business.
15. Guest Posting and Guest Speaking
Guest posting, or speaking, helps to get your business in front of a different audience, one that will be warmed to your products and services due to the borrowed authority of someone they follow.
Seeking out posting and speaking opportunities should be a part of your regular content marketing strategy to continue growing your network, sharing your audience, and introducing your business to qualified leads.
Contributing to Other Blogs
Offering to provide content for other blogs is a good opportunity to gain additional sharing opportunities with a new audience and can help to continually grow your reach with little effort on your part.
When contributing to other blogs, keep the content focused on value, education, and actionable items. Avoid plugging your own business too often. Most sites that accept guest posting will have requirements regarding the content, links, and sharing obligations.
Impact of Borrowed Authority
When you guest post on a site or allow a guest poster to contribute to your content plan, you’re generating borrowed authority that helps to establish and solidify your own authority.
Working with experts and contributing to industry discussions lends to building a credible brand that people can rely on for information.
Establishing your business as an authority can give you an edge among your competition. If your industry is crowded and you’re struggling to stand out, a strong differentiator can be your granular knowledge of your business and related matters.
Building a brand founded on authority offers a solid foundation for successful content marketing campaigns. Your content will be more successful if you stay knowledgeable, up-to-date, and engaged.
Exposure to a Qualified Audience
Reaching a qualified audience is more impactful than pitching to a cold audience. The potential clients are already part-way through their buyers journey and are likely on the decision-making stage.
Reaching qualified leads will reduce the overall expense of marketing since you will not have to guide the buyer to and through the first stage of purchasing. You’re able to concentrate your efforts on highlighting the benefits of your business and the transformation a client or customer can expect to experience.
Track and Monitor Effectiveness
For any marketing strategy to be effective, you have to monitor the impact. Understand how people are responding to your content and evaluate the impact of your overall strategy.
A successful content marketing strategy will start with an outline and a plan. Set goals to keep your progress moving on an upward trajectory. Allow a sufficient amount of time for new strategies to be implemented before you determine if their effective or not.
Marketing Strategies are Fluid
Creating a plan to continually sell your business is not a set-it-and-forget-it formula. Because of the ever changing digital platform, you need to constantly monitor your marketing efforts and have a plan to adapt as landscapes, regulations, and interests change.
Marketing efforts require maintenance. Before you set out to establish your content marketing plan, focus on the goals for your business.
There are many different strategies to help you reach your goals, choose one and get started. If it doesn’t provide the results you want, you can switch to a different method of marketing. When you’re happy with the outcome, you can duplicate the process for continued success.
Digital marketing is always changing. You may find an effective content marketing strategy and then an algorithm change is made, or a company’s financial status changes. Your marketing efforts could be impacted by factors beyond your control. Understanding the ever evolving platforms will help you create fluid marketing strategies that can grow with your business.
How Long it Takes to See Results
Before you determine the effectiveness of a marketing plan, you need to evaluate the length of time the effort has been in place, and the promotional results that take place around the content.
A perfectly optimized blog post will not automatically show up on the first page of Google. You will need to first have an established and authoritative domain, which takes time.
SEO implemented to improve your website copy or your blog posts could take up to eighteen months to produce results. Ranking on the first page of Google is a tremendous accomplishment and will typically lead to a constant flow of qualified leads. In addition to a financial investment, content marketing also requires a time investment.
If you’re implementing a new social media strategy, or email marketing strategy, you should allow at least ninety days before you decide if the process is effective.
Importance of Understanding SEO for Your Content
Search engine optimization is a hot topic for all businesses advertising in the digital marketing space. Optimizing your website copy and your blog posts helps search engine bots crawl your site and categorize it appropriately.
The better search engine bots can understand your content, the easier it is to put it in front of the right audience. SEO is a great way to improve your organic search results and drive authentic traffic to your business.
Optimize Content for Readership Not Search Engines
Optimize your site for the reader and potential buyer. SEO is an important tool to incorporate in your content marketing process, but Google is looking to promote engaging, user-friendly, and helpful content to their users to improve the value of their search engine.
Most people rely on search engines to provide useful, accurate, up-to-date results, which leaves search engines with the tasks of finding the best content to feature on their first page.
When writing content directly to your audience, hitting on their pain points and solving their problems, while using an intentional keyword strategy, your chances of creating audience-favored content increases which will in-turn improve your SEO rankings.
Developing a Keyword Strategy for All Content
Keywords should be a driving force behind your content creation process. Posting useful and informative content is a good start, but your content needs to be framed in a way that connects readers who are searching for answers.
Use a keyword research tool to find relative keywords, or find data on a word or phrase you would like to create content around.
When you’re trying to generate keyword ideas:
- Consider FAQs in your field
- Think about what your ideal customer would search
- Use keyword research tools and check for related terms
- Search topics in Google and find related searches
Using a keyword strategy will help you create topics to fill your content calendar, topics that will speak to you ideal customer and make search engine indexing easier.
