Choosing the right content marketing channels can be difficult. However, getting the right message in front of the right people right now with the right format is crucial to success online.
Content marketing has been proven to be extremely effective in building brand awareness and generating leads, but it’s hard to figure out where you should be focusing your attention. Here are three different content marketing channels that I think can benefit just about any business:
What is a content marketing channel?
A content marketing channel is a place to post your content, like an article, image, or video, that you want your target audience to find.
It’s a way to distribute your content to potential customers. There are plenty of content marketing channels; you may have seen some mentioned before:
They include; Twitter and Facebook, email newsletters, blogging, video creation, webinars, and more. Chances are there’s one or two that your business already uses.
Channels can be broken down into categories based on their format:
Written (articles, tips) Visual (images, infographics) Audio (podcasts, radio interviews)
With content marketing being so popular, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of articles telling you how to do it best. So, where should you start? Here’s my take on the content marketing channels that I think can benefit just about any business.
Blogging for content marketing
Blogging is one of the best ways to attract qualified potential customers to your site, and it can be a great part of your overall online presence when used correctly.
When you’re blogging, you’re creating original information that’s valuable to other people in order that they visit your site or purchase from you directly (i.e., with a conversion goal).
You’re also building trust by providing value through helpful tips and advice on topics that matter to them most.
Not only is this important for attracting visitors, but it will increase their likelihood of wanting to visit again as well – which means more quality leads over time if done right! It’s very easy to do; all you need is a website that you control (like your own or on a self-hosted blog platform) and some content ideas.
There are many different channels where you can post, but blogging is only the beginning. Here’s another one to consider…
Social media for content marketing
Social media marketing is here to stay.
No matter who you are, where you live, or what industry you’re in, there’s probably at least one social media channel out there where people discuss topics relevant to your business. If not more than one.
However, suppose you frequently use social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to send updates about new articles or ask questions of your followers. In that case, it doesn’t necessarily qualify as formal “content marketing.” No worries; here’s how to make it work for you.
Before you create your first post, think about what it is that people want or need to know and how you can provide it to them in a way that will be interesting to them.
Here are some examples of social media posts from the past week:
On Twitter, one of my students shared an infographic from their blog on why data is growing so fast, along with information regarding the one-month free trial they were running for our cloud storage service. On Facebook, another published an article offering tips on finding the best photographer in your area.
Both posts had links back to their respective pages where viewers could read more.
Make sure there’s a link back to your original source at the end of every post.
Social platforms offer almost limitless opportunities for promoting your business with content marketing. The key is to have a strategy and know what you want to achieve with each post before you hit “send.”
Email newsletters for content marketing
Email newsletters are similar to blogging in that they provide you with an easy way to share original content directly, but instead of posting it on your own site or social media accounts, you send it directly to readers who’ve given permission for you to do so.
If people haven’t explicitly opted into receiving emails from you, then avoid sending them here…they may never open it, let alone read it or take the time to click through if there is one included.
The whole point of this type of channel is that they opted-in and are expecting to hear from you by using someone’s contact information.
Having said that, here’s how to do it right by creating an opt-in form for the email list of your website (and links back to social media accounts if desired). While you’re at it, also consider automating this process so subscribers have the option of receiving content marketing updates on a regular schedule – either daily or weekly, depending upon preference.
When all is said and done, taking advantage of these three channels can help you build traffic and increase conversions now as well as in the future.
Video for content marketing
If you’ve considered video marketing for your business but aren’t too sure where to start, here’s an alternative way to help build traffic and drive more leads: video blog (vlog) content.
As the name suggests, vlogging is a type of video content that revolves around interviews or instructional videos on specific topics relevant to your industry.
Vlogs can be free-form or pre-recorded in front of a web camera on sites like YouTube, while others are hosted live on platforms like Google Hangouts On Air or UStream. And if you want to get fancy, then there are also options like Skype, FaceTime, etc.
Content marketing makes it easy for people to find what they’re looking for because it’s not just about what you want to say; it’s also about what they want to read, which is why surveys are so helpful.
To make your vlogs even more effective, consider dividing the video into five- or six-minute segments and linking them together with a short introduction at the beginning and a conclusion at the end.
