Content marketing goes well beyond writing a blog post and tweeting it to your users. In fact, it’s entirely possible to have a successful content strategy without ever building a blog of your own. Your blog is not a content strategy, it’s simply a single tactic that supports much bigger goals. And if you’re thinking of it otherwise, you’re missing out on some huge opportunities to grow your brand.
Bomb dropped. Let me explain.
Content marketing actually leverages a number of marketing tactics to promote content, engage users and drive conversions. Many businesses and bloggers get caught in the simple delusion of “if I write it, they will come.” I assure you, they will not.
Yes, some bloggers (not even a lot in the grand scheme of things) do get lucky with that one magical piece of content that goes viral — but getting lucky is not a marketing strategy. Getting lucky is not a scalable tactic. And getting lucky cannot be reliably repeated. We can do a whole lot better than wishing and hoping and thinking and praying if we leverage content marketing strategy in the way that professional marketers do.
Content is content.
By writing a blog post or article, you’re only fulfilling one of the three parts of content marketing strategy. The content part. What about marketing? What about strategy? Noting this is going to be key in helping you find success.
Content can include text, images, video — essentially any element you’re able to publish and distribute online. An interactive game — that’s content. A new eBook — awesome content. All those late-night food posts on Instagram — delicious, delicious content.
All of that content needs a home. While many enjoy writing and producing their own blog (and reap the SEO benefit of doing so), content strategy doesn’t require you to do it yourself. As a guest blogger or contributor to other high-profile websites and news outlets, you can drive exceptional traffic and lead generation through your own website. You simply need the appropriate calls to action and links to drive value from the content you’ve produced. That’s, again, part of the marketing and strategy that many fail to nail down.
Market your content.
So if the blog, alone, is not marketing — what does content marketing actually look like? So glad you’ve asked. Content Marketing Institute breaks this down beautifully:
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.
The act of content marketing can take on a variety of forms and the most successful tactics are going to depend highly on your goals and strategy. Consider some of these:
- Send an email.
- Purchase targeted ads.
- Optimize for top search keywords.
- Post regularly to your social networks.
- Distribute a related video.
- Work with partners and affiliates to share your message.
- Link from third-party sites.
- Distribute your content through a network.
The list can go on for days. And if you’re attempting to achieve exceptional growth through content marketing, you’ll need to consider custom strategies for growth hacking versus leveraging trendy go-to techniques that have been overused throughout the industry.
One of your biggest goals in marketing your content is likely to drive traffic, leads and conversions on your own site. To optimize your content marketing efforts and ensure that your tactics are their most effective, we need a strategy.
Develop a content strategy.
Like your content marketing tactics, your strategy is going to rely heavily on your campaign goals. Whatever they may be, you’ll need to know your target audience and how to point your content at them to ensure your article or post is ending up in front of the right eyes.
Content strategy takes some serious thoughtfulness from all angles. Consider the answers to these questions:
- Who are you trying to reach? Where will you reach them?
- What type of content are they interested? What keywords should you optimize for?
- How will this article build on other content you’ve produced?
- When will you distribute this content?
- Where will you distribute this content? How will users get back to your site?
- What will be your measurement of success? What data can you gather?
Ideally, your content strategy will have underlying long-term goals that are also supported by your marketing tactics. To keep everything on track, it can be helpful to develop a content calendar along with a clear sales and conversion funnel to ensure you’re meeting those goals.
With all of the right pieces in place, you can easily take your blog from haphazard content to a content marketing machine. Simply add the strategy and marketing tactics that best support your goals and you’ll be well on your way to seeing new success from your blog efforts.