Inbound Marketing Priority List
There is a lot of discussion about inbound marketing these days.
The basic concept is creating content that intercepts your target customers when they’re either looking for information or when someone they know shares information with them.
Inbound Marketing Discovery
The first method is the search. This is your target customer actively looking for information. They might be looking on search engines. They might be looking through other sources.
The second method is word of mouth, which today has been taken online with social media. The power of a recommendation is huge and people are sharing all kinds of things on social networks.
The key behind it all is the idea of content.
It might be a tip or it might be a guide. At Ghost Blog Writers, we take the approach that blog posts can provide the content that people search for and discovery in social media through word of mouth.
The biggest question for brands is figuring out the type of content to create to get the best bang for the investment because there is a lot of time and effort that goes into creating content for inbound marketing.
The payoff is getting an asset that works to bring in more traffic and more customers to the business. You create a post today and it works for you as long as it’s published online.
Here is a priority list of content for your inbound marketing strategy.
These are the list from GBW. You’ll find that it’s similar to other reports and lists including this one, which is a good indication of what’s working to get that increased traffic and flow of customers.
Something you’ll notice is that some of these will crossover with each other. Video takes on many of the formats you’ll read below. For example, you can tell a story with a video. You can also tell a story with a blog post.
With that said we at GBW feel this is how it would be best to organize your inbound strategy in general.
1. Blog Posts
We’re biased at GBW, but we feel blogging is the best form of inbound marketing. The stats show it.
Blogging naturally gets your business into the natural flow of creating regular content, which is what your customers want. They want consistency in the quality and the frequency. That doesn’t mean every day although it can. They simply want it on a regular schedule.
Blogging can take on many formats including some of the things below. There are video blogs. There are story blogs. You can do case studies and research posts. You can do it all.
Blogging is a simple format and it’s gone so far behind being a journal or diary.
It’s a way for you to create the information your target customers are looking for and by providing it you’re fostering the natural discovery that leads to new customer acquisition.
This will probably be number one on the list very shortly.
Video is blowing up online. People are watching more videos all the time. As Internet connections improve people are going to watch all kinds of things from online movies and shows to tips and commentary.
People have always liked a good story. We go to movies all the time. We read books. We read stories in the newspaper about local sports teams or criminals. We love a good story that captivates our attention.
Tell the stories of your business. Share experiences. Do the same with the stories of your customers.
People like reading those stories for entertainment, education and enlightenment.
People like the cold hard facts. They like seeing studies and research around all kinds of topics especially if there are conclusions drawn from the research.
It’s one thing to make claims. You take those claims to another level when you put research behind it. HubSpot does this really well with their inbound marketing reports.
People love it because it’s proof of what people are actually doing.
5. Case Studies
Case studies take time to develop because you have to deliver success for your customers before anything. That takes time and effort. Then you have to get the customer on board. You also have to format the case study in a post or video format so it’s easy to digest.
All that effort is worth it, though. Case studies are trustworthy. You can showcase your business and what you can do without really talking about yourself. You highlight the success of your customer. You share the story and your potential customers can take it all in and put themselves in the situation.
It’s a great way to generate interest around your brand.
I’ve found that guides can be big assets for businesses. The SEO guide over at Moz is one of the most popular guides in their industry. That’s something Moz created in the early days and it’s still generating all kinds of traffic and business for them.
Yes, you have to keep the guide updated over time, but once you create it you have an asset that brings you new customers for a really long time.
It takes a lot of time and effort, but in the long run it’s more than worth it.
This one is hard not to put up higher on the list like a lot of these because I think real photography is becoming important, but I think it’s more important for some businesses than for others.
There is a lot of bad photography on the web. Using your own professional photography for your brand can make a big difference. Turn those photos into something that tells a story or provides interest to your target customers and you’ll find that people share it like crazy leading to more discovery for your brand.
Graphics came on in the last year or so and quickly seemed to disappear. When the spammers got a hold of these things for SEO the bottom just fell out and people got sick of it.
It was obvious people were using graphics, especially infographics, for link building and SEO purposes. The bottom fell out thankfully and it just got to be too much.
However, I still think quality graphics that are interesting and entertaining can get your company some good discovery out there in the online world.
9. Slide Shows
Slide shows get a bad rap around the web because people think websites use them to bump up pageviews.
That’s probably true to an extent, but what I think the bigger reason is for slide shows on websites is that people like them. That’s right. It may seem crazy if you read the comments from people in comment sections on sites like Bleacher Report, but I think people like slide shows.
You can take a list of something and give people some good content that’s interesting, entertaining or educational while putting it in an easy to digest format.
10. User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content or UGC is the wild card in the inbound marketing world. By age, UGC is the oldest form of content on the web. When the web really started picking up steam in the ’90s, two of the most talked about aspects were chat rooms and forums. Both are still popular today. They’ve just kind of morphed into social networking and things like Twitter. Heck, forums are still incredibly popular.
But the wild card side of UGC is that it’s really difficult to build especially for a business. Some have done it and have done it well. A brand like WordPress has great user forums that offer great support.
It takes time. If you want to start a forum you’ll spend weeks or months talking to yourself as 30, 40 or 100 different people. You can drive yourself nuts, but if you put in the effort you can build a very strong community that creates content for your brand and it will lead to customers discovering your brand through search and social just like the other items on this list.