Content Marketing Google Search Trends

Content Marketing. In recent years, this term has been overly used, abused, and confused with other forms of marketing. What exactly is content marketing and why should businesses pay closer attention to it?

This article breaks down the definition of content marketing, showcases examples of content marketing, and highlights the importance of having a content marketing strategy in place. By the end of this article, you will have a clearer picture of what content marketing is and how to start doing content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a form of marketing that involves the creation of information (in any content format) and the distribution of the content (via any marketing channel) that shapes a brand’s audience’s perception of the brand and influences the purchase of a brand’s products and services.

The truth is, content marketing “tactics” and “principles” have been applied for centuries. But the term content marketing was only coined in recent years and saw a spike in search interest since 2012, as recorded by Google Trends.

Content Marketing Google Search Trends

Since then, the term content marketing has been splashed on almost every single online marketing activity imaginable by marketers across various industry sectors. Speaking of term abuse, there have even been cases of unimaginably bold statements made by digital marketing agencies that “content marketing is digital marketing”.

Content Marketing is Digital Marketing NOT

Since content marketing is a tactic of creating and distributing content, then is the activity of advertising an ebook on Facebook classified under content marketing or social media marketing, since Facebook is a social media channel?

In this case, the act of advertising or sharing content on Facebook can be classified under “social media marketing”, given that social media marketing is an umbrella term referring to any type of marketing activity on social media channels.

However, it can also be classified under content marketing – if the purpose of creating and distributing the content was to shape the brand’s audience’s perception of the brand and influence the purchase of the brand’s products and services.

There is clearly an overlap and confusion between the usage of the two terms, social media marketing and content marketing. This area is rather grey and to set things straight, it DOESN’T matter. What really matters is that these two strategies, tactics, and processes are integrated. And even if there ARE overlaps, the marketing objectives should all be aligned to the business strategy regardless of the tactics used.

Examples of Content Marketing

What are some marketing activities that constitute content marketing? First, it is important to differentiate pure advertising from content marketing. The focus of content marketing is not to push for the consumer to buy a product, at least not directly. Rather, it takes on a more indirect approach of providing valuable information to consumers throughout their buying journey.

With that ironed out, here are some examples of content marketing:

  • Planning out an editorial calendar of blogposts (e.g. sharing free tips, tutorials, guides) and implementing search engine optimisation to rank and drive traffic to them.
  • Doing an interview with the CEO of your company on sharing industry insights and distributing the content on social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn).
  • Creating a newsletter series (e.g. free course, article series, trends reports), setting up a lead capture form on your website to build your email list, and launching a drip campaign via email marketing
  • Creating a contest to curate user generated content (e.g. photo of the day for the fashion industry, completed projects of students for the education industry, PinkBike + GoPro Evolution Video Contest) and showcasing the user generated content via the brand’s marketing channels (email, social, blog)
  • Launching a video tutorial series of how-to guides and marketing it via social media, website, and SEO (e.g. Home Depot and Lowe’s)

Why and How Content Marketing Benefits Businesses

In APAC, more than half of marketers and agency bosses ranked content marketing as their top priority, according to a global report by NewBase. This doesn’t come as a surprise as smartphone penetration rates and the amount of time consumers spend on digital devices continue to rise.

In Singapore, a poll conducted by The Straits Times revealed that Singapore consumers spent an average of 12 hours and 42 minutes a day on their smartphones. While the top online activities engaged by them at least once a day are ranked as follows:

  1. Reading personal e-mails
  2. Online messaging and calling
  3. Social media and networks
  4. Work and business purposes
  5. News and sports updates
  6. Game apps on smartphones and tablets

Another study found that 88 percent of consumers conduct pre-research online before making a purchase.

What do these trends mean for businesses and why is content marketing so essential?

