Content Marketing Doesn’t Stop at Blogging
While maintaining an engaging, thought-provoking, and relevant blog is an essential component of the larger content marketing package, though, it’s important to remember that it really is just a single component. After years in the biz, we’ve seen too many organizations come to rely solely on blog posts to boost SEO and organic traffic. Consequently, these folks have missed out on the opportunity to connect with a much wider market that could have been reached through other content marketing strategies.
What is Content Marketing?
STOP! Don’t skip this section! At this point, you may be rolling your eyes thinking, “I already know what content marketing is. DUH!” But… do you really.
We’re not trying to insult your intelligence here. Instead, we’re trying to get you to think outside of the box. If you’re like most Denver business owners, the words “content marketing” probably bring thoughts of blog articles, eBooks, whitepapers, and maybe even social media posts to mind. If you want to really appeal to the masses, though, you need to expand your definition. In reality, “content” refers to anything that can be read, watched, seen, or heard. This means that content marketing can include a much broader scope of tools than you’d previously imagined. Talk about options!
Before you start pumping mediocre content out into the universe, though, you have to remember that producing content in and of itself isn’t enough. We’re talking about content marketing, here. That means you have to make sure the stuff you’re developing will appeal to your consumer audience while producing results that are quantifiable, measurable, and repeatable. That’s the difference between “meh” and “mahhh-velous”!
Beyond Blogging Part 1: Audio/Video Content Marketing
Don’t feel like writing up another blog post? Try mixing things up with audio and/or visual content mediums. Some of our favorite suggestions include:
Podcasts — Podcasts are a great way to build up your brand’s image and truly connect with your target audience. Because Podcasting is still relatively new in terms of its popularity, you’re likely to be found quickly by those interested in the type of information and expertise you can offer, and you’ll have the freedom to format your show however you please, thus setting you up as a “trendsetter” — even better for business! For best results, make sure you have a specific goal and focus for your podcast, and stick to a regular schedule that listeners can rely on.
Serial Videos – Today’s consumers love to be entertained, and many people spend a ridiculous amount of time on YouTube (not that we’ve ever been sucked into a web series…). Short videos that are informative and helpful, with a touch of wit and humor, will draw viewers to you. Chronicling the ‘lives’ and growth of repeated characters will keep viewers hooked and coming back. This means more opportunities to flash an eye-catching CTA at your consumers at the end of each vid.
Non-Serial Videos – Standalone videos, like commercials and tutorials, can be just as successful as a web series. While you may not pick up as big of a following on a site like YouTube, standalones are great for social media platforms and your company website.
Beyond Blogging Part 2: Print Content and Downloadable Content
Those who enjoy writing will be happy to learn that they can expand their horizons by adding other forms of written content to their repertoires. Here are a few examples:
Develop a Guide — Be the “all in one” source of information for your target audience. Today’s consumers don’t like to spend a lot of time researching and becoming experts on a certain subject — they want general reference points and Cliff’s Notes. By creating a comprehensive guide to an industry-relevant subject, you’ll introduce a wide range of readers to your brand and its mission. If you’re a fire safety installation company, for example, you might publish “The Ultimate Guide to Fire Sprinkler Maintenance and Testing”. Those with businesses that span throughout the country could even develop regional guides. Those in the hotel industry, for example, might create “The Complete Guide to Family Friendly Restaurants and Attractions in ____”, with a different guide for various major cities. The sky is the limit!
Create a Magazine — Airlines, hotels, and universities have the right idea: create your own magazine and you control the content. Whether you’re a dentist or a lawyer, you can write and print a regular magazine to send out to your customers and to fill your waiting rooms. In the case of the latter, you’ll have a captive audience that will have no other option than to check out what you have to say, but if you provide superior content, you’ll find that people are actually excited to read your publication. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and relevance while giving your readers a taste of your unique brand personality. You’ll be amazed with the results.
Write a Column — Okay, maybe publishing a full magazine isn’t the right fit for your business. Still, you can get your content out there by writing a featured column in a local newspaper or publication that will demonstrate your value and expertise to your community.
Write an eBook — You don’t have to write a novel in order to share your valuable content with your target audience. If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to consider publishing one or more eBooks. eBooks help you condense big ideas into shorter, punchier, more manageable content that can be read and shared by consumers. eBooks often feature useful spreadsheets, infographics, and images. Best of all, they can be used as lead bait. Here, you offer your premium content (the eBook) to readers in exchange for their information. This will provide you with the opportunity to follow up later and move your leads through the sales funnel.
