Distributing Delicious Content
Content marketing. Sponsored content. Blogging, native advertising, branded content…. Basically, these are all just different ways to refer to when a company produces content (an article, video, infographic, maybe even a custom mini-game) that then lives on their own site, or perhaps they pay a news site to run it for them.
The truth is, content marketing comes in many forms. If you have a boat load of money, it can be beautiful and actually informative, such as those the New York Times creates for its advertisers.
For those on a more limited budget, you can start your own blog. Don’t just write about your company, but write about the world in which it operates. Tell stories about your customers. Share experiences you’ve learned from. Come up with clever examples of people using your product in unexpected ways.
Once you’ve proven you have interesting stories to tell, try pitching guest posts to other blogs that cover your field. Maybe you can get a one-off story that links back to you, or maybe you can get your very own column where you plug your product with a little “sponsored by” blurb at the bottom.
Emails and Audience Building
Once someone is on your blog, what do you do with them? While in a perfect world they would immediately buy your product, most people don’t think like that. Instead, they want to learn more, get comfortable with your brand, and then maybe make a purchase down the line.
That means it’s very important to stay in touch with them, ideally by email. Make sure the site holding your content has a very clear CTA (call to action) where people can sign up for your newsletter. This gives you an opportunity not just to share your future stories with them, but occasionally to offer them discounts, promotions, and other nudges to get them to make a purchase.
The easiest tool to use for sending marketing emails is Mailchimp. Not only are their basic plans free, but they offer easy templates, keep you compliant with spam rules, and offer all sorts of helpful advice on how to improve your emails using A/B testing.
Still not sure what your brand’s content should be? Well, look through some of the world’s best examples for inspiration. Red Bull has managed to turn a sugary soda into a “lifestyle brand” through never-ending extreme sports content. Priceonomics uses the information generated by their own product to turn data into fascinating stories. ContentIntent even creates content marketing about content marketing—how meta!
And if those aren’t enough to inspire you, there’s always the “skyscraper technique.” Find something someone else in your field has written about, and then make it BIGGER AND BETTER. Make it longer. Update the information. Include better photos. Whatever it is, just improve upon the original, throw it on your blog, tell people about it, and then rinse and repeat.
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