New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021

New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021

New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021

The world of digital and inbound marketing is fast-moving. What was best practice one year is often outdated by the next. There’s a lot to keep track of with changing search engine algorithms, new privacy policies, and changing consumer habits. One marketing tactic you can’t afford to fall behind on is content marketing. 

What is Content Marketing in 2021?

It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that in 2021, content marketing remains an integral component of any successful marketing strategy. When it comes to digital and inbound marketing, there is no tactic more successful or compelling than content marketing. 

Why?

Well, think about your daily routine. I’d bet that no matter who you are, or what your job title, you spend a good portion of your day consuming content. 

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EB Instagram Content 1
  • Maybe it’s a video tutorial that teaches you how to use that new tool at work. 
  • Maybe it’s a newsletter from your favorite news outlet that keeps you up-to-date with all the goings-on in the world. 
  • Maybe it’s your best friend’s Instagram story. 
  • Maybe it’s your family group chat, where you share funny videos, interesting articles, inspirational quotes, and more. 

It doesn’t matter what it is, we are all consuming content in some way, shape, or form, every day. That makes content marketing a powerful, successful tool for any company. 

In 2021, content marketing has some similarities from the past, but it’s changed quite a lot too. Whether you’ve been blogging for years or are just stepping into digital content marketing, here are Evenbound’s New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021. Take a look, and implement something new. All of these rules are meant to help you create more compelling, more successful content. 

What are the New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021?

Let’s take a look at what’s changed, what’s the same, and where you should be focusing your content marketing efforts in 2021 for the best results. 

Content length doesn’t matter. Content quality does. 

From Google’s John Mueller himself (via Twitter), the best way to write content has nothing to do with content length

In 2020, content strategists were obsessed with word count. If your blog didn’t reach 1,500 words, we all thought it wouldn’t have a hope of reaching that first page. 

Luckily, Google is saying we’re wrong. The concept of “comprehensive” content threw us all for a loop, but upon further clarification, we’re learning that comprehensive does not equal long. 

Google has made it clear that it prioritizes the best content for the query. 

For example, if you want to know how many feet are in a mile, Google is going to prioritize the results that answer that question. And it’s probably not a 10-page blog. 

mile content marketing short keyword

If you want to know how the concept of a mile was invented, or what makes a mile, you’re going to get a longer answer. Here, Google has prioritized Wikipedia’s result for Mile. This page gives you the whole history of a mile, different types of miles, and more. 

content marketing mile longtail keyword

Search engines are always trying to match the best answers to every query. And Google has made it clear that achieving a certain word count doesn’t affect that. While you can still enforce a word count to ensure your team is putting out good, comprehensive content, your writers should never be writing just to add length. 

This point flows very well into this next rule of content marketing in 2021:

To develop high-ranking content, you have to consider search intent

Search intent is another topic that will dominate content marketing in 2021. Search intent refers to the objective a searcher is trying to accomplish when they type in a query. 

An example I love to use to illustrate search intent is this blog I wrote about “the breakup email.”

Just looking at the keyword “breakup email” you might assume it’s an email you write to break up with a romantic partner. 

But, when you type that keyword into a search engine, all of the results that pop up are related to sales. A breakup email is the last email you send a prospect — it’s a last-ditch effort to get them back before they break up with your company. 

the breakup email example
breakup SERP content marketing

Understanding the search intent behind a keyword is essential to writing content that ranks for that keyword. If I had written a blog that was actually about breaking up with a romantic partner over email, it would never see the light of day for that identified keyword because it didn’t match the query’s search intent. 

To write content that ranks well, you have to understand what searchers are looking to learn when they type that keyword into the search bar. That’s their search intent. 

When you understand the search intent for your identified keywords, you know exactly what you need to write to give those searchers the information they’re looking for. 

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In 2021, good content marketing is focused on topical relevance and authority, not just SEO

Topical authority and topical relevance were new trends in 2020, and they’re going to take hold in a big way in 2021.

The term topical authority refers to a company or website’s perceived authority in a subject or subject area. For example, a site like Runner’s World would have huge topical authority when it comes to the topic of running shoes.

They have content about how to pick a running shoe, different types of running shoes, how to choose a running shoe for different weather conditions, how to tell if your running shoes are too old, and more. They have content on virtually any question you might have on running shoes. They are the topical authority for running shoes. 

Runners world example 1
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Why does this matter? 

Websites with more topical authority are given preference, both by other content strategists in the industry and by search engines. If you’re writing a blog about finding a running shoe, you’re likely to link to Runner’s World because you know their content is trustworthy, useful, and correct. 

Since everyone is linking to Runner’s World, and they have pages and pages of content related to that topic, site visitors are likely to remain on their site to learn more about finding the perfect running shoe, rather than navigating away to a different website. 

And when Google is looking for an answer to a question on that topic, Runner’s World will have it. Because they have so much content that people on the internet are engaging with and appreciating, they will end up at the top of those search results. 

(Not just the first two organic search positions either, they also managed to grab the People Also Ask. That’s serious authority.)

Runners world SERP
Runners World PAA

Building your website’s topical relevance in 2021 should be a primary focus of your content marketing strategy. The greater your authority in your specific industry or service niche, the greater your digital presence. 

You can build your website’s authority in a few ways, but topic clusters are always a good place to start.

Good traffic beats empty traffic every time

Take a look at your website’s top-performing content. It’s drawing in traffic, that’s for sure, but is it converting leads? 

If it’s not, you might have content that’s pulling in “empty traffic.”

Empty traffic is traffic that comes to your site for a great piece of content, but that has no converting potential. For example, let’s say your manufacturing company ranks #1 for the keyword “oranges.” Even though holding the first position for that query might pull in a ton of traffic, none of it is relevant to your manufacturing company. Since none of those visitors have an interest in what you’re manufacturing, they’re not qualified, and are considered “empty traffic.”

They are, well…

In the past, content strategists have been obsessed about grabbing that #1 ranking, but in 2021, it’s important to consider which #1 rankings you’re trying to grab, and why. 

You don’t want to beef up your organic traffic with a bunch of empty, unqualified leads. That would be putting effort into content that doesn’t actually do anything to grow your company. 

