When someone says “Content Marketing” what is the first thing that you think?
For many of us, we think Blogging.
And that’s not wrong. In many situations, starting your company’s content marketing efforts with a blog is a great, easy way to get started.
Blogging is kind of a blank canvas in which you can take any direction you’d like. Whether it’s for your personal brand or for your company, having a blog is an essential part of content marketing.
As some of the early pioneers of content marketing, Hubspot found that just writing more and more blog posts wasn’t always the best use of your time.
And you may run into that in your business as well. Instead of just churning out more long-form written content, it may be time to think about other forms of on-site content you can explore to supplement your existing content marketing.
To be clear, we’re “just” talking about on-site, written content here. So things like podcasting (yeah!), YouTube, Social Media, Email Marketing, and all of the other marketing approaches we may try are beyond the scope of what we’re discussing in this article.
Instead, I want to offer a few examples of alternative content that you can use to supplement (or instead of) writing for your blog. I like to call this Content Marketing 2.0
What Is Content Marketing 2.0?
I’ll define Content Marketing 2.0 as follows:
Content Marketing 2.0 is any type of content other than blogging on your site that is designed to generate traffic, SEO benefits, and turn those visitors into leads or trials.Craig Hewitt
Ok, so it’s not a blog post, but some kind of written content. Got it. So, what is it?
Here are just a few examples of companies just like yours or mine who have implemented alternative forms of content to drive traffic, earn SEO benefits, and turn those both into more revenue for their businesses.
Engineering As Marketing
I get the term Engineering As Marketing from Alex from JitBit. He’s a developer and as such, would rather create a piece of software than write a blog post. Creating free tools like JitBit’s SSL Checker is a great way for Alex and his team to flex their creative engineering muscles while at the same time offering a really valuable tool in the marketing stack.
A commonly cited example of this is Hubspot’s Website Grader. This free tool evaluates your website for technical SEO and speed improvement opportunities and gives you advice on how to implement them.
Similar to Engineering As Marketing is the practice of creating an entire suite of free tools that help a customer directly achieve their business goals. We do this at Castos with our RSS Feed Lookup tool, Cover Image Generator, and Podcast Name Generator (and we’re just getting started).
The really nice thing about this approach is that you can create a free tool that anyone can use independently, but you can also integrate it directly into your SaaS application. This is what we’re doing at Castos with our tools.
They’ll serve as both free tools for podcasters (and hopefully get us some SEO/Traffic benefits) and will be super helpful resources for our customers in creating their podcasts.
Maybe one step up in the level of involvement is your company conducting its own research within your field. Rob Walling of MicroConf does this great with their State Of Independent SaaS report each year.
I know Rob puts a ton of his own time and has a bunch of help from others in putting together the questions and crunching the numbers afterward.
But the result is a great piece of content that you can reference over and over again in other forms of content you’re creating.
This may be my favorite, just because of the scope you can reach. Directories of any sort are really interesting content and traffic approaches to take on your website.
Zapier is a good example of this.
As they’re essentially an integration tool, they rely heavily on lists of integration combinations to boost much of their content and SEO efforts.
Ok, to be fair, they have an enormous and very powerful blog too, but you’ll notice that their integration directory is incorporated in almost every blog post they write.
Say you’re an online signature tool like SignWell. What is one thing that every one of your customers would need to be successful with your tool?
But documents are tedious and tough to come up with from scratch.
So what about a huge directory of the most common business documents that your customers might need in order to actually send them for signature and get value from your tool?
Ruben from Signwell does this great with his free template directory, and I’d guess it drives a ton of traffic (and hopefully signups) for his tool.
So what I’ve learned from seeing how many of my peers (and those I look up to big time) do content marketing is that they don’t just box themselves into one format. Of course the first thing we think of when I say that are things like YouTube, podcasting, and Social, but I mean on-site content.
Content Marketing != Blogging.
It can, but doesn’t have to be restricted to just that format.
Let’s be creative with how we create content for our brands, and for our customers. The truly best form of content is one that delivers the biggest value to visitors and readers. That should be the north star when deciding what content marketing approach to take.