Wondering if blogs or email are still effective? Read on to find out.
Think content marketing got its start with the advent of the internet? Think again. Companies have been providing valuable content to audiences for hundreds of years.
Content marketing has been around since 1732 when Benjamin Franklin published his first Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business. In 1895, John Deere used content marketing and distributed a consumer magazine with helpful, useful, and interesting information farmers could use to become better and more profitable.
Content marketing has continued to evolve and now includes sophisticated storytelling, smarter distribution techniques, and a greater emphasis on the customer experience — which is why it remains one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers, build relationships with them, and nurture those leads into sales.
But if you’re just getting started with content marketing, you probably have a few questions. No need to be embarrassed. With social media, influencers, email, marketing automation, and more, marketing has never been more confusing.
Here’s a closer look at the most common content marketing questions and answers.
1. What Is Content Marketing?
First things first, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant, valuable, and compelling content to your target audience. Common types of content marketing include:
● Blog posts
● Case studies
● White papers
● Social media
Unlike traditional outbound forms of marketing that interrupt your audience with a hard sell — think commercials, online ads, direct mail, telemarketing — content marketing answers questions people have, educates them on your products and services, and shows them how your company can help solve their pain points and challenges.
By becoming a credible, authoritative resource on topics that matter to your potential customers, you are more likely to attract the right audience and earn their trust. But to maximize your success converting those visitors into leads and nurturing them into customers, you can’t just write a white paper and publish it on your website. Your content strategy needs to be a component of a larger inbound marketing strategy.
2. What Is Inbound Marketing?
While content marketing is about slowly building relationships with potential customers through content, inbound marketing is all about inspiring a potential customer to take action — whether that’s to make a purchase, complete a form, or follow you on social media — by providing the right content to the right customer at the right time.
For example, an inbound marketing technique may include displaying a newsletter subscription pop-up to a repeat website visitor because they are more likely to subscribe to an email list than someone who is visiting your website for the very first time.
Content marketing, social media, lead flows, email marketing, and marketing automation are all components of inbound marketing that allow you to attract visitors, convert those visitors into leads, move leads down your sales funnel, and eventually turn them into paying customers.
3. Is a Blog Really That Important?
Blogs are one of the most powerful types of content for inbound marketing. Blogs can be used to boost brand awareness, build relationships with your audience, and convert readers into customers.
Every time you write a blog post, you gain another opportunity to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website. Blogging also helps you get discovered on social media. Without a blog to promote on social, you’re missing opportunities to not only drive high-quality engagement with your audience but also expose your business to new audiences that might know about you yet.
The key reason you need a blog, however, is that you can use it to help convert that traffic into leads. In every blog you publish, include a call to action (CTA) to an offer that is a valuable resource for the person reading your content — download a related eBook, register for a webinar, subscribe to your newsletter. When a visitor clicks on the CTA, they’ll get taken to a landing page where they’ll submit a form with their information in exchange for the free offer.
Businesses that use blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t.
4. Where Should We Promote a Blog Article Once It's Written?
Once you write a blog, can’t just post it to social media a few times and move on to the next blog. Here are some ways you can promote your blog posts so that they reach and help your audience:
● Feature the blog in an email campaign.
● Arrange a partnership with influencers to cross-promote your content.
● Boost posts on Facebook and promote posts on Twitter.
● Link to the blog from other posts on your blog.
● Repurpose a blog post into a slideshow, infographic, or video.
5. What Is Influencer Marketing?
Not all influencers are celebrities endorsing high-end products or 20-somethings on Instagram promoting a new skincare brand. An influencer can be anyone who has the power to affect the decisions of your target audience because of their authority, knowledge, or relationship with them.
Influencer marketing is the process of identifying, researching, and engaging the brands and people who produce and share content that can impact your business or your buyer’s decision-making process. Reach out to the influencers that are popular with your target audience, and arrange a partnership to promote your content.
For example, if you write a blog that features a quote from an expert in your industry, ask them to share your post. If you can cultivate relationships with influencers and make them ambassadors of organization, they can help improve brand awareness, boost your credibility, and generate conversions.
6. Is Email Marketing Actually Effective?
On average, email generates $38 for every dollar spent, which is a 3,800% return on investment. That’s because email allows you to:
● Build relationships with prospects through personalized emails.
● Establish credibility with your audience by sharing helpful and informative content.
● Stay top-of-mind and keep people engaged with your business.
● Better understand the needs and interests of your customer base.
● Share relevant and valuable blog content or other offers.
● Entice your subscribers to share their information.
● Promote your products and services.
● Help your customers succeed in their goals.
● Bring new people to your business.
So, yes, email marketing is still one of the most important elements of your marketing strategy.
7. Do You Really Need a Marketing Automation Platform?
If you’re publishing good content on a regular basis and are generating a steady stream of leads, consider investing in a marketing automation platform, such as HubSpot.
A marketing automation platform allows you to automate email marketing, social media postings, and even ad campaigns. Not only does this free up your team to work on other projects, but it also allows you to communicate with prospects and customers efficiently, effectively, and consistently.
For example, with a marketing automation platform, you can set up automatic email campaigns that trigger off of a website visitors’ actions. As you nurture leads, you may be offering additional content they might find useful or pointing them in the direction of where they can read testimonials or case studies about your services and how satisfied your customers are.
Because automatic emails are timely, personalized, and super relevant to the reader, they are opened and clicked more frequently and drive visits and revenue for your business.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, John Deere is one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of tractors, and The Furrow is still distributed to more than 1.5 million people across 40 countries.