When content marketing was gaining steam, there were really only a few techniques you could leverage.
On a typical day, you'd write a blog post, hope it ranked on Google, send it to your email subscribers, and post it to your social media profiles.
That was pretty much it.
This is still the main strategy most marketers use nowadays, but since content marketing has exploded in popularity since its early adoption, it has developed into a much more nuanced and complex type of marketing with many techniques for reaching and resonating with an audience.
To help you learn about the most effective marketing techniques around today, we've rounded up the best ones to add to your content marketing arsenal.
1. CTA Copy Test
Every company has a different set of customers, so there's no one-size-fits-all formula for designing the most optimal CTAs. To figure out which CTA copy will produce the best results for your company, you must discover what your unique set of customers prefer.
With A/B testing, you can run an experiment between two variables, like a red and blue CTA, and identify which one produces better results. A/B testing shouldn't be confused with multivariate testing, though, which allows you to simultaneously test many variables.
To conduct an A/B test, you can use HubSpot's A/B testing kit. With this kit, you'll get guidelines for A/B testing, learn what variables to test, and gain access to a simple significance calculator to track your results.
2. Email Preview
This means that there isn't a lot of room for error when you send an email. To avoid any issues, a great marketing technique to implement is to begin previewing your email in different email providers before sending.
There are plenty of tools you can use to preview your emails such as HubSpot's free email software. With an email preview tool, you can test your emails before you send them and see how they look in every service provider.
3. Blog Post Title Test
When you write a blog post, do you use the first title you came up with or do you write a few?
Most marketers write several headlines before deciding which one to use. However, it's not always easy to decide.
To make this decision, you can run an A/B test and see which types of titles work best for your audience.
Additionally, you can use tools like this headline analyzer to see what you can do to improve your headline.
4. Brand Storytelling
In the neuroscience field, researchers have proven that storytelling is the best way to capture people's attention, bake information into their memories, and resonate emotionally with them. The human brain is programmed to crave, seek out, and respond to well-crafted narrative -- that'll never change.
So just like your favorite Netflix show, you can craft a series on YouTube to entice your viewers subscribe to your updates. This can get your audience more excited for your show's newest season than they currently are for the latest season of Stranger Things.
Before you green light another slew of listicles, how-to posts, and ultimate guides, remember how powerful storytelling is and consider crafting a YouTube series, podcast, or social media hashtag chock-full of conflict, surprise, and emotion that your viewers will relate to your brand.
5. A Topic-Based Content Strategy
Since people heavily rely on Google to provide accurate and relevant answers for most of their questions today, Google needs to understand the intent and context behind every single search.
To do this, Google has evolved to recognize topical connections across users' queries, look back at similar queries that users have searched for in the past, and surface the content that best answers them. As a result, Google will deliver content that they deem the most authoritative on the topic.
To help Google recognize your content as a trusted authority on marketing, sales, and customer service topics, consider implementing the pillar-cluster model on your blog.
Essentially, the pillar-cluster model is a topic-based based content strategy. This means that you generate and organize ideas for your blog by topic.
By creating a single pillar page (an ultimate guide, for instance) that provides a high-level overview of a topic and hyperlinks to cluster pages (subtopic blog posts) that delve into the topic's subtopics, you can signal to Google that your pillar page is an authority on the topic.
Hyperlinking all of the cluster pages to the pillar page also spreads domain authority across the cluster, so your cluster pages get an organic boost if your pillar page ranks higher, and your cluster pages can even help your pillar page rank higher if they start ranking for the specific keywords they're targeting.
6. Growing Email Subscriptions
As of now, subscribing to your favorite online publications through email is the best way to keep up with their latest stories and news. And since it takes an average of six to eight touch points to generate a qualified sales lead, persuading people to subscribe to your emails and, in turn, constantly consume your content will generate more leads and revenue for your business.
Growing an engaged, loyal subscriber base also speaks volumes about the quality of your content and its emotional resonance. Even though hoards of content saturate the internet and most people's inboxes today, people are still actively engaging with your content, which is a clear sign that they actually value it.
