You’re taking your blog seriously, and that’s a good thing. Regular blogging is a great way to engage with your audience. As noted by Deloitte, three-quarters of B2B buyers put tremendous importance on being seamlessly connected with brands through tailored, relevant experiences. Kudos to you for fostering engagement through your blog content.
But while blogging and content marketing go hand in hand, you can’t expect your blog to do all the heavy lifting for your company’s marketing. It’s important, but it’s not the only tactic you need to employ. To achieve truly successful content marketing ROI, you must leverage multiple strategies that engage your target audience at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Your blog should be supported by a host of other content marketing efforts. These are often divided into the categories of owned, paid, and earned media.
· Owned media is any content you control. It lives on your own business pages, including your website, social media accounts, or YouTube channel, for example. Obviously, your blog fits into this category, as do your email campaigns, gated whitepapers, case studies, etc. The purpose of owned media is to serve as your brand’s voice. Over time, it allows you to deepen your connection with prospects by showcasing your knowledge, offerings, values, and personality.
· Paid media involves content placements you pay for (think Google and Facebook ads). With paid media, you can expose and direct your organization to certain audience groups. Paid media almost always includes a link back to owned media, such as a piece of content on your website, enabling you to keep leads flowing in your preferred direction.
· Earned media is any content that talks about your company but that you didn’t publish yourself or pay for. Thought leadership guest-contributed articles are an example of earned media. As an expert, you might pitch an article to a top-tier publication or niche industry outlet. If your article is accepted and published, earning this placement positions you as an expert in your space and allows you to further educate your audience and build your credibility.
As you can see, your blog is just one piece of the puzzle in your content strategy. And even all your content can’t give you spectacular results unless you create and deploy an in-depth content marketing plan.
So, what is a content marketing plan or strategy? It puts objectives, measurements, and purpose behind your owned, paid, and earned media. With a plan, you can be sure all your marketing items are moving in the same direction. Without a plan, you’re sure to experience a lot of frustration and misfires.
For instance, far too many companies take a scattershot approach to content creation. That is, they don’t put a lot of thought behind what they push out to the public. For example, countless marketing teams come up with blog post ideas out of thin air. They don’t consult their site analytics or conduct keyword research. The result is content that doesn’t move the needle, even if it’s beautifully and professionally written!
Having a content marketing plan to follow makes certain there’s a reason for every marketing move you make. For example, if someone were to ask, “Why are you conducting that survey?” you could confidently answer, “The findings will become part of our Q3 sales enablement content, will serve as a gated asset to generate leads, and will provide us with proprietary data to infuse credibility into our blog posts.” Just as important, your content strategy will indicate whether you’re actively leveraging all your marketing channels so you don’t accidentally let one fall by the wayside and lose traction.
Keeping your blog populated with exciting, educational content is a wonderful way to connect with prospects, share your brand story, boost your authority (with both people and Google), and encourage shares and referrals. However, a blog shouldn’t be a standalone content marketing solution.
To elevate your content marketing results, you need to have a comprehensive strategy in place. This plan will allow you to control your messaging and get the most mileage from all the content that goes out under your brand name. As you become more comfortable and adept with designing, testing, and evolving your content marketing, you’ll enjoy more predictable results.
I'm a content-obsessed word person with a passion for finding the coziest coffee shop in town. By day, I'm the content marketing manager at Intero Digital's Content & PR Division. In my downtime, you can find me hanging out with my husband and son, reading a book, sipping a latte, drawing, hand lettering, or watching "The Office" for the zillionth time.