Content marketing is all the rage right now.
And for good reason. It’s the best way to bring in new organic traffic to your site.
If you want a piece of the organic/SEO traffic pie, you need to be creating new content on a daily basis.
Otherwise, you risk falling behind. There are currently millions of blog posts published daily.
That means you are competing with potentially thousands of other businesses for the same traffic.
But what if you don’t have to, want to, or need to blog? What if blogging doesn’t make sense for your business?
It’s becoming a saturated market. Everybody is blogging.
In other words, it’s getting nearly impossible to get large amounts of organic traffic unless your site already has a high domain authority.
But I’ve got some good news for you:
Luckily, you don’t have to blog to produce great content marketing posts!
In fact, you can produce more effective content without text in many cases.
In this article, I’ll help you figure out if blogging is right for your business, how to build a content strategy without a blog, and how companies are skipping blogging in favor of other outlets.
Let’s jump in!
How to determine if blogging is right (or not) for your business
The number one goal when it comes to content marketing is to provide great content that your user base is looking for.
For example, if you’re an SEO-based agency, it makes sense that blogging could have a big, successful impact on sales.
People want to know more about SEO, and long-form blog posts are great at fulfilling that need:
But what if you sell products or services that aren’t as bloggable? Like bicycles or hair products?
Then that’s totally fine. In fact, it isn’t a bad thing at all.
Remember: content marketing is about value, not a specific platform. No matter how you add value, the only thing that matters is that you are adding value.
If it’s a blog, great. If it’s videos, great!
The first step in your content marketing strategy is to brainstorm what your ideal customers are looking for.
A great way to do this is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
As a likely fan/consumer of your own business niche, you probably have some idea as to what people are searching for.
Do you sell hair products? You might notice that people want video-based tutorials teaching them how to style their hair.
In that case, YouTube is the place to be.
Do you sell clothing?
Instagram can help you showcase it naturally.
Try to run through the process of finding your product from a consumer standpoint.
What content types helped you find it? What content was valuable or worthless?
If all else fails, brainstorming is your best bet.
To understand clearly what platforms are best, you need to focus on providing value.
What is “value” in your industry? For example, a flower shop probably wouldn’t benefit from starting a long-form blog.
That wouldn’t provide value to customers. Flower purchasers aren’t looking to read about the history of flowers or flower delivery optimization.
Instead, a flower shop could focus on Instagram to showcase their products with engaging content and ideas on how to present flowers creatively as a gift.
This would constitute real value.
Running with this example, try to locate competitors within your niche to see what they are doing to brainstorm ideas.
Taking a flower business, for example, we can examine how UrbanStems provides value without a blog, and why a blog is not right for their business:
They’re using Instagram. They don’t have a single blog post because it’s not what their users are looking for.
Instead, they focus on providing content in the form of visuals on their social media:
Explore successful companies in your niche or broader industry to pick up on trends in the form of content delivery.
This will give you a clear picture of whether or not blogs are right for your business.
Ready to build a content strategy without blogging? Let’s do it.
How the best are succeeding without blogs
Some of the best businesses online are succeeding without the use of a standard blog.
Here’s how and why they are so successful:
Pura Vida Bracelets non-blog style “blog”
Pura Vida Bracelets is very successful at driving sales and buzz around their product.
In fact, both of the founders made the Forbes 30 under 30 list for taking their company to $9 million in revenue in 2015.
It’s safe to say they are killing it with content.
This is an interesting example, and probably one of my favorite companies when it comes to stellar content marketing.
They’ve got a blog set up, but it’s not the type of blog you might be thinking of:
Every post they publish doesn’t center on writing thousands of words about their industry.
When it comes to bracelets, there are probably very few people who want to read about them.
Instead, Pura Vida offers a “blog” where they give away free content, resembling a Pinterest style board.
For example, they give away free wallpaper for your phone with their company designs:
In fact, it’s their most popular form of content on their “blog”:
Instead of writing content, they simply provide value by giving away designs that resonate with their brand followers.
The brand is focused on living a great life and building a sense of wanderlust.
They perfectly tap into that theme by giving back to their fan base with beautiful, free photos.
You can have a blog and skip out on the writing. It can instead become a center/hub for free content and value in whatever form you choose.
Solé Bicycles uses music as content
What do you do when your product has nothing to do with blogging?
You tailor-make your content marketing to fit the lifestyle of your everyday user perfectly.
They weren’t finding success with typical blogging efforts when it came to content marketing.
Not every business is going to see direct sales from a blog or even need one.
But they also realized that content marketing was necessary for growth.
To combat this, they needed to brainstorm ways to appeal to their target market with the right content.
The people buying their bikes weren’t interested in reading about them. That’s boring.
