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Content Marketing vs. Business Blogging: Is There a Difference?

Matt Holman

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Whatever device you're reading this article from, you’ll be able to create content on it. Thousands of free apps available for your smartphone and on the web allow you to easily write, record, stream video, photograph or make stylish graphics in seconds.

As it’s so easy to produce it, everyone from the world’s most recognisable brands to Facebook-loving pensioners are producing content. This does mean there’s huge competition for us marketers.

But because it’s easy to create doesn’t mean it shouldn’t require any thought. Actually, now there’s so much competing content online, it can be even harder to get any return from your efforts. The answer: get strategic with your blogs.

 

Why bother creating content?

88% of B2B businesses blog, making content marketing a huge focus for marketers in 2017. It’s one of the most popular techniques, mainly because the only investment required is time.If your business produces content, you’re 13x more likely to get a positive ROI from marketing as a whole. It has also been found to generate 3x more leads than traditional advertising. It increases web traffic and is great for SEO.

As it’s such a competitive arena, it’s likely your competitors are already creating content. It’s essential that you can be strategic and find a way to get results. Particularly when it comes to distributing your content.

 

Should you blog or do content marketing?

Blogging is just one content marketing tool you can use. As most websites already future a blog or news section, making blogs the easiest option for most marketers. Yet, the most effective strategies don’t just rely upon written articles.

Content marketing is a process, as opposed to a tool, that generates leads from your content. The methodology dictates that you use the most aligned content mechanism to your target market. To do this successfully, you need to set some objectives:

 

Getting to grips with content

When you’re creating content, always have your target market in mind. This will help you select the most appropriate form and style of content, that they’ll enjoy and hopefully share. Your goal will also determine the optimum type of content.

For example, if your focus is to increase website traffic, then well written articles that are of interest to your target market may rank on Google. Whereas if your focus is on generating leads, you’ll need a richer content offer to ‘gate’.

Gated content, hidden behind a form, allow you to collect data from your visitors. This will allow you to uncover the people on your website, especially if it’s a valuable piece of content.

 

Planning

Successful content marketing needs momentum, it should be an always-on campaign. The more frequently you can produce quality content, the more likely you are to get positive results. But to do this, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who, specifically, are you targeting? Writing a
  • What topics are you going to produce content about? In what form?
  • How often can you realistically publish content?
  • Where are you going to publish and distribute content? On social media? To your mailing list? In a newsletter?
  • Why? What's the call-to-action for your audience? Does it make sense in the eyes of your persona?

 

Creation

The form, topics and length of your content should all come down to what your target audience prefer. In general, you should try and stick to the following format though for written content:

  1. Break content down. Headings, subheadings, images and tables are nice for readers.
  2. Don't write walls of text. It’s less daunting to read and helps you write relevant content
  3. Write for skim readers. Very few people actually read word-for-word, cater for skim readers with short sentences.

Anyone with any kind of insight or time to research a topic can be a good writer as long as they stick to those three principles. Your audience will forgive you for the odd grammatical mistake as long as the content is good!

Distribution

Unquestionably, the hardest part of content marketing is promoting it to the world. If you don’t effectively distribute your content, no one will see it and it won’t gain any traction.

Post your article to places where your target market hang out. It could be on forums, social media, newsletters or a paid social media ad. Don’t be overly promotional, as it’ll put people off reading it. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Paid & free social media promotion. This can be highly targeted and cost effective.
  • Newsletters. If you have a list of people who have opted-in to hearing from you, they may appreciate a good piece of content.
  • YouTube, Medium, LinkedIn Pulse. They’re all good options for free promotion.
  • Be a guest writer. Identify another place your buyers hang out and promote your expertise there.
  • Get active. Participate in discussions and social media where your target market already exist.

 

Conclusion

Blogging is just one tool in content marketing toolbox. Content marketing is the way we describe the process behind using content to generate leads for your sales team.

It has the potential to get you better results, without the mass expenditure of huge outbound marketing campaigns. We understand, as a new entrant into the content marketing arena, it’s difficult to know where to get started.

The initial steps are the most fundamental, but often the hardest. Even gaining that first bit of traction can be incredibly difficult. If you need help getting started, get in touch and we can point you in the right direction!

 

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