Content Marketing

What is Content Marketing?

You may have heard this term a lot and wondered what it meant.

Here’s a Content Marketing Institute Quote:

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.

Content marketing isn’t exactly a new strategy it’s been around for years used by many different industries and in many different formats.

The reason why it is so popular is the fact that is so effective in educating your audience, building trust, and is a great way to introduce your audience to your products and services in a less pushy way.

The key is doing it in a non-selling way and the best way to do that is to educate your audience.

There are few categories of content marketing such as:

Blogging
Longform Content
Case Studies
White Papers
Ebooks
Infographics
Template & Checklist Downloads
Video

We’ll go through this list one by one to give you an idea of the types of content marketing you can use in your small business today.

Blogging

You’ve probably heard of blogging and the name blog post. So many famous brands make their blog posts the most important and first port of call for any content marketing strategy. It normally always starts with text content and is normally expressing an idea, providing a tutorial, or giving you a breakdown of a product or service.

In fact, many searches you carry out on search engines such as Google will normally display a list of results that are mainly blog posts. The list of results you see has been produced by brands and businesses to educate their readers before they introduce them to their products and services. That’s probably how you found this particular piece of content that you’re reading now.

Can you see how this works?

Blogging is an ideal way to create and build relationships with your readers which can help them with whatever they are doing or help them solve a problem they may have.

The key to blogging is to be consistent. you don’t necessarily need to write a blog post every single day, but what you must do is come out of content regularly. That’s why many companies use a content calendar to keep track of this.


Get your content strategy off to a great start with my content calendar

Common mistakes

1. The most common mistakes most small businesses make is not posting content regularly. So what happens is, a reader comes across a piece of your content, like it and shares it on social media. But, because that small business isn’t consistent with their blogging, the reader will probably never come back and never see your website again.

That’s why it’s so important to be consistent. If this is the direction that you want to go in, you need to work out whether you want to post content once a week once a month or every quarter. Your reader won’t mind too much, as long as they know your schedule and went to look out for your content.

2. Another common mistake is not optimising your content for leads.

So what do I mean by this?

Educating your readers is one thing but never forget you’re main motivation and that is to produce leads that eventually produce sales.

That’s why it’s important to have several calls to action throughout your website and within your content. This isn’t just to create a lead, it’s also to help you build an ongoing relationship with your reader.

The fact is, you probably need many engagements with your reader before they are willing to purchase one of your products or services (unless you’re a major brand that is).

The concept of using calls to action is even more vital if you’ve paid to get traffic to your website in the first place. If you haven’t got a process of capturing prospects details for further engagement on your website whether it’s getting them to subscribe to an email list or some form of remarketing retargeting. Then you’re simply wasting your time and valuable dollars.

3. What you also need to do is something we call interlinking. This is basically linking one article to another by way of interlinking. So for example, if I am talking about content marketing I could also link my article to another one of my articles that talk about writing tips.

Not only will this help keep your reader on your website for longer. It also increases engagement and better still the search engines love it.

It allows the search engines to discover more of your content on a regular basis which helps with your search engine optimisation (SEO) in the long run.

Longform Content

Long form content is a fantastic way to build long-term relationships from a leadership position with your readers.

It can be described as being over 4000-5000 words in length.

Since the content is so long you normally find it is pretty comprehensive and will go through a number of different topics at length. Not only is this great for the reader it’s absolutely fantastic for the search engines. search engines love long-form content!

So why isn’t long-form content more popular?

To be honest, it’s all to do with time. who has time to sit down and write a 5000-word article on a particular topic? Make sure it’s proofread, checking the grammar, including nice images, interlink in between different articles, bolding, using italics and underlining (you get the idea).

For anyone to do this takes a great deal of work and a very strong commitment. Not something a typical small business owner or small business has the time to do.

That’s why we encourage people to outsource it to a third party.

 

Here’s a link to our FREE Twitter course where we go through the hiring of a third party to get content written:

Letsgetsocialchallenge.com/courses/310957/lectures/4780931

 

Long form content is generally between 4 and 5 thousand words on average and will almost certainly be spread over several pages. Since they offer so much value you’ll find that your reader probably doesn’t need to go anywhere else to find any more information on this topic. this is what you want!

