7 Essential Inbound Content Marketing Strategies

Inbound content marketing illustration with magnifying glass and strategy icons

Any successful 2021 digital content strategy will focus on delivering high-value content that will truly help your audiences. That’s why this year, developing a stronger inbounding content marketing strategy is essential. Useful content is at the core of inbound marketing, as HubSpot explains. The goal is to engage and delight your audiences in the short term, in order to develop lasting relationships with them in the long term. 

Unlike outbound marketing, inbound doesn’t interrupt audiences. Instead, it speaks to them when they’re most likely to be open to your message. 

1. Conduct an SEO audit

There’s no reason to develop high-quality content if no one can find it. So in 2021, take a hard look at your SEO strategy. Are your target keywords up-to-date? Are you following the latest SEO best practices? Search Engine Journal is a great resource for search-engine optimization resources and strategies. 

2. Sell solutions, not products

Inbound content marketing illustration with megaphone

Whether you’re encountering a lead for the first time or conducting a sales call with a highly qualified potential customer, focus on solutions above all. This is key to inbound marketing — you always want to be able to deliver useful, high-quality content. And that means solving your audiences’ problems. 

Sure, you’ve got a great line of products or services. But how can they make your customers’ lives better? Once you can relate to the problems your audiences are encountering, you’ll be all the more empowered to solve them. 

3. Publish high-quality blog posts

The best blog posts combine high-quality SEO with useful information and visuals that keep the posts interesting and engaging. If you’re going to rank high on SERPs and keep audiences on your web page once they get there, each of your blog posts need all three of these elements to succeed. 

So include illustrations, data visualizations, and other visual elements whenever possible. And link out to other relevant content throughout the piece. The key measure of success is whether your audiences can walk away knowing something they didn’t know before — and, hopefully, something that will be immediately useful. 

4. Create visual ebook content

Visual ebook illustration as example of inbound marketing

Visual ebooks are key to any inbound content marketing strategy because they share highly useful content in a gated context — often the first step to developing a great lead. The takeaways from these pieces should be greater than from a typical blog post. You’ll want audiences to start off knowing what they’re going to learn, and walk away feeling empowered and knowledgeable. 

Just as with blog posts, you’ll want to include visual elements throughout to keep their attention. How can a flow chart or illustration make a complex idea or process clear? How can a clickable checklist walk them through key steps? Can data visualization make the benefits of what you’re sharing more immediately clear? The more engaged they are, the more they’ll learn from your ebook — and the more impressed they’ll be with all that your brand has to offer. 

5. Develop interactive content & landing pages

Interactive content illustration with computer

More than 7 in 10 consumers will disengage when content isn’t personalized to them. And interactive widgets, quizzes, and landing pages are the easiest medium in which to offer personalized solutions. 

Imagine a quiz that helps them choose the right product or service for their needs. Or a widget or calculator that helps them make a key business or budget decision. These are tools they can use again and again — meaning they’ll return to your organization for these insights. 

Likewise, an interactive site or landing page gives them multiple ways to explore a complex topic. For instance, on a clickable map, they can dive into data on only those states or countries that interest them. Or an interactive graph can allow them to manipulate the data or take a deeper look at how the numbers break down. Interactive landing pages are ideal for campaigns that stand out from your brand as a whole — drive traffic to them using shorter-form social-media content as a teaser.

6. Share useful social-media content

Inbound content marketing is about delivering real solutions to those who need it most. That’s why every piece of content you develop for social media should make it clear just how valuable the content you’re sharing is. 

Offer that value right away by sharing a thought-provoking data visualization or surprising insight. Then link to content that’s directly related to the post and that offers deeper insights on the same theme. That way, audiences will see that your brand delivers on what you promise — and provides true value. 

7. Streamline your marketing & sales funnels

What happens in your organization when marketing leads turn into inbound sales calls? If your sales team doesn’t have a clear picture of what each prospect is looking for, and what will benefit them most, you’re more likely to miss out on key opportunities. 

Make sure you’re using your Customer Resource Management tool to its maximum potential and gathering useful insights on your leads. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re converting marketing leads to sales leads at the right stage, and classifying lead quality in an effective way. 

Develop an inbound content marketing strategy

All of the strategies we’ve shared here should be streamlined into a single, coherent plan. So make sure that inbound marketing is a part of your greater 2021 marketing strategy, and ensure that you’re developing content that’s appropriate and customized for each channel where you’re sharing. That way, you’ll reach audiences when and where they’re most receptive to what you have to offer. That’s what inbound content marketing is all about.

Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

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