Without further ado…here’s how to do this right:
Step 1 – Choose Your Topic(s)
First, identify some of the most popular questions that people have in relation to your business, then narrow it down to three main topics for each video (you can always create more later). Next, write out a few sentences describing each one along with relevant links where viewers can find out more information if they want to.
Step 2 – Create a Script
Create a basic outline for each video segment, including the introduction and ending, along with some content in between. While you’re at it, also include the estimated time frame of how long each should take to complete so you have an idea which you can stick to later if your audience asks about it (example: 1 hr 15 min).
Step 3 – Record Your Videos
Now that you know what needs to be said on camera, go ahead and start recording your vlogs. The first few times around may feel awkward, but after that, you’ll get used to talking as well as directing (unless someone else is doing it for you), then finally stitching everything together using editing software like Final Cut Pro, iMovie, or Windows Movie Maker.
Step 4 – Publish Your Videos
Once all of your vlogs are ready to go, it’s time to publish them online and get the word out about each one via social media. If you have a dedicated YouTube channel, then feel free to post each video on there but don’t forget that you can also share individual segments as well as the entire series with others through any number of mediums like Facebook and Twitter.
So what makes this such a great marketing method for content marketing? Well, first of all, if you know how much content goes unwatched on most websites…well, then now you know why people prefer videos because they’re extremely effective when done right.
Another good thing about vlogs is that you can easily shoot them with your smartphone or tablet – all you need is enough light and the ability to hold it steady, so if you don’t have a dedicated camera, then there’s no excuse.
Step 5 – Track Your Audience Response
To gauge audience response, consider asking viewers for feedback after each segment (just be careful not to overdo it or come across as pushy). In addition, track comments and shares to see what people are saying about your content and make any needed changes based on their feedback.
Q&A Platforms for content marketing
Q&A platforms like Quora can also be very effective content marketing tools, making it easier for you to find relevant questions about your business or industry in order to refine your message.
Once you find the questions that people are asking, create a response or two. As far as tracking goes, simply include links back to your website or social media profiles on each one.
Paid Social Ads for content marketing
Does this sound familiar?
You create great content. You share it via social media, email, and your blog… and they just don’t convert.
Sometimes you even get comments from people saying that they’d rather do their own research than being sold to or told what to think.
There’s a good chance that you’re wasting time publishing under the wrong circumstances. Not cool.
That’s where paid social ads can come in.
If you’re not familiar, paid social advertising is when you pay to have your content shown on different types of media before a target audience based on specific criteria.
What this does for you allow you to “test” what works and what doesn’t so that you can focus more of your time and resources where it matters most (instead of blasting away into the void).
For example, if someone has already subscribed to your email list, then they are much more likely to take action on an ad offering them something free (a discount, information) than someone who hasn’t given permission first.
The point here isn’t necessarily to say that one channel is better than the other, but rather that there are many different ways to approach your business and no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Paid influencers for content marketing
Influencer marketing has grown to become a powerful distribution channel.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who has a strong influence over potential buyers or consumers.
Influencers are extremely powerful because they already have a built-in audience that trusts them, and it’s easy for you to leverage their channels to promote your business if you do it right.
So what makes an influencer different than a typical marketer? Well, even though big brands are beginning to use these techniques as well, there’s still something special about being recommended by a real, live person who your buyer trusts in the first place.
So how do you find these people? All you have to do is run a quick search for “top bloggers” or “top social media influencers” in your niche and choose from those relevant to your business.
In addition to blogs, many of them will also have Facebook fan pages, profiles on Twitter, Instagram, and other popular networks and their own websites where they can share anything at all that tickles their fancy.
Once you’ve found some potential influencers based on their reach and engagement numbers (that’s important), then send them an email letting them know about your upcoming launch…and offer something valuable in exchange for their help spreading the word.
You must make your influencers feel special when they are helping you out.
The more they enjoy it and find value in it, the more likely they’ll want to stick around as an ongoing partner moving forward- meaning that you can move away from campaigns based solely on buying reach and start looking at building real relationships with them in order to keep growing your business long-term.
Now that you have a little clarity on some digital marketing options consider how they could apply to your business.
Developing a content distribution strategy can be difficult at times because it’s not always immediately obvious where people go after we’ve posted something.
But with this marketing strategy, you should have a better idea of which content format will work best with each content marketing platform.