There is a common misconception about marketing. It’s expensive.
I personally don’t believe in expensive (or for that matter cheap) marketing. There is only marketing that works and marketing that doesn’t work. In this respect, I tend to think of marketing more in terms of efficiency than expense.
Content marketing provides one of the most efficient marketing techniques available to today’s marketer. Costs can be very low (even free) and results, if executed properly, can be significant.
The real investment in content marketing, as the name suggests, is in the creation of content. While this takes time (and time is money) and considerable effort, for marketers on a restricted budget – this should be very attractive.
10 Content Marketing Strategies
- Blogging: If your site doesn’t already feature a blog you are really missing a trick. Google loves fresh content and so a well-written, regularly updated blog should be an essential component of both your content marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Contrary to popular belief, blogging has not been replaced by social media. In fact, blogged content actually fuels social media growth by providing much of the information shared via these networks. A blog post can be used to promote a new product or service, analyze industry trends, share news or act as a gateway to a more detailed content marketing strategy, including the promotion and distribution of thought leadership products such as white papers, eBooks, webinars, etc.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing is one of the most cost effective methods for maintaining relationships with existing customers and prospects. Its strength is based on the permission a subscriber has given the marketer to contact them and the relevancy of the messages shared. Take every opportunity to collect email contact details from your site visitors and real world contacts. Download 10 Rules for Successful Email Marketing from iContact for more great tips on building successful email marketing campaigns.
- Press Releases: A press release distributed via an online service like PR Web will help you spread your message across a wide range of high profile and niche publications (both on and offline). By building quality links across a range of respected websites you will also enhance your SEO efforts significantly. For SEO purposes you should include “SEO-friendly” keywords and phrases but take care not to overstuff your release so it becomes difficult for real people (rather than machines) to read.
- Become a Source: Contributing guest articles and comment to journalists and bloggers from relevant trade and mainstream publications can quickly help position you as an industry thought leader. Services like HARO are designed to help put you in touch with journalists looking to speak to industry experts and can lead to significant media coverage for your brand.
- White Papers: A blog post is great for sharing a short idea or reporting an item of news. But if you what to share a more significant piece of content then you should consider publishing a white paper. A white paper is a detailed document, normally distributed in PDF format, which can be promoted and downloaded from your website. As well as helping to position your business as a leading source of information, a white paper will also help you build your email marketing lists as you collect contact information in exchange for the content.
- eBooks: Have you got a book in you? An eBook will undoubtedly represent a significant investment in content creation but the rewards from a well written title can be significant. eBooks have helped marketers blur the lines between white papers and what is traditionally thought of as a book. Placing an eBook in an online store such as Amazon or the Apple iBookstore will also help position your brand to potential readers who may not have been exposed to your content via more traditional marketing routes. Depending on your strategy, a good eBook, if positioned and marketed correctly, can also provide a welcome alternative source of income for your business.
- Infographics: An image (usually visualizing data-led content) has the very real potential to go viral as it is shared accross social networks, blogs and traditional media. Because an infographic is often used as a standalone piece of content or included alongside other people’s content, it is very important that your infographic is clearly branded and features (at the very minimum) your website address.
- Video: Video offers a quick and easy route to distribute thought leadership content. Video doesn’t have to be professional shot. Keep it short and sweet and you can very easily put together a great looking video using a point and shoot video camera and the software that comes free with your computer. Video can easily be shared by embedding it in a blog post, uploading to YouTube or pushed out via the various social networks. A video screen shot captured in your email marketing has the potential to drastically improve your click-through rates. You cannot play a video in email – but people just cannot resist clicking the play button.
- Webinars: A webinar is an online meeting or seminar which can easily and cost effectively be run from a quiet corner of your office and accessed by a global audience via telephone or computer. A webinar can be used as a regular training session open to new clients or prospects or a significant, standalone event such as a product launch or trading review. Webinars allow for a two-way conversation and are a great way to interact with your audience and gauge client feedback.
- Mix It Up: One piece of content marketing can very easily expand and grew into another. There is no reason why a simple blog post cannot evolve into a more detailed white paper or an event such as a webinar. Don’t be afraid to test the water first, monitor your audience’s reaction and then make additional investments as necessary.
How are you using content marketing to build your business? Use the comments box below to share your tips.