Digital marketing is one of the modern wonders.
Yeah, that’s right. The thing is, many people don’t see it in this way. But without digital marketing, it would’ve been different. And because of this reason we’ve seen astounding popularity of this vertical of marketing.
Like if you ask 10 people around you about digital marketing, around 6 of them will have something to say about it.
But the main issue here isn’t about the popularity of digital marketing. It’s about the knowledge gap about the parts of digital marketing.
To be more specific, the issue here is that not many know about the exact connection between digital marketing and niche blog marketing.
And that’s where I wanted to barge in. So, let’s head on to the details-
Now, before we get on with the dissection of digital marketing, let’s take a minute to see if we’re on the same page.
So, what is digital marketing?
Well, in my opinion, digital marketing is basically using tech-based communication mediums to convey the value of a product in expectation of some return.
Whoah, those are some heavy words. To make it simple, I’ll quote something from the American Marketing Association.
According to them, “digital marketing refers to the marketing methods conducted through electronic devices.”
And as marketing methods have evolved in many ways nowadays, any information about a company or service, or product can be categorized under digital marketing. So, if you see news on your Instagram explaining how a company is working for the environment, then that’s probably an example of digital marketing.
Now, before we jump into the main topic of today, let’s have a flashback. Let’s see how digital marketing came into existence and how it brought its branches with time.
You see, digital marketing is fully connected with digital devices. And so it seems like that we gotta start from the inception of computers. So, let’s head over to the early 90s. Where we have somewhat mass-level computers available.
Even with all those computers out there, there was no way to virtually portray marketing efforts in those. And even when the World Wide Web project got launched, it took people some time to get used to it.
So, when two browsers named Mosaic and Netscape got released in 1993 and 1994, the total web user number jumped. To be more specific, within a span of months, the number of users raised from 16 million to 70 million.
All this resulted in something absolutely remarkable-
You see, before long someone realized that it’s possible to show advertisements through the internet to this huge number of people. As a result, in 1994, AT & T published a banner ad on HotWired.com giving birth to the digital marketing industry.
Right after that, the whole scenario changed as the world saw the inception of a search engine (Yahoo!) and two major e-commerce sites (Amazon and eBay). All of these together popularized the internet and the concept of marketing through the internet.
And when Google was launched in 1997, the whole landscape saw a major evolution.
With 2 search engines, 2 major e-commerce sites, some user-friendly browsers, and an upwards trending internet speed, the stage was all set for the next act of the show.
Now, remember that banner ad from 1994?
Yeah, that ad had a click-through-rate of 44 percent. It means that 44 percent of the people who saw the ad clicked on it. Now, the sad part about digital advertisements is that with time this CTR drops.
So, people started to figure out new and improved ways to market to this huge growing audience. As a result, the marketing efforts slowly moved out from sole emails to search results.
In simpler terms, SEO came into existence.
At this point in history, tech business initiatives were growing like crazy. However, the actual growth and economic growth were not quite near one another at this time. Tech companies were growing like mushrooms and so was the digital marketing (advertisements) with that.
Economic prosperity felt like a dream. But things were about to take a turn pretty soon.
A few bad incidents along with warning signs from the economists resulted in a massive distrust of tech companies. As a result, the valuation of the overall tech industry plummeted overnight.
The dot com bubble boom took place. Now, there are many deep analyzed contents on the dot com boom. And that’s why we won’t be going deep into that.
However, we’ll take a quick dive into the digital marketing perspective of this and move on to the more important parts. Ultimately, we’re not here to take some history lessons.
Now, after the dot com boom, the tech industry stayed quiet for a few years. But soon after, new giants took their first breath in this world.
A totally new concept, social media landed on this planet and companies like Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter started gaining some noise.
Now, here’s the thing-
Although there were social media sites even before the dot com boom, this was the time that I consider to be the real inception point of social media platforms.
And with all these platforms attracting a good number of people, it was inevitable that someone would start thinking of using digital marketing on these platforms.
As a result, soon there were advertisements rolling in these sites. And at one point all the social media platforms started creating and selling marketing opportunities based on their user data.
Later on, the marketers and tech companies together started innovating new and improved forms of marketing. From there on, today, we’re roaming around in a post advertisement world where it’s all about passive promotions through content.
Long story short, with the new technological elements running the world, digital marketing started crossing boundaries and spreading its branches in full throttle.
As we said earlier-
After the social media platforms got some traction, digital marketing started spreading like wildfire.
Moreover, if we look at how it leaped from one trend to another, we can bring up some major types of digital marketing.
Now, let’s take a sneak peek at the major digital marketing types or branches so that it gets easier to understand the position of niche blogs.
Oh before I start out, I wanted to give a shoutout to my resources of this part, the American Marketing Association, and HubSpot. I believe it’s better to have some backup in here if you have trouble believing my words.
So, let’s start with it-
This is probably one of the oldest methods of digital marketing that’s still in use. Here the marketer places ads on websites, social media platforms, or search results (SEM) and pays based on the clicks on those.
To be fair, this is a great solution for small businesses. Especially those who don’t have a content team or good word of mouth. And the number of available options is also pretty life-saving. Some popular PPC mediums are – Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads Campaign, etc.
