SolopreneurThere’s a good reason why companies confuse blogging and content marketing: No two people seem to have the same definition of content marketing.

The Content Marketing Institute, a credible source, defines content marketing as:

“… [A] strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” ~ Content Marketing Institute

Very well then. How do your blogging efforts stack up against this definition? Consider:

  • Your blog is not a strategic approach.
  • Your blog may or may not be valuable, relevant and consistent.
  • Your blog may or may not attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
  • Your blog may or may not drive profitable customer action.

Your company blog is actually an element of content marketing — a content marketing tool, technique or tactic (or however you want to phrase it).

A highly effective company blog knows its place in the overall content marketing strategy:

  • First, a blog with content marketing chops speaks to a specific audience. The most common choices are customers, prospects or peers.
  • Second, a blog with content marketing chops has a conversion goal. For customers, the goal may be new business generation or loyalty building. For prospects, the goal may be lead generation. For peers, the goal may be establishing thought leadership or earning referrals.
  • Third, a blog with content marketing chops has content that is authoritative and useful to the target audience, not written by some hack halfway around the globe that has never worked in your business.
  • Fourth, a blog with content marketing chops has measurable results. (This idea would be a good addition to the definition quoted earlier.) Any Internet marketing activity with a conversion goal must be calculable; otherwise, how can you tell whether it is working and producing ROI?

Blogging can be an effective content marketing technique — but not always. There are many other types of content marketing that will get you greater visibility with your target audience(s). Consider options such as:

  • Beefing up your YouTube presence.
  • Expanding your SlideShare presence.
  • Placing articles in top industry online publications.
  • Creating white papers to give away or sell.
  • Developing an email marketing campaign.

If your blog is effective, it will have quantifiable results in terms of comments, leads generated, social mentions and backlinks. If you are not measuring these things, start. If you’re not seeing much in the way of measurable results, consider other marketing options, or developing a new blog strategy.

One way or another, content marketing should help your business grow.