Avoid empty traffic by taking a strategic approach to content development. Every piece of content you develop should be: 

  • Written for your ideal audience
  • Focused on a keyword that’s relevant to your business
  • Aligned with that keyword’s search intent
  • Designed to draw in qualified traffic

And if you have pieces of content that are drawing in empty traffic, take a look at how you can optimize or adjust them to pull in more relevant, qualified traffic. 

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Invest in optimizing your old content

In May of 2020, Google started rolling out a “core” update to its algorithm. There are a lot of takeaways from the update, but for content marketing, one of the biggest changes is how Google ranks fresh new content. 

This article from Neil Patel does a great job of explaining how this core update impacts us all and offers a few great tips about how to effectively optimize your old content.

The big takeaway to keep in mind is that optimizing old content is an easy way to boost your rankings for relevant keywords. Optimizing and refreshing old content is a lot easier than starting from scratch, and it offers a lot of ways for you to get creative. 

  • Can you add an infographic?
  • What about a step-by-step instruction section?
  • Could the article benefit from some accompanying video?

These additions are easy to make since you have the bulk of the content already created. Sprucing up old content and going through it to check for broken links and outdated information is simple enough to do, and can deliver serious results. 

Search engines prefer fresh, relevant, and recently updated content. Schedule time in your monthly content calendar to optimize older blogs that used to perform well or that could perform better. 

Video is more relevant than ever

Video only continues to increase in popularity. In 2021, short-form video is taking over. With the rise of video-sharing platforms like Tik Tok, shorter, more engaging videos are the way of the future. 

The benefit here for you is that short videos are highly shareable. Their shareability means you can get the brand awareness you’re looking for by putting effort into short, compelling videos. 

This isn’t to say that longer video tutorials and webinars aren’t still amazing content marketing tools. Just make sure you have balance, and consider maximizing what you get out of those longer videos. Is there a section you can pull from the longer video into a shorter clip? That’s two videos for the work of one. Can’t beat that investment. 

Focus on voice search

Voice search isn’t new, but trying to rank for it is. 

In the past, it’s been difficult to nail down voice search trends. Do search engines prioritize different types of content for voice search? Is there a different query pattern to write towards? There are a lot of questions surrounding voice search, but 2020 gave us a lot of answers. 

This Voice Search SEO Guide from Search Engine Watch is particularly helpful if you’re working to boost your voice search rankings. If you’re not into reading their whole guide, I’ll break down the basics here: 

  • Optimize for long-tail keywords. People completing voice searches are likely to ask their mobile device or home assistant a full question. Develop content that’s focused on that entire long-tail keyword. 
  • Give a direct answer. Mobile phones and digital assistants want to be able to regurgitate a simple, one-sentence answer. Then, they’ll ask if the searcher wants to learn more. You’ll capture a top position for those voice searches if you answer a question directly. If the searcher is interested, they’ll keep reading what you have to say. 
  • Create a FAQ page that’s crafted for voice search. Question keywords are the most popular for voice search. You can capture a lot of those queries by creating a high-quality, voice-search-optimized FAQ page.

With more and more people investing in home assistants and adopting voice-to-text, voice search has become a small but significant portion of all search engine queries. If you can work to capture voice search traffic in 2021, you’ll position your company ahead of the competition for the future. 

Content marketing is a huge portion of any digital marketing or inbound marketing strategy. There’s a lot that goes into it, and while these new rules of content marketing in 2021 should help you position your company well for the new year,  there’s no single blog that can cover the whole topic in one go.  Feel free to check out some of our other blogs on content marketing, content development, business blogging, and content strategy if you’re looking for more content marketing best practices. 

And if you’d like a little help getting your 2021 content marketing strategy off the ground, chat with the Evenbound team. We’d be happy to help you develop a content marketing strategy that gets you more of the right leads. 

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5 Reasons Your Construction Company Needs Content Marketing

5 Reasons Your Construction Company Needs Content Marketing

5 Reasons Your Construction Company Needs Content Marketing

There are a lot of marketing tactics out there. For construction companies, tools like paid advertising and email marketing make a lot of sense. They’re tools with tangible results that are easy to measure. What’s more, everyone else is using them. It’s simple to justify a tool that you can see your competitors using on a daily basis.

One marketing tactic that your construction company should be using, but probably isn’t?

Content marketing. 

If I’m starting to lose you, stick with me. 

Content marketing sounds like a lot of work, but it is actually one of the best, most successful digital marketing tools available to you. And for most construction companies, it’s pretty affordable.

If you’re new to the idea of content marketing, or if you’ve heard of it before and just aren’t sold, take a look at these 5 reasons your construction company needs content marketing. 

01. You want to see your name on the first page of Google search results

If you hope to see your construction company on the first page of Google for a relevant keyword, content marketing is what you need. There’s nothing that is more effective at boosting your website’s SERP rankings than quality content development. 

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02. You want more qualified leads (and you want to big on bigger, better projects)

Content marketing draws in organic traffic. 

Organic traffic = leads. 

When you implement a strategic content marketing plan that’s designed to help you rank well for keywords that are relevant to your ideal buyer’s most common questions and searches, you can start to draw in more qualified leads who have an interest in the kinds of projects you want to bid on. 

For example, let’s say you want to build more apartment buildings. Your content marketing strategy should be focused on topics relevant to those types of projects. Content about building an apartment building, what permits to pull, what order to schedule subcontractors, etc, will only pull in leads who are interested in those topics. 

That’s what I call a qualified lead. 

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03. You want to stand out in a crowded construction industry

Construction is a notoriously competitive industry. In general, you’re restricted to a certain service area, which means there is a finite amount of work that you can compete for. 

Quality content marketing helps you stand out in that crowded market in two ways: 

1. It positions you well on search engines for relevant topics — pulling in more qualified leads

2. It builds your authority in the market — the more authority you have, the higher you’ll start to rank for topics related to your construction company.

Authority can be a complicated subject, but it helps to think of it like this: the more helpful and comprehensive your content, and the more content you have that answers the questions your ideal buyers are asking, the more authority your website will gain. 

When search engines assign your website more authority, you’re more likely to be a top result for searches like “commercial construction company near me.” 

