If you, like many, struggle with understanding what content marketing is and how it can affect your bottom line, look no further than HubSpot. Founded in 2006, HubSpot is largely considered to be the driving force behind the concept of inbound marketing. And, of course, content marketing plays a pivotal role in inbound marketing.
What Does HubSpot Do?
HubSpot provides marketing solution tools meant to simplify the technology for users. Kevin McCarthy puts it succinctly in an article for BostInno, noting that there are three areas of their products. The first is a content management system, which includes Keyword Grader and Link Grader. The second area includes their range of marketing software, and the third is Grader.com, which assists you with your online marketing efforts.
HubSpot and Content Marketing
HubSpot is well-known in the marketing world and its reputation is greatly bolstered through its content strategy. Sure, they have products to sell, but you won’t catch them plastering sales pitches all over the place. Why? They create compelling content that speaks for their knowledge of inbound marketing principles and trust that business will follow.
Being something of a newbie to the marketing world myself, I can empathize with your feelings of confusion with all of this content marketing business. But HubSpot is one of my favorite examples of how a content strategy should be done. And you can do it too.
Think about your business blog for a minute. Since a blog is the cornerstone of your content strategy, let’s take a look at your efforts there.
- How often do you update?
- How many content variations are you providing to your readers? (Timely, evergreen, fun, research, etc.)
- Are you trying to make the sell in every blog post?
- Is every post just about your company and what’s happening there?
- Are you providing your readers with answers to questions and solutions to problems they may have within your industry?
Now let’s take a look at HubSpot’s blog and see how your answers compare.
Frequency of Updates: HubSpot is posting about three times daily on business days. Keep in mind that regular updates (daily, if at all possible) are strongly encouraged.
Types of Content: I skimmed through 10 of HubSpot’s posts while researching this case study, and this is what I saw: six evergreen posts, one industry report, and three posts dealing with timely material.
In other words? They understand that they need to provide a good mix. Evergreen posts (like this one about list posts) will continue to get views over time because they’ll continue to be relevant.
Industry reports can see a long run of relevancy before the next one comes out, especially as so many business types are (understandably) interested in the trends and stats included within them.
Timely posts, like this cheat sheet for the new Facebook Timeline, provide information on what clients (and potential leads!) need to know right now. They’ll generate a lot of interest and traffic while they’re current (but don’t forget to update as information changes).
Don’t forget to mix it up! Within these posts are charts, videos, images, and illustrations – all things that enrich your content and make it more valuable to your readers. In addition to educating its audience through blog posts, HubSpot also offers webinars, eBooks, reports, free tools, and more (often free) – making sure there’s something for everyone (and all stages of learning).
Avoiding the Sell: HubSpot’s products, while occasionally mentioned in passing, are not in any way the focus. Trying to sell your product in every blog post is a huge content marketing no-no. Let your industry knowledge speak for itself and people will trust in your product.
You, You, You: A mistake often made when creating a content strategy is to assume your readers and clients want to read about you all the time. If I gave you 600 words about the sweet “office party” my dogs and I had today (perks of working from home!) you’d be bored to tears (seriously: that party consisted of them sleeping while I worked). If I get you 10 posts in a row that were all just variations on that same idea, you’d probably stop coming around, thinking I was a self-obsessed bore. Don’t let your company become the self-obsessed bore. Make your content valuable to your readers.
Give ‘em what they want: Did you find your way to this page because you were interested in learning more about content marketing? Did you come here looking for tips and tools of the trade? Or perhaps you’re trying to figure out how in the world to go about creating content. No, I’m not psychic. I’m just taking a page from HubSpot’s book. And you can, too.
HubSpot knows its readers have questions about things like social media automation, the new Facebook Timeline, and how to run email marketing campaigns. They could use every post to tell you how their products will make these things easier for you, but they don’t. Instead, they give tips, tricks, ideas, and solutions to these problems. They know marketing, so they share their knowledge on a vast range of marketing topics.
Still Not Seeing the Value a Blog Can Bring to Your Content Strategy?
If you’ve not yet read Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, I recommend that you run out tonight and pick it up. It’s a great, easy read that will have you certain that you, too, can get the hang of content marketing.
In the last section of Content Rules, HubSpot is featured as a case study (and there’s a lot of info that I haven’t covered here, so it’s definitely worth your while – plus the authors give ideas you can steal!). In that section, Vice President of Marketing, Mike Volpe, cites HubSpot research, saying that “[C]ompanies that blog generate 55 percent more web site traffic than companies that don’t, and they get 97 percent more links coming in to their sites.”
And how’s that working out for HubSpot?
HubSpot has helped over 6000 customers with inbound marketing solutions, and its revenues are up 1195% over the last four years (source: Forbes).
And speaking of HubSpot’s revenue…
In 2011, their revenue was $29 million.
Inbound marketing is marketing now. Like HubSpot, your company can create an effective content strategy that will showcase your knowledge, educate your readers, and bring the leads to you.