Have you heard the phrase "content marketing" before but wondered how it applies to you as a blogger? After all, you're already focused on content every time you write a blog post. Why should you worry about it beyond that, and how can it affect your blog marketing?
Let's take an introductory look at content marketing strategies and why they're important for bloggers and business owners alike to understand.
What is Content Marketing?
I'd like to share a definition of content marketing with you that comes from my business writing blog.
Content marketing is when you create, distribute, and encourage the sharing of content with the intention of reaping marketing benefits for your business. Those marketing benefits might be direct sales or greater audience engagement with your business through that content. Content marketing strategies might focus on content that is text-based, as in articles, or they might involve other content formats such as data collections, audio, images, and video.
That definition was written to explain content marketing to business owners -- these small and online business owners are the kind of people who hire folks like me to help them manage their content marketing strategies through a company blog, social media sites, and other outlets. But it equally applies to the content marketing strategies of independent bloggers.
Think of content marketing as the content you share on your blog, and the content you publish or share to drive people to your blog. Here we mostly talk about written content and how you can use it to engage readers and market your blog.
Why Should Bloggers Care About Content Marketing?
On even a basic level, everything you publish to your blog is a form of content marketing.
Having a content marketing strategy just means you make intentional choices about what you publish and why. You post it to get readers' attention -- to get them to comment, enjoy or trust your blog, tell people about you on social media sites, and keep coming back for more. But there are other reasons bloggers and business owners should understand it and care about creating the best content marketing strategy possible. For example:
- You might use article marketing or guest posts to promote your blog on third party sites. That's content marketing.
- You likely have tools or buttons on your blog to help readers share your posts via social media sites. That's content marketing.
- You might even post links, summaries, full posts, or commentary about your blog on social media sites. That's content marketing.
- You might publish an e-book that's related to your blog so you can entice email subscribers or make direct income. That's content marketing.
- You might offer extra content in a newsletter or paid members-only area of your blog. That's content marketing.
- You probably think about SEO and work to improve your blog's rankings in the search engines so you can increase traffic. That's content marketing.
I'm sure you get the idea. Just about everything bloggers and business owners publish (and just about everything you do with the content you publish) is technically a part of a content marketing strategy. And that is why you can't afford to ignore it.
Your content marketing strategy can play an integral role in the success or failure of your blog.
Do you have a content marketing strategy for your blog? Why or why not? What content marketing strategies do you prefer to focus on? Do you emphasize social media sites, guest posting, video blogging? Something else? Tell us in the comments.
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media -- a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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