04. Your sales team is sick of answering the same questions over and over

Another reason your construction company should consider investing in content marketing? Your sanity. 

All jokes aside, I’m willing to bet there are a few questions your sales team hears from nearly every prospect. 

When you create content that answers those questions, you not only save your sales team the work, but you can also gain some serious SEO cred. 

If your sales team is hearing one question over and over, it’s likely that prospects are typing it into search engines as well. If you can write helpful, relevant content around those questions, you’ll save your sales team the headache, while drawing in more of the qualified traffic you’re looking for. A win-win!

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05. You want to shorten your construction company’s sales cycle

Content marketing is essential to digital lead generation, it’s true. But one aspect of content marketing many construction companies forget is its ability to nurture leads for you. 

Today’s consumer does a majority of their research online before they even consider talking to a salesperson. 

For construction projects, that means they’re researching top companies in their area, getting a sense of the type of work you do, the projects you’ve completed in the past, and more, all before they ever pick up the phone. 

If you have content ready and waiting for them, you’re getting ahead of that sales cycle.

By developing content that answers their questions, showcases your best projects, helps prospects get a good sense of how long their project will take, and what they’ll need to have before they can get a quality bid from you, you’re setting your sales team up for success. 

Content marketing tools like: 

All work to take the pressure off your sales team.

When they have content they can send to prospects who aren’t quite ready to make a decision — or better yet, when you’ve automated workflows to nurture those leads without a single sale person having to step in — you’re working hard to pull prospects through your sales cycle faster, and with fewer repetitive tasks for your sales team. 

Work smarter, not harder! Let content marketing work for you, and for your sales team. 

If your construction company is looking for ways to get ahead of the competition, boost your digital presence, and draw in and close more leads, faster, then content marketing is a surefire way to help you get ahead. 

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If you’re ready to jump into content marketing, but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve got resources for you: 

And if you get stuck, the Evenbound team is always happy to help! Feel free to get in touch with any questions you might have, content marketing related or otherwise. 

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7 Business Blogging Tips To Help You Rank Higher

7 Business Blogging Tips To Help You Rank Higher

7 Business Blogging Tips To Help You Rank Higher

So you started a business blog. You’ve got a lot to say, but more importantly, someone like me told you that if you start blogging, you’ll start drawing in more of the right leads. 

I stand by that statement 100%. 

But, if you started a blog and aren’t seeing the traffic or the leads yet, there’s probably a reason. It’s important to get the foundation and strategy behind business blogging right, so you put out content that delivers the results you want.

Here are 7 business blogging tips designed to help boost your blog in search engine rankings. If you stick to all 7 of these tips, and blog regularly, you should start to see more of the right leads flowing in. If you don’t? Let us know — we’d be happy to take a look and offer some pointers. 

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01. Don’t Talk About Yourself

Let me be very clear here. Your blog should not be a highlight reel of your company’s greatest accomplishments. That’s just bragging, and it’s not going to do you any favors. 

Your company’s blog should be useful to potential readers, and that doesn’t mean talking about how amazing your products, services, customer service, or company is. 

If all you’re doing is talking about you, you’re not solving your customers’ problems. That means you’re not going to see traffic or leads. 

The goal of business blogging is to provide your ideal buyers and visitors with the information they need to eventually make an educated purchasing decision. 

Which brings me to my next point:

02. Do Answer Your Customer’s Questions

As I said just seconds ago ^ business blogging works when you publish content that answers your customer or ideal buyer’s questions. 

Believe it or not, when they’re looking for a product, they want to hear a lot more than flat, promotional, old-school marketing messaging. 

Think about the last time you purchased something significant. 

I’m willing to bet that at the very least, you read the product reviews before you made the purchase. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re trying to eat healthier but as a busy professional, you just don’t have time to think about shopping, finding recipes, and more. You’ve heard about services like HelloFresh and BlueApron, and want to try one out. 

Now, if you’re new to delivered meal services, you’re probably going to do a little research first. You might wonder: 

  • What meal service is the cheapest?
  • What meal service is the healthiest?
  • What meal service is the fastest?
  • What meal service is the most customizable?
  • What meal service has the best reviews?

You’ll browse around the web for a bit, looking for content that answers these questions, until you narrow it down to one or two options that sound best. Then, you’ll read the reviews for each, and search queries like: 

  • HelloFresh vs. Blue Apron
  • Sun Basket vs. HelloFresh
  • Daily Harvest vs. HungryRoot

Finally, you’ll use all of that information you’ve gathered to make a purchasing decision. 

And that, my friends, is how content marketing works. 

The way your customers search for your product or service is no different than how we just decided on the best meal service for us. 

When you write your business blog, you’re writing to get in front of those customers each time they ask one of those questions.

But I’m a manufacturer. My customers aren’t asking those questions. 

Wrong. 

Even if you’re a manufacturer of something you don’t think is exciting — let’s say air compressors — business blogging will work the same as the little exercise we just did with HelloFresh. 

Someone buying an air compressor wants to know: 

  • What are the best air compressors on the market?
  • What air compressors are the most cost-effective?
  • How much service will each type of air compressor need?
  • Is there someone in my area who can service my air compressor?

Answer those questions with a well-developed blog, and you’re looking at a high SERP ranking that pulls in more of the leads you’re looking for. 

Still not sold on business blogging for manufacturers or B2Bs? Check it out in action with this case study:

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03. Do Pick Keywords You Care About

If you want your business blog to rank higher, keywords are something you should care about. 

The higher you rank, the more eyeballs on your site. And the more eyeballs on your site, the greater your potential to draw in and convert qualified leads. 

But, how to pick keywords you care about?

As a general rule of thumb, when you’re writing your business blog, you’re looking for keywords with high search volume and low competition. 

These keywords are the low hanging fruit. Lots of people are looking for that information, but not many companies are supplying it. 

Tools like Ubersuggest, WMS Everywhere, and Google Keyword Planner can help you find em. 

But there are so many keywords. Which ones are best?

True. Virtually anything can be a keyword. The challenge is choosing high volume keywords that are relevant to your company. 

