If you’re considering using content marketing or blogging in your business growth strategy it’s important that you understand the difference between them, how they complement each other, and how they can each drive engagement and sales for your business.
Although they may be often used synonymously, content marketing and blogging work differently to help grow your business.
To understand which one you need, we’ll start by looking at their definitions, then we’ll dive into how each drives website traffic to increase leads and sales.
Let’s get started.
What is content marketing?
There are a lot of terms out there that relate to marketing your business. There’s obviously content marketing; then there’s digital marketing, online marketing, media marketing, traditional marketing … and the list continues.
Content marketing is essentially all about the content you use to market your business.
And ‘content’ can include a lot of different elements, such as the:
- Words on your website pages
- Copy in your blog posts and emails
- Captions on your social media posts
- Outline on your social media profiles
- Ads you use to market your business
- Imagery on your social feeds
- Video or audio used for vlogs, podcasts, information, webinars or sales videos
Essentially any written, audio, or visual media that you create to use when marketing your products or services online can be referred to as content.
Your content marketing then becomes the planning, managing, and distribution of the content after you’ve created it, which involves a host of other strategic tools and techniques.
The purpose of content marketing
So, why invest in content marketing to help grow your business?
All the content that you create tells the story of your business and shares your products and services with your target audience. When crafted and rolled out in a strategic manner, your content works to create connections, build trust, and increase conversions.
If your content marketing is holistic and considers a range of different channels and types of content, then you are creating a journey for your customer to experience your brand, and you’re increasing the number of touchpoints they have with you.
And we know that it takes on average between 6-8 marketing touchpoints for businesses to make a sale. Content marketing can make this happen sooner and in a seamless manner.
Blogging can be an integral part of your content marketing strategy, but on its own, it is not really content marketing.
So, what is a blog?
A blog is a marketing channel (just like social media, email marketing, video marketing, etc) that helps to grow your business. When you publish blog posts, you are undertaking a content marketing activity designed to attract an audience of potential leads to your website.
When you consider the types of content marketing activities you will undertake for your business, maintaining a blog should most definitely be up there.
Blogging is great for businesses because (when done right!) your posts are used to attract, nurture and convert clients.
Blogging for business is not just writing on a whim. There is a copywriting science to blogging that requires structure, keyword research, optimisation, and messaging that positions your content to attract, nurture and convert your target audience.
Developing your blog in this way enables your blog to continuously work hard to drive traffic to your website, which is hugely beneficial if you’re looking to make sales online. But there are other benefits of blogging for business.
The benefits of blogging for business
Blogging for business is an absolute must if you are looking to grow your business online. We touched on the benefit blogs have of driving traffic to your website. Other benefits include:
Blog posts can be repurposed for other marketing channels
The copy that you write for your blog posts can be reused and repurposed for other content marketing activities.
You can turn one blog post into:
- An infographic
- A presentation or slidedeck
- Content for podcasts or videos
- Answers for FAQs that you can use for your support team or repeat clients
- Social media content
- Email marketing content
- Pinterest pin content
You can combine blog posts on the same topic into:
- An ebook
- A guide
- Case studies
- An email course or series
- A webinar
These are just the tip of the iceberg for repurposing ideas and once you start, you will find that you consistently have content to regularly filter through other marketing channels.
Blogs demonstrate your expertise and build your credibility
It is likely that your blog will contain posts around similar topics or themes around your area of expertise. The best posts you could write would be those that answer frequently asked questions or provide thorough information for your leads and customers.
When you create and publish these posts regularly you start to build your credibility which encourages leads to buy from you.
Blogging gives you insight into your customers
When combined with Google Analytics, blogging gives you insightful data to optimise and grow your business. This is one of the best things about blogging.
The data insights can tell you what:
- type of content your audience engage with
- language and messaging that attracts and resonates with your audience, and what doesn’t
- content makes your website visitor convert
- content to create more of to attract more clients
- messages attract and convert from different digital channels
- content to use for leverage and growth
- content delivers the best ROI
Blog posts have the greatest ROI of all your content marketing activities
One of the most underrated benefits of a blog is that once published it works 24/7 to attract traffic to your website. When it starts to rank for keywords the traffic to your site comes without any effort from you.
