How We’re Using Content Marketing to Grow Our Business In 2019
Like many of you, I spent the final weeks of 2018 planning my business goals and systems for the new year.
One big piece of that was mapping out the 2019 content strategy for Jobson Studios. While content marketing has been a part of my business since it’s launch, it has slipped in and out of priority. Without a solid publishing plan in place (and an equally solid commitment to following through each week), it’s been easy to push off the task of creating content when more urgent things, like client projects, increased.
I’ve even found myself wondering if publishing content regularly was still worth the time commitment – was the return on investment high enough to make it worthwhile? With millions of blogs and YouTube channels and social media profiles being updated every day, is it even possible to cut through the clutter and use content to grow my business in the new year?
If I was questioning my content marketing efforts, I knew other small business owners were, too.
I dug into some research to answer this question, and found reports like this one from Search Engine Watch that outlines how the majority of organizations found that their content marketing was more successful in 2018 than it had been in previous years – and it seems promising that the trend will continue into 2019.
And this report from the Content Marketing Institute that found the majority of respondents had successfully used content marketing to nurture new leads in 2018.
Then there are articles like this Forbes write up that argues content marketing simply is marketing in our modern business world.
Does Content Marketing Still Work?
- When comparing content marketing against paid search, content marketing produces 3x more leads for each dollar spent.
- B2B companies and B2C companies report generating 67% and 88% more leads (respectively) than companies who do not blog.
- Content marketing has shown conversion rates 6x higher than other marketing methods.
High-quality content has always been at the center of our website design approach, and I came away from my research feeling inspired and re-committed to using content even more effectively in my business this year. This post will detail exactly how we plan to do that.
choosing quality & depth over frequency
In the past, I’ve always strived to publish new content on our blog every week. I had stretches where I hit this goal, and plenty of stretches when I didn’t.
The biggest takeaway from my 2018 content efforts is that I want to focus all of my attention on quality & depth in the content my team and I produce – even if that means producing it less often.
In the new year, I’m letting go of our once-per-week publishing schedule and focusing on publishing just one in depth, highly-researched, and value-pack guide on our blog each month.
While our overall content production will dip significantly, the extra time we have to develop and promote each guide will mean we can deliver a lot more value to our audience overall, and also get more value from each piece of content from a business-building perspective.
A less frequent, more in-depth publishing schedule wouldn’t be right for every business in every industry, but it’s a good fit for our goals and audience here at Jobson Studios.
This post from the Moz SEO blog has a lot of great points on why a “perfect” blog post length or “perfect” publishing schedule doesn’t exist, and how you can figure out what will work best for your business.
using content to build relationships & trust
Like most business owners, my long-term goal for our content marketing is to generate leads that turn into paying clients.
However, putting stats, web traffic, likes, and shares at the heart of our strategy won’t make us successful. I’ve found the companies who use content marketing most effectively do it primarily to build relationships with their readers (and potential clients) and give them a solid reason to trust their expertise and business approach. Content marketing has to be approached from a long-term, give-before-you-get perspective.
“Promotion-free content marketing is the best way to improve customer trust in your organization. Buyers actively seek reliable information before they decide.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes to see how they view the world. Then use this knowledge to provide the content marketing they want and need.
And slowly but surely, you start to build content marketing trust.”
My overarching goal for our content marketing plan will be to build relationships & trust through the things we publish. While data and strategy are important (e.g which keywords will be most effective in this post? Which topics would get the most interest & traffic?), the question we will ask first is “how does this serve our audience and help them in a way that’s meaningful?”
promoting, and working smarter (not harder)
Finally, in connection with our shift to a once-per-month blogging schedule, I’ll be focusing on how to work smarter, not harder, in our content marketing.
Working hours and hours on a blog post just to publish it and move on to the next one always felt like a frustrating cycle.
Because I was focused on publishing fresh content each week – and making that content as good as possible – I never felt I had buffer time to really promote the pieces I already published. Instead of keeping those old (but still relevant) blog posts alive, they became buried under a pile of new content headed for the same outcome.
This year, we’ll be publishing less frequently, and then focusing that extra time on getting the most value out of each piece by promoting it and repackaging it in new ways that our audience could benefit from.
Only a percentage of your audience will see & view new content in the first days and weeks after it’s published.
Because of that, publishing a piece of content and then moving right on to the next is a huge opportunity-waste. That one blog post (or video, or podcast, etc.) could benefit a much wider audience than it did during the first few days of being published.
Our 2019 content marketing plan will hinge on our cornerstone piece of content: the guide we publish on our blog each month.