I’ll use an extreme (fake) example to illustrate. Let’s say you sell air compressors, but you notice the long-tail key phrase, “how to peel an orange” has amazing search volume and almost no competition.

peeling oranges serp

While you could probably write a blog about how to peel oranges that might rank, that keyword is not useful to you in any way. 

Remember that you want to rank higher, but you want to rank higher for the right keywords. 

You’re driving garbage traffic to your website that will never convert. 

Instead, choose keywords that are relevant to your business, your industry, your products, and your services. 

04. Do Read Competing Blogs

Once you’ve chosen a keyword you like, go ahead and type it right into your favorite search engine. 

Who is ranking at the top?

What does their content look like? 

What do they do well? What key points are they missing? Have they optimized their blog as best possible?

To write blogs that rank highly, you have to beat out whoever is already ranking first. You need to know what they’re doing, so you can do it better. 

Reading top-performing blogs also helps confirm search intent

Reading competing blogs is also a great way to verify search intent on a keyword you’ve chosen. When you type your keyword into a search engine, make sure that the results reflect the information you were planning to include in your blog. 

I’ll use a recent example. I wrote a blog about “the breakup email“. 

business-blogging-examples
the breakup email example

Just looking at that keyword — with no context — you might think it’s about writing an email that breaks up with a romantic partner. 

Actually, the search intent associated with that keyword is related to a sales breakup email — the last email you send a prospect after they’ve gone cold. 

But, I wouldn’t have known that was the search intent until I searched it myself. 

Matching a query’s search intent is another key to ranking highly on search engines. If your blog doesn’t match the search intent associated with the keyword you’re writing to, your blog isn’t going to do well, and even if it did, wouldn’t pull in the qualified traffic you’re looking for. 

That’s why it’s so important to read competing blogs before you start writing. 

05. Don’t Write for Length

Now that you’ve settled on a keyword and cyberstalked your competitors to see how you can beat them, it’s time for the actual writing portion of your business blogging strategy. 

Blog length is a contentious subject in the SEO world. 

I don’t care if you think your blogs should all be 500 words or 2,000, Google and SEO webmasters everywhere have confirmed — word count is not that big of a deal. 

If you’ve told your content writers that your business blogs should always reach a certain word count, you’re missing the point.

From Google’s John Mueller himself, helpful and in-depth content is the real goal. 

John Mueller-Google-Tweets

That doesn’t mean make your blogs longer. That means make them better. 

If you’re answering a simple question like, “what is a search engine”, you don’t need 1500 words to do it. 

If you’re offering a “Complete Guide to Marketing Your Construction Company”, you’ll probably need considerably more than 500 words to deliver on the promise your title is selling. 

Great business blogging is about writing on one topic, thoroughly. 

Instead of writing your business blog according to a certain word count, try a different tactic. 

How to write comprehensive business blogs without getting hung up on word count

  • Choose your topic — “How to Carve a Pumpkin”
  • Make a list of all of the questions someone might ask when they’re getting ready to carve a pumpkin and the steps that go into the process:
    • What pumpkin is best to carve?
    • How do I prep the pumpkin for carving?
    • How to scoop out the pumpkin
    • Choosing a design for your pumpkin
    • Carving your pumpkin’s design
    • How to make your carved pumpkin last
pumpkin-business-blogging-example
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  • Cut out any steps that might not be relevant to the question you’ve set out to answer.
  • While those might be related to your original question, they’re not exactly relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve — don’t make your job harder than it has to be!
    • Now that you’ve decided what’s relevant and what’s not, each of those questions and steps you kept become H2s and H3s in your blog. 
    • You’re done writing when you’ve finished writing each of those sections — not when you hit a certain word count. 

    Clearly, not all topics will be as long as the “how to carve a pumpkin” example. Some might be considerably shorter, and some might be much longer. 

    The point is that whatever you write, your blog posts should be comprehensive, and cover the topic you’re focusing on with complete, helpful content. 

    06. Don’t Get Too Hung Up on the Details

    Oke doke — you’ve written the blog. Now just publish it! 

    One of the biggest problems we come across as an agency is companies that get tunnel vision when it comes to publishing “perfect” blogs. They go back and forth for months on one piece of content, and nothing ever gets published. 

    Yes, you want your blog to sound like your company. Yes, you want to put out quality information that is helpful to your readers. 

    But no single blog is going to accomplish every single marketing goal you have. 

    A blog is just that — a blog. It’s an informal piece of content designed to help your ideal customer make an informed purchasing decision. 

    It’s never going to be the end-all-be-all marketing content that educates your reader, sells them on your brand, and converts them into a sale. It’s one tool in a complete arsenal of marketing tactics. Business blogging is designed to increase brand awareness and lead generation. 

    That’s it. 

    All of your other marketing and sales tactics should pick up the slack from there. Let your blogs do what they’re designed to do — draw in more visitors with helpful content.

    Too many companies put so much weight into the importance of every single word in a blog post that they spend hours editing and rewriting a blog that will never see daylight. That’s just a waste of time. 

    Set a reasonable goal for each blog. Hint: it should be about education or lead generation. 

    If the blog you’ve written achieves that goal, that’s it, you’re done. 

    Post it, and move onto the next blog and the next goal. 

    While you do, the first blog you’ve posted can generate leads and interest. 

    Okay, rant over. All I want you to know is that posting good content is more important than not posting excellent content. Get blogs out there. You can always edit and optimize them later if you need to. 

    07. Put a CTA On It!

    Business blogging gets eyeballs on your site. 

    You have to have a plan for those eyeballs once they make it to your site. 

    CTAs, or calls-to-action, are key. 

    Once you have a new visitor on your site, if they’re qualified, you want them to keep reading your content and progressing through their buyer’s journey with the content you’ve developed for them. 

    The best way to do this is to get their contact information. When a visitor is reading your blog, you know they’re interested in what you have to say. Including calls-to-action that are relevant to what they’re reading is the best way to convert that visitor into a lead, and keep delivering them quality content that pulls them through their buyer’s journey. 

    Every blog you write should have at least one CTA or conversion opportunity. 

    Take a look at our blog structure. 

    HubSpot-Business-Blogging-Example-CTAs

    If you’re on a desktop, every time you read one of our blogs, you’re hit with a “Let’s Talk” conversion opportunity at the top of the blog. 