To build your email list, you'll want to use an email marketing software like HubSpot. This way you can create, personalize, and optimize marketing emails without needing a developer.
7. Historical Optimization
In 2015, HubSpot made a revolutionary discovery about our organic monthly blog traffic -- the overwhelming majority of it came from posts published prior to that month. In fact, 76% of monthly blog views came from these old posts.
Today, the groundbreaking revelation rings louder than ever -- 89% of our monthly blog views currently come from posts that were published at least six months prior, and we've developed an entire strategy dedicated to refreshing and republishing these historical pieces of content.
These types of blog posts are called "updates", and they comprise 35-40% of HubSpot's editorial calendar. By refreshing posts with new information and effectively republishing them as new blog posts, HubSpot can build upon its existing organic value that these posts have accumulated through backlinks and user engagement and double or even triple their traffic. This process also helps HubSpot optimize our blog for efficiency, decreasing the amount of new content we have to create while increasing our organic traffic and conversions.
According to a content format study conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital, people age 12 and older are listening to online audio content at unprecedented levels. On average, people spend 17 hours per week tuning into their favorite podcasts, online radio shows, and audiobooks. There are also 14 million more weekly podcast listeners this year compared to last year, which is more than Guinea's entire population.
The demand for audio content has exploded, but that doesn't mean people will listen to your branded podcast just because it's a podcast. In reality, they'll only listen to it if it can hold their attention and, ultimately, entertain them. Otherwise, producing yet another interview-an-expert podcast like everyone else will only add to the noise flooding the internet.
9. Link Building
Earning high-quality inbound links from websites and pages with high authority scores is crucial for boosting your domain authority. But, unfortunately, "If you write it, they will link to it," is not a viable SEO tactic.
An effective method for earning high-quality links is by asking other websites that have the same or higher domain or page authority score than you to link to your top content. You should also make sure your content is relevant to the referring website's content.
Another way you can earn quality backlinks is by using Backlinko's skyscraper method. The skyscraper method is an SEO strategy where you find content that ranks well for keywords you want to rank for and then create content that's better than the top ranking posts. Then, you use SEO tools to find all the sites that have linked to your competitor's content and ask the most relevant sites to replace your competitor's link with a link to your improved content.
10. Social Media Based Public Relations
Today, over 30% of time spent online is dedicated to social media. Needless to say, people spend more time on social media than ever before. And public relations professionals are pivoting their strategy from solely focusing on placing their stories in news outlets' publications to concentrating on driving traffic to their social media profiles too.
In order to successfully pitch your stories to journalists and news outlets nowadays, you need to account for the content that performs well on their social media profiles and their publication. So before you pitch your story, make sure it's relevant and interesting to the news outlet's social audience.
11. Audience Segmentation
In a world overflowing with digital noise, creating irrelevant or unwarranted content won't catch anyone's attention.
To create personalized marketing campaigns for each slice of your target market, consider leveraging audience segmentation, which separates your target market into specific, accessible groups of people based on personal attributes like their demographics, psychographics, and behavioral information.
To properly implement an audience segmentation strategy, you can use a marketing software like HubSpot. For example, with HubSpot's marketing software, there's a lead collection and tracking feature where you can segment and nurture your leads. This makes it easy to build an email list, automate campaigns, and expand your database.
12. Brand Extensions
Big companies often extend their brand to develop new products in industries that they don't have any market share in. These initiatives are called brand extensions, and they allow companies to leverage their brand awareness and equity to create more revenue streams.
Historically, the most successful brand extensions are the ones that closely tie to the company's flagship product or core brand, like Gerber's baby clothes and Dole's frozen fruit bars. So by entering tangential markets that can preserve your brand's unique associations and perceived quality, you can develop new products that consumers intuitively understand the benefits of, even though they've never seen them on a shelf.
On the flip side, a company can also exploit its brand, and, in turn, damage it. If they develop a product in a market that isn't closely tied to their flagship product or core brand, audiences might attach undesirable associations to a brand, weaken its existing associations, and hurt its established products' perceived quality.
When you're developing a new marketing plan, it's important to consider new marketing techniques. Don't forget to continuously innovate on your strategies.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.