Despite the many trends that have popped up over the past few years in the realm of marketing, one fact remains constant: content marketing is here to stay.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably already using content marketing in one form or another. The more channels you use, the more ways you have to connect to potential and existing customers.
If you’re looking to engage with your customers and potential customers, social media is a fantastic platform. After all, it’s just one giant conversation. And if you do it right, people will click the links you share (many should link back to your site or blog) and end up in your inbound marketing funnel.
Here are some strategies for using the most popular types of social media successfully:
- Twitter: Best for short shares, questions, or comments. Ask an engaging question that relates to a blog post or tweet a quote from your blog, then include a link.
- Facebook: Your Facebook page will be more appealing if you include an image with each share. You can ask longer, more thought-provoking questions of your audience here. Also great for company news, fun behind-the-scenes photos, and off-the-wall shares.
- LinkedIn: Keep the focus business-driven. Share content on your personal profile, company page, and in relevant groups.
- Google+: Again, photos speak a thousand words. Users particularly respond to questions here.
Blogging is obviously a great channel for content marketing. Keep the content relevant and useful to your audience. Content ideas include:
- How Tos: Provide actionable advice on using your product or solving a common problem experienced by your audience.
- 101: Start with a high-level view of a particular topic. Explore the topic in depth and leave readers feeling more educated for having read your content.
- News: When something exciting happens at your company, your blog should be one of the first places you announce it.
- Roundups: Include links to other posts that all relate to a single topic, such as small business mobile apps. This encourages readers to stay on your blog longer and read more content.
Blogging is just the first step here; sharing is the second. Once you’ve written a post, share it across all your social channels to reach a wider audience.
Digital White Papers
When a topic is too deep to dive into fully with a blog post, a white paper may be a more appropriate format. If, for example, you wrote a few blog posts about “how to write a press release,” you could then combine all that info into a single white paper of five to 15 pages.
Your goal should be to provide an all-encompassing view of a topic. Go below the surface and provide steps for completing an action, useful tips for success, charts, graphs, anything that will provide value to your reader.
Include a call to action at the end. While the white paper shouldn’t be a blatant ad for your company, you should include an “About Us” section at the end where you cover the product or service specialities your company offers. Then comes the CTA: that might be an offer for a free consultation, free guide, or obligation-free quote. Provide a link or phone number so your readers don’t have to dig to contact you.
Some forms of content marketing require your lead to be proactive in trying to connect with you. The great thing about email is that once someone subscribes to your list, they don’t need to do anything for you to reach them (other than open their inboxes).
To keep your contacts from unsubscribing from your list, deliver fresh and unique content in your email newsletter each month. Here are some great content ideas:
- Pull an article from your blog. Only include 25% of it, then link to the full post.
- Include quick tips that readers can use.
- Answer customer questions.
- Share customer reviews.
- Interview a few of your customers.
Content marketing goes much further than a blog post or white paper. Slides, too, fall under this category. If you’ve presented at a conference or webinar, or simply want to create a useful presentation, sharing it online can help new people find your brand.
SlideShare is a site that permits you to upload presentations for free. Because people are searching for presentations on different topics, they can find yours. If you include a link back to your site, you’ll lead them right to your front door.
The written word isn’t the only form of content marketing you should consider. Infographics take content and illustrate it. Because not all of your followers connect with written content, you can widen your appeal to include those who ingest visual images best.
Here are some tips for building successful infographics:
- Take a blog post and illustrate it as an infographic.
- Build upon statistics or data in your field to create a visual image.
- Take holidays or major events and create a themed infographic.
- Share your infographic with bloggers in your field to spread it around the Internet.
Content marketing is only limited to your imagination. Find new ways to reach customers and leads through written content, presentations, and images.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.