WordPress started life as a blogging engine. Today’s WordPress retains many of the traits of its first years, even though it has long since shaken off its image as “just a blogging engine”. Now supporting a quarter of the top million sites on the web, WordPress is a uniquely powerful and flexible publishing tool. Nevertheless, it remains the best option for bloggers ranging from solo writers to big publishing via millions of smaller publishers and businesses.
But to make the most of WordPress’ capabilities as a platform for promoting your business, it helps to think beyond the blog. Blogs are an essential part of modern content marketing, but WordPress can easily handle many different types of content, allowing site owners to maximize the exposure of their business to multiple audiences.
Over the last few years podcasting has moved from a niche “geek” activity into the mainstream. Millions of people listen to podcasts every day, and the most popular podcasts bring in audiences and advertising revenues that have forced traditional publishers to take notice — most large publishers now include podcasts in their range of content.
WordPress is an excellent platform for podcast distribution — the format of podcasts lends itself to distribution via a blog and WordPress’ built-in RSS capability makes it relatively easy to include audio content in podcast directories.
One of the best WordPress podcast plugins is Seriously Simple Podcasting, which allows for the management and distribution of multiple podcasts from the same WordPress site. It includes widgets with shortcodes for including podcasts in pages and posts, as well as integration with WordPress’ native media player so that podcasts can be streamed directly from the site.
Newsletters are undergoing something of a renaissance. They have some unique advantages when compared to other content marketing methods — they’re opt-in, they’re intimate, and they give brands a direct line of communication to a qualified audience.
My favorite email newsletter tool is TinyLetter, which is perfect for low-volume newsletters, but if you’d rather manage a newsletter from within WordPress, MailPoet is a great option. It integrates well with WordPress, includes a range of useful analytics, and makes it straightforward to send attractive emails to your subscribers.
As I remarked earlier this year in connection with eCommerce and video, I’m constantly surprised by the number of brands who fail to take advantage of video in their content marketing. Video is a powerful tool for increasing engagement both on your site and on social media.
Many businesses fear that video content is both too expensive and difficult to produce. While that was once true, the equipment and the software to create great quality — if not quite professional quality — video is within the reach of most individuals and businesses.
A word of warning here — it’s probably not a good idea to host video on the same server as your WordPress site or to use WordPress to host content directly. A popular video can cut through bandwidth allowances in no time at all. It’s better to embed videos from a video sharing site like YouTube or use the VideoPress video hosting service.
Ebooks And Other Premium Content
Some content marketing professionals conceive of content marketing as a method for exchanging valuable content for email addresses and other information.
I view it more broadly as the strategy of using content to build and engage an audience of qualified leads, but there’s no doubt that premium opt-in content has a huge part to play. The strategy is simple to understand: create content that provides value for your audience — thought leadership, tutorials, analysis — and put that content behind an opt-in that requires potential readers to give something in return, usually an email address.
Premium or opt-in content is easy to manage with WordPress. There are any number of plugins designed to make building an email list with content marketing a straightforward process. For premium content that you intend to charge money for, Easy Digital Downloads is the best option. For opt-in content, I strongly recommend Bloom from Elegant Themes.
Every month or so we publish a roundup of the most interesting content on the web related to Magento, ExpressionEngine, and WordPress. These link lists help us to provide a dual service — we highlight content from great writers who benefit from the exposure, and we provide our users with a digest of content that matters to them.
One of the major advantages of curated link lists is that the same content can be used for other promotional efforts, including social media and newsletter content. Another advantage is that featured authors will often promote link lists in which they are included to their own audiences, substantially increasing reach.
Link lists are the most “bloggy” of the tactics I have suggested here — no plugins required.
With a little bit of imagination, it’s possible to leverage WordPress’s basic blog-like features to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy with a broad appeal that goes beyond the traditional blog-post-tweet workflow that so many companies limit themselves to.