As a keen cyclist, I like to think of content marketing in much the same way as I do a bicycle wheel.
It’s the most efficient way to propel your business along the road to profitability and despite being made up of incredibly light components, has strength to support the weight of your entire marketing strategy.
The hub of the wheel is your corporate blog. This is the center point where you hang all your other marketing spokes from. You cannot build a wheel without a hub, so before you spend a single penny or invest any time on content marketing, you should make sure your blog is in good shape. Check out this recent post on Business 2 Community that will help you ensure your corporate blog does the business.
The spokes represent all of the other content marketing channels you wish to communicate with. Having multiple spokes is important to maintain strength in your wheel but it is also important to ensure each of these spokes is in good shape to guarantee your wheel remains true.
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Blogged Content: Your blog is the delivery mechanism for your blog posts. It doesn’t matter how well designed your blog is, if your content is weak, not updated regularly or doesn’t engage its readers with a solid call to action, it will fail.
Email Marketing: Email marketing services like iContact provide an incredibly simple and low cost opportunity to convert blog readers to email marketing subscribers. Place your email marketing subscription form on every page of your blog and sell the benefits of registration. Remember that a regular newsletter is not a benefit.
Online Video: Provides highly engaging content for your blog as well as attracting additional views on YouTube and via your social media feeds. Always include a call to action in your video content – even if this is just an instruction to visit your blog or subscribe to your email marketing list.
Social Media: A lot of people make the mistake of starting off their content marketing efforts with social media. Just because you have a social media presence doesn’t mean you have a social media marketing strategy. A good blog and great content provide will provide the foundation for you social media activity.
Whitepapers: Detailed, downloadable content (normally distributed as a PDF), that solves problems and helps position your brand as a thought leader in your particular niche. Abridged whitepapers provide great content for your blog and will help you generate leads and build your email marketing lists.
Webinars/Events: Nothing is more engaging than real-time conversations. A whitepaper can provide a great resource to base a webinar or public speaking event around. Another great lead generating, thought leadership tool.
Online News Releases: Online news releases distributed via a service like PRWeb can help you evangelize about your product or service beyond the reach of your blog, your social network and email marketing list. Online news releases provide a highly agile SEO solution, helping you drive traffic to your website or blog via the major search engines and a wide range of media outlets (including traditional media and blogs).
The rim of your wheel represents the cohesion between your content marketing channels. It’s the thing ensures your content marketing spokes are evenly distributed and fully connected. Great content marketing works at its very best when it is distributed via a series of connected channels. For example, a good blog post provides excellent content for an email marketing campaign and can be extended to form the basis of a whitepaper or even an event.
Just as a mountain bike will have a very different tire to that on a racing bike, the tire represents your style of delivery. This will be based on your company’s personality, the nature of your business and your perceived target market. Are you rough and ready or as slick as..?
Brakes don’t come as standard with a content marketing strategy, so hold on tight and scream (more) if you want to go faster. And don’t worry if you if you come a cropper from time to time. The best puncture repair kit when things go wrong with any content marketing strategy is more (carefully executed or pedalled) content.