When the content is structured and optimised correctly it encourages visitors to stay on your site, get to know your business and offerings, and attract lead or sales conversions.
Drive additional traffic to your blog by collaborating with influencers, thought leaders, or engagement pods.
Your blog will continue to leverage the work that you put in initially to create the content, making it the greatest ROI of all your content marketing activities.
You can incorporate other streams of income into your blog posts
If you’ve ever considered affiliate marketing as another stream of income, then your blog posts can quickly become a way for you to promote these products or services. Add pay per click ads and banners and you could be on your way to generating additional income from your blogs, particularly if the products you market are in the same niche as your business.
Blogging isn’t as effective without a content marketing strategy
Many businesses rely solely on blogging to drive traffic and increase sales online. However, as with any marketing activity, blogging is never an island. And it isn’t nearly as effective without a content marketing strategy in place.
Blindly blogging without an overarching strategy means that you may be missing out on opportunities to increase touchpoints with potential leads to eventually make more sales. This is because all your content marketing efforts should be holistic, strategic, considered and consistent.
When you create your content marketing strategy it needs to encompass:
- Who are they, and where are they
- What problems do they ‘think’ they have and what are their actual problems
- What solutions do they ‘think’ they need and what solutions do they actually need
- What information is required to nurture and convert
- What content do they find engaging
- What and how do they buy
- When do they buy and what do they need from you before they buy
Your marketing channels
- Where does your audience hang out online
- Where do they like to research and how do they research
- What devices do they use to engage with different content pieces
Your marketing tactics
- What types of content will you create
- What channels will you distribute your content
- How often will you release your content
- At what frequency will you release your content, which days, and at what times
Your key messages
- What words, language, and key points speak to your audience to encourage them to take the desired action
- What doesn’t the audience understand about your business or offering
- What do they want to know or hear and what makes them pay attention
- What are the features and benefits of the products and solutions you offer and how can you communicate these in a way that speaks to your audience’s emotions
Your business brand
- How does your audience perceive you
- What visuals and colour palette will you use to connect and convert
- How are you positioned against your competitors
Your content distribution schedule
- What are you offering through your content marketing efforts, and when
- Are you launching new products in timely ways
- Can you leverage any other marketing you’ve done to date
- How in advance does top of the funnel middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel content need to be released to get the sale at launch
These are some of the typical areas that a content marketer will consider when they work towards creating and rolling out your content, guided by your strategy.
If you want to blog for business, we highly recommend you get our Content Marketing Planner to ensure you have all of these integral parts nailed before you invest time in content creation.
All content marketing roads should lead to business growth
An effective content marketing strategy is going to work towards building your brand, credibility, audience, and sales as well as provide opportunities for you to track the results and optimise efforts for business growth.
It’s all about researching your audience, structuring your content to make it easy for them to consume, and planning the release of your content holistically.
Capturing data every time you release content will also help towards making improvements for that next rollout.
Data can be forgotten when it comes to content marketing, but it is imperative to capture it and then use it to inform campaigns moving forward.
Ensure you capture data that pertains to your:
- Web page hits
- Link clicks
- Time spent on page
- How people use your site
- Conversions from content
- Content engagement
- Sources of traffic
- Engagement from social media
- Clicks and sales from advertising
And then use it to make informed decisions for the next wave of content distribution.
When you go one step further and focus on developing content that supports your customer experience then you’re going to see further improvements in repeat conversions and genuine connections with customers.
Content Marketing vs Blogging – Which one is for you?
If you want to create content for fun, a space to share when you feel inspired or as an online home for your musings, then a blog is all you need.
If you want to blog for business, then you need a content marketing plan. But not just any plan, a plan that is researched, structured, and consistently implemented.
Not gonna lie, content marketing does require considerable time, energy and financial investment. This is because you are creating business assets for lead and sales generation. It can also take a few months to start seeing any kind of organic traffic results for all of your SEO work. But, we’ve done it many times over and seen the results, a holistic content marketing approach does pay off!
The worst thing you can do for your content marketing is nothing. If you’re overwhelmed by content marketing or blogging fo