Written by Dylan Langei
I'm here today to speak on behalf of content marketing. A slight hint of irony ingrained in this blog post since blogging is a fundamental component of content marketing. So let's hope I capture your attention. First, I'll cover snippets of information I've gathered from various articles and multimedia sources on successful content marketing. Then, I'll dive into the fundamentals of blogging. Lastly, I've tracked down an absolute content marketing wizard, in hopes that you may replicate their methods to become your own content marketing wizard.
Successful Content Marketing
According to Steven MacDonald from the Content Marketing Institute, there are five fundamental steps when achieving successful content marketing. I have also injected some of my own dialogue and facets from HubSpot's video class on Creating Content with a Purpose. The five steps are:
1. Understand Your Audience: Your audience includes your current customers, any potential customers, and people who would find your content useful. You may ask, well how do I do this? This tasks is completed through building buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictitious people (think Sim City characters) that are types of customers your business has and wants. These are your IDEAL customers, the ones that you will tailor your content for.
2. Map the Content to the Sales Cycle: This is an extremely important stage of successful content marketing and requires the content creator to be very in tune to where their customers are along the sales cycle. This map is called the buyers journey and incorporates three stages: Awareness (content to increase brand awareness), Consideration (content to increase number of marketing qualified leads), and Decision (content to turn marketing qualified lead into a sales qualified lead). Through these cycles it is imperative to tailor the content to where the customer is located on the map. This is done through six types of content: white papers, cases studies, video, detailed tech guides, info graphics, and/or blogs.
3. Create the Content: Now it is time to get your hands dirty. Many would think that short succinct posts would be the best content - time is money, right? However, longer content receives more inbound links, a better rank on Google, and more social shares. Before reading this I was thinking the magic word count was around 500, but that is wrong. To rank in the top 10, it is 2,000. To me, this seemed way too much content for the busy individual to read through. Who has time to read 2,000 words of content? Well they don't, if you do not capture their attention. That is why HubSpot stresses the importance of an intriguing title, and implementing a short 140 character synopsis to provide an overview of the content to fully capture the readers attention.
4. Promote Content: We all wish this wasn't the case, who wants to pay money to promote content that should organically succeed? Unfortunately, sometimes even the most groundbreaking content does not reach a surplus of viewers eyes without a little help. The three most effective promotional efforts are Google AdWords campaigns, social media campaigns, and email marketing. Yes, I said it, email marketing. Oh the insanity! Didn't cavemen use email to sign up for Geico insurance? Although email is often viewed as a decrepit method of communication, it still remains as one of the most effective marketing tools. Think about this, how many people have all of their emails synced together and sent directly to their phone? I know I do. Now, how many people have every single tweet or Facebook post notify their phone? I sure as hell know I would never do that.
5. Measure and Analyze: Now that you've created all this great content and promoted it, you must measure and analyze it's progress. Maybe you've been targeting the wrong audience or demographic. Maybe your audience checks their Facebook more than their email. Here is where you look at the amount of page views, number of shares, what was read the most, keywords used to find the content, and how many leads were generated. The end goal is to see which channels or methods provide the most amount of conversion rates - whether that's sales or subscriptions, that's up to you.
Fundamentals of Blogging:
HubSpot does a killer job articulating the fundamentals of effective blogging. Before watching The Fundamentals of Blogging video, I saw blogging as a way to express an opinion, using various sources, about said topic. Now I've been exposed to the etiquette and tricks of blogging. Here they are:
- As referred to earlier, blogs must possess compelling titles with keywords (55 characters), a meta description (140 characters), and be optimized for mobile use. There are several types of blog titles (actionable, keyword conscious, brief, clear, definitive, and intriguing), in which the creator must choose based on the audience they are attempting to attract and the topic their content addresses. Do not provide misleading titles, that will only aggravate your audience and eradicate your credibility and the loyalty to your content. A meta description should be a synopsis of your content in the length of a tweet. If you can't summarize your content in 140 characters, then you may need to narrow your scope.
- Focus on one topic! Too many times blogs will proceed to go off on a tangent, and completely neglect the main subject. Your main subject is why someone clicked on your blog, not some irrelevant facet of information. So, if your blog post is an informative piece on real estate market trends, do not begin blabbing about the banker who wouldn't refinance your home. Somewhat related, but your audience is reading to gain a perspective on when to buy or not buy a home. They do not care why Jeff from Bank ABC is an asshole.
- Blog, blog, blog, and blog some more. The more index pages on your website, the more chances you have to be found online because of keywords, new leads, and inbound links. This is an SEO home run, and it is free. But remember, it is important to blog about recent industry and industry-related news that is directed at your customer persona and their common questions. These blog posts can be articulated in a negative or positive tone. If a current industry issue pisses you off, blog about it. It is likely pissing someone else off too.
The Content Marketing God
Now for the section you've all been waiting for. I'm sure you've had some assumptions about who I was going to name as the Content Marketing God. Maybe Arianna Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post) or Michael Arringtons (founder of TechCrunch). But no, I wanted to take an unorthodox approach to crowning the Content Marketing Wizard. Meet Mario Armando Lavandeir, Jr. - more famously known as Perez Hilton.
Perez Hilton's website is essentially a celebrity gossip blog. Once dubbed 'Hollywood's Most Hated Website' for scrawling rude and obscene articles about celebrities, Perez Hilton is ranked #6 in The Guardian's 50 Most Powerful Blogs. How could I, right? Name Perez Hilton the Content Marketing Wizard?! Although unorthodox in his approach to blogging, Perez provides his audience with the content they want. Perez Hilton has effectively identified his audience and their needs, and consistently satisfies those needs through blog postings and various other media related content. According to Quantcast, Perez Hilton's web demographics show his predominate audience base to be females ages 18-44. No offense to the females out there, but what do females ages 18-44 typically like to do when they congregate? Maybe while sharing a bottle of wine? Gossip, and especially about celebrities. Perez, being the smart content blogger he is, registered this desire to have gossip-worthy news regarding celebrities, and began writing. The rest is history.