There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content--far too many to cover here. My intent is to give you an introduction to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you’ll see the opportunities all around you. Soon you’ll be coming up with 50 content marketing ideas every day. You won’t be able to stop seeing opportunities to create content. Here are five examples to help your mind start percolating.
The most effective fishermen vary their bait depending on the fish they aim to catch. They know that bass, for example, go after earthworms. Carp love corn. Crappie respond well to rubber lures. Fishermen also adjust their technique depending on the time of day, the water conditions, and the season. They soak up as much information as possible about the fish and it’s environment, ultimately using their learnings to attract and, hopefully, hook.
Step 4: Produce and optimize your content. If you’re starting with original, high-quality content that you’ve invested real time and money to create, you’ll want to get the most out of every asset. You’ll also want to be sure your content stays fresh—out-of-date, no longer relevant content hurts your brand’s credibility. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your content marketing, remember the three Rs:
Case studies, also known as testimonials, are your opportunity to tell the story of a customer who succeeded in solving a problem by working with you. A case study is perhaps your most versatile type of content marketing because it can take many different forms -- some of which are on this list. That's right, case studies can take the form of a blog post, ebook, podcast ... even an infographic.
There are actually two parts to the course, the first titled “Engaging Audiences for Your Organization” and the second titled “Expanding Your Content’s Impact and Reach.” Both are six weeks of study and completely free, although you do have the option of getting a Verified Certificate from Northwestern University for completing the course for $49.00.
It's important to do regular reporting -- I recommend monthly -- on each of these metrics so you know where your growth levers lie. Regular reporting also helps you identify negative trends or plateaus early-on so you can address them before they become bigger issues. Most importantly, however, tracking the success of your initiatives makes it easy for you to repeat what works, eliminate what doesn't, and promote the success of your content marketing program so you can justify its expansion, and its seat at the modern marketing table.
Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast--all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.
While it's true Google can do a lot of the distribution work for you, it hinges on making smart decisions with your content strategy. In other words, Google might distribute the content you create, but it might distribute it onto page 32. Your job is to make sure as much content as possible appears as high up on page one as possible. This means your writers should be working closely with your SEO specialist to determine what keywords to go after -- ideally a combination of long tail terms and head terms, at an appropriate level of competitiveness given your domain authority and how aggressively you can go after the terms. Of course, that content should also be optimized for on-page SEO to improve its chances of ranking highly.
The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product." Content on the blog included how-to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interviews and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." The popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content."
Starting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don't have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of podcast listeners is growing -- in 2018, nearly one-third of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast in the last month. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.
Get writers who get business. Ann has interviewed George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Robert Redford. But, as a former business magazine editor, she really enjoys chatting with economists, engineers and surgeons. At Wylie Communications, we’ve written about communication technology for Sprint, about personal finance for Northern Trust and — despite the fact that Ann’s preferred form of exercise is the hike from recliner to refrigerator — about fitness medicine for the Mayo Clinic. We’ve helped NASA write about rocket science and neurosurgeons communicate about brain surgery. You can rely on our team to get up to speed on your industry, as well, quickly and thoroughly.
Ford was an unknown name to me, but her loyal followers seem to swear by her advice so I gave the course a try, and was very impressed. She has worked with government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and many more across the board. This subject matter is one that seems fairly simple, but planning can be very intricate. Like Godin’s class, she helps you create a resource library to refer back to in the future and makes sure that you walk away with three months planned for your online content.
Webpages. What’s the difference between a normal webpage and a webpage that is content marketing? Consider The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, a provider of SEO related tools and resources. This resource, offered for free, has been viewed millions of times, bringing in countless customers who otherwise might never have stumbled across Moz and the services they offer. Or take a look at a case study from the design firm Teehan+Lax. Most case studies are boring. Their case studies are fascinating. That’s the difference between simply putting content on your website, and content marketing.
Your specific needs might vary -- for instance, perhaps you need subject matter expertise in your writers, or coding experience from your long-form content creators. Or perhaps your titles differ, and your "content creators" are actually "content strategists", or your "social media manager" is really a "specialist." Make edits as you see fit, but these frameworks should be helpful in getting you started if this is your first time hiring for any of these positions.