Believe it or not, there are still some people who think content and content marketing are the same thing. Going beyond the definition, the difference lies in the difference between content creation and the practice of content marketing. White papers, webinars, and e-books are not content marketing. Ads aren’t content marketing. Your social media posts aren’t content marketing. Marketing with content isn’t content marketing.
The Difference Between Content and Content Marketing
Content marketing relies on the publisher destination and the frequency of high quality content to attract and build an audience. On social platforms, you don’t own the audience. And publishing one ebook doesn’t provide the consistency people need and expect to build trust. Content marketing is meant to attract an audience to an experience or destination you own. You build it and optimize it in order to help you achieve your marketing goals. Content itself is everywhere. You have sales content, advertising content, marketing campaign content, event content, customer service content, user-generated content, and more. Content marketing on the other hand attracts an audience to a platform you own rather than buying an audience or interrupting them on someone else’s platform.
Making Content Marketing Work for You
Build Your Content Marketing Mission Statement
Your content marketing mission statement should support your brand mission and put your customers brought in center. Make sure to define who your target audience is and what topic or topics you support along with the value you provide to your audience.
Choose a URL
Decide whether your content marketing destination should be your company’s domain or on an unbranded website. For instance, BigCommerce, an e-commerce solution provider displays their content marketing solutions for small businesses looking to learn about digital marketing and customer experience on the same domain with a blog URL. On the other hand, we see that CMO.com is a domain that’s independent of its parent company, Adobe.
Determine How Branded the Site Will Be
Content marketing is different in terms of branding. If you place your content site on your domain, it needs to contain at least a few elements of your corporate brands. If you opt for an off-domain content site the creative direction you take needs to support whatever topic you are trying to become an authority .
Make Sure to Include All the Components of an Effective Content Marketing Destination
Your site must include all of the components that are typically found on any publisher website such as:
- Categories that show the topics you cover
- Articles that are frequently published with visible publication dates and authors
- Strong focus on growing your audience by including calls to subscribe in your updates
- Calls to action, a contact us page, or an offer for anyone who wants to read you directly
- Visuals to support your topics and break up text
- Highways of the top performing content so readers can easily find your best content
- Social sharing options to allow your readers to easily promote your content
Develop a Plan to Support Visual Content
Getting everything done to this point can be challenging. Once it’s done however you will find that creating visual content is a challenge. The good news is you don’t have to ruin your budget to include visuals. You can use other people’s visual content by embedding it with your own. You can create SlideShare presentations with little to no budget. And you could tell stories with your visuals.
Build Site to Focus on Subscriptions
Subscribers are an important measure of engagement, conversion, and reach. They are representation of the audience of readers that invite you into their email box. As such, you should optimize your website and the content for them to build your list. As you build your list, build trust by consistently providing them with great content they can only get in their email box. This is a crucial step in educating your customers that is especially important for B2B companies or professional service providers.
Publish New Content Consistently
If you’re covering just one topic, publish new content at least once a week. If you’re covering two topics, publish at least twice weekly. If possible, publish every day on various categories of content that will attract the right audience. Research from Hubspot shows that increasing the frequency of quality content delivers a predictable and in some cases, exponential ROI.
Define the Metrics You’ll Measure
It may be tempting to select a large number of metrics to track. Thankfully, you don’t have to pick them all. By focusing just on your traffic (page views and visitors), your engagement (social shares, comments, and time on site) and conversions (number of subscribers and contact form submissions) you have everything you need to further inform your strategy. If you struggle to find the time and resources to get all of this done, there are plenty of marketing automation tools available to help you plan your editorial calendar, schedule the content to your website, and handle social promotion. If you’re not a great writer, you can always outsource the content creation. And if your budget allows, you can always hire an agency like mine, Sachs Marketing Group, to handle all your content creation and content marketing needs.