Simply put content marketing is the process of creating content with the idea of indirectly promoting a service or a product that you might have.
It might not even be one of the two – content marketing can be about marketing yourself, your skills or in other words building a personal brand.
So it basically turns out that blogging and content marketing are the same thing, right?
Well not exactly.
Content marketers are only those bloggers who actively work on producing content AND spreading the word about that content i.e. promoting it.
And in order to be a successful content marketer, you need more than just SOME content. To make it work you need the RIGHT content. It’s about having material that your target audience can relate to.
With that in mind, in today’s article I would like to focus my (and your) attention to four of the most important content marketing facts that you should have a clear understanding of if you would like to maximize your marketing results.
Let’s get started:
1.Never Focus Your Blog Posts Around Length
There have been a lot of different opinions, concerning how lengthy a blog post should be…
There are those, claiming that long articles are a proof to expertise and therefore are the better content strategy. On the other hand some bloggers claim that shorter posts, make for a more engaging read with readers participating further and taking more action.
So what should you do – short or long articles?
Well my simple advice is to never measure your content by how much words it consists of. Yes, sometimes when you are writing for clients, the word count matters, because that is what the final price is based on.
The fact however is that you can easily write a 2,000 word-piece with a lot of fluff and a lot of the same conclusions. But you can also produce a shorter say 1,000 word-long post that actually presents and details a unique and effective strategy.
What I want to tell you is that you shouldn’t tie your posts around reaching a specific number of words. Instead of setting the goal of writing X number of words today, set yourself the goal of writing one full article, regardless of its length.
As an additional argument, a recent research by Chartbeat showed that there is NO direct relation between how much time visitors spent reading an article and how many retweets (and social shares for that matter) the article ends up receiving.
2.Know that NOT Only Articles are Considered Content
If you are into blogging for more than a couple of months and you’ve only been publishing articles and nothing else, you are missing out!
Remember – the word “content” does not relate to articles only.
And there is no denying that if you want to improve your blog’s search-engine rankings, you need to have articles. After all without the words, your blog will pretty much be empty in the eyes of the search bots, crawling its pages.
However there is nothing bad in spicing things up a bit every once in awhile!
With the rise of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, visual content is now on the piedestal. And although the “boom” is over, infographics for instance still pack quite a punch. I incorporated that type of content at the start of this year and the results have been more than good!
The thing about an infographic is that it isn’t word-intensive and it relies more on “picturing” the story rather than telling it. That way the visitor needs far less time to digest the information and that often times results in A LOT of social sharing.
SlideShare is the other big thing. HubSpot for instance seems to have success with them, as they’ve been publishing a lot lately. Over at SlideShare, their team has uploaded dozens of presentations, which they also share on their blog. The latter results in a ton of retweets and likes.
Something else you could do (and I’m considering) is video blogging!
Right now YouTube is the third largest site, so that’s a huge potential traffic source!
All in all the idea is to not make your blog boring. The more types of content you embrace, the more engaging and interesting it will all be. And after all that is one of the keys to turning first-timers into loyal readers!
Further reading: 6 Types of Content You Absolutely Should Embrace as a Marketer
3. Quality Material Doesn’t Necessarily Guarantee Social Sharing
As we all’d like to think that quality is what determines how much social sharing a post will receive, that doesn’t quite correspond to the truth…
Having a really high level of expertise in a certain field of knowledge is one thing. Being able to translate that knowledge into content that provides useful information is second. And turning that content into a magnet for social sharing is third.
Unfortunately what often times happens is that someone might really be good at the first two parts of the process. The guy has a lot of knowledge and produces some really interesting pieces of content.
What he lacks however is a marketing approach.
Even though in its niche, his content is tough to beat, he just doesn’t do anything to promote it. And if that’s what YOU are doing… Well you are relying on a miracle.
The first thing you should do if you want to draw the attention is go out there and start promoting yourself!
Here are several articles, all of which packed with practical tips, to get you started:
- 4 Ways to Write and Promote Your Content with Social Media in Mind
- 10 Ways to Improve Your Social Media and Blogging Workflow
- 5 Ways to Beat EdgeRank and Bring More Exposure to Your Facebook Page
- 5 Google Plus Tips to Help You Generate More Likes and Followers
4. Content Marketing Won’t Improve SEO and Traffic Right Away
One of the reasons why a lot of companies create a blog for their business is because they have a static site that doesn’t drive much organic traffic.
You see if you have a site that consists of just a couple of pages and several hundred words, you really don’t stand much of a chance ranking for keywords that are related to your business.
So what happens if you add a blog as a subdomain to your site is that now you have a source of fresh content on monthly or weekly (better) basis. Each article you write adds another page to your site, which is one more reason for the search bots to come and crawl your site. Each article also adds more words to your content, helping crawlers determine better what your site’s focus is….
Or at least that’s what the theory says.
Well in fact fresh content is just the starting point. Simply adding page by page to your site, won’t necessarily help your site show high on the search-engine result pages. That’s the simple truth.
Without guest blogging (for both link building and audience building purposes) you will just be burning tyre and standing still.
Actually you might be better off choosing guest blogging over starting a blog.
You see back in the days when Buffer was just making its first steps, I was approached by Leo Widrich. He is basically the guy behind the whole promotion of the social media scheduling app. He was pitching a guest post that covered seven really cool Twitter tools, among which he had included of course Buffer. The post had turned out pretty good, so I agreed. It was a win-win. I got content for my blog and he got links back to Buffer.
Leo continued working on that same strategy of providing content for other blogs and including a sentence or two about Buffer…
After just a couple of months of following that strategy, the app was already drawing a lot of attention. At one point pretty much everyone in the blogging and social media world was talking about it. Now hundreds of guest posts later Buffer has long crossed 100,000 customers.
At the start they didn’t even have a blog.
What I’m trying to tell is that adding a blog to your business is a step in the right direction. However you should NOT solely rely on writing and publishing content to make the cut for you. You will hardly get traffic and SEO benefits without reaching out to other bloggers, giving guest blogging a go and actively engaging within the community of your niche.
I really hope you liked what I shared in the above paragraphs! Don’t ever let length decide your articles, embrace different content types, work on getting social shares and consider guest blogging. All in all those are what I believe the four basics to successful content marketing.
Now it’s your turn!
What do you think about length – is it a decisive factor? Have you tried publishing infographics or SlideShare presentations? And what about guest blogging?
Please take a minute to share your comments!