Content isn't really king, it's the kingdom. It is made up of various pieces that combine to create something greater: an effective content marketing strategy
You’ve no doubt heard marketers proclaiming that “content is king,” but that’s a vague and misleading statement. Really, a content strategy is more like the kingdom because it’s made up of various individual pieces that combine to form something greater. There are many different facets to an effective content strategy, and — unbeknownst to many marketing departments — there’s isn’t just one type of content that rules them all.
What content marketing ultimately boils down to is reaching your potential customers in a way that intrigues and engages them. Actually reaching them is the crucial first step, since you have to stand out from the crowd of 20 billion web pages that are viewed each month.
With so much content competing for views, it’s up to you to capture your audience members’ attention and make them want to engage with you. In order to effectively reach your ideal audience, make sure these six types of content are included in your toolkit.
1. Blog posts
Blog posts are a core part of any content marketing strategy because they give you the freedom and flexibility to go in any direction you want, while also strengthening your SEO. You could create a blog post about the launch of a new product line, posts that explain your processes, or even content that discusses your biggest successes — the space for creativity is vast.
No matter which route you choose, blog posts will help establish your digital presence and make your brand more discoverable online, all while allowing you to share your most compelling ideas with your audience. What's more, when you create consistent blog content, you give yourself more opportunity to link to it in your guest-contributed articles, creating a pathway from off-site content to on-site content. This helps bring new visitors to your site so you can share valuable on-site content with them and engage them further. If you want to turn those site visitors into leads, be sure to include gated content within your blog posts by way of in-text and bottom blog CTAs.
Create pillar posts to take your blog one step further. Pillar posts will serve as the core content of your blog; they allow you to go in-depth on a specific topic and give you a valuable piece to link to in your guest content, using specific keywords. Not only does this drive more traffic to your pillar posts, but it also helps them rank higher in search engines.
2. Guest-contributed articles
While blog posts are great for showcasing your message to your target audience, you can broaden your reach even further (and faster) by voicing your opinions in trusted industry publications. Demonstrate your thought leadership in outlets that are relevant to your audience by discussing experiences, offering advice, and addressing industry hot topics. In addition to familiarizing people with your brand, you’ll benefit from the credibility you’ll gain by conveying your message in a publication your audience respects.
By positioning yourself as an industry expert among these new readers, they’ll be encouraged to check out your company website for more resources. When you create and place guest-contributed articles that link back to other valuable content housed on your site, you can increase the amount of high-quality on-site traffic.
Creating natural backlinks from those reputable, high-quality publications is one of the most effective ways to enhance your search engine optimization. When Google analyzes your ranking, one link from a credible site will be significantly more influential than multiple links from low-quality sites. Although guest-contributed articles can help you achieve major objectives like thought leadership and brand awareness, boosting SEO is one of their greatest benefits.
If you want your guest content to reach its maximum potential, you need to establish strong relationships with the editors of your target publications. Their inboxes are flooded with emails daily, so grab their attention with a compelling pitch that offers unique insight on a subject you’re knowledgeable about.
When putting together your pitches, it's crucial to keep in mind the audience and guidelines of the publications you’re targeting. This helps ensure the publications you want to be featured in will actually like what you're sending them because it provides value to their readers and meets their needs. Pitching a topic that is relevant and authentic to both you and the publication you’re targeting is key.
3. Press mentions
When it comes to earning third-party validation, press mentions are an ideal tool for the job. When potential customers see your name and business profiled or mentioned in a publication they know and trust, in an article authored by another industry leader, your credibility goes up.
Press mentions can also increase your SEO, essentially ensuring that Google feels the same way your customers do about your company’s relevance in the industry. That boosted SEO will amplify your online presence, ultimately helping you increase traffic to your site.
But in order for your business to get that recognition, you have to be consistently creating content. PR and content marketing go hand in hand, so without valuable content, you’ll have a hard time securing those mentions.
One of the best reputation builders is third-party validation. Consumers tend to reject traditional brand advertising and instead base their brand loyalty on the recommendations of trusted sources or influencers. That’s why press mentions are a must for your content strategy. If you want to build trust and credibility among new audiences, you’ll need credible influencers vouching for you.
4. Email marketing
The humble email. In the age of Slack, Google Hangouts, and a million other ways to keep in touch, is email even relevant? Absolutely. According to research from Adobe, white-collar workers spend an average of 3.1 hours every day in their inboxes. That's a lot of time to capitalize on, but you have to ensure your email marketing is effective and beneficial to your subscribers.
Newsletters and drip campaigns are two essential components of an effective email strategy. Newsletters should be used to share content with your subscribers on a consistent basis. This tactic will enhance your content distribution efforts, provide ongoing nurture to your subscribers, and keep your business top of mind with them.
Drip campaigns, on the other hand, are a way to send personalized email messages based on where your leads are in their buying journey. They’re a great way to show your leads that you know what they need, that you’re a resource for them, and that you should be considered when they are ready to talk business or make a buying decision.
When you're putting together your email newsletters and drip campaigns, make sure that you're using valuable, high-quality content as the driving force behind them. Once you have that content, email marketing requires little upfront time, and it can be automated to produce the best results. Plus, a robust email campaign generates some of the highest ROI you’ll find in marketing, period.
5. Gated content
Gated content might include an insightful case study you compiled or a whitepaper put together by your team of experts. It’s longer than a blog post and — by definition — requires users to enter their email or contact information before they can download it. Because you can track which users are most interested in the expertise you have to offer and follow up with them later, gated content is a valuable lead generation tool that should be included in any holistic content marketing strategy.
Gated content is an even trade, so if you really want those leads, you have to be willing to provide your readers with something valuable in return. Draw them in with eye-catching visuals and explain the unique offer you’re providing that is exclusive to your business. Whether it’s compelling industry research, an inside look at your process, a step-by-step guide, or a piece of long-form content that dives into a subject, your gated content should provide a level of exclusivity that makes it attractive enough to download.
When it comes to this type of content, distribution is crucial. Make sure you're actively sharing out gated content on your social channels, in your email marketing, and to potential leads so you can get as many people to see it — and potentially download it — as possible.
6. Video content
If you’re not creating video content, you’re shutting the door to a huge swath of potential customers, a group that’s only going to grow larger over time. In fact, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index estimates that video viewing will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022. Depending on your industry, you can create explainer videos, how-to videos, demo videos, or videos that highlight testimonials from satisfied customers.
Studies show that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to the 10% they retain when reading it in text. Incorporating this tactic into your media mix offers your audience a more digestible form of content, thus enhancing the impact of your message.
With 81% of marketers reporting that video helped them secure more leads, there’s no question that this is a powerful medium. To further increase your chances of lead generation with this tool, be sure to include valuable CTAs in your videos. Ensuring that your viewers are directed to a relevant, important page on your site once they’re done watching is key to maintaining contact with them.
While videos often require a more substantial upfront investment, they can live on multiple platforms. Feature your brand video on your website and post it to your social media accounts, or use short clips of it in a variety of channels. A well-done video really is the gift that keeps on giving.
An optimal content marketing strategy shouldn’t just utilize one of these types of content. Instead, it should be made up of a unique combination that suits your brand, your industry, and your audience.
If you’re a tech company with an incredible amount of expertise in cybersecurity, for example, you might develop an informational blog and share your most valuable insights through gated content. If you’re looking to nurture those leads and stay top of mind with them, create an email marketing campaign to remain in contact.
No matter which types of content you choose to create, realize that the time is now to start populating your content kingdom — and homogeneity isn’t going to cut it.