According to its simplest explanation, content marketing consists of two activities:
- Content creation.
- Distribution of content.
For many content marketers, it’s easy to start with Step 1 and stay there to keep producing content. That’s fine and good, but if you don’t share your content with your audience, you are guaranteed not to get the results you want.
While Step 1 should be a nice combination of creativity and analysis, Step 2 consists almost entirely of a data-driven strategy. By identifying the most lucrative content marketing channels, you can reach your target audiences in a meaningful and effective way.
Which channels should you focus on this year? That depends on your industry, your goals, your audience, and a lot more. However, the following 5 channels are all excellent channels to include in your content distribution strategy:
Video marketing is growing in popularity every year and is now more important than ever to businesses. In 2020, it was one of the fastest growing types of visual content marketing, and about a quarter of marketers said it helped them meet their marketing goals in 2019.
Video became an advocate for business or personal communication and entertainment during the pandemic as more consumers adopt these technologies and adapt to this fascinating content format. Of the 24% of marketers who said they used video for the first time in 2020, nearly half said it was a necessity due to the pandemic.
However, this section is titled “YouTube” – not a video. I have a reason for this, and that’s only partly because the next section is “Live Video.”
YouTube can act as different things for your brand. It is:
- A place to host your videos.
- A search engine where people search for and find information.
- Google’s subsidiary that feeds directly into SERPs and gives you a second opportunity to be discovered organically.
In short, YouTube is an extremely versatile sales channel as the videos you upload can be both shared (it’s easy to embed them in your landing pages and blog posts, and link them in social media posts and emails ) are searchable as well. The audience searches on YouTube itself or on Google.
As more people watch video to learn and communicate, brands looking to keep up will see more content in this format in 2021.
Those who want their videos to be easily found will most likely put them together on their YouTube channel.
2. Live video
Video is one thing; Live video is something completely different … OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but live video really matters enough in 2021 to deserve a mention of its own on this list.
According to Social Media Examiner, nearly half of marketers (45%) use live video to connect with their audience in a very personal, real-time format.
A number of industry reports show that this medium is becoming increasingly important for marketers, and not just because of the pandemic. In B2B marketing in particular, the use of live videos was already on the rise:
- 29% of B2B marketers used livestream content in 2020. That makes it one of the fastest growing content types in the Content Marketing Institute survey.
- 63% of B2B marketing reps were willing to share their contact information for access to a webinar, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2019 survey report on content preference.
- 64% also said it would take them 20 to 60 minutes to watch a webinar if they were looking for a B2B purchase.
Facebook Live is likely to be the most popular channel in 2021. 64% of marketers vote it their most important channel in the Social Media Examiner’s report, followed by Instagram Live at 19%.
Before deciding on a streaming platform, however, consider where your audience will find video content. LinkedIn supports live video. With only 5% of marketers saying this is their main live video channel, you can stand out from the previously recorded crowd.
Image credit: HubSpot.
Live videos can be lucrative for B2C brands too. If consumers are searching for this format frequently, you may find your audience quickly. A HubSpot survey found that 79% of respondents watch live video at least once a week. YouTube Live is her favorite channel.
Email is a low cost, high quality content marketing channel, so it should be a key component of your digital marketing effort. It’s also a strong method of communication no matter what the circumstances: a Brafton survey found that post-pandemic email was the primary way brands used to deliver important updates to their customers.
Image source: Brafton.
For most marketers, email is already one of their top channels. 87% of B2B marketers told CMI that email is the second most important way of distributing content after social media. With an average return on investment of 42: 1, it’s easy to see why.
However, you will only have a chance to see that ROI if you know how to use this channel strategically and in a way that makes sense for your brand, goals, and audience. For many brands, this means developing a diverse email marketing strategy that includes:
- Regular newsletters.
- Sales emails.
- Helpful company update notifications.
- Cart abandonment emails.
- And more.
E-mail is an important communication channel for almost everyone. Because of this, brands that invest the time and effort into getting their email strategy right have the opportunity to have meaningful conversations.
Audio content is becoming a cornerstone of content marketing as more consumers seek information and entertainment in podcasts. And while some might assume that podcasts are primarily intended for people looking for entertainment, they are actually a powerful B2B marketing tool.
Demand Gen Report found that half of B2B shoppers would be willing to listen to a podcast for up to half an hour while making a purchase decision. And of the B2B marketers surveyed by CMI, only 26% said they had already included this audio-first format in their marketing mix.
Here’s what tells us this: Buyers listen to a podcast. But not many B2B brands have entered this market yet. When you start your podcast, you are one of the few.
As with all of these channels, of course, this isn’t just a B2B trend. Consumers hear more audio content as more people spend time at home. Nielsen’s Total Audiences Report from August 2020 found that 53% of respondents listen to spoken audio content weekly or daily.
Podcasts can do a number of positive things for your marketing efforts, such as: B. Increase brand awareness and trust, as well as traffic and backlinks to your website (from the platform you are using, e.g. Apple Podcasts).
In 2021, more people will listen to podcasts to learn something new or to disconnect from everyday life for a few minutes. You have the opportunity to be the person who speaks to them directly when they do so.
5. Your blog
Lastly, I can’t leave this list without mentioning the most important content marketing channel of all: your blog.
I don’t call this the most important channel because it is the most lucrative of your endeavors or the one that draws the most attention. I’m not even mentioning it because I think you’ll forget about it in 2021. This is just insane, and plus, 93% of B2B marketers are already using blog posts in their content marketing strategies.
Rather, your blog is an essential addition to this list because:
- It is the basis of all of your content marketing efforts. Most of the content you create should be stored in some form on your blog.
- It’s easy to forget how much value you can really get from your blog when you know how to use it creatively.
Any type of asset that you create for the above channels can be used for your blog, adding new life to the content and another way to grab organic search attention for your website.
Every video you create should have a search-optimized page that you can live on. Your blog is the perfect place to expand the subject of the video.
Your email strategy can easily be aligned with your editorial calendar. Whenever you publish a great new article, share it with your email subscribers.
And so on.
Choose your channels wisely in 2021
A new year always offers marketers new opportunities. This year, move your company’s marketing efforts in a positive direction to reach the right audiences and provide them with meaningful interactions.
Whether you want to explore the opportunities your brand expects in terms of video, email, audio, blog content, or something completely different, make sure you do it with the needs of your target audience in mind. This really is the best way to connect with them.