    In this image, you can see I’ve also got a relevant CTA at the bottom of the first section. Since this blog was about HubSpot, it made sense to offer up one of our case studies about work we’d done with a client on HubSpot. 

    business-blogging-cta-example

    As you scroll down the page, you also get a pop-up asking you if you want FREE marketing tips delivered directly to your inbox. Who doesn’t?

    And finally, at the bottom of the blog, the reader is hit with one more CTA relevant to HubSpot. 

    All of these CTAs are relevant to the reader, and they’re fairly unobtrusive, too. 

    It’s a suggestion — “Hey! If you want to learn more about this, we’ve got plenty of info.”

    But without a CTA, your readers don’t have much incentive or much opportunity to stick with your content. 

    Yes, most people want to optimize their business blogging strategy to rank higher. But a high ranking blog doesn’t do you much good if it’s not converting your visitors into leads. 

    If you’ve followed and implemented steps 1-6, you’re going to see more qualified traffic headed to your site. Step #7 helps ensure you’re able to capture those leads and continue nurturing them until they’re ready to make a purchase. 

    Business blogging is one of the most surefire ways to help your site rank higher, draw in more of the right, qualified leads, and boost your company’s authority in your industry. But, you gotta do it right. 

    There’s a lot that goes into the content strategy and production of any business blog. The best way to cut through the noise is to remember that blogs are for people. Search engines and content creators alike are always looking to put the very best, most informational content into the hands of readers. If you can do that, above all else, you’ll start to see your business blog creep up in the SERPs

    Struggling to gain traction with your business blog? Can’t figure out the right keywords, or just can’t seem to rank? We’re here to help! Our team of strategists and SEO experts would be happy to take a look at your content strategy and offer a few suggestions for improvement. Get in touch. 

    And if you’re still not sold on content marketing, I’d encourage you to take a look at this case study: 

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    Conversational Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It

    Conversational Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It

    Conversational Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It

    Lately, it seems like all anyone’s talking about in the inbound marketing world is conversational marketing. If you’re new to conversational marketing or are thinking about doing more with chatbots, live chat, or SMS marketing at your company, this blog is going to cover what you need to know to get started.

    From what conversational marketing is, to why you should care about it, we’re going to cover it all. Plus, if you stick around, I’ll even give you two easy ways to get started with conversational marketing right now

    Let’s jump in:

    What is Conversational Marketing?

    Conversational marketing is a marketing strategy that prioritizes one-to-one interactions between a company and a lead. The kicker is that conversational marketing should always happen on the lead’s schedule. It’s a way of connecting with your leads and prospects in the most frictionless way possible — on their schedule and in the medium that is most comfortable for them.  

    If you think of chatbots when you think of conversational marketing, you’re right. But conversational marketing is also a whole lot more than just chatbots. 

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    What Apps, Platforms, and Features are Considered Conversational Marketing Tools?

    Any marketing tool or messaging platform that allows you to connect with a lead or customer one-on-one is conversational marketing. The proof is in the name — conversation. That means that yes, chatbots are certainly one form of conversational marketing, but they’re not the only tool. Other forms of conversational marketing might include: 

    • SMS marketing — directly connecting with leads and clients via text. 
    • Social media messaging — another way to connect directly with leads and prospects.
    • Slack channels — allowing promoters and visitors to share their questions, concerns, and positive interactions together in one spot.

    Conversational marketing is a broad term. It encompasses any type of marketing that is a direct one-on-one conversation between you and a client or lead. For this article, we’re going to focus on pretty obvious examples of conversational marketing, like live chat, chatbots, and SMS messaging, but it’s good to know that the term can encompass much more. 

    3 Reasons to Care About Conversational Marketing

    Now that we know what conversational marketing is and what it looks like, why would you use it? Do you actually need conversational marketing?

    Well, let’s think of it this way —  do you want more leads?

     

    Do you want to shorten your sales cycle?

     

    Yup. Thought so. 

    While conversational marketing shouldn’t take the place of your other marketing strategies — your content marketing, social media marketing, or email marketing — it’s an amazing supplemental tool that enables you to speak directly with your leads and solve their pain points at exactly the right time for them. Let’s take a look at three reasons you should care about conversational marketing. 

    01. Connect with your customers on their schedule

    We know that the most effective marketing is marketing that delivers the right message, to the right person, at the right time. 

    Conversational marketing is a tool that puts you directly in front of your leads and prospects whenever they’re most engaged, whether that’s at 7 am over their first cup of coffee, or 10 pm when they’re clicking around while watching TV. 

    We’re so glad you asked. We’re proud to say that our company has grown more than 60% year over year for the past few years. And we did it using our own marketing strategies. Since we know how to make growth happen, and we’ve done it, both for our clients and for ourselves, we think it’s time to take that info on the road.

    When automated chatbots can answer commonly asked questions or provide more information on a topic the lead is already searching, conversational marketing is a way to nurture leads 24/7. 

    02. You gain insight into your customer’s wants and needs

    Yes, conversational marketing is an exceptional tool for nurturing leads. It can help cut downtime in the sales cycle and supports your sales team even when they’re off the clock. 

    But, conversational marketing is also a great tool for your marketing strategy. 

    Conversational marketing tactics, from chatbots to SMS messaging tell you quite a lot about who your customers are, and what they want from you. 

    There’s a wealth of data to be gained from any conversational marketing campaign, including: 

    • Where your customers are. SMS marketing means you have your customer’s phone numbers. For companies that serve large regions, this can tell you in what areas you’re seeing the most engagement. 
    • When your customers are most engaged. By implementing conversational marketing, you can see when the best time is to engage with your customers. Maybe you get the most chatbot submissions late at night. Or you get a lot of Facebook Messenger inquiries around noon. That’s useful information you can use to better tailor your email marketing delivery times, and even when your sales team makes outreach calls. 
    • What your customers want to know. When your customers are asking their questions in chatbots and through messaging apps, you have documentation of the questions they’re asking most often. You can use this data to inform a more successful content strategy. 
    • Common problems or pain points your customers are experiencing. Conversational marketing can help you identify the areas where leads or prospects are running into problems with your product or service, or what problems they’re looking to solve. 

