'Content marketing' is a concept that's getting a lot of attention these days, and rightfully so...right? Wrong. The problem is, people often use the term to mean "using content for marketing." At a superficial level, this makes sense. Businesses should be using content for marketing.
However, the term 'content marketing' seems to imply that content is on an island. No need for other marketing tactics -- content has you covered!
But that's just not how it works. Content doesn't live in a silo. In fact, it thrives only when coupled with other tactics and channels. It's dependent upon other marketing tactics in order to be effective. Therefore, the term 'content marketing' makes no sense; it may even be broken. Content needs to be part of a much bigger concept -- inbound marketing.
Confused? Let's break it down...
4 Reasons Marketing Isn't Just About Content
There is quite a dependent relationship between content and other tactics. Without other channels, content would fall short. Here's what we mean:
1. Content Needs Search Engine Optimization: The first thing many marketers think of when they hear 'content marketing' is blogging. This is probably because blogging is one of the easiest platforms for effectively creating content on a regular basis. But just creating blog content isn't enough. The only way blogging can truly be effective is by getting people to find and read your blog. So how do you make sure people are finding your blog content (and your other content, for that matter)? One of the most logical answers to this question is search engine optimization.
In order to attract people to your blog to read your content, you need to also take the necessary steps to optimize that content for the keywords you want potential customers to find you for in search engines. Without optimized content to get indexed in search engines, how can a business expect to generate any organic search traffic? The proof? Research indicates that businesses that blog 16 to 20 times per month generate over 2 times more traffic than those that blog fewer than 4 times per month.
2. Content Needs Social Media: Content also relies on a great social media presence. Content needs social elements to help it spread and attract an audience that already populates social media sites. There's no question that your potential customers are using sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect and gather information, which is why your business needs to participate there, too. Therefore, your content needs social elements like social sharing buttons to enable people to easily share your content and spread your messages with their connections, expanding your content's reach and effectiveness.
Sharing content you've created in social media helps to spread your company's recognition as a thought leader in your industry, provides value to your social audience, and can be a helpful tool for engaging your social media followers and providing topics for discussion. In that way, content needs a legitimate, valuable social media presence.
3. Content Needs Lead Generation: Without the element of lead generation, the time and effort put into content creation would be much less worthwhile. One of the core functionalities of content is its ability to generate leads. Research shows that businesses with over 200 total blog articles generate 3.5 times more leads than those with under 20 blog posts. Often, these leads are also higher in quality than leads generated by other methods.
Premium content offers like ebooks, webinars, whitepapers, and other downloads must be used effectively in calls-to-action on other pieces of content like blog articles or in email marketing messages to generate valuable business leads. If all of the time and effort you put into content creation is contributing nothing to your marketing team's lead generation efforts, what's the point?
4. Content Neends Email Marketing & Lead Nurturing: Email marketing is many businesses most valuable marketing channel. It is usually the source of a marketing team's largest and most valuable asset: its contact database. Email is also an extremely powerful channel to get the most out of your content creation efforts and help your content spread. Without leveraging email marketing and lead nurturing campaigns as distribution methods, your content will get stuck on an island, wasting away when it can be an extremely valuable lead generation tool as well as a great way to move prospects further down the sales funnel.
Content Needs Much More
The idea here is simple. Content creation is core to marketing success, but it relies on a number of other channels and can only be truly successful when part of a much larger inbound marketing effort that utilizes other tactics such as search engine optimization, social media, lead generation, and email marketing/lead nurturing.
Don't keep your content on an island. Help it spread to be much more effective with a complete inbound marketing approach.
Are you taking the big picture into consideration in your content creation efforts? In what ways can you improve the role content plays in your overall inbound marketing strategy?
Image Credit: Janne Hellsten
Originally published Oct 19, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated June 10 2021