While the term content marketing has been around for two decades as of this writing, it’s still a relatively new way of marketing for many firms. Many are still navigating their way through the waters, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
To make it easier, we did some digging for you, consulting authoritative sources on six things you should know about content marketing. Getting these right from the beginning will help you succeed on the crowded superhighway of the web today.
1. How often should you post fresh content to your blog?
This is one of the most common questions about content marketing.
HubSpot did the work for you on this question, pulling blogging data from over 13,000 of their customers. The answer is, it depends in large part on your company’s size and the type of business you’re in. With that being said, the overall results were as follows.
“…increased blog post publishing frequency correlated with more leads generated. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.”
Interestingly, for both B2B and B2C companies, the more they blogged, the more leads they generated.
2. Type of Content to Create: Evergreen vs. Topical
There’s all types of content, eg, case studies, white papers, interviews, reviews, industry news, etc., but most of it can be broken down into two broad categories: evergreen and current/topical content.
Your website will likely include both, but you should make a sustained effort to create a healthy amount of evergreen content, because it pays SEO dividends for years to come, as a case study by leading online search engine journal, Search Engine Watch (SEW) proves.
In the post, The power of evergreen content for SEO, the site compared its traffic with sister sit, ClickZ, which is focused on more topical news and tips. SEW has more recurring traffic from articles than ClickZ. Also, it had a greater search visibility across a range of digital marketing terms, mainly due to the type of content the site invests in — evergreen content.
One post on the site that was in the number one spot for a popular keyword phrase had sent over 250,000 visitors alone to the site in the last three years. One post. This is the power of evergreen content.
FYI, here’s a list of 52 types of blog posts that are proven traffic generators.
3. Why You Can’t Afford Not to Use Infographics
What if you knew that almost two-thirds of your audience were visual learners, that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and that, the human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text.
Would you continue to just write blog posts, or would you figure out a way to appeal to them visually? Of course you would.
This is why infographics are so important. They allow you to share information with your target audience in an image-based format. And not for nothing, web users love to share infographics because it’s an appealing way to share what can be boring facts, figures and other statistical data when presented in a text format.
Put Infographics to Work for You
Piktochart, the web-based infographic application service, has over 2.4 million users. They reached out to two of their users who had created a couple of the most viewed infographics, asking them to share how they racked up thousands of social media shares, in addition to driving tons of traffic to their sites.
They shared that their success was due to a number of factors: (i) created an infographic that spoke directly to their target audience; (ii) sharing it on social media; and (iii) using a clear all to action.
4. Using Video in Content Marketing
Statistics underscore how important video is to content marketing. Globally, consumer internet video traffic will be 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, up from 64 percent in 2014. The sum of all forms of video will be in the range of 80 to 90 percent of global consumer traffic by 2019, according to a 2014 study by Cisco.
This underscores a truth that’s held steady over time – web surfers really like video. Just how powerful can video be to your content marketing efforts? Look no further than the growth of YouTube, the video sharing site that’s owned by Google.
Growth in watch time on YouTube has accelerated and is up at least 50% year over year for three straight years;
Once users are on YouTube, they are spending more time per session watching videos. On mobile, the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes, up more than 50% y/y;
The number of hours people spent watching videos on mobile is up 100% y/y; and more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
An argument could be made that mobile devices are one of the main driving forces behind the growth of video viewership. Also, it’s worth noting that when a video appears in search results, it has a 41% higher click-through rate than plain-text results.
So just like infographics, video is a powerful way to drive traffic and increase your visibility in search results. It may be the number one way to do so quickly.
5. How long should a post be?
Research shows that Google is favoring long-form content these days; posts that are 1,500, 2,000, even 3,000+ words long. Two of the leading reasons are:
- Longer posts give sufficient attention to a topic, answering specific questions a web surfer may have; and
- It delivers results that are semantically related. All that means is that you can seamlessly work in more keywords without keyword stuffing, which is a big SEO no-no. Remember, Google doesn’t just deliver results that match an exact query; it delivers results that are a variance of the main search phrase.
Does this mean that short posts don’t work? Absolutely not. All it means is that longer posts usually rank higher in search results.
Just like with evergreen and topical content as discussed above, most sites can benefit from having both types of content.
Many don’t have time to sit down and write posts of a few thousand words, but as discussed in point #1, it’s important to update your site frequently with fresh content. Hence, posting shorter content is better than waiting until you have time to create a long post, which can mean no posting for several weeks or more.
6. The Importance of a Content Marketing Strategy
As this list highlights, there are a lot of elements that make content marketing effective, or not. But perhaps none is more important than creating a content marketing strategy. Without it, it almost doesn’t matter, how often you create content, how long it is, and what type it is.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
The key word is “strategic,” which means carefully designed or planned to serve a particular purpose or advantage, that’s why every content marketing strategy should have the following three elements: (i) a well-defined target market; (ii) clear calls to action; and (iii) and a way to measure results, so you can tweak what’s working and do away with what’s not.
Without a defined plan of action, it’s hard to achieve any goal. Content marketing is no different.
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