From email marketing and digital ads to website personalization and organic social media, there are so many tools you can keep in your digital marketing tool box. One tool that many companies forget to put in their tool box is content marketing. Content marketing is the creation and sharing of digital materials with the goal of generating engagement and interest in a product or service. According to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads. Here are five great examples of brands using content marketing.
Hubspot, home to inbound marketing, sales, and service software, is a great example of a company using content marketing. Their Marketing Blog is full of high-quality, relevant and educational information for their target market, digital marketers. From how-to guides to research reviews, digital marketers can find answers to nearly any question within the Hubspot Marketing Blog. Because of the relevant information in their blog, digital marketers trust Hubspot. They are seen as a knowledgeable source and are more likely to purchase their marketing software.
2- Red Bull
Red Bull, a popular energy drink company, is another great example of a company using content marketing, but, unlike Hubspot, the content they are creating is not a written blog. Instead, Red Bull is creating high-quality, adrenaline-inducing video series. Whether you want to watch Kai Lenny surf huge waves, see daredevil mountain bikers fly down steep mountain sides or anything in between, Red Bull is creating adventurous content that is perfect for their energy-seeking customers.
When someone watches a Red Bull video of someone building and riding an insanely fast motorcycle or skiing untouched slopes in British Columbia, they are likely to feel the excitement and adrenaline associated with the Red Bull brand. This makes them more likely to pick up a can next time they are in the gas station or store. Red Bull’s content also has a unique viral factor. This means it is content that people like to share with their friends and pass on to other adrenaline junkies. Because of this, Red Bull’s content spreads like wildfire, creating more and more customers as it grows.
Similar to Red Bull, Lululemon has an energized, athletic following who is interested in being active. Lululemon changed the content marketing game by creating a community of super fans and encouraging them to create the content. Lululemon Community Ambassadors host events and classes around the world which draw customers and interested onlookers into the brand for a very personal, high-touch experience. Their community also has a large library of stories, tools, and training plans built to inspire customers. When customers participate in live classes and view online content, they are drawn into the brand on a personal level. This increases the possibility that they purchase another pair of leggings or try out a new product in the shop.
Similar to Hubspot, Moz.com targets digital marketers as a marketing software company. Specifically focusing on SEO, Moz.com has created a blog that includes anything a digital marketer might need to know about search engine optimization and similar topics. After creating their high-quality blog content they send out daily emails to subscribers. This makes their content a constant part of their subscribers’ lives. As blog readers and email subscribers are reminded of Moz.com’s SEO expertise they are more likely to purchase their software.
5- onX Maps
Similar to Lululemon, another company doing a great job building community and creating content at the same time is the GPS map app company onX Maps. They have two apps, Hunt and Offroad. Both are built for outdoorsmen and women who need ownership, property and road information along with typical map data. These aps assist them in their hunting and vehicle riding adventures. Both the hunting and riding communities have famous influencers and content creators that are heavily followed by onX’s target customers.
OnX has found a way to leverage these influencers to create content for their brand. OnX influencers create Instagram stories explaining their favorite app features to unbelievable images that show off their adventures. They create jealousy-inducing content onX customers love to see. When customers see famous influencers using the onX apps and having fun while doing it, they are more likely to purchase a subscription.
You just drafted up a great blog post and don’t want to finish off your masterpiece with a generic stock photo you’ve seen 100 times. Standing out and separating yourself takes digital marketing mastery. This article will break down how to design your very own custom blog graphics for your featured image.
This tutorial uses Photoshop within the demonstration. However, there are many other great graphic editing software and free website tools to use online to design custom blog graphics.
Determining Dimensions for Graphic
The most common dimensions are 1200x600px and 1200x650px (which is a 16:9 aspect ratio) for featured blog images. These dimensions will produce the best display throughout your blog feed.
Your Blank Canvas
Begin with a light background color. A light grey or an off-white works well as a background for your canvas. Locate the color pallet in Photoshop (bottom left corner). Then, use the color overlay effect to change the color of the background.
