Content marketing is a marketing approach focused on creating and promotion quality, informative and useful content to the target audience. The purpose of content marketing is to increase leads, brand awareness and credibility, attract attention to the brand or product and finally expand company’s customer base.
One of the great content marketing examples is dated 1739. That very year Benjamin Franklin published his Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business. Almanacs were extremely popular in colonial America; they usually contained poems, sayings, calendar, astrological and astronomical information. About 10.000 copies of Benjamin Franklin’s Almanac per year were printed between 1732 and 1758. Great, isn’t it?
Why Content Marketing Is Important?
To answer this question, we, first, need to answer another question – what is one of the most important facts that influences consumers’ purchase decision? The answer is – brand strength.
People usually don’t buy from whatever website they found in search or in the Facebook news feed. They search for reviews, compare prices and listen to what people they trust to (friends, family members, colleagues, etc.) tell them. Finally, they purchase from the company they believe is an expert the field, especially if it is an expensive product.
If you have a look at the traffic sources at any of the industry leading company, you will find out that their top traffic sources are brand searches and direct traffic. This means people know about them, they trust them and they are not afraid (remember, Internet is a scary place) to purchase from them.
How to Integrate Blogging Into Your Content Marketing Strategy
Step 1 – Understand Your Audience and Define Your Business Goals
What to write about in your blog articles much depends on what you are selling. I will give several examples later on in this article but before let me share three core principles you should follow.
- Understand the pain points of your target audience.
Think what problems your prospects may face and how your knowledge and experience can help them to find a solution. Be careful about educating your readers. Remember, that your main goal is to sell your product or service but not teach how to cope without it.
- Create a buyer persona
Buyer persona is a fake character with personal traits of an ideal customer. You may have several of them. Get your entire team together to get as much information and ideas as possible. A typical buyer persona includes such information as age, sex, income, shopping behavior, occupation, etc. Think of the most important traits of the customer for your particular business. This will help you to understand how you can become authority in their eyes, what content you need and how it will be perceived.
- Align Blogging with Your Business Goals
Yes, your end goal is sales, but you shouldn’t think that the purpose of writing a blog post is to convert the reader into a paying customer right away, well… in majority of the cases – not.
Here are few examples of the business goals you might have.
- Promote a deal
- Offer a downloadable freebie
- Social shares
- Email subscriptions
- Free trial subscription
It is much easier to give your prospects what they need if you understand what problems they have. Ahrefs, a popular back links checker tool, writes about SEO, link building, etc., because this tool is used by SEO experts. Stylists can share tips on how to dress oneself, do overviews of recent fashion shows, trends, etc.
Step 2 – Your Blog Articles Should Be SEO-friendly
What is the purpose of writing super quality and valuable blog posts if nobody reads them? The next steps of emerging your blogging and content marketing strategy will be mostly about how to get your content in front of the right people.
SEO (search engine optimization) if done the right way will help you to drive more readers from search engines.
93% of the consumers turn to search engines to find information about business (according to Search Engine Journal), services or products before they actually make a purchase. Isn’t it a sound reason to make sure your blog article are SEO-focused? Yes, it is.
Here is the process you may be willing to follow
- Do keywords research, find short tail and long tail key phrases you want to rank for
- Make sure your website is strong enough to rank for them. Check the DA (Moz Domain Authority) of the other sites ranking for such terms. Keep in mind keyword difficulty (another Moz metrics); this will help you to understand where you are likely to get high rankings.
- Develop an SEO-friendly content writing plan. Make sure you do not cause duplicate title tags, as duplicate title tags may harm rankings
If you are interested in more details about how to optimize your blog for search engines, you may be willing to read this post I wrote for Kristi Hines’ blog.
Step 3 – Promote Your Content
Writing an excellent and an SEO friendly blog post might not be enough. In order to spread your word really well you need to use every distribution channel available. However, be careful, your promotion should not be spammy, because there is always a risk to get opposite effect. First, make sure you have created an outstanding content piece. It should be better than everything your audience came across before or at least give some new insights about well-known things.
Evaluate assents available. There are many ways to promote your blog posts, both paid and free. Well, paid are quite obvious –
- Boost your post on Facebook and promote it on other social sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- Reach out to influencers and ask them to share your content for money
- Create content ads on Outbrain and StumbleUpon
Here are some free ways to promote your content
- Write guest post for other sites and link to your articles to boost their rankings
- Use the power of content communities like Triberr, BizSugar and Blog Engage
- Join Q&A sites like Quora to help people
- Search for relevant discussions on Reddit, niche forums, Facebook groups, etc.
- Do you have a list of subscribers, followers on Twitter, Facebook etc.? Then share your content with them too
N.B.: A small growth hack tip. If you already have some Twitter followers, Facebook fans and/or email subscribers, then you can get in touch with other companies, Facebook pages, etc. and offers them a mutual promotion. This works like magic because it is mutually beneficial.
Final Words – Try to Think Outside the Box
‘Strategy’ means thinking two or even three steps ahead. This is how you can do it. Content marketing also includes promoting other types of content: E-books (selling or giving out free), hosting webinars, seminars and other content formats. If you plan your content marketing activity ahead, then the blog article you write today may be basis for your next webinar. If you want to give out an E-book, then you can make it out of the blog articles you had written before. Another example; if you wrote a checklist on something, then why not hand it in to your prospect during the meeting or send it along with a physical good you have just sold? The only limit is your imagination and creativity.
If you have something to ad, have questions or you want simply leave feedback, feel free to leave a comment.
About the Author
Alex Omelchenko is a happy dad, husband, a self-proclaimed foodie and a co-founder at ProfContent, a content writing firm. Alex writes about search engine optimization, content marketing, business blogging, PPC advertising and other topics related to digital marketing. You are welcome to follow him on Twitter.