Offer Useful PDFs — eBooks aren’t the only form of premium content that you can offer to your users as a download. Downloadable PDFs that provide consumers with valuable infographics, charts, spreadsheets, facts, figures, etc. can also inspire prospective customers to fill out a lead capture form.
Beyond Blogging Part 3: Bringing Content to Life
Content doesn’t have to be two-dimensional. We think it’s important to remove the barriers between you and your audience every once in awhile and present your content LIVE and IN PERSON. Here’s how:
Organize Your Own Conferences — Remember back in part one of our series when we said that content can refer to anything that can be seen or heard (amongst other things)? Well, conferences are all about providing attendees with fresh new information (content) that can be heard at lectures and panels, and can be seen in live demonstrations, sneak peaks, etc. Putting on your own conference gives you the power to control exactly what type of content is shared with your audience so that you can spread the word about your products and services. The more powerful and relevant your content is, the more likely your attendees will be to share it with others via word-of-mouth, live tweeting, Periscope, etc. You can even kill two birds with one stone by recording all live content and later sharing it on your website, blog, or YouTube, or allowing it to be shared by other blogs and news outlets in order to reach an even wider audience.
Speak at Other Conferences — You don’t have to box yourself into only being able to speak at your own hosted conferences. Develop strong relationships with other industry experts and professionals, or with those in related industries, and then be willing to speak at their events when you’re invited. It’s time to get over your fear of public speaking and start spreading your IRL content to the masses. As in the case of hosting your own event, speaking at a hosted conference will provide you with the opportunity to have your content shared by attendees as well as through audio/visual mediums.
Throw a Party or Meetup — What better way to get your customers all together in one place and share your content than to invite them to a party, mixer, or meetup? Making the event somewhat exclusive will entice more of your invitees to actually show up, and will make them much more receptive to any content that you have to offer. This could be in the form of product placement and usage throughout the party, raffles, giveaways, or even SWAG bags. You might even set up a selfie booth with your brand name in the background. Attendees will be inspired to share their silly photos on social media and share your brand information (content) with their friends and followers. Your end game here is to create an atmosphere of fun and a night that your guests will remember — without being overly pushy or obvious. Subtlety is the key to having your content appreciated and shared.
Beyond Blogging Part 4: Educational Content Marketing
When you learn something valuable, you never really forget it, do you? In fact, you’re likely to apply what you’ve learned to your everyday life and probably pass that information along to other people down the road. Educating your target audience on pertinent subjects, then, will ensure that your message always lingers with your customers and gets passed on down through the ages. Here are a few ways to immortalize your content and your brand through educational content marketing:
Teach a Class or Workshop — The majority of consumers learn by direct contact or experience. This particular method of content marketing allows you to appeal to both the educational aspect of marketing and the consumer’s desire to connect with you as a brand on a personal level (IRL). The most obvious method for instructing a class is to dedicate a few hours to teaching a specific skill to your attendees. In some cases, it might be an extended product demonstration, showing people how they should go about operating your specific product or tool and offering inspirational ideas for using it, in addition to tips for best practices. In other instances, you might be showing attendees how to perform ongoing maintenance and care tasks that will extend the life of their existing products. In still other cases, you might put on a class or workshop that is related to your industry without being specific to your brand. A restaurant, for example, might host a wine tasting class to teach attendees how to properly pair drinks with their favorite dishes. This provides consumers with an interesting experience and exposure to your content while also getting your brand name out there. Regardless of the type of class you settle on, we encourage you to record the event and share it online later for wider reach.
Host a Webinar — Webinars are another great way to share your content with current and prospective customers — regardless of their physical location. Both single-day and repeated webinars will allow you to build relationships with current and prospective customers while teaching them a new skill or providing them with new and useful information (content) that will improve their daily lives.
Offer a Course — If you’re a large enterprise with a lot of content to share with your target audience, you might want to consider going “whole hog” and offering a full-blown online course for your customers. This provides you with a regular, repeated opportunity to demonstrate your value and expertise while earning the trust and respect of consumers around the globe.
To sum things up: Blogging is AWESOME (obviously), but it’s not the only way to connect your consumer audience with incredible content. After reading through this four-part series, you now have a whole lot more tools in your bag and should be ready to start building content in a range of formats, including audio/visual, print, downloadables, live events, and educational opportunities. As experts in each of these fields, Madison Taylor Marketing is ready to help you step up your content marketing game today. Give us a call to get started!