Border, or No Border?
This is a great debate among designers and creative minds. I would argue, “don’t overthink it!” Borders are great to add a frame to your graphic. There are instances when borders do not fit the rest of the design, so leave it out. At the end of the day it’s all down to preference. The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep your featured blog images consistent. If the rest of your blog features images with borders, the natural thing to design next would include a border around your graphic.
Determining the Subject
Choosing the right graphic for your blog article can be tough. However, there are a multitude of free resources to use when selecting your ideal graphic to edit. Some of the more widely used free graphics websites are:
Having just completed the SEO (search engine optimization) traction channel, content marketing is fresh on the mind. As the founder of Pintler Group, I’ve always been a believer in content. It’s why early when we started with GeoFli marketing, we didn’t have ad-dollars to spend, so we had to get creative with articles. The product personalizes website content based on visitor location. I had read plenty of articles in 2015 and well before about what constitutes quality content. Of course, Google’s ranking factors seemed to change daily, but what never changed was the emphasis the search engine placed on quality content.
The Evolution of Content as a Ranking Factor:
As we mentioned in the SEO video last week, Google’s algorithm has certainly evolved to rank quality content content in a sophisticated way. No longer does keyword stuffing work. Sure, the way Google and Bing describe their ranking factors use words like search intent and did you meet the customer intent. What is customer intent? Simply put, customer intent asks if your article, video or podcast helps answer their query. The “Why” of the keywords.
What is Search Intent:
According to Blue Corona (marketing solution company, not a blue alcoholic beverage). There are four main types of search queries:
Known Query: Where the user wants information about something.
Example: What is the most durable iphone case?
Do Query: Where the user wants to take action on something.
Example: Fix a broken iphone screen.
Website Query: Where the user wants to go to a website.
Example: Apple Support Page
Visit-in-person Query: user wants to visit a physical address.
Example: Closest iphone repair shop.
All this is to quickly educate you on what it means to match user intent to an end piece of content.
How We Grew From Zero Visits to 100/Day
This headline wouldn’t sell books. 100 per day, that’s it? But for so many businesses, an additional 100 website visitors per day could mean serious revenue gains. When thinking about what 100 clicks from Facebook, Google and LinkedIn would cost in marketing each day, the monetary value of those clicks really ads up (to the tune of about $500/day if you average $5 per click).
Content + Inbound
Below is an example article we guest posted on Trello.com’s blog. We received some great traffic and referrals from the post, but perhaps more importantly, we gained valuable page authority with a link back to our site. A link equity tide that ultimately lifted all of our content-marketing-ships.
We started with content. As mentioned before, our budget for ads was zero because revenue from software sales was zero. We had to get scrappy. We originally knew that we wanted to target higher education with our software: personalize content for enrollment teams during the busy recruitment seasons.
Without too much thinking about SEO implications or meta-tags or descriptions, we started writing about the ways that we had grown digital marketing leads and traffic at the University of Montana. The information seemed on the razor edge of higher-ed marketing. Building custom audiences, retargeting based on inquiry email addresses and how to set up an Instagram ad the second week Instagram Ads were available to the masses. We just wrote about topics we found interesting and knew would help marketers paying attention to what was going on stand out.
Keyword Research and Content Marketing
Tip: sometimes keyword research can lead you down a competitive path. The allure of winning high traffic high competition keywords. Then there are times when writing articles about topics you’re adopting early means you might rank early for keywords that in the future will be competitive. Think: streaming service circa 2005. Google Search console is a valuable tool for identifying your current opportunities in content marketing.
As a result, we launched a lot of articles early. And the traction was slow. What we found, however, was that our traction during that time was slow because we were a little ahead of the keywords. Geofencing wasn’t popular. Website personalization wasn’t popular and geotargeting wasn’t a top search term. Today, that’s changed, and we positioned ourselves nicely.