Think about it…

If your reader doesn’t need to go anywhere else to find out more about this topic and they feel satisfied that they have learnt as much as they can on this topic, the amount of trust built from one single article is huge.

In one single article, you’ve built that “like”, “know”, “trust” factor which is key to building an ongoing relationship. Once you have this sort of relationship it’s a lot easier then to encourage somebody to sign up for one of your lead magnets or even purchase a product or service from you.

That’s how much power using long-form content in your content marketing strategy is.

From this, you have the ability produce a guide as part of their long-form content. This can either be read on your website,  or it can also be downloaded and consumed offline. Your reader then has the ability to read your guide at a later point in time or print it off to read it later on.

Oh and don’t forget, the search engines love these!

Interlinking

What is interlinking?

Interlinking is linking to a page or post on your website by way of hyperlinking content. You normally do this if you want to explain a word or term that is related to the original content.

Example of hyperlinking within an article

Interlinking is the best way to get your content referenced and spidered by the search engines again. It’s also great for rediscovery. A new reader to my website or blog would probably never of found this article had I not linked to it.

There are many benefits using Interlinking:

  • It helps to increase the average time someone spends on your website by showing them more content
  • Since they are spending longer on your website, it helps improve the bounce rate
  • If you are trying to rank for a particular keyword, this helps a little
  • The more interlinks you have in your content, the more page visits you receive. This is a good ranking factor for the search engines.
  • It helps search engines crawl your website to get a better understanding of what your site is all about.

Case Studies

A case study is basically an in-depth investigation into a group, event, community or even single person. A case study can be produced in a few different ways and collected from various different sources such as observations or interviews.

They’re helpful because they provide a lot of knowledge along with actionable information you can use.

There aren’t many small businesses using the case study strategy because producing long-form content takes a lot of work and many just don’t have the time to do it. However, if you can make the time to research and compile a case study you will not only be seen as a leader in your niche or industry, your reader will also see you as a trusted advisor and somebody they need to listen to.

Using case studies as part of your content strategy is just as effective as long-form article content.

A case study has a few basic sections to it:

It has a summary, an explanation of the problem or hypothesis. It provides the solution and then goes over the results.

This can either be consumed online, saved to your reader’s desktop as a PDF file and even printed it off to view later offline.

Common Mistakes

A lot of people when they’re producing a case study only really report the results and nothing else. When you’re writing a case study it needs to be a form of storytelling.

People need to know the problems you had, the struggles, what worked and what didn’t work before they get the results.

If this type of storytelling isn’t in your case study then it makes it a really boring read.

You need to focus on the WHY and the HOW of the report otherwise your case study will have no structure at all. Can you imagine reading your favourite book without a start, middle and end with no clear direction or main purpose?

WhitePapers

Whitepapers are normally used by businesses that need to present a lot of data where they offer the solutions on a particular subject. When it comes to white papers the devil really is in the detail.

They go one step further than a case study since the way they are written takes the form or leadership position within your niche or industry. Because of their in-depth amount of knowledge and data they make for fantastic lead magnets for any business that chooses to produce one.

Unfortunately, because they’re packed full of in-depth information and data they take a very long time to produce. Contrast this with the other content marketing examples where the production cost is minimal, the price to produce a whitepaper is considerably more expensive because you will either have to carry out the market research yourself or hire a team of people to do this for you.

Similar to a case study, a whitepaper starts with the summary or introduction. and is organised into specific sections. You should also have a concise table of contents.

Whitepapers deal with specific problems and they go through the process of research to find out how to solve those problems. These will be backed up by the data from your research that supports your hypothesis.

Great examples can be found here and here.

eBooks

By now, you should have heard of the term “eBook”.

An eBook is a small or large document that can normally be found in PDF version.

Even though they have been used to death in the marketing niche they are still very popular in other niche categories.

The fact that they are so easy to produce makes them one of the most popular content marketing vehicles for most small businesses.

These days you don’t even really need a fancy piece of software. If you have the latest version of Microsoft Word you can write your document in word and then publish it as a PDF.

The great thing about these documents is almost everyone has a PDF reader installed on their desktop and mobile device. This means they can be consumed at the readers’ discretion and in their own time.

