“Content marketing”: it’s the new buzz phrase. Rather than jump in headfirst and try to stuff all “kings” beneath the same crown, it’s a good idea to distinguish between different types of online marketing content. Then, take the time to craft a media strategy tailored to your product or service.
The time will be well spent. “Content marketing” does not mean blasting your audience with miscellaneous content as often as possible. Producing fresh content frequently may help your company blog rank high in search engines, yes. But a startup can do as much harm to its reputation as good by pushing out oodles of poorly constructed “branded media.”
The Three Essential Types of Online Marketing Content
Understanding this content marketing triumvirate can help you focus your message, and decide on the correct content production pace.
1) Website Content
Whether you’re selling software or hard goods, organizing people behind a worthy cause, or changing the way humans interact with devices, potential customers need to enjoy spending time on your website and using your product.
Think of copywriting and UI/UX simultaneously, as you consider how to engage and inform visitors. Content, imagery, video, and interactions should be targeted to the appropriate demographic. Messaging should be clear, concise, and consistent with your product or service.
2) Social Media
Choose social media networks that amplify your message to the right audience and complement the type of company you’re building. Online retailers must be present on Pinterest and Facebook. B2B companies may find Google+ and Quora to be better venues for growing a reputation of thought leadership. For music- or publishing-focused businesses, MySpace and Scribd are still important.
Every company and startup founder should be on Twitter. As with Facebook, the trick is to manage your time and focus your topics. Hopefully, you already know to share useful links, and use tools like HootSuite for scheduling. With more than 30,000 followers, Writer.ly CEO Kelsye Nelson (@Kelsye) advises authors on how to leverage Twitter for promotion. Nelson finds that interacting with followers is the most important factor for conversion. Still, she limits her time on Twitter to about 15 minutes, twice per day.
One final note about social media: You wouldn’t dream of creating a LinkedIn profile that read as if you’d never stepped into a classroom. The same rule applies for your startup’s social media presence across the Web. Good grammar will never make you look bad — even on Twitter.
3) Lead Generation
Where a customer sits in the conversion funnel determines what type of lead generation content to provide for that customer. The length of your product or service’s buying cycle is integral to understanding those sweet spots, where content converts to sales.
In general, B2B companies experience a lengthier buying cycle than B2C businesses, and B2B sales cycles are more complex. You’ll find white papers and ebooks take longer to write and are most often used as B2B lead generation mechanisms. Blog post mentions and social media shares are more important influencers with moms and millennials.
Although SEO content is still important for driving organic and paid traffic, make sure it’s genuinely useful to consumers. Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates were designed specifically to spare Internet surfers from high-ranking, keyword-stuffed fluff.
Quantify and Optimize Your Success
Understanding both your customer and your sales cycle is key to deciding what type of marketing content to deliver, when. Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels tool can help you determine which types of content are working at specific stages in your conversion funnel.
While it may be important to break and fix your Web-based product often, this ethos does not apply to your marketing message. As one facet of an integrated marketing plan, content should be created and deployed slower, and more strategically, than code. Make your message pop from the beginning to push the competition aside.