Nowadays, Content Marketing is all the rage. Be damned with all the SEO tricks, link building and other shenanigans that can take ages to come to fruition. You want quality traffic and you want it now – blogging is the answer!
But hold on, what is content marketing?
Understanding content marketing is pretty easy actually. Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable and unique free content to attract and convert prospects into customers. The type of content you create & share is closely related to what your product is. In other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
But enough with the theory: you want to see some examples!
Blog posts are your best bet for kicking off – a blog is cheap to get running and maintain, and we’ll be exploring this in more depth later on in this, er, blog post. Some well known and popular blogs include those from Kissmetrics and Buffer.
Infographics can wholly transform a seemingly mundane set of data into a beautiful, attention grabbing piece of content. They might take more time and effort to produce but the result is often worth it. A great example of this is a snapshot of an infographic from efounders, combining information and style.
Videos are often great for those who might not have the time to read through a whole article; like infographics, they take more time and effort to produce (okay, a lot more). Moz produces ‘Whiteboard Friday’ videos where narration is combined with illustration drawn on, guess what, a whiteboard.
Tools will always be welcomed when they make the lives of your customers easier, however much that might be. Hubspot, regarded as masters of content marketing, provides free gradings of websites’ marketing efforts. Consider releasing a product or service for free as a ‘gift’!
What does my company get out of content marketing?
A stronger brand. Content marketing develops your brand into something more than just a name or everyday product. Content marketing means that people will associate your company with ideas and attributes, not just an emotionless face for your product no matter how good it might be.
Increased traffic. As you’ll see later, content marketing is one of the easiest ways which you can expand your audience for minimal cost. Keep in mind that every new reader is also a potential new customer!
Job candidates. As more people become aware of your company through your marketing campaign, you’re more likely to get the attention of qualified job seekers as well. Like, really ensnare them. And keep them thinking about Pusher and how it might be pretty nice to work here as well…ahem. Moving on!
Establishment as a thought leader. This doesn’t happen overnight, but the biggest rewards await those who are in the game for the long-term. As you develop your product, your message and your audience, you may eventually become the go-to source for new information that you might put out.
It’s the future of online. Gone are the days when consumers will eagerly snap up extremely costly banner ads, often on sites which have no relation whatsoever to the content of the page itself. By developing your own, focused message, you are just as likely to attain the reach that you want – minus the cost.
Show that the company still alive! Keep producing fresh and new content, and never let your audience fall under the impression that you’ve gone stale or, even worse, stopped working. You may be working on the most revolutionary secret project for months, but if no one hears a word from you in that time…
There are often more benefits than those listed here for companies that actively engage in it for the long-term for very little cost. Just make sure to keep it rolling!
Back to that “blogging” thing…
As we saw above, blogging is an integral part of content marketing. You should start with blogging because:
No special equipment is needed. It doesn’t involve difficult skills such as filming and editing videos or designing infographics.
It’s cheap and ridiculously simple to set up. The easiest thing to set up thanks to services like Tumblr, WordPress and Silverback or even Jekyll, Octopress & Hexo if you want to get your hands dirty. We at Pusher use WordPress, which in recent iterations has one of the cleanest and most intuitive UIs to blog with.
You’re already reading this. You are already familiar with this whole blogging thing; afterall, you are reading a blog post.
But blogging is hard!
No it’s not! Like everything that starts as “difficult”, you need to get into the habit of doing it, even if it means starting small with one blog post a day, and have a process that helps you produce and publish the content.
People often think blogging is hard because of a variety of reasons: you might not feel you’re a ‘writer’, or express yourself properly in words. You might be too busy with all the other tasks that fill your day to blog, or you simply might not see the value of it.
Look at blogging this way – it’s not a random bunch of words that you slap together which no one will ever read. Blogging is as integral to your content marketing as any other component, and building up an audience there will reap significant rewards for your company.
Here are three key ideas to keep in mind when you’re blogging:
Keep your sentences as short as possible. This isn’t an arbitrary ban on lines over 10 words, but you’re not going to retain an online reader’s attention by dragging on line after line after line without a break.
Don’t overcomplicate things. You’re blogging for your company, not writing the sequel to The Lord of the Rings or an academic paper. Keep your message simple so you can get your point across effectively!
Write for your target audience. Who do you want to be using your product? Write for them. Ultimately, you’re marketing your company – just in a different way. Just as your product should be for someone in particular, so should your blog.
Most importantly, keep it alive! Little is sadder than a blog that falls into black hole of the Internet. Don’t underestimate it’s value just because it doesn’t get attention like updates on Twitter or Facebook might, or the lasting power of your posts, referred to as the ‘long tail’. You may find that you’re still getting hits weeks or months after content is posted! Rest assured, your customers will read it.
And finally, coming up with valuable and unique content ideas for your company blog is easy (After all, you are a thought leader in your industry, right?)
How can I get noticed?
As much as we might love to, our words don’t just get noticed by themselves. Fortunately, here are some simple ways in which you can extend the reach of your post within seconds:
Use social media. Our ability to connect to the world is unparalleled: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Reddit, these are all mediums through which you can share your blog post.
See that coworker sitting next to you in your office? That’s potentially hundreds of new connections from friends, other coworkers and acquaintances already. Get your office to share and retweet the blog post!
Don’t be afraid to ask for ‘favours’. Reach out to relevant influencers, whether they’re tech publications or important figures you might have interacted with. Ask for a retweet when its relevant to the influencer and their audience: it’ll literally take seconds, and if you get it that’s another large audience exposed to your blog.
Never be afraid to share. You have nothing to lose from asking (nicely!) for people to help, but so much to gain.
So what next?
You should be blogging because it’s easy, free and you can get a lot out of it as long as you get into the habit of doing it. It provides a great platform for launching into other content marketing initiatives like infographics or videos, and rest assured – content marketing will always benefit your company!
Congratulations on making it through this post on the importance of blogging! For reading until the end, you also get this sweet cheat-sheet to get past mental blocks for free!
A freebie? You guys are amazing!*
*this ideal response would be greatly appreciated.
We know that the toughest part of blogging sometimes isn’t about motivation or perceived difficulty: sometimes you just can’t seem to think of anything to write about.
We empathise. So here’s a set of questions to get your brain fired up with ideas for your blog:
1. What product or service is your company working on now?
Are there updates coming out for your existing products as well? You’ll always have a ready audience in your consumer base when talking about the products they use and especially how they might improve.
2. Do you have a stance on new technologies or developments in the industry?
Well, of course you do – you are, after all, in the industry. What are your views on some of the latest developments, and will you make use of them? How might it be able to improve your product or service? Alternatively, might you reject them for any reason?
3. Do you have any tips or tricks that have helped speed up your workflow?
How have you managed to be more efficient, be it in the office or in everyday life? Do you have any neat tricks or workflow management processes that might be helpful to others?
4. What’s a day in the office like? What are some challenges that you faced and (hopefully) resolved?
We’re a cynical bunch sitting in the same offices day after day, and we often underestimate how fascinating others might find our struggles, or even the plain mundane. Open up a window for the outside world to see into a normal working day!
5. What have you learned lately in the course of your work?
Was it a stupid bug in Rails that took you excessive amounts of time to discover? Or how to convince more people to use your product simply by modifying your welcome email to them? Share your knowledge – you’ll find that there are plenty of people who would appreciate it.
You’ll notice a common theme across these questions that you should keep in mind: what might be interesting and/or valuable to my customer? You undoubtedly have many ideas of that: all you need to do is to translate those into topics that you write on, and the thoughts will flow!