  • Content marketing generates high, long-term ROI. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates approximately 3 times more leads than traditional marketing for every dollar spent. – Demand Metric. Content marketing adopters have conversion rates that are nearly 6 times higher than non-adopters. – Aberdeen.
  • Brands who can provide great value during the consumer’s buying stages gain their trust and build a loyal following. People love consuming content and rely on content to aid their buying decisions. B2B companies who engage in blogging efforts received 67% more leads than their competitors, while small businesses who blog experience 126% higher lead growth than their non-blogging counterparts. – Social Media Today. An audience that trusts what you say will choose your brand over your competitors.
  • Content marketing complements the efforts of other marketing channels. Content marketing helps boost brand awareness and credibility, making it easier to execute PR and outreach campaigns. Content marketing also provides more opportunities for acquiring backlinks from relevant industry sites, which helps boost search engine rankings.

How Should One Start Doing Content Marketing? – The Next Steps

If increasing your ROI while providing value at the same time aligns with the philosophy of your business, you need a content marketing strategy to amplify this.

Using a 5-step process, CREATE: Construct ⇒ Research ⇒ Execute ⇒ Amplify ⇒ Test and Evaluate, our intensive 2-day Content Marketing Strategy course will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to maximise your content marketing ROI.

22 Must-Haves Elements in a Blog Post

Writing a blogpost can be a gruelling task, especially if you’re experiencing writer’s block and rushing to complete it by the deadline. On top of peeling through your brains and finding the right words to present your ideas, you also need to worry about other aspects such as:

  • The overall visual design of the blogpost to engage your readers
  • Coming up with a compelling headline to attract the intended audience
  • Including your target keywords in the blogpost to rank better on search engines

and many more.

Well, at least after penning down your thoughts, you won’t have to worry about the second part (making sure it’s all good to go live) with this cheat sheet.

Here are 22 must-have elements in a blog post.

22 Must-Haves Elements in a Blog Post Infographic

22 Must-Haves Elements in a Blog Post Infographic


1. Keyword-optimised, Short URLs

Keep your URLs short, alphanumerical, and include your target keywords for SEO ranking purposes. By keeping your URLs short, it makes it easier for users to remember and type in the full URL for convenience.

Here’s an example of a good URL for the Article Title: Learn How to Swim in 10 Steps – www.exampleblog.com/learn-how-to-swim-10-steps

Notice how the stop word “in” was removed to shorten the URL while leaving the target keywords in tact?

2. Keyword-optimised SEO Title Tag

Include the keywords you want your article to rank for in your title tag. Note that the SEO title tags do not show up on your blog post. They only appear in your browser tab title and are displayed by search engines on the search engine results pages. With that said, it will help your article to rank better for its target keywords.

3. Descriptive SEO Meta Description

The meta description is a short, approximately 160-character description in the <head> section of your page. It is commonly used by search engines to display as the preview snippet of the search engine results pages.

Write a descriptive SEO meta description that will entice readers to click through your search results.

4. Date Stamp

Include the date stamp of the article to inform readers of the currentness of your article. Some bloggers prefer to leave it out as they hardly update their blog entries, and they don’t want to risk their readers having the impression that they are inactive.

It really depends on the nature of your blog and whether a date stamp could affect your readership. If you’re a news publication, a date stamp is a must-have especially for trending news. If you’re maintaining a personal blog sharing relationship tips, people aren’t likely going to be concerned when you published it, as long as it isn’t outdated.

5. Compelling Title

Write a compelling title that attracts readers to click through, but be careful not to clickbait or you’ll damage your brand reputation in the long term.

Compelling titles or headlines can come in many forms including:

  • Posing a promise in the form of a question – also known as the Jeopardy Effect. Example: Are Organic Foods Really Healthy? Here’s What We Found
  • Including a number. A good example would be the title of this blog post itself – 21 Must-Haves Elements in Your Blog Post
  • Personalisation – e.g. using I, You, or We. For example: How I Built a Multi-Million Dollar Business in My Twenties

6. Introductory Paragraph

Start your article with a bang. A study by the Nielson Norman Group showed that 80% of a user’s viewing time was spent above the fold of the page (before scrolling down). Your introductory paragraph needs to be relevant to your article title (the promise) and entice the reader to read on.