Our Missoula based marketing firm, Pintler Group grew from a software-as-a-service we built , we had zero organic searches. Over the next two years, we were diligent about producing quality content. Articles about international admissions, articles about personalizing content and articles about Google Analytics tracking and much more. Slowly, we began to see traffic to the website increase organically. I credit a two pronged approach:
Number One: Quality Content:
We have a saying in-house that done is better than perfect. We’ve modified it to emphasize that perfect does not become the enemy of good. That being said, we took time to lay out exactly what we did that worked and how to replicate our systems. We introduced new ideas about geotargeting and we did write in a way that coincided with SEO best practices: internal and external linking.
Number Two: Inbound Link Strategy:
We wanted to make sure people found us. We wrote content but also understood that inbound links from other sites was going to be critical. To obtain links from other sites, we took an approach that included writing testimonials for software we used, contributing as guest authors to websites with page authority. Here’s an article we put together for Trello.
And here was an article written about us in the paper without a link, so we emailed and asked if they could kindly add one 🙂
And during this time we continued to write content and continued to think of ways to earn links to our site.
Below: here’s a look at GeoFli analytics landing page report. It shows most all of our top landing pages are articles we’ve written on /blog. Thousands of visitors finding our personalization software and marketing services through organic search.
What Does Content Marketing Cost:
As we grew and actually had, what do you call ’em? Oh yeah, customers. Time spent keeping customers happy trumped writing articles. Predictably, organic traffic plateaued. To try and keep momentum we began running Facebook Ad campaigns. Specifically, we ran Facebook Lead ads targeting higher ed professionals (but we still found time to write an article about targeting geographically on Facebook).
Facebook Ads vs. Content:
We measured lead quality based on traffic. What we found was 75% of leads from organic traffic were considered qualified: intent and ability to purchase software. Facebook generated leads were qualified about 25% of the time. The quality of leads from organic was 3X better than leads from Facebook. Given the choice to spend money on Facebook ads or writing content to drive qualified traffic through organic, I would choose content.
Content Writing and Content Marketing In-House Versus Contracting:
With GeoFli, we have tried both methods with varying levels of success and consistency. While in-housing is amazing for domain expertise and idea generation, it can easily become the thing that drops off the to-do-list because of other client or customer related tasks. What’s the saying, the cobbler’s kids have no shoes? We like to practice what we preach by writing content and improving our organic ranking, but it’s easy to get distracted.
With contractors, you pay for consistency. Each week, they’re tasked with delivering one or two articles, published on the site with a clear checklist. Oh, and here’s our checklist for internal content writing just in-case you were wondering! We have hired about five contractors to help with content writing: we deliver the article ideas in Trello and the content writer completes them in a Google Doc for review to be published.
How Much Does a Contracted Content Writer Make?
We would pay anywhere from $25/hr to $100/article. It usually ends up ultimately costing about $100/article for a contractor produce start to finish. At least that’s the going rate in Missoula, MT. What we started to find, was that the articles produced in-house simply performed better than those completed by contractors. The more time involved in an article, the better it performed. Content truly is king and there are no shortcuts to delivering a quality article. Recently we’ve used UpWork with some success in other contracted areas, but not content writing.
A Content Marketing Strategy That Works:
We’ve shifted away from writing specific geotargeting articles and instead focused on building up a content library for our agency site (this site!) Pintlergroup.com. We are getting very little organic traffic outside of branded search terms, but the consistency of our Content Thursday has really instilled some discipline into our content plan. We have a Trello card with each Traction channel for each week and we have a Google Sheet with the layout of all our Traction Channel goals. The vision for Content Thursday is at the end of 19 weeks, we have a robust collection of traction channels for our users to download via video, whitepaper and podcast.
Spend Money On Advertising or Spend Money on Content Marketing?
We like to say at Pintler Group, don’t celebrate publishing. We say this because too often we see a well thought out and beautifully executed piece of content go unseen. Remember than $15,000 video your company produced four years ago? How many views does it have on YouTube? Our content strategy is one we think is simple, but maybe because we’ve executed it so many times.
