The internet is home to countless buzzphrases, and in many cases, “content marketing” is one of them. How many people have you met call themselves “content marketers”, but they can barely tell you the first thing about SEO, keyword research, and content analytics?
Here we’re going to discuss the 6 major differences between blogging and content marketing, and why it’s always more valuable trusting your time and money with the latter.
Bloggers advertise their services for as low as $20 per article, and some businesses are happy to take them up on it. For that price, you will get an article with a few hundred words that might need to be edited a few times for readability. Nothing more, and sometimes even less.
A business will then post that article and maybe repeat this process a few more times. After half a dozen articles, they’ll notice zero increase in traffic, offering zero return in their investment. They’ll think to themselves: “Thank god we only spent a hundred bucks on content! Content marketing is a joke.”
We’ve seen this happen with countless businesses, and we’ve had this conversation with more clients than we can remember. Here’s the problem: when it comes to real content marketing, writing an article is just a single step out of about a dozen. And it’s not even the first step!
There’s a reason why professional content marketing agencies can settle on contracts in the tens of thousands of dollars. Because when done properly, content marketing not only allows a business to break even on their investment. It allows you to expand, multiply, and grow, with new capital to spare.
So what are the differences, and why does content marketing pull in numbers that regular blogging can’t even scratch?
A blogger might Google the kind of article you want and reword the first result they find. You end up with something that can pass basic plagiarism checks, but nothing incredibly new or game-changing.
But a content marketing team starts by understanding your industry and scouting your competitors. They begin by knowing your space – what your potential customers are reading from your top competitors, what they’re doing that you need to be doing, and how you can do it even better.
There’s more to content than blogs, and there’s more to blogging than pushing out random posts once a week. When you’ve been content marketing for as long as we have, you begin to see content as a long-term roadmap, rather than a series of articles over the next month.
Content marketers create a vibrant content space by playing with different types of articles, offering your business a variety of content, and tweaking this roadmap accordingly along the way. This is because we know that a month or two of articles is pointless, and will do little to affect your traffic. If you really want to see results, you need at least 6 months to follow the same plan.
Don’t trust a content marketer who can’t offer detailed reports of your traffic. The top content marketers use various tools to produce monthly reports and have the know-how to interpret these reports and react to them appropriately.
This is what we mean by the content roadmap tweaking. A content marketing team might begin your content strategy by mimicking the type of articles that are performing best for your competitors, but then they will dissect the reports to find what’s really working and what isn’t. If your content marketing team drafts up a 6-month plan, expect changes along the way.
While a blogger might be able to figure out what the top-ranked keywords are in your industry, that information does little good. Think of it this way: the top-ranked keywords are generally the easiest to find, and that’s because they’ve got the most traffic and the most articles competing for that keyword.
And you’re never going to get your website on the top if the only keywords you’re targeting are the biggest and hardest ones out there. That’s like trying to slay the big black dragon before you’ve finished the tutorial.
Content marketers have an intimate relationship with keyword research tools. With experience, you understand how to find keywords that have huge potential but are being largely ignored. These are the keywords you want to start with; this way you can start building your traffic and maintaining its growth.
A blogger can write your article. A content marketer can write it, optimize it, and make people see it. How? Aside from keyword research, every post requires dozens of little tweaks and adjustments to find perfect optimization.
With tools like Yoast SEO, you can find all sorts of little potential changes that can improve your SEO, such as the placements of your focus keyword, the meta description, the images' alt attributes, the outbound links on the page, and more. Simply put, a content marketer can turn a dead post into one ready for the limelight.
An affordable blogger can write you tons of fast and quick articles, but they’ll spare no thought to the way those articles work together. See, a content marketing team plans for the long-term: before we publish your first post, we try to see what your content hub will look like several months down the line.
And this means we can prepare for cohesion. Instead of writing countless separate and individual articles, we can write series of articles. Progressive content, evolving content; content that grows on top of previous posts rather than content that ignores everything else on the site.
Not only does this do wonders for the voice and feel of your content hub, but it also makes Google happier. Google is less about individual keywords in individual articles these days and more about “content bubbles”; collections of content revolving around key ideas.
Articles are just one kind of content, and content is much more than just improving your SEO. Remember: the end goal of every marketing investment isn’t to get people on your site. It’s to turn people into customers. And while articles can help improve your SEO, it’s the businesses that go the extra mile that can truly raise their customer conversion rates.
This means providing customers with more. Guides, ebooks, and PDFs relevant to their interest in your business. Newsletters, regular emails, social media factoids, and fun tips. A content marketing strategy includes more than just a weekly article. It turns your business into an active voice, one an audience can’t resist.
If you’ve been burned by the investment loss the last time you hired a blogger for a few posts, we understand if you’ve lost a little faith in content marketing. But blogging and content marketing are two different beasts. You wouldn’t hire a fry cook for a 5-star restaurant, so why choose a blogger for your marketing efforts?