Ideally, your eBook will be between 5 and 30 pages long, have a table of contents (but this isn’t always necessary), images and even infographics to further enhance the document. However, there are also a lot that just contains text.

You’ll find that people don’t mind an all based text document as long as the information provided within that document is really good.

Here’s an example of an eBook we provide to our clients who are interested in Twitter.

link to ebook

As was mentioned earlier this document was written in Microsoft Word and then published as a PDF document via a software platform called Canva.

Infographics

Infographics are probably one of the most underutilized content marketing strategies used by small businesses today.

I don’t even think it’s because of cost, I think most small businesses can’t get their head around producing one and think it’s really expensive.

So what are they?

An infographic is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It is an image that packs in a ton of information in a visually appealing and easily digestible way.

They are mostly used to present many different types of statistics in a visually appealing way by way of lots of charts and graphics next to the statistics.

They also provide information in the form of bullet points which are normally a summary of the information from a case study on whitepaper or even action taking steps the reader needs to perform to get the job done.

If you are looking to get your information shared by a lot of people, then infographics are perfect because people love sharing them which is not only good for branding purposes it’s also great for backlinks (SEO) and increasing traffic back to your website.

Go to any social media platform and you’ll see plenty of infographics being shared by millions of users around the world. As long as it’s done properly and professionally there’s no reason why your very own infographic won’t get shared in the same way.

Here are a few examples of some great infographics

You can either produce an infographic yourself using software like Canva or you can have them professionally produced.

Just remember, whenever you’re producing infographic make sure you credit where you got the information from and also ensure there is a link back to your website or page. If you forget to do this, you would have produced a very expensive infographic for someone else without receiving any of the benefits of backlinks and branding.

They are also great possible lead magnets for your clients. Even though you can display them on your website, I recommend also having a downloadable version available in exchange for your client’s contact details such as name and email address.

Out of all the content marketing strategies listed on this page, this is probably one of the most powerful, yet underutilised strategies being used by businesses at the moment.

Template & Checklist Downloads

Templates and checklists a great addition to any content marketing strategy and make excellent lead magnets. They are short actionable resources that people can use quickly and repeatedly and the best thing about it is they don’t take a lot of time and money to produce.

Similar to ebooks, a simple checklist can be produced in Microsoft Word and then converted into a PDF or a more visually appealing document produced in Canva.

They should be clear and concise and include your branding (preferably in the bottom right-hand corner of each document).

They should include a lot of white spaces so your reader can make notes and they must be produced with the thought of being evergreen which means they can be used again and again and won’t date.

Like infographics, templates and checklists are great for branding since these documents can lay on your readers’ desk for weeks and even months clearly showing your brand to the user and others in the office.

They also propel you to leadership status within your market or niche as the go-to place to get these top documents.

Video Marketing

Not everyone thinks about a video when you talk about content marketing but they should be included in the list. Video is probably one of the most powerful marketing tools available for you to you use that’s highly effective in all the key areas of marketing.

It’s extremely hard to get your point across, convey emotion, build trust with your reader with other types of content. However, video marketing changes all of that (especially when you are doing a face-to-camera where the user can actually see you talking directly into the lens). That’s why those makeup videos are so popular. Most of those viewers actually feel that they are being spoken to on a personal level and almost feel they are on a personal friendship basis with the person on camera.

That’s how powerful video is!

What is also great about video is the fact that you can upload it to the second largest search engine in the world called YouTube. Not only does it give you the potential to reach millions of people around the world, YouTube also allow you to embed that video (extract a piece of code and paste it onto your website) and use Google’s own servers and bandwidth to host your video at no extra cost to you.

There are many different types of video you can produce such as:

  • Branded short adverts or films
  • Animation explainer videos
  • Educational videos
  • video documentaries
  • 360° experience videos
  • Video in emails (or a link to a video with a screenshot)
  • Product demonstration videos
  • Company culture videos
  • Testimonials
  • public service announcements
  • FAQ videos
  • Personalised videos
  • Thank you videos (to a group of people and even individual clients)

The main takeaway is any video marketing strategy you use has got to offer great value. If you really want to get your marketing hat on, then maybe consider placing a call to action at the very end of the video where you are instructing the viewer to do something (this could be signing up for one of your lead magnets or watching another video based on the same topic).