There is so much misunderstanding about blogging - what it is and whether or not it’s an effective part of a legitimate marketing strategy, that we decided to dedicate a blog to clear the air. We regularly hear people tell us they have a blog and think they’re “doing content marketing” or worse yet..think they are “doing inbound marketing.” That’s simply not true. Just because you have a blog on your website doesn’t mean you’ve got that box checked. In fact, it doesn’t even mean your blog is benefiting you at all.
Let’s get clear on a couple of terms that are being thrown around as synonymous and interchangeable, and they’re not: blogs, content marketing, and inbound marketing. As you’ll hopefully understand by the end of this post, blogging is not content marketing, and content marketing is not inbound marketing.
A blog is simply a page on your website that you regularly update. Typically these blogs share information or insights. Many people do them, and they can potentially be extremely effective in growing organic traffic to your website - if they are done correctly. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you have one it’s somehow automatically helping you grow your business. For blogs to be effective, there’s more to them than just having something to say.
Content marketing is the intentional and consistent strategy of keeping fresh “content” - blogs, video, ebooks, white papers, infographics, etc. on your website. This content is fully optimized on the backend using specific on-page SEO tactics (headers, meta descriptions, optimized content, alt text, word count, etc) that help Google find and rank your website. Furthermore, the content matters. If you are simply posting blogs about the latest company charity or press release, that’s great - but don’t think it’s content marketing. It’s not.
The content you post on your website must also be linked to a strategy of keywords that matches what internet users are searching for. Without this, it may be really great content…but it isn’t helping your website’s organic traffic and it isn’t helping consumers find you. For it to generate search results, it must be relevant, helpful to readers, fully optimized, and consistently posted.
Inbound marketing uses content marketing as one tool in its expansive toolbox. There’s so much more to the inbound marketing story than you might think. Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that uses content in various forms (blogs, ebooks, quizzes, infographics, video, spreadsheets, webinars, pillar pages, to name a few) along with email marketing, social media, CTA (calls-to-action), forms, traditional advertising, digital advertising, etc.
This content is created and promoted to accomplish a number of tasks:
It’s created and designed to align with a business’ keyword strategy. When you know what questions consumers and prospects are asking online, only then can you match their search with your solution. The content is extremely customer-focused.
It provides Google with the backend ‘information” it needs to find, read and rank your content online, making it increasingly easy for prospects to find your business. This is especially important if you’re trying to reach new consumers who don’t know your business name but need solutions you can provide.
It strengthens a sales team by giving them a portfolio of content to seed prospects, selling additional products and services to existing clients, and providing them with a continuous flow of qualified new leads.
It positions your business as the trusted authority in your industry, thrusting you light years ahead of the competition. Something like 92% of all sales conversations begin with an online search.
Additionally, inbound marketing done well will also give you the opportunity to customize a consumer’s experience through smart content, custom workflows, and nurtured follow-up campaigns. And to add a heaping layer of swiss buttercream frosting to the inbound marketing cake…it’s all trackable.
As you can see, inbound marketing is a comprehensive and robust strategy designed to do two things: increase the ability of consumers to find your business online and once they do, nurture them down the buying funnel until they become both customers and raving fans.
It bears repeating: blogging is not content marketing, and content marketing is not inbound marketing. Thinking so may be seriously undermining your potential for true digital success.