    03. Build relationships with reliable positive interactions

    There’s a classic marketing statistic that says it takes anywhere from 6-10 touches with your company for a lead to make a purchasing decision. 

    In each of those 6-10 touches with a lead, they need to have a positive experience. Every time they encounter your company, from your messaging to your marketing and sales interactions, your email marketing, and even your content marketing, the message you deliver should provide a positive experience and some sort of value for the lead. 

    Conversational marketing is an exceptional way to build customer relationships by delivering reliable, value-added positive interactions. Basically, you need to make those leads like you.

    And you do that by delivering the information they want or that is helpful to them.

    If you’re implementing conversational marketing in a way that is enhancing your customer’s experience with your company — rather than being disruptive — you’re helping move that lead towards a sale.

    Conversational marketing is inherently nurturing if you’re doing it right.

    You are connecting with each customer on a one-to-one level which is very much a relationship-building interaction. When you’re solving each lead’s specific and personal pain points with great content and helpful service, you’re building those positive relationships that will not just lead to a sale, but that can also convert that customer into a promoter for your brand. 

    2 Easy Ways to Implement Conversational Marketing Right Now

    So we’ve talked a little bit about what conversational marketing is, and why it’s useful. If you’re interested in implementing conversational marketing, but aren’t sure where to start, here are two easy ways you can get started now. 

    A Welcome Chatbot

    Live chat can feel a little intimidating if you’re just starting your conversational marketing campaign. Take it down a notch by just building a “welcome” or “sign up for our newsletter” chatbot that can go anywhere on your site. 

    First, choose a chatbot you like. No surprise, we like HubSpot’s chatbot options. You can also implement Facebook Messenger for free on your site, and there are a host of free options available online. 

    Next, build out a little bit of content. 

    Welcome Message

    Make it clear that your users are talking to a bot.

    (There’s a misconception that people don’t like talking to bots. The truth is that people don’t like talking to bots that are trying to pretend they’re people. Just be honest.)

    “Hi, I’m Evenbot! Welcome to the Evenbound Website.” 

    EB Chatbot Page Real Estate
    EB Chat Icon
    EB Chatbot Welcome

    Create an Action

    If this is a welcome bot or a newsletter bot, that’s pretty simple.

    “Would you like kick-ass marketing tips delivered right to your inbox once a month?”

    Then hit them with Yes and No button options.

    If They Click No

    Your response should pleasantly end the conversation.

    “Sounds good! I’m here for you if you run into any questions. Just type “Hey” to start a new conversation.”

    EB Chatbot no
    EB Chatbot Yes

    If They Click Yes

    Now is your time for a soft conversion.

    “Great! I just need to know where to send your monthly marketing tips. What’s a good email address for you?”

    Tada! Chatbot created and visitor converted. 

    Put this chatbot on a few of your highly-trafficked pages — your homepage, your blog, or your services page — and see how it performs. 

    As you get more comfortable with your chatbot, you might consider implementing more personalized chatbots, or even a live chat. 

    SMS Marketing

    SMS marketing sounds scary, but it’s actually pretty simple. If you look at SMS marketing as a way to provide better service to your customers, you’re already starting on the right foot.

    For example, let’s say someone makes a purchase. When you collect their phone number as they make the purchase, ask if they’d like text updates on the status of their order. 

    When they opt-in, they’ll get texts about their order, like when it’s shipped, what the tracking number is, and when their order is out for delivery. That’s an awesome value-add that many people would love to have. 

    Then, down the road a few months, you can send them a text with an exclusive promotional order for a complementary product or service. 

    SMS Marketing Opt-In Example

    This is a great example of SMS marketing done well. After I opted in to get text messages with this swimsuit company, see what they sent. 

    A free shipping promo, and a promise that they’d only send texts with big news or deals. That’s a level of interruption most consumers can handle.

    SMS Marketing Promo Example

    Allowing clients to schedule meetings or appointments by text is another great way to remove some of the friction in your customer’s sales cycle. 

    SMS Marketing Appointments

    SMS Marketing Appointment Booking Example

    This is another cool one. I needed new skates. The local pro shop had a quick click-to-text feature on their site. I sent a message about what I was looking for, and the manager got right back to me. 

    Rather than having to stop in when the shop was busy or closed, I set up a time to come in and visit that was convenient for me. I’m happy and they got a new customer. 

    The best ways to implement SMS marketing are ways that make your lead’s life easier. If they don’t want to talk on the phone, or if they don’t like searching for your message in a messy inbox, a text message gets them the information they need in a very accessible way. 

    Just make sure you’re not using text marketing to blow up a customer’s phone or to engage in disruptive marketing. If you’re constantly sending promotions or trying to make the hard sale through an SMS message, you won’t see results. 

    Use SMS marketing as a complement to your sales team’s efforts, and put the responsibility on the customer to decide that SMS is the better method of communication for them. 

    Whether you decide to build out your first chatbot or start encouraging leads to book their appointments by text message, conversational marketing is a powerful tool in any company’s marketing and sales toolbox. If you’re not sure how to implement things like chatbots or instant messenger features, Evenbound would be happy to help

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    What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

    What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

    What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

    Evenbound-Dec-2019-123
    I write blogs for businesses every day. It’s like, my job, man. 

    But I can’t even begin to count the number of times people have asked me what the purpose of business blogging is. 

    Inbound marketing has been around for years now, but it’s still a question for many people: why do we do it? What is the purpose of business blogging? 

    Someone asked me about it the other day, and I thought, “Oh sure, let me just point them to the NUMBER of blogs I’ve written about business blogging.”

    Only to find that well, I haven’t written any blogs about this. I’ve talked about blogging in the context of lead generation, website design, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and so much more. But I’ve never actually written about why business blogging is so important in its own right, and why it’s a service we provide to nearly every single one of our clients. 
    My bad, guys. Big hole in the content there. But I’m here to make it right. 

    Let’s talk about what business blogging is, why we do it, and why for heaven’s sake I just need you to believe me when I say it’s worth it.

    What is Business Blogging?