Hashtags were originally created by Twitter to help index topics. They’ve since been incorporated on other social media platforms and have become a marketing staple for platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
Users can search for hashtags, or click on a hashtag in a post and see related posts. Using the pound (#) symbol plus a word will add a hashtag to your social media post.
- Increase audience engagement
- Identify related products and services
- Brand your content
- Create a sense of community
A hashtag strategy— similar to a keyword strategy— requires research. Implementing a hashtag strategy into your social media content will put your posts in front of people who are interested in that topic, leading to more engagement and higher number of qualified buyers.
How SEO is Changing
Search engine algorithms are always changing, which means your SEO strategies will need to evolve with new developments.
Search engines and data gathering has become complex. Artificial intelligence and machine learning help software developers gather information to help improve user experience.
Crawling data and indexing web content has become refined and strategic.
Keywords will remain an important part of indexing content and SEO ranking, but domain authority, value, and readability will all be considered and impact ranking.
When creating content for optimization, lay a basic foundation first with:
- Keyword strategy
- Valuable content
- Unique perspective
Google will be looking for authoritative, unique, helpful, well-written content to show their users in order to optimize the user experience. Keeping your ideal buyer in mind will help you create content that stays at the top of search engine ranks.
Managing Social Media and Search Engine Changes
Search engines are in the business of user satisfaction. If users are satisfied they’ll continue returning to the site. In order to produce the best results, search engines continue refining their search and index process.
The search and index process is run by a search engine algorithm. Algorithms use data to classify information, the more data available, the more specific the classification which leads to targeted results for search engine users.
Recent updates with Google and popular social media have impacted the way businesses structure their content marketing.
- Google changed their algorithm, which led to some previously first page content finding itself on the fourth page. New factors affect the ranking of content and traffic changes can happen over night.
- Pinterest went public. When Pinterest announced its plans to go public, there was talk about whether this would have a positive or negative impact on businesses who rely on the platform for traffic referrals. Understanding the changes will help you implement a strategy that will help carry you through the changes.
- Twitter increased their character count. This is not necessarily a negative change, but it is one that will impact content marketing strategies. Working with a larger character count allows you to expand further on your message, but it’s worth determining if a longer message is really needed.
Digital marketing is fluid, so a strategy that works this year may not work in the next. Keeping up with platform changes will help you determine the right time to update your strategy to lessen the impact of the change, or take advantage by planning future content differently.
Effective Types of Content Marketing that Remain Consistent
Creating a marketing strategy that can evolve with your business and work through social updates or search engine changes will always be a challenge.
Building your marketing strategy on a repeatable foundation will help you quickly identify what works and what needs to be refined.
When creating a marketing strategy, start with the basic concepts of marketing, always keeping your ideal customer in mind. Keep your business focused on serving clients and avoid making your marketing strategy all about successful marketing.
Products and services that speak directly to the right audience will be successful regardless of search engines and social media changes.
Develop a Set of Core Values
When your business has a core set of values at the front of their marketing, you can connect with like-minded individuals. People who share your values are more likely to engage with your business.
Stay focused on what your business purpose. If you are helping people, providing value and quality, and engaging with your community, you’ll be able to successfully work around digital marketing changes.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is the best way to make a lasting connection and help interested parties become committed buyers.
Developing buyer personas is a great way to target your marketing efforts directly toward your audience.
Consistently creating valuable content specifically for your ideal buyers is an effective way to work through any changes implemented on digital marketing platforms.
Get to know your audience by:
- Engaging via social media
- Requesting comments on posts
- Asking for a reply to an email
- Send out surveys or questionnaires
Creating personalized content and speaking directly to your clients pain points is what generates loyalty and brand evangelism.
Relationship building will lead to buyers who advocate for your brand and spread the word about your business. With business evangelists you don’t have to rely solely on paid marketing efforts.
Test, Track, Evaluate, Adjust
Creating effective marketing strategies require consistent monitoring and analysis. When implementing marketing methods, you need to also have a process for tracking how effective the method will be.
When you set out to create a marketing strategy, set a goal for your efforts.
- Are you looking for brand awareness?
- Do you want more engagement from your audience?
- Are you trying to get more qualified leads?
Having the answers to these questions will help you set your goal and then develop a strategy to reach it.
Once you know the reason for your marketing campaign, decide how you will execute it and in what manner— through web posting, social medial, video or podcast content— and then determine what metrics will help you measure your progress.
If you’re methods are making progress and you’re able to easily reach your goals, it may be time to increase your goals. Methods that are not working or progress that seems to take too long can be updated.
Evaluating your strategy by reviewing your tracked results will help you make the best decision about your marketing efforts moving forward.
When you’ve found methods that work, try to replicate them across other mediums. Study what worked and why, then try to implement it again.
Marketing strategies that don’t work should be adjusted quickly, not tested quickly, but when it’s apparent that progress is slow or you’re not going to reach your target on time, you should implement a backup strategy.
Part of a successful marketing strategy is having more than one option available to grow your business and reach your audience.