The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Unraveling the Mystery of Content Marketing
Published on Feb 29, 2012
Read our article, 'Unraveling the Mystery of Content Marketing' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Content marketing, also known as inbound marketing, is based on four major marketing legs:
Social Media Channels
(Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)
E-mails and E-mail Newsletters
These legs, when used correctly, create a platform for communication with your customers and potential customers, as well as other members of your tribe (which is defined by Seth Godin as "any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, or an idea).
According to Wikipedia, “Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to engage current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.”
Although content marketing isn’t new, it can often feel like a mystery to a small business owner who doesn’t have much experience with it. Let’s take a closer look at each of the four legs mentioned above to help shed some light on the mystery of content marketing.
Social Media Channels
There are numerous options when it comes to social media. For the sake of this article, let’s stick to three of the most well known ones: Facebook, Twitter and Linked in. Depending on your business, and your disposition, you might find that some of these options work better for you than others.
Facebook is an excellent place to set up events pages, as well as special events or promotions. It’s also an excellent venue to disseminate your blog posts. Not just for personal use, Facebook can be a powerful tool in your small business content marketing efforts. One of things you’ll have to master is how many times per day (or week) you should post. Too much contact, and you risk being un-liked because readers are feeling inundated by you. Not enough contact will make you invisible — which makes it hard to be memorable, right? A good rule of thumb is to limit you Facebook posts to one per day. If you feel you need more, experiment with it until you get the balance right.
Twitter is a very different animal. Here, one tweet per day is not enough. Twitter is so fast paced that your posting could easily come and go in mere seconds on your followers’ home pages. How many times should you tweet per day? Unfortunately, there is no stock answer. People like Guy Kawasaki tweet hourly, while Seth Godin tweets once per day. Although they’re both wildly popular marketing gurus, they have a very different use for Twitter. Again, trial and error is your best bet in finding how many tweets per day work for you.
LinkedIn has traditionally been the content marketing destination for businesses. It’s a place to go to make business connections and promote your business. The frequency of postings on LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, but you may find that the audience you reach is very different. Which is better? Again, this all depends on what type of business you run and where your audience is spending their time.
One could argue that a blog is part of social media. To me it’s a hybrid between social media and a website. The articles you publish on your blog can gain you a readership following, and can help build trust between you and your audience. Creating quality content that’s relevant to your readers is the first step in building a successful blog. The next step is making sure you’ve created SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that helps you get found by potential readers. In addition, adhering to the Google Panda algorithm helps ensure that you’re being perceived in a positive light by Google. Breaking Panda rules could place you into what I call the black hole effect.
Of all the content marketing channels we’re discussing here, your website is the most static. In other words, it doesn’t change as much. But once you’ve created a winning website, you’ll want to freshen it up from time to time — especially if your products or services are “newsy” (things that might be talked about on blogs, news sites, or in social media). This helps keep you in good standing with Google Panda (who looks for freshness in newsy web pages). An easy way to stay fresh is to include your blog on your website.
Of course, your website is an excellent place to promote your other social media outlets, promotions, etc. Often, your other content marketing channels will drive customers and potential customers to your website. Make sure it does its job well by making products or services easy to find and purchase. If you’re not selling directly on the site, make sure it’s easy for customers to take the next step toward conversion.
E-mail & eNewsletters
The final leg is e-mail and eNewsletters (disseminated through e-mails). Content marketing through e-mail is a great way to send specific messages to specific audiences. Since you control who receives each e-mail, you have the flexibility to customize your message to multiple niche groups (upping the relevance factor). You can make people aware of promotions, new products, or other relevant information. It’s also an excellent way to lead people to what’s going on in your other social media outlets.
Another thing to consider ...
WHAT exactly are you supposed to be writing about? Here, your audience’s preferences are tantamount. What’s important and relevant to them? How do they talk? How do they like to be talked to? What kinds of benefits are they looking for that you offer in your products or services? What’s the best way to describe these benefits to make them appealing? Always remember, the quality of your communication should always come before the quantity. One ounce of gold is worth more than a thousand pennies.
Good luck with your content marketing!