Content marketing is a marketing technique focused on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain visitors, and turn these visitors into customers. It has proven very effective, at least if you know what you’re doing.
The advantages of content marketing are:
- It’s good for SEO, especially for targeting long-tail keywords.
- Content marketing can help attract links and improve your website’s authority in the search results.
- The content can be used as fuel for social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), newsletters, magazines and other media.
Three Types of Content Marketing
Content marketing can be divided into three categories:
- Basic blogs
- Creative formats
- Side products
These three types are based on the amount of effort they require and the potential rewards. For example: basic blogs are easy to create, while side products are much harder and more costly (more about that later). Conversely, side products can be enormously successful, while the same level of success is harder to achieve with basic blogs.
1) Basic Blogs
Simple blogs are the most basic type of content marketing. Businesses often publish articles about new products, industry trends, and tips ‘n’ tricks on their website. They share this information in order to attract visitors and improve their top-of-mind awareness (TOMA).
This type of content marketing is easy to produce. Hire a copywriter to write the article or look for someone in-house, format it, add some images and you’re ready to go. The cost of these articles is low, but so is the chance of success.
2) Creative Formats
The second type of content marketing is based on the first. Words are the simplest form to spread information. So why not try something a bit more creative? There are other ways to spread your ideas that help you stand out from the crowd. Some examples:
- Infographics: Infographics might be yesterday’s news, but if executed correctly, they can be very powerful.
- Animated infographics: Looking for something fresh? Why not try an animated infographic. Head over to Jacob O’Neal’s Animagraffs for inspiration.
- Video: If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a thousand pictures. Attract new customers by displaying your expertise in a video. Moz uses this technique in their Whiteboard Friday.
- Quiz: Add some interactivity to your content marketing with a quiz. There are plenty of tools that can help you create one of these.
- Interviews: Interviewing a celebrity in your field can be a great way to get some extra visibility for your brand.
This second type of content marketing is all about the creative distribution of information. It requires a bit more work than the first type, but the rewards can be much greater.
3) Side Products
The most advanced type of content marketing are side products. As the name suggests, side products are new products or services that expand and/or are linked to the original products and services of the company.
Take Crew, for example; their goal is to attract customers who have a project that needs high-quality creative work and put them in touch with freelance designers and developers. They had trouble finding customers, no marketing budget, and were 3 months from bankruptcy. So what did they do?
They decided to give away all the extra stock photos they created for their website redesign… for free! They did this on the domain called unsplash.com. Nowadays, unsplash is one of the biggest websites for free stock photography. What’s more; this side project generates over 40 percent of Crew’s revenue.
The technique behind this content marketing technique is simple: give something valuable away in order to sell something related (a quote from Brian Clark). Stock photos is something the target audience of Crew needs. It helped them create brand awareness and attract new customers.
There are plenty of other businesses that are using the content marketing strategy. For example: dmlights, a webshop for lighting, created a 3D Homeplanner where visitors can design their dream home (of course with light fixtures from their webshop). Or what about Buffer, who created a tool called Pablo that automatically generates images for social media?
Value creation is at the core of side projects. As Crew’s founder Mikael says:
It’s more likely you’ll use a good product many times than read a good blog post many times. This repeated usefulness is what makes side products so valuable.
Most of these side projects require quite a bit of time and money. Nevertheless, they can achieve amazing results when it comes to brand awareness and customer acquisition.
- Content marketing is much more than simply publishing articles.
- Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket – mix different types of content marketing.
- For side products: try to find a link between your core product/service and other unfulfilled needs of your target audience.