They just wanted a great product that matched their lifestyle.
To fit this consumer need and fulfill desire, Solé Bicycles started a new content marketing type on their website called “Fixtapes”:
Essentially, these are customized mixtapes that are free and easy-to-access for anyone.
The idea here was to make mixtapes for their target market to enjoy while biking.
They are hosted on SoundCloud for free and offer tremendous value for their customers and new organic traffic.
They noticed from personal experience and customer feedback that listening to music while cycling was huge.
Taking on that idea, they decided to create content that was valuable to that niche.
Rather than just implementing blogging due to marketing advice, they crafted content that would resonate with their customers.
Now they sell over 15,000 bikes a year, bringing in thousands of visitors with their mixtapes.
You don’t need to have a blog to build a content marketing presence.
It’s all about creating value, no matter what outlet you decide to pick!
Luxy Hair built their content strategy on videos alone
According to State of Inbound, more and more marketers are putting money into video-based platforms like YouTube and Facebook:
Video is steadily becoming the way people consume content online.
Tubular Insights conducted a study where they found that the majority of marketers saw better conversions on video content than other forms of content on their sites:
On top of that, marketers noted the quickly changing importance of video content:
It’s safe to say that video-based marketing is taking over and will be huge in just a few years.
More proof of this shift is already seen with YouTube’s user base size. They currently have nearly two billion monthly active users:
And these users are watching hours of content each and every month. Many are even watching hours every day.
Any brand can take advantage of YouTube to grow their business with new content.
Their entire business success is credited to their explosive YouTube growth.
They recently implemented a blog, but they didn’t have one when they started, meaning all of their growth and content marketing strategy revolved around video content.
Blogging isn’t the only solution. Video-based content performed (and still performs) best for Luxy Hair because it provides the greatest value for their users.
Ready to build your own content strategy without a blog? Here’s how to get started:
How to build a content strategy with no blog
As I said earlier, value should be the main driver when it comes to content marketing.
If you aren’t providing value, nobody is going to check out your content.
And as we all know:
Value comes in different shapes, forms, and sizes.
It doesn’t matter if you’re blogging, producing videos, or giving away music.
With that said, creating a content strategy is relatively easy.
Before you even get started, you need to figure out what your customers want.
You can do this by setting up a SurveyMonkey survey and blasting it to your customers and clients.
If you are running a service-based business, you shouldn’t use your email management program to mass-blast the survey. Instead, you should reach out directly.
You can save a lot of time with the GMass Chrome plugin to automate your follow-ups directly from your Gmail account.
After you gather the qualitative data, then you can start mapping out your content strategy.
First, start by outlining what your end goals are:
- Are you trying to generate more brand awareness with the content?
- Do you want it to drive traffic alone?
- Are sales the end goal of your content plan?
Your answers may vary here, and that’s to be expected.
Some content plans focus on simply generating brand awareness, while others want to be a serious driver of leads for a business.
Once you’ve listed your main end goals for your content plan, that should give you a concrete idea of what the next steps are.
Is your goal brand awareness? Then you probably want to focus on social media marketing and getting more buzz generated on your profiles.
Is your goal to bring in real leads? If so, then you might consider high-end content like videos or tutorials.
Next, put them into action.
Outlining is the first step. After you get a grasp of the tasks that need to be done, it’s time to become the best of the best.
To do this, you need to do a bit of competitor research. If your content game plan is going to be based on Instagram, research others in your niche by doing a hashtag search:
Explore and analyze each account posting photos to see what they are doing and how successful their posts are.
Do they ask questions of their users or engage them in the comments?
Follow that plan.
Do they ask users to tag a friend? Implement that tactic.
Competitor research is great for jumping right to the tricks and tips that are working in your niche, allowing you to skip the need to test and fail with others.
Now go out there and create some amazing, valuable content for your audience!
Content marketing doesn’t have to be just blogging. If it’s not right for your business, you don’t have to force it.
In fact, content marketing comes in many different forms, and all of them work when it comes to driving inbound traffic.
If you can’t compete with blogging or it doesn’t make sense for your business, don’t fret.
You can still drive great traffic without it.
You just have to get a little creative. Start exploring new platforms for content.
Try creating YouTube videos, podcasts, and music-based content.
Consider displaying your business on Instagram if you’ve got a visual-centric product.
You can even give away a free tool to bring in new traffic.
If blogging doesn’t fit your business, branch out and try something new. Many businesses are succeeding without it.
About the Author: David Zheng is the Founder of Growth Wit and Wisemerchant and the Head of Growth at BuildFire. He specializes in growth hacking, content marketing, and ecommerce strategies. He helps influencers, ecommerce brands, venture-backed startups, and Fortune 500 companies grow their traffic and revenue online.