    Business blogging is the process of blogging for your business. It’s an inbound marketing tactic that works to get your website more visibility. Just like social media, email marketing, and even digital ads, business blogging is another tactic used to get your company in front of the eyes of qualified leads. 

    What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

    The purpose of business blogging is to get you and your company in front of the right leads. In the words of our fearless leader here at Evenbound:
    “Content publishing is the lifeblood of SEO. Regular content updates (written around your target keywords) build topical relevance and authority. If you’re not writing blogs and your competition is, you’re gonna get smoked in SERPs.”

    John Heritage  President, Evenbound

    So you want to get found on the internet? 

    You want to show up first when someone googles something you do or a product you provide?

    You want to beat the competition?

    Well then, business blogging is the tool for you.

    3 Key Benefits of Business Blogging

    Okay, so business blogging helps you get in front of the competition. But how? 

    Don’t worry, I wasn’t just going to tell you something and not back it up. 

    Like I said earlier, business blogging is a key marketing tactic. It does more than just help you rank well. When you do business blogging right, it can help you convert more leads through every stage of the buyer’s journey.

    If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing flywheel, business blogging is one of those tactics you can use to optimize every point on that flywheel, helping you draw in more traffic, nurture those new leads, close on new prospects, and continue to delight your promoters and existing customers. 

    Here’s a look at three of the key benefits of business blogging.

    Drives Qualified Organic Traffic

    First and foremost, business blogging helps you get eyeballs on your website. How else are people going to find you? Let’s think here:
    No one is going to type in your website URL and go directly to your site. It doesn’t happen. When have you actually typed in “www.evenbound.com/blog” to see what’s new on our blog? Imma say never. I don’t even do that, and I live on our blog. 
    Paid ads are expensive. Sure, you can get in front of the right people using paid advertising. We encourage it. But, it shouldn’t be your only tactic to drive traffic. Mostly because it’s expensive. You should be using marketing strategies tactically. That means only spend where you’re going to see big returns. For everything else, business blogging is your golden ticket to more, better traffic. 
    Buying email lists is illegal. Just don’t do it. Aside from being illegal, cold-emailing random people doesn’t return great results. Again, we’re talking about tactical solutions. You can spend a whole lot on an email list that might return a few leads.
    The key to business blogging that drives qualified traffic is keyword research. 
    Since this isn’t a blog about keyword research, I’m not going to go all the way into it, but I will leave you with a few keyword research resources here and here.

    Essentially, it should be your goal to write blogs that:

    • Are relevant to your business
    • Solve a common problem or pain point your target buyer faces
    • Are centered around a keyword or phrase with high search volume and low competition

    That’s the sweet spot for a blog that will rank well, and that will pull in the leads you actually want. Once you do your keyword research, the real challenge is putting out quality content that’s in-depth, and that answers those questions your target buyers are asking. 

    But, if you can do all of this, and regularly, you’ll start drawing in serious qualified traffic. The more you blog, and the more consistently, the better results you’ll see. 
    That said, I know how hard it is to stick to a regular schedule. If you can work to put out a quality blog even once every two weeks, you should start to see your organic traffic start to rise. 

    Business Blogging Builds Authority and Topical Relevance

    Okay, stick with me. Authority and topical relevance are both big industry terms, and if your eyes are starting to glaze over, I get it. 
    One of the key ways Google ranks websites is according to their authority. 
    You build authority in a few ways, but content publishing and link building are the two biggies. (Here’s some info on link building and authority. Here’s some info from MOZ on link building and relevance. And here’s some info on link building itself.)
    Content publishing, aka business blogging, is the other key factor that search engines use to determine your authority. And the more authority you have on a given topic, the higher you’re likely to rank. 
    Let’s think of it this way:

    You’re cooking a steak, and you want tips on the best way to do it. Which YouTube video do you choose? 

     

    • One published by Chef Gordon Ramsay
    • One published by your friend from high school
    If you’re like me, you’re probably going to refer to the Gordon Ramsay video. 

    Why?

    He has authority on the subject. 

    As a well-known chef with a body of work on things like grilling and cooking steaks, he’s built authority on the topic. 

    That brings me right to topical relevance, which is similar to authority. 

    The more quality content you have on a topic, the more topical relevance you have. 

    Sticking with our Gordon Ramsay reference, let’s say the topic is cooking steak. 

    If you have a blog on each of these topics:

    • How to Grill Steak
    • Step-By-Step Guide to Prepping Your Steak
    • How Long Should Your Steak Rest Before Serving?
    • How to Pan-Fry Steak
    • Which Cut of Steak is Best?

    Then you have serious topical relevance. 

    Google will always rank the website with the most topical relevance highest on its results pages. That’s why business blogging is so important. 

    Though you can’t build authority or topical relevance overnight, steady, consistent posting of strategic content centered around one topic is one of the best ways to get there.

    When you have more authority and topical relevance than your competition, you’re going to be the one clients look to first for answers to their questions. 
    And that spells serious business growth for you. 

    Your Business Blog is a Lead Generation Machine That’s Always On

    Okay. So far we’ve learned that business blogging can help you pull in qualified traffic and beat your competition in rankings (drawing in even more traffic). Business blogging still has one exceptional benefit left. 
    Your business blog is a lead generation machine that’s always on. 
    If you develop it right and optimize it with lead capturing tools like calls-to-action and content offers, your business blog can capture leads every single day of the week, at any hour.
    Once you publish a blog, it goes out into the world. You might (read: absolutely definitely should) promote that blog on your social media and through your email marketing campaigns. But after the newness wears off, that blog is still working for you (given that you’ve written a quality blog). 
    The key to this benefit is making sure that you have content on your blog that addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey
    When someone starts their journey, and queries your topic on Google, they’re met with your blog. They come on over for answers to whatever question they typed into Google. But, if you’ve got content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, and you make it easy for that new visitor to find, you’re not just generating leads, you’re also nurturing them. 
    An optimized blog can nurture a new lead all the way through their buyer's journey, providing them with the right information, at the right time. Click To Tweet If that lead keeps coming back for information on your site when they’re finally ready to buy, guess who they’re going to call?
    Yep, you. 
    You’ve not only built authority on search engines, but you’ve built trust with the leads who read your business blog. By delivering them quality content that answers their questions, consistently, you’ve earned their trust and now you’re their first point of contact when they get ready to make a decision. 
    And I think the best part of all of this is that you didn’t have to lift a finger. 
    Since you’ve developed a solid business blog where all of this content already exists, your blog is the one doing the work 24/7, anytime a day. 