One: Write an article with one of your customer personas in mind.
Two: Publish article using our content writing checklist (see above)
Three: For many, step three is attend the closest happy hour.
This is what separates good marketing from great marketing: getting your content in front of the right audience. We use Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, Pintlerest, Google and other platforms to get a content article out into the world.
As you can see, the first three steps require money to be spent on both. Invest in the time to write the article and the ad dollars to promote. Oh, and don’t forget about email marketing!
Other Forms of Content Marketing
Content marketing is not just reserved for the 2,000 word blog post. Our team has invested heavily in content in Q2 and Q3 2019. We purchased video and podcasting equipment to produce simple tutorial videos in-house for clients and ourselves.
We’re scratching the surface of content marketing and a lot of smart marketers believe we’re in the golden age of content. We titled our podcast “Cutting Through the Noise.” There’s a lot of noise in marketing today. It’s time to double down on your content efforts and make the investment in people, quality and promotion. Good luck and let us know how we can help!
There’s no ignoring search engine optimization (SEO) causes a high level of anxiety for digital marketers. There are many unknowns. Hours of work don’t show immediate results. It’s easy to dive into a rabbit hole only to second guess yourself. With so many ranking factors to consider it’s imperative to focus on the crucial ones. You also want to focus on an overlooked one: content readability.
Part of why marketers overlook readability is it’s less technical than other ranking factors. It’s not as easy as adding alt tags to every image and checking off that box. It requires attention, thought and patience. SEO, after all, is a content strategy. And you want your strategy to be quality, right?
Keep reading for insight on why readability matters and ways to measure quality.
Why Readability Matters
Readable content is more likely to be share-worthy. And that’s a factor in improving search rankings. It also increases the likelihood that people will spend more time with your site and return. So not only are you improving discoverability but you’re improving key site metrics. Thus with smart, readable content, you’ve enhanced the chance of marketing funnel completion.
Additionally, Google tries to act and think like a human. So while forcing as many keywords into a sentence may seem like a good idea it might be creating sentences that normal people wouldn’t say or type. Thus, Google is going to ignore you. Just like any marketing practice, you need to think like the end-user. What would I type if I wanted to find something?
Finally, readability factors into voice search. One of the key indicators of readability is sentence length. When your smart device is reading an answer to your question, would you prefer a quick six-word response or a twenty word one?
What Makes Content Readable?
A service like Yoast looks at a variety of factors when determining readability. Specifically, according to their website:
Use of Passive Voice
Use of Transition Words
Flesch Reading Ease Score
They aren’t all ranked equally. And some are more complex than others. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the length categories. Check back often for additional articles!
Sentence Length: As mentioned above, the goal is to keep sentences under 20 words. This isn’t always going to be possible. So Yoast has set the benchmark of 25% being over. That’s certainly attainable. The importance lies in the ability of readers to quickly consume the content. It’s easy to get lost while scanning long sentences. Especially when followed by a longer one. Also, think about the way content appears in search results. The less that’s truncated, the better.
Paragraph Length: The readability impact can be a visual one. When opening an article to find a specific answer you don’t want to be overwhelmed. First impressions matter. Shorter paragraphs are also easier to comprehend. If you find your paragraphs running on, consider planning each to be topic-based. Shorter paragraphs (Yoast defines as under 150 words) also force you to use subheading. Which is another readability factor!
Readability is important. Not just for SEO, but for brand legitimacy. However, it’s important to not sacrfice quality or clarity for the sake of SEO. Don’t become repetitive by slipping an extra keyword into a paragraph when it’s already present plenty. Don’t mangle a sentence to the point it doesn’t make a lick of sense for the sake of flipping to passive voice. Instead, study what you’ve written. And pay attention to quality scores in your various tools. Producing quality and readable content will become the norm.
Be sure to utilize Yoast and other tools like Grammarly. They let you know you’re doing well with green dots.
Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our podcast here and watch this video on Google ranking factors.