This guide will be at the very center of our content marketing plan for the month, and we’ll draw from that already-created content to flesh out our social media and email marketing calendar so that the content gets more exposure overall. Below is a breakdown of how that will work.
our content plan & platforms
In 2019, we’ll be focusing on four main content marketing platforms:
Our blog (this will be our content marketing “home base” and will be the heart of our content marketing strategy).
Email (including automated email series & a regular weekly newsletter).
Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn).
Guest posting (contributing content regularly to other industry publications).
Our blog will be the center of our content marketing plan.
We’ll publish one in-depth guide each month on our blog, and this guide will be the basis for all the content we publish on all other platforms that month.
Instead of smaller one-off posts that we used to produce on our weekly publishing schedule, these guides will be in-depth, research-heavy (e.g links to resources, further reading, or quotes from and interviews with experts), and always include action-steps for accomplishing a specific and important goal in your business.
Core topics we plan to cover are brand strategy & design, website strategy & design, and how to use both of those areas to market and grow your business.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few guides we have coming up:
“Secrets” to high-end brand & website design
How to Create a Services Page that Books More Clients
How to Drive High-Quality Traffic to Your Website
content upgrades & email automation
Each guide we publish on the blog will also include a Content Upgrade – a template, worksheet, or another helpful resource that readers can opt-in to receive via email.
Depending on the content upgrade, we’ll also create an automated email series that delivers additional support or resources to help you make the most of the guide/worksheet/template.
Adding a content upgrade to every guide we publish on the blog has two main goals: it will give the guide even more value/depth and deliver better results for our readers plus it gives us the opportunity to grow our email list and build a stronger ongoing relationship with our audience.
weekly email “newsletter”
After a new guide is published on our blog at the beginning of the month, we’ll send out 4 weekly emails to our subscribers that provides more “bonus” content based on our main guide.
We really appreciate those that subscribe to our email list and follow along with our brand over time, so the content in these weekly emails will be exclusive to subscribers.
Since we’re focusing on repacking one main piece of content (the guide on our blog) in multiple ways, these weekly emails will follow the same theme as our blog and social media profiles but will share something new that you couldn’t get on any of our other platforms.
We’ll use the same format from last year for these weekly emails, featuring Short & Sweet content that can be read and used quickly.
Creating daily social media content can be a struggle for a lot of business owners who want to build a consistent online presence.
Without a theme or framework, coming up with fresh ideas often gets tricky. It’s happened to me and a lot of business owners I know: we start posting things simply to check it off of our to-do list and remain “visible” – even when the stuff we’re posting isn’t particularly great.
We’re planning to streamline our social media content this year – and ensure we keep our quality standards high – by repackaging our long-form blog guides into bite-sized action steps and tips we can share on Instagram and Facebook.
We know a good portion of our audience won’t read each of our guides and those that do might not have the time to plan or implement new ideas right away.
We’ll highlight short, actionable steps from that month’s guide in social media posts to help promote that core piece of content, plus provide new and easy ways for followers to interact with and use that content in their business.
Of course, we won’t completely limit our social media content to highlights from the blog. We’ll also share behind-the-scenes previews of brand and web design project, the best business books we’ve been reading, and business-y stuff we think you’d find interesting or useful.
I first experimented with creating our social media content around our core blog content late last year, and it provided some immediate results: it significantly reduced the amount of time it took to create and plan a month’s worth of social media content, it tied out content marketing efforts together and made everything more cohesive, and interaction with our social media content (and other content – like our blog and email list – by extension) increased.
I’m excited to track the results as we continue with this approach in 2019.
guest posting and contributor roles
And finally, I’ll focus on growing our audience by getting in front new people via guest blogging and contributor roles on other established blogs.
Years ago, when I had first started freelancing, I was a guest author on blogs like ProBlogger and MarketingProfs but fell out of the habit when I launched Jobson Studios and focused on growing an agency instead of my personal brand.
However, I attribute most of my business growth in those early years to the connections and exposure I got from guest blogging, so I’m planning to dedicate more time to this strategy in 2019. Guest blogging will play two key roles in my overall content marketing plan: getting in front of new, relevant audiences and establishing expertise in the industry.
Using the content we publish in smarter ways, instead of simply pushing out more content, is one of my biggest marketing goals in 2019. I’m excited to see how we are able to provide value to our audience, build relationships and trust with those who follow along with us, and make our overall marketing system more successful.
I plan to publish a report at 6 and 12 months to share an update on the results we’re seeing from our content marketing. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly email series so you can follow along!
I’d love to know – how are you using content marketing to grow your business this year? Do you have any new strategies you’re testing out? Leave a comment – I’d love to know!
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