7. Subheadings that Support the Title

Your subheadings play an important role in keeping the reader engaged. A study by the Nielson Norman group found that users only read an average of 20% of words during an average visit to a webpage. If your subheadings aren’t even able to grab their interest, then this percentage will only fall further.

Keep your subheadings relevant to the topic of the article. For example, if your article title is How to Win Friends and Influence People, your subheadings would be Make a Good First Impression and Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes.

SEO tip: Be sure to wrap your subheadings with the <h2>, <h3>, and <h4> tags, not the <h1> tag, as the <h1> tag is reserved for the article title. Search engines pay attention to how you structure your article and if you want to rank better on Google, it would be good practice to include your target keywords in your subheadings.

8. Bullet Points

Include bullet points throughout your article where possible. Instead of bundling various points into commas and semicolons, don’t be afraid to format them into bulleted lists.

Which of the following looks better and is easier to read?

Variation A: Fruits that keep the doctor away include apples, oranges, pears, avocados, and kiwis.

Variation B: Fruits that keep the doctor away include:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Avocados
  • Kiwis

Variation B, obviously.

9. Sufficiently Broken-up Paragraphs

Speaking about visual learners, cluttered paragraphs distract the reader from reading with ease. As a good practice, separate your article into many paragraphs (4 – 5 lines of text per paragraph) at most.

10. Relevant, Visual-compelling Media (Images/Video)

Include photos and videos that are relevant to and support your content. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of the population are visual learners.

Creating simple visual images can increase the engagement rate of your page (e.g. time spent on page) like this one below:

65 percent of the populaton are visual learners

65 percent of the populaton are visual learners

SEO tip: Remember to include your target keywords in the alternate text of your image for SEO ranking purposes.

11. References to Credible Sources

Whenever you make a bold statement, it is good practice to back it up with a study from a reputable source, and link to it. For example, earlier we inferred that users are easily disengaged. We then backed it up with a link to a study by the Nielson Norman Group showing that users only read an average of 20% of words during an average visit to a webpage.

12. Relevant Internal Links

Creating internal links to other blog posts not only help declutter your article, it also improves the search engine rankings of your linked articles.

Remember to comb through your blog entries from time to time to identify any opportunities for internal linking.

13. Clear and Readable Fonts

Take notice of the font size, font family, and font style. The font size should be large enough to be read with ease (without zooming in and scrolling from left to right) on mobile devices. The font family and style should reflect the brand and content governance guidelines.

For example, the font family Times New Roman carries a more serious tone while on the other extreme end, Comic Sans MS gives off a more fun vibe.

14. Tonality, Writing Style that Fits Intended Audience

The tonality and writing style should fit the intended audience. For instance, if you’re running a lifestyle blog, the tone and writing style should be lighthearted and conversational. On the other hand, if your blog is in the R&D industry, the tone and writing style should be more academic and serious.

15. Summary

Write a conclusive summary that provides the reader enough information to understand the essence of the article, but just enough so that they still have to read the whole post to understand the content in depth.

Another research by the Nielson Norman Group found that while 79 percent of users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word. This means your summary might be the first paragraph they actually read.

16. Curiosity Gap

The curiosity gap is the distance between what your prospect knows and what they think they want or need to know.

Before you sit there wondering why your blog posts don’t convert, follow this guideline. Delay filling the curiosity gap for as long as you can, until your prospects convert.

Picture this. You walk past a bakery and the sales girl offers you a small sample of their latest chocolate eclair. You take a bite out of it and it delights your senses. But the sample size is too small for you to feel the satisfaction she described you would.

Just when you’re about to decide it’s not worth your money, a customer walks out from the same bakery and eats the whole eclair in front of you with that euphoric look on his face. Curious to experience it first hand, you’re probably salivating and reaching for your wallet by now.

By giving just enough good information to keep your readers engaged, but not giving them the whole picture, you create a curiosity gap. The stronger your value proposition and the longer you’re able to delay this gap, the higher your conversion rates.