With the popularity of smartphones around the world, podcast advertising is projected to double by 2021. Podcasts are most popular among the 18 to 34 age bracket. They make up approximately 44 percent of its audience. Additionally, around 24 percent of U.S. citizens listen to various podcasts on a regular basis.
Different kinds of business niches all over the globe are now leveraging podcasts to place products, services, and information in front of their target audiences. Your business could use a podcast to attract more customers. The information contained in this article could be important if you are operating a business. Here are the top business niches that must have a podcast to get their market’s attention.
Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs and business owners can stay current with the latest news and trends in their particular market niche by listening to podcasts even while they are on the go. They can increase and update their knowledge about entrepreneurship, business management, financial analysis, local and international markets, and so forth. Podcasts are a boon to businessmen who don’t have much free time to spare. Here are some examples of podcasts for entrepreneurs.
The Digital Entrepreneur – here is a podcast that will educate entrepreneurs in creating and selling digital products and services profitably. This is a weekly podcast that provides listeners with insights and strategies from experts to help entrepreneurs build their digital business correctly.
Entrepreneur Stories 4 Inspiration – this is a podcast that is designed to motivate and help you build your business. Successful business leaders, many of them already millionaires, will give you lessons and advice on how to grow your business.
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders – here is a weekly podcast given by entrepreneurs from Stanford University where they candidly share the lessons they learned in building and growing their businesses. This type of podcast can help entrepreneurs with over 70+ social media statistics proving that it is so.
Podcast for Tech Gadgets
Tech gadgets are now part of our daily lives, whether we are at work or at play. New gadgets are being launched every day with new features and heightened capabilities. This necessitates further education of consumers. Podcasts are great venues for this continuous consumer education. Here are some samples of podcasts for tech gadgets.
Gone Mobile Podcast – this podcast provides information about the latest development in mobile technology. Resource speakers give in-depth knowledge about iOS and Windows as well as Androids development for mobile design and marketing.
Hands-On Tech – this podcast provides hands-on unboxings, previews and reviews of the hottest and the latest wearables, notebooks, smart home devices, and smartphones.
Podcast for the Real Estate Industry
Many real estate websites are now incorporating podcasts on their pages. They must be taking advantage of the fact that 50 percent of all American homes are podcast listeners. That would be equivalent to about 60 million homes. These people, as well as agents and brokers, need tips on buying and selling homes and lands. Podcasts can supply that need. Here are some real estate podcasts available today.
Real Estate Coaching Radio – this podcast gets an average of 100,000 listeners at any time. It is run by the husband and wife team of Tim and Julie Harris. They are dispensing advice to real estate brokers and agents. The podcast also features advice from real estate pros and executives based on their wealth of experiences.
Modern American Realtor – here is a podcast that educates agents and brokers on the important things they need in their real estate careers. They also discuss other marginal issues that affect the real estate industry.
Podcast for Nutrition, Health, and Fitness
Podcasts are a great way to encourage couch potatoes to get up and move. Most people are so busy that they forget to give themselves time to rest, eat nutritious food and exercise to stay fit and healthy. Here are some samples of podcasts that are geared toward making people active and healthy.
Motivated – here is a podcast that will guide listeners in navigating their health and fitness journeys. The tips given by the resource person is based on her weight loss experiences.
Diet Starts Tomorrow – this is a podcast where the resource person talks about her struggles on her way to losing weight and keeping a positive attitude at the same time.
20-minute fitness – this podcast will give listeners information about the latest methodologies, technologies, nutrition, and science to help them stay updated in their fitness routines.
Podcasts for Sports
Sports podcasts are a great way for sports fans to be in tune with the latest game, the latest news, and stats of their favorite teams. These types of podcasts are getting more and more popular these days. Here are some samples of sports podcasts that people are tuning in today.
The Fighter & The Kid – this podcast is for UFC fans. It is a weekly podcast that provides unedited and uncut episodes of interviews of well-known UFC fighters.
