What is content marketing?
When I entered the marketing world, I immediately noticed that the term ‘content marketing’ got used a lot online—on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on marketing blogs. Maybe you’ve also encountered it too—and been just as confused by it. What does it mean? What does it look like in practice?
In this article, I’m going to answer the following questions:
- What is content marketing?
- How does blogging work as a building block for content marketing?
- Why should content marketing (and blogging) be part of your digital marketing strategy?
The Content Marketing Institute gives us the following content marketing definition:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Let’s make it simple. Content marketing is a way for businesses and professionals to tell their story to their ideal clients. Remember that people want to buy, they don’t want to be sold to… By telling them a story, you’re encouraging them to buy, instead of selling to them.
Where do blogs fit in your digital marketing strategy?
On a basic level, blogs create brand awareness. They let people know what you do & how you do it. Most importantly, they explain why you’re doing it—if you’re blogging properly and telling your story in an authentic way.
A good blog is always informative. It educates people about a specific topic or gives them information about a new product, a unique service or an upcoming event. Great blogs can establish professionals or organizations as thought leaders in their industry.
Blogs also create SEO value for your website. By updating your site regularly with blogs, you can help your website rank higher on Google. Choose specific, well-researched topics that you know people will be searching and write a blog on the topic. Insert relevant keywords and geographies into the following places:
- The blog title
- The title tag and meta description
- The filename and alt text for your featured image (pick a good one!)
- The content of your blog itself
- And other spots!
The final and most important ingredient of a blog is the Call To Action (CTA). The CTA directs your audience to take some follow-up action after reading your blog. This could be filling out a contact form, signing up for your email newsletter, or calling you!
If you don’t tell them what to do—they probably won’t do it!
What is blogcasting?
“One of the best ways to get the most out of your blogs is to share them. Share them on Facebook and Google+ and Twitter for your clients and customers and other business owners to see. Share them on LinkedIn with people in your industry and community. Hey, share them with your family and friends! There’s no such thing as oversharing–when it comes to blogs, anyway.”
Blogcasting takes the power of a blog and leverages it for maximum impact. As this great post on blogcasting explains, a blog can be shared on social media, through emails, or simply as a tool for generating organic traffic.
Especially on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there are many ways that blogs can be used to drive your social media marketing efforts:
- Blogs can be posted to your business’s social media page to reach fans and followers.
- Blogs can be re-posted as Facebook Instant Articles or LinkedIn Pulse posts to engage with professional connections.
- Blogs can be shared with social media groups to reach wider audiences outside of your network.
The goal of blogcasting is to increase the range of your blog and help it get in front of as many people as possible. Why is this important? If your blog gets sent to 1,000 people and 1% decide to read it, then 10 people will see your blog. Not so bad—maybe one of them will even call you afterwards.
But if you can get your blog in front of 10,000 people, then suddenly 100 people are reading it. There will be a much better chance that 1 or 2, or even 10 people will call or contact you afterwards. That’s the power of blogcasting.
The most important thing is the quality of your blog—and that’s the next step.
How do you write a great blog?
Producing great blogs is all about understanding how you can add value to your clients or customers. What do they want to be reading about or learning from you?
When blogging as a business, your objective should be informative, educational or entertaining content. Before you start blogging, think about this in relation to your brand. Which approach aligns best with your brand’s image? Information, education or entertainment? Once you figure this out, you have established the foundation for your ‘blogging persona.’
“How do I come up with interesting blog topics?”
There are a couple of strategies that I like to use when brainstorming blog topics:
- What are some commonly asked questions that you get from your clients? A blog is a great opportunity to answer them.
- Survey your clients and ask them what they would like to learn about your business. It never hurts to ask!
- What are people googling in relation to your business? Create a list. Use a tool like Moz’s Keyword Explorer, SEMrush’s Keyword Analytics or Google Trends to see search volumes for your area. If you have an Adwords account, Keyword Planner also works well for showing paid search data.
- What articles are performing the best on social media? Use your own social media presence as a point of reference, check out what your competitors are sharing, or try a tool like Buzzsumo.
Basing your blogging strategy on objective data is the most important factor. You can get this data from your clients directly, but if you want to target new customers then you will need to get information about what other people want on the net. Research what people are googling or sharing on social media and develop topics based on this.
The Importance of Keyword Research for SEO
Doing keyword research during this first step in the blogging process is very important, if you want your blog to generate organic traffic. If your focus is to create content marketing material for social media or emails, then keyword research is less important. Whenever we are blogging, we must always try to balance quality content marketing with quality SEO.
But the most important thing when you are blogging is the quality of your content. Good content will always generate traffic when it gets in front of the right audience. So if you are starting out with blogging, remember to focus on quality.
An Exercise for Blogging
This is an exercise that I like to use when starting a new blog. For every business, there is 1 person out in the world who is going to love what you do. As soon as they hear about your business, they will want to work with you. Picture yourself in a room with that person. Imagine what you would say to them.
Using this exercise properly is the first step towards writing a great blog.
Looking for help with blogging for your business in Ontario? Contact us to today to kickstart your content marketing strategy.