17. CTA with a Strong Value Proposition

A call to action without with a strong value proposition is like walking up to a random girl on a street and asking her for her number. Chances of the girl saying yes are slim, unless you’ve struck up a conversation and demonstrated value.

Your call to action or CTA should be straight to the point and actionable. It should also be accompanied by a strong value proposition, not forgetting other important elements such as:

  • A sense of urgency
  • A good combination of colours for your CTA button
  • Writing in first person

Here’s an example of a weak CTA:

Click Here to Join As a Member

It’s straight to the point, actionable, but isn’t backed by a strong value proposition.

Here’s a better one:

Join Our Free Membership Today and Enjoy Free Yearly Event Passes. Limited to the First 100 Signups.

It can then be accompanied by a call to action button and/or a form.

18. Relevant Categories and Tags

Filing your blog posts into relevant categories helps users to navigate around your blog and increase engagement rates. It also helps search engines to understand the context and topic of your blog posts better (SEO ranking benefit).

19. Author Bio

Include the author bio at the end of the blog post to establish your reputation over time. Similar to traditional book buying, people pay attention to the author of the book, and it influences the sales of the book.

Elements to include in your author bio:

  • Keep your author bio short and interesting
  • Demonstrate your authority and credibility
  • Mention what you do, your website, social media profiles, etc.

20. Social Sharing Options

Social sharing buttons encourage readers to share your blog post on social media channels, increasing your brand exposure and chances of the article going viral.

It is also a form of social proof, provided you display the total shares accumulated on the post. So, don’t forget to include them into every blog post that you publish!

21. Comments Section

Having a comments section allows your readers to contribute their thoughts, add further insights, and provides a platform for a two-way conversation to foster stronger relationships between you and your readers.

Similar to social sharing options, positive comments and feedback on your post are another form of social proof.

22. Device-Responsive

Check whether your blogpost is mobile-friendly with this free tool provided by Google. With the advent of accelerated mobile pages (initiated by Google), you can create an AMP HTML version of your blog post and become eligible to rank on the featured AMP results of Google.

Summary

We’ve covered 22 elements you should aim to have on every blog post. If you have any ideas to add to this list, let us know in the comments below!

Dylan Sun is the Founder of Equinet Academy, a Digital Marketing training organisation. Passionate in all aspects of Digital Marketing and Web Design, he extends his passion to helping people implement effective digital strategies to their businesses. Follow his blog at Equinet Academy to learn more about Digital Marketing and Design.

Hand Drawing BulbsDo you some times find yourself getting stuck coming up with content ideas for your blog? When I first started blogging, I had very little idea what types of content I should create or what topics I could blog about.

All I could think of was the typical how-to guides and list post articles, so I spent some time curating a list of 50 content ideas that we can all use for our content marketing campaigns. Here they are!

Written Content:

#1 How-to Tutorials/Guides

Create a helpful guide or tutorial on a topic you’re an expert in and share it with your community. If it’s really useful and provides great value to the reader, you may attract a fair amount of inbound links.

#2 List Posts

People love lists and are curious to see what’s in line.Whether it’s a list of the most influential people in your industry or a list of inspirational quotes by Seth Godin, make sure the title is catchy enough to arouse curiosity. i.e. “10 Things I Wouldn’t Do If I Had a Million Dollars”.

#3 Resource Directory

Browse through the web for useful information on a particular topic and gather it all into one page i.e. “Recommended Links on [Topic]”. People will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to collate useful resources into one place.

#4 Share an Interesting Conversation

Some conversations are worth sharing. It could be a humorous email conversation, an interesting tweet, or an eye-opening forum thread. Screenshot it and blog about it.

#5 Response Posts

It could be a response to a comment on your blogpost, a question on a forum, or a response to a Tweet or Facebook post. Write a response post and direct traffic back to it.

#6 Curate Content and Credit the Authors

This type of content marketing also corresponds with the link building technique known as Egobaiting, where you bait influential people in your industry to share your content.

