Let’s not beat around the bush. Companies allocate their marketing funds based on one key question: what marketing tactic gets the best bang for the buck? The answer is where they allocate dollars and time.
With so little of both, most managers and owners are hesitant to put their marketing budget funds into the next “big thing.” A few years ago, producing content for your blog was the next big thing.
It still is.
Producing content is still one of the top ways to put your business website in front of local customers and give them all the information they’re looking for. But like everything else in life and technology, content marketing has evolved. It’s changed. And it’s still one of the most effective marketing tactics for small and large businesses.
State of Content Marketing
The simplest definition of content marketing is exactly what is inferred from the terms: content used to market a business. In its infancy, the tactic usually involved writing a blog post aimed at search engines. Frankly, many of those posts created were often so narrowly authored for that purpose that they provided little value to the reader. Other posts were short and aimed solely at selling to the reader. They were a walking advertisement. The amount of low value content published was staggering. The worst posts were unreadable to the average reader.
High quality content marketing is produced for two audiences: potential and current customers and search engines. Well-produced content builds trust (one of many ways to build trust online), provides answers and entertainment to visitors, and engages your target audience. For search engines, fresh and updated content gets a website extra credit in terms of search engine rankings.
Modern content marketing is more than just solely writing blog posts. Modern content marketing follows a plan and includes a variety of different types of content designed to reach and engage followers, including:
- Blog posts. Blog posts—high quality, well-written, optimized posts—are still a major player in content marketing. Blog posts should provide value to the reader (ask this question before writing). A well-written blog post should be shared through e-mail, on social media, and in other marketing pieces. A successful blog includes valuable content (with quality images) produced on a regular basis. If you can’t keep up with a regular schedule, consider outsourcing the effort for optimal results.
- Graphics. The type of graphic produced for content marketing depends on the purpose of the image. Images are a significant part of any content marketing effort. Memes and infographics can also get you credit on social media and in e-mails.
- Video. There is a reason there are so many videos on YouTube, and more videos are uploaded every hour and day. Video is one of the top forms of media that online users view and share. Not all video needs to be professionally produced; videos created on tablets and phones can be just as effective. For additional views, share live video of events on social media.
- E-books, docs, and whitepapers. Longform content can be a valuable offering to online viewers, and an effective way to build an e-mail list. For long-term value, produce checklists and books with content that lasts beyond short-term trends.
Content marketing is an effective marketing tactic that needs to be a regular effort. For that reason, the task should be assigned to a dependable staff member or outsourced to an experienced marketing agency.