    Business Blogging Gets You the Online Visibility You Need

    If I had to sum up the purpose of business blogging in one sentence, I’d say it gets you the online visibility you need. 
    Let’s be real. If you’re not on the internet these days, it’s going to be tough to get any kind of lead that’s not a referral. And even the ones that are referrals. If you’re not on the internet, you don’t exist. 
    Blogging is one of those tactics that’s easier said than done. Trust me, I get it. If you’re having trouble coming up with topics, sticking to a consistent schedule, or converting leads from your blog, the Evenbound team is here to help. We’d be happy to set up a quick consultation to help you figure out what you’re doing right, and where you might be able to improve. 
    If you’re still skeptical about the benefits of business blogging, may I direct your attention to the case study below? This is a great example of how consistent blogging with helped one of our clients make first page of Google and continue growing their business, even four years into our partnership. 
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    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    If you’re in the marketing world at all, you know that these two terms are the heavyweight champs of modern marketing. But how do they fit together? There’s a lot of confusion out there about inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Are they the same thing? And if they’re different, how?

    We’re going to break it all down for you in this marketing terminology matchup of inbound marketing vs. content marketing.

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Most marketers generally confer — content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. I like to think of it this way:

    • Inbound marketing is a big umbrella. A whole bunch of marketing tactics make up the umbrella’s individual components. SEO, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and so many more tactics make up everything from the waterproof fabric to each little rib that forms the shape of the umbrella. 
    • If inbound marketing is an umbrella, content marketing is the pole and handle that holds the umbrella up. Content marketing forms the base and the foundation for a quality inbound marketing strategy.

    So to answer the questions posed in the intro: yes, content marketing and inbound marketing are different things. 

    Inbound marketing refers to the overarching marketing strategy that draws in qualified leads. Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, but one of the most important inbound marketing tactics that lays the framework for the larger inbound marketing strategy as a whole.

    Got it? Not quite? 

    No worries. We’re going to keep on rolling with some more information to make that distinction a little clearer for you. Let’s take a closer look at what inbound marketing is, what content marketing is, and how they work together to deliver you the leads you want when you want them.

    What is Inbound Marketing?

    Inbound marketing is a marketing method that focuses on drawing in qualified leads and potential customers, rather than blasting information about your company to the general public. 

    Inbound marketing is specific and tactical. 

    The methodology requires that you know who you’re selling to, who you want to sell to, and that you market to those specific buyers in a way that is helpful to them. 

    Inbound marketing was born out of the modern consumer’s desire to discover solutions to their own problems. Today’s consumer despises telemarketers, spam emails, and other poorly targeted advertising techniques that don’t feel personal, relevant, or helpful.

    Inbound marketing recognizes this consumer pain point, and works to find a solution.

    Inbound marketing is successful when a consumer seeks a solution to a problem, navigates to a resource that answers their questions, and self-selects the product or service that ultimately resolves their pain point. 

    For the consumer, this is a seamless transition. 

    They search their problem, find the ideal solution, and make a purchasing decision. The trick of inbound marketing is offering up relevant content and improving your company’s visibility so that consumer gets their seamless transition from you. And this is where content marketing comes in. 

    What is Content Marketing?

    Inbound marketing is built on content marketing. Though inbound marketing is made up of a variety of marketing tactics, like search engine optimization, email marketing, workflows, and so much more, content marketing is certainly the heavy lifter. 

    Think about it:

    • What would you promote in your email marketing campaigns if you didn’t have content written? 

    • Where would you direct conversions from pay-per-click ads if not to a page of content? 

    • How would you optimize your website for search engines without content?

    Content marketing forms the backbone and the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy. It’s everything from the optimized content on your website to your weekly blog posts to your monthly email newsletters to that new vlog you’ve been trying out.

    Content marketing is what creates value for your potential leads, and its what draws those qualified leads into your sales funnel. 

    If you want a more specific outline of the different types of content marketing and how to implement them, I suggest you check out our content marketing page. If you’re already familiar with content marketing, let’s move on to how inbound marketing and content marketing work together: 

    How These Strategies Work Together to Bring You Qualified Leads

    As we mentioned earlier, inbound marketing functions on the premise that today’s consumer ignores disruptive, non-personal messages. Inbound marketing instead encourages consumers to self-qualify, and search for and find the information and the solutions that best fit their own problems and pain points. Content marketing is a major component of that inbound marketing methodology, especially in a consumer’s early stages of the buyer’s journey. 

    While your sales team might already have a great, inbound-focused method of converting leads into sales, content marketing is one of those key tools that brings those leads to your marketing and sales teams in the first place. 

    I like to think of content marketing as the fuel that feeds your inbound marketing funnel or flywheel. 

    Without content going out regularly, answering your ideal customer’s questions, solving their pain points, and nurturing them further down the buyer’s journey, your sales team might not get the chance to exercise their awesome, inbound-focused sales process in the first place.

    While content marketing is also used extensively in the later stages of the buyer’s journey, it’s most commonly thought of as a way to draw in the right, qualified leads, so your marketing and sales team can apply the rest of your inbound marketing strategy to nurture and close those leads. 

    Inbound Marketing + Content Marketing = A Successful Growth Strategy

    In the end, it’s best to think about inbound marketing and content marketing together, rather than inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Both tactics are useful methods to draw in and close qualified leads, and they work best when used in conjunction. 

    Content marketing forms the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy, drawing in the right leads with helpful, personalized content. Then, your inbound marketing strategy can do the rest of the work — taking the leads your content marketing strategy generated and converting them into customers and future promoters for your brand. 

    Still have questions? We’ve got answers. Check out our inbound marketing and content marketing pages for more specifics on both strategies, and always feel free to give us a call or drop a line — we’d love to chat. And if you’re just not sure what an inbound marketing strategy can do for you in real life, check out the case study below. 

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