#7 Express an Opinion

People like to hear opinions on controversial topics. The next time you discover a shocking news coverage, comment on it and include a link back to the blogpost.

#8 Share a Failure

Admitting failure and being open about it commands respect. Share how you’ve learnt from a grave mistake and share with others how to avoid making the same mistakes as you.

#9 Solve a Known Problem

For every problem there is a solution. If you discover an unsolved problem, do some research and solve it, then blog about it and include a link back to your blogpost.

#10 Comparison Article

Some times it’s hard to make up your mind when you come across two similar-themed products. i.e. “Google Adsense or Chitika, which is better?”

#11 Promotional Article

A promotional article should be interesting and beneficial to read and should not just be written in an overly sales-sy tone. Or rather it shouldn’t mention too much about the features but focus more on the benefits.

#12 Deals

Everyone loves deals. If you have an irresistible deal or promotion, include a “discount for two or more” offer and it’ll likely double up the number of shares. Be sure to feature it across your various online channels e.g. blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

#13 Controversial Argument

It gets really interesting when one party disagrees with a hard-to-disagree-with statement. And if you can argue in an interesting and sensible way, you could gain yourself a loyal following.

#14 Topical Debate

Everything can be seen from another point of view. The question is, how are you going to debate in such a way that convinces people to look at something differently.

Seasons Greetings#15 Seasonal Greetings

When it’s time to celebrate, celebrate! Throw in a few teasers for your upcoming chain of events to generate some excitement and anticipation for your readers.

#16 Start a Series of Articles on a Certain Topic i.e. Part 1, 2, 3…

People like to anticipate and if you’re talking about a certain topic of interest. Leave it halfway at just the right point and you’ll get people to anticipate what your next article is going to be and when it’s going to be released.

#17 Latest News Updates

Keeping up with the latest trends not only shows you’re an authority in your niche. Google also loves fresh content and may rank your blogpost on the 1st page for a trending search query. See Google’s QDF algorithm.

#18 Shocking News

If you’re one of the first few to discover some industry-related shocking news, cover it and engage your readers by asking for your opinions and comments.

#19 Organize an Event or a Contest

Get your attendees or participants to share the event or contest on their own blogs and social media profiles.

#20 Events Coverage

Attend a live event and blog about it, either live or after you’ve attended it. Share your views on the positives and negatives, what are the highlights, and how it could be improved in future.

#21 Twitter Trends Coverage

Twitter Trends i.e. #breakingnews can have many interesting tweets and comments. Find a few interesting ones and write a cover story on it.

#22 Press Releases

If your brand has upcoming product launches or any news-worthy updates to announce to the public, it will be a good to write a press release and submit it to popular press release sites such as www.businesswire.com.

#23 White Papers

A white paper is an in-depth, authoritative report written with the aim of helping readers understand a problem, solve an issue, or make a decision. – Wikipedia. Expertly-written white papers demonstrate knowledge in your niche and turns your site into a resource hub for useful information.

#24 Memorable Quotes

Create a list of meaningful and memorable quotes from influential people in your industry. Share your views on each quote and reach out to the authors and ask them to share your post.

#25 Short Stories

Facts tell, stories sell. Next time you’re in the mood for some storytelling, write a short story that’s in line with your purpose. Here’s a good example.

#26 Humorous Content

If your content is humorous enough to trigger some laughter, people will want to spread the laughter on their social profiles. Who knows it may even go viral.

#27 Reasons Why…

Start your article with “7 Reasons Why…” to arouse curiosity and give your readers a reason to check out your article.

#28 Predictions

If you have a strong feeling about the outcome of something, it won’t hurt to do a little prediction. Don’t worry about being wrong. After all, if things didn’t go the way you predicted they would, everyone would understand that it’s just a prediction.

Busting a myth#29 Bust a Myth

Every once in awhile you’ll come across a flat-out untrue myth. It’s about time you bust every single one of them.