The Joe Rogan Experience – this podcast is hosted by comedian Joe Rogan and it features long-form interviews and conversations with MMA fighters, authors, musicians, actors, and other celebrities. Sports personalities in the program may include NFL stars, pro surfers, UFC legends and more.
My assumption is that your first reaction to reading that headline is “Say what?” And then you probably mutter under your breath, “Isn’t content is king a marketing mantra as old as the British Royal Family?”
If you’re asking that question, it’s the right one to ask. And you’re not entirely wrong. Content isn’t King because it’s the King, the Queen and the Jack. Maybe even the Joker every once and awhile. They are the cards you play to achieve your business goals.
At MozCon 2018, Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner gave a riveting, and sometimes hilarious, talk about ways to fix content marketing. One of the most interesting things he highlighted early on is a big misconception about this type of marketing strategy: someone reads your blog post and converts to a qualified lead. Most the time that’s not going to be the case. And by most of the time I mean somewhere in the area of half a percent, according to one of his examples.
But that doesn’t mean content marketing isn’t an integral part of your strategy. It is, and it serves many different purposes, all of which have value and together will eventually drive lead conversions. Regardless of your business model or definition of a conversion, firing up 500 to 800 words of evergreen content boasting about the services you offer, or just showing off your knowledge base, can become one of the most valuable parts of your marketing playbook along with along with advertising and email marketing.
Articulate Your Value Proposition
While attention spans are shrinking and the amount of time you have to connect with a person digitally is decreasing, sometimes longer content is necessary. Articulating the value of the service or widget your company provides, and showing examples of such, is key when establishing a level of comfort with your visitors. Use your blog to showcase all of your products in ways your homepage might not afford. Pretend this is your shot to impress someone, your pitch, and use plenty of images (insert groan about alt-tags) and videos when it makes sense.
All that said, if you are expanding on your value proposition, make sure what you’re saying is valuable. Even before drafting content you need to ask yourself what the purpose of the article is and will it be most meaningful to readers. And in a lot of cases, that means personalization, which you can read more about here.
And what’s meaningful to readers is also meaningful to Google. Which brings us to the next purpose of content marketing.
Not only does content marketing, when done correctly, enhance your metadata via smart keywords, it helps make your website seem more authoritative to Google, which is going to get you more visibility. Free visibility. And perception is reality. Writing content that helps get you recognized as an authority makes you an authority. Suddenly you’re a valuable part of your value proposition.
In his talk, Oli shared an incredibly insightful quote from Orbit Media co-founder and chief marketing officer Andy Crestodina. He said:
“The content drives the links, which drive the authority, which drive the rankings, which drive qualified visitors who searched for a “commercial intent” keyphrase. Now you have a visitor who is highly likely to convert, unlike your typical blog reader.”
In this case you’re not even writing for the prospective lead. Andy’s “typical blog reader” probably isn’t even a major consumer. While they may click around on your site and visit product pages, they’re eventually going to bail and become a cold lead. Instead, you’re using the content to enable a qualified lead to find you. Plus, perception is reality. Writing content that helps you get recognized as an authority, makes you an authority!
Creating Content Isn’t as Hard as You Think
The thought of adding content creation to your already overflowing plate may seem daunting, but if it is actually possible to kill two birds with one stone, this would be the way. And we’re not suggesting a magnum opus every time you open up your word processor. Concise and to the point content is going to be the most effective. The best strategy is that each post employs the “less is more” principle. The flip side of that, however, is that when it comes to content marketing, “more of less” is the goal. In other words, five blog posts of 500 – 800 words each over the course of the month instead of a single 3,000-word post constructed over weeks and deployed haphazardly. It’s also important to remember that what you create has to be valuable, or as Jeff Baker calls it in a blog post on Moz.com “quality content.”
There are the obvious next steps in terms of promoting the published content, getting a critical mass of eyeballs and spending time (hopefully) responding to comments. But it’s all worth it. In fact, maybe content isn’t even the King, Queen, Jack and Joker.