What kind of “content marketing” do people really want to read?

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A Google Images montage of what you find when you search "guest post"

Undoubtedly, content marketing has become the mantra in recent years. The goal: Generate useful and entertaining content that attracts readers, builds reputation, and ultimately encourages inbound leads that you can convert to sales.

On the surface, there’s nothing to complain about content marketing’s virtues. It is relatively inexpensive to produce social media and blog posts (certainly compared to paid advertising and expensive trade show booths) and, done right, you can parlay your existing reputation and resources to a larger, but highly qualified audience.

However, the good almost inevitably comes with the bad. Take “guest post” schemes, for example. The idea is you to embed your content on others’ sites, especially those with solid reputations. You expand your reach, and with embedded links, create the impression of site popularity — boosting your own site’s search engine rankings.

Despite previous posts which make it clear that I don’t accept unsolicited guest posts, I’ve received about five proposals this week, two today — one even citing the blog I wrote about guest posts that says I don’t accept them if they are unsolicited. I also pulled the plug on a service which offered to pay me for content, then submitted totally unsuitable material to be published “unchanged” and (most importantly, required “dofollow” links for Google.)

There are good examples out there, such as Hubspot’s solid research and effective self-promotional marketing. (Here, I’m providing the link without any compensation or reciprocation expectations.) For example, Cline Design, a Hubspot client, outlines in a recent post the differences in expectations in content marketing between marketers and users and suggests that marketers (that’s folks like me) should be thinking more about the users in our initiatives.

The chart below outlines the content those surveyed pay close attention to versus the content they skim. As you can see, the top three types of content getting the most attention by those surveyed are:

  1. videos

  2. social media posts

  3. news articles

Content_SOI_2016_Consumer_Skim_Chart.jpg

Lorraine Cline continues:

But, as marketers, we tend to focus on blogging as the primary tool for distributing relevant content. Although the benefits of blogging are numerous—blogs drive traffic to your website, help convert traffic into leads and establish your company as an authority in your industry—it is important to note that those surveyed indicate they are, for the most part, skimming blogs.

So, what should we do? We should continue to invest resources into diversifying content across multiple channels and be sure that blog posts are easily digestible to reflect the skimming habits of the consumer. In addition, we should continue to cross-promote our content by including videos in our blogs with links to our social channels. This will help us better align our marketing strategies to meet the changing needs and habits of our audience.

I suppose I “failed” on the digestibility of this post. There is some success however in the way through autoposts, this content is converted into bite-sized chunks for social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.

And if you would like an opportunity to promote your own business on this blog (outside of paid advertising), consider:

  • The free ongoing offer of links to valid and active blogs serving the architectural, engineering and construction community;
  • The annual Best Construction Blog competition (nominations for 2017 will open in December);
  • Providing useful, thought-provoking content without expectation of reward.

Continue with solid content marketing initiatives. However, forget the guest posts, at least here.

If you would like to suggest topics for consideration on this blog, or express your thoughts about this post, please feel free to email buckshon@constructionmarketingideas.com or post your comment. Please however don’t offer a “free guest post” to promote yourself or your client.

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