#30 Random Rants

Reserve this for only when you’re totally out of ideas. A little random rant about how things are going on in your life can add a little “human” or should I say personal touch to your blog.

#31 Conduct Interviews

Identify and list the experts in your niche and schedule an email interview with them. Once you’ve interviewed them, post the interview up on the blog on link it back to your interviewee, thanking them for their time. You might also get a link or at least a tweet from them.

#32 User Generated Content

Suitable for review sites like TripAdvisor and Q&A sites like Yahoo! Answers. It could be a good idea to allocate a section on your website dedicated to reviews or Q&As.

#33 Market Trend Reports

Studying and gathering data and then creating an in-depth, eye-opening report on the latest market trends can help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

#34 Reveal Surveys Results

Conduct a survey once in awhile. Once the results are finalized, give some insights as to why the results turned out to be what they are.

#35 Product Reviews and Testimonials

Write product reviews and request for the publisher to feature your review on their company site or product. If they have an authority site, getting your testimonials and a link back to your site can be a worthy investment.

#36 Case Studies

Create a compelling case study based on your observations and backed by research. If you tackle a controversial subject, it could get really interesting.

#37 Update Your Articles

Go back and update your articles once in awhile. Sometimes, there may be too much to update that it would be better off writing a new article from scratch. Include a link from the old post to direct readers to the updated post.

Non-Written Content:

#38 Images

If you have any quality stock images, share them on popular photo sharing sites like Flickr and indicate that your image is copyrighted, however you’d allow it to be used on other sites if they credited you.

#39 Infographics

Gather enough information on a particular subject to put together an infographic. There are many types of infographics you can create- Data driven statistics, market research, how-to guide, etc. Here’s some tips on DIY infographics.

#40 Useful Web Graphics

If you have any usable web graphics such as signup buttons, ad banner templates, web forms, etc, zip them up and share them on free graphic resource sites.

#41 WordPress Templates

If you have great WordPress templates that are free for the public to use, zip them up and share them on free WordPress templates sites.

#42 Photoshop Templates

If you have any beautifully designed photoshop templates you’d like to give away, zip them up and share them on free photoshop template sharing sites.

#43 Memes

An Internet meme is an idea, style or action which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet, as with imitating the concept.

#44 Mind Maps

Mind maps are great visually outlined diagrams and can demonstrate your extensive knowledge on a certain topic.

#45 Charts

A chart is a graphical representation of data, in which “the data is represented by symbols, such as bars in a bar chart, lines in a line chart, or slices in a pie chart”. A chart can represent tabular numeric data, functions or some kinds of qualitative structure and provides different info. – Wikipedia.

#46 Podcasts

A podcast is a digital medium consisting of an episodic series of audio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. – Wikipedia.

#47 Webinars

Webinars are a great way to demonstrate authority on a topic and get attention from interested prospects. A webinar is an online event that is hosted by an organization/company and broadcast to a select group of individuals through their computers via the Internet. – fsco.gov.on.ca

#48 Interesting Videos

It could be a video of your cat chasing your dog or an interesting find that you had discovered in your niche. Interesting videos are share-worthy especially if they contain insightful or humorous elements.

#49 Comparison Tables

Comparison tables that are detailed and list all the important differences between two or more features are share-worthy and will attract lots of shares.

#50 Slideshows

Your slideshows should consist of visual images and diagrams and dialogues or concepts explained below the slide. Share them on popular sites like slideshare.com

And there you go, 50 content ideas for your content marketing campaigns!

There are actually many types of content that you can create for your content marketing strategy. The problem is knowing which content ticks with your audience, and which won’t. If you face the same problem, you may want to check out the skyscraper technique article by Brian Dean.

Do you have any of your own original content ideas not mentioned above, or did I already list everything?

Dylan Sun is the Founder of Equinet Academy, a Digital Marketing training organisation. Passionate in all aspects of Digital Marketing and Web Design, he extends his passion to helping people implement effective digital strategies to their businesses. Follow his blog at Equinet Academy to learn more about Digital Marketing and Design.