Content marketing is much more than creating and distributing online content. It takes strategy and creative thinking. Just like any marketing channel, you must look at how it is being used by your audience.
Content marketing without search engine optimization (SEO) is like a house without a foundation; and, content marketing without inbound is like a house without people living in it.
Therefore, optimizing online content with a clear goal in mind should be at the top of your priority list.
When you do a direct mail piece, do you send it to everyone? Or, do you have a highly targeted list of potentially interested buyers? Probably, a targeted list.
The same is true with online content. You can target a specific group of people by including keywords those people use on the web.
Search engine robots find content on websites based on the types of keywords included on web pages. Furthermore, people are using these search engines to find answers to questions.
So, if you are targeting a specific audience, it is best to think of the type of keywords they use to find answers to their questions. This will help you to create an informative campaign.
When the content in your online deliverables includes SEO, the chances of your content ranking in search engine results is high. You cannot rely on video or graphics to be found on the web when doing content marketing.
Rather, you need to tell a story with words, too. A blog is a great way to get your target audience to the website after doing a search.
Once you get that web visitor, it is up to you to create pages that lead them on a journey. Inbound marketing is about converting a website visitor while content marketing is focused on creating content and distributing it.
The highest performing content marketing campaigns will have a mix of both. Excellent content is less likely to produce great results on its own.
Think of content marketing as a part of inbound marketing. Use the method of storytelling to intrigue and entertain your audience.
That is how good content marketing campaigns are created. Inbound marketing will provide you with the tools to convert those web visitors into loyal customers.
A successful content marketing campaign will have a hub for attracting web visitors. That hub should be a place to showcase the complete story. Most companies use their blogs to hold content marketing campaigns.
There could be a series a blog posts around a single topic, accompanied by video and graphics to visually tell the story. The blog posts include keywords, and there are call to actions on each post.
The types of call to actions include gated content to gather emails for lead nurturing, such as white papers. Nurturing leads have more than one touch point.
So, if you are going to start emailing that new contact, you must do it with messaging that makes sense to where they are at in the modern-day funnel.
Inbound marketing includes the funnel. The keywords that your audience uses will be different by where they are at in the funnel. For example, a person will search with questions if they are researching more about possible solutions.
So, they are not going to land on your website’s product or service pages. Instead, they will land on pages that are about potential solutions. These types of searches are in the awareness stage. The web visitor is just getting to know who you are as a brand, so it makes little sense to sell in this stage.
The next stage within the funnel will be the interest stage. Those who download a white paper are entering this stage and can stay there for a while, which is why you need many touchpoints within your content marketing campaign to bring newly acquired web visitors further down the funnel.
When you think of each piece of online content as fitting within each stage of the funnel, it will help you to think of the next step within the buyer’s journey. It will help you to think of how to turn that lead into a customer.
The funnel can include HubSpot’s flywheel approach. Instead of the process ending at the purchase stage, you should aim to bring those customers back into the funnel by creating a new and exciting content marketing campaign to keep them engaged.
This will turn those customers into loyal brand advocates.
Content marketing is critical, but it is only part of the story when it comes to producing revenue.
You want to create content that will ultimately drive sales. And, because inbound marketing uses strategy to attract, engage and delight your audience, you will be able to see how to optimize content and the conversion experience.
Ashley Schweigert is the owner of Marcom Content by Ashley, LLC.
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