Once the CTR of the advertisements started going down, marketers started looking for more effective mediums of marketing.
And here Search Engine Optimization or SEO jumped in.
Search engines are extremely popular in today’s world. Hundreds of millions of queries go into the search engines every second. And SEO is all about ranking websites for those search queries.
And if you’re new to the concept of ranking…it’s basically how high up a search result one can position one’s website. This ranking brings in a passive flow of people into a website. And if you can gather people and if you can make them interested then it gets super easy to sell something to them.
However, the main challenge of this type is that there’s no specific guideline on how to rank.
Back when there weren’t social media ads or search engine ads, marketers relied on this weapon of mass conversion.
So, what is this email marketing?
Well, email marketing is a way through which marketers send out product/service/brand-related emails to their target audience. In simpler words, marketers start by collecting the email addresses of their target audience. Next, they create good email copies that would inform the receiver about the brand or product, or service. Finally, the emails are sent out.
With major iterations over time, this method has been still one of the best methods of conducting digital marketing.
Before understanding content marketing we have to understand what content is. In simple words, content is a digital asset that provides some sort of value to its audience. These digital assets come in audio, video, or text format.
And content marketing is all about publishing and distributing these contents to a targeted audience. For businesses, this audience is their customers or key decision-makers.
Overall, this is a pretty popular method for generating brand awareness, growth of traffic, and ultimately customers.
SMM or social media marketing was the savior for many after the dot com boom. As these are huge reservoirs of traffic, marketers have experimented and used these platforms in a lot of ways.
But before introducing some of the latest techniques, let’s get to know the basics.
According to both AMA and Hubspot, SMM is the practice of using social media to promote business products and services.
To me, SMM is basically using content marketing through social media platforms only. Overall, the goal is the same- Creating a funnel of traffic that will eventually convert.
However, nowadays, we’re seeing a new breed of SMM. It’s called influencer marketing. Here micro-celebrities use their brand image to promote other products or services.
Let’s disregard traditional advertisements for this type. It’s far easier to understand this with an example.
Imagine you saw an article in NY Times about the tactical analysis of a Champions League match. However, within the article suddenly you see a subtle placement of a few lines that talk about the video game Football Manager 2021.
The placement was so subtle, that you end up clicking on the link and visiting the official site.
So, basically, native advertising is content created by others that are curated for you. To be fair influencer marketing is a type of native advertisement too.
This is a revenue-sharing marketing model. Basically, two marketers work in collaboration here. One has the product or service and another has the contents and platform.
The goal is to create content promoting the product or service of someone else. And if someone ends up purchasing that product or service through that content, then the content creator gets a percentage of the revenue.
Basically, this is a pay-per-sale model.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the branches of digital marketing, let’s have a short peek at the concept of a niche blog. I won’t spend many words here as there’s another full piece explaining this concept.
In short words, a niche blog is a blog website dedicated to a niche topic.
Now, what is a niche topic?
Let’s say that the home experiences a lot of issues. But you’re an expert on kitchens. So, you decide to share your knowledge about kitchens only. And if you create a blog website dedicated to this, then that’s your niche blog.
While building a niche blog often times we end up creating a large enough fan base or traffic that can be monetized.
So, by using different types of digital marketing methods, a niche site is monetized.
This practice started gaining popularity after the CTR of paid advertisements started going down. Because people simply learned to avoid advertisements. And only value-driven contents were the only thing that would attract them.
This way once the sites start driving traffic, this becomes a passive flow of traffic. And the best part is that- this traffic is pretty much into that niche topic. As a result, this becomes a great place for company owners to promote their product or service that’s related to that niche.
Till now we’ve explored the history and types of digital marketing. We saw how and why those types came into existence. Moreover, we took a short dive into the concept of niche blogs. How these work and all.
Long story short, we’ve set the stage for our final arc of this piece. Now, let’s build up the connection and see where it falls together.
So, niche blogs are built so that people can read them. Now, this blog creation process is part of content marketing. Here keeping a target group in mind, text format contents are created. Oftentimes these text contents are complemented with infographics, videos, and images.
And at one point, creators start making newsletters, cheat sheets, guided books, podcasts to provide more value to the audience.
This is connection 1.
We’ve explored the basic idea of niche blog content creation. Now, let’s explore how niche blogs generate traffic while living and breathing digital marketing.
Using SEO is the Most Popular Way
On the other hand, making content while keeping a TG in mind doesn’t necessarily guarantee a constant flow of traffic. And this is where SEO comes in.
Now, the niche blogger has to find topics based on two major factors-
The thing is, these two factors might seem pretty easy to do. But in reality, there are several steps in each of those factors. And apart from these factors, there’s another whole new world of maintaining content quality.
This is connection 2 and seems that content marketing and SEO are intertwined here.
Using SMM if there’s Hesitation with SEO
Now, SEO cannot be the only medium of getting traffic. So, creators who don’t like SEO or want to increase their existing traffic flow or want to reduce the dependency on SEO, go for this option.
Here the niche blog contents are republished through different social media platforms in different content formats. So, we end up repurposing the blog contents into-
Now, these are only some of the ways to use social media with content marketing. Moreover, the whole landscape changes when someone promotes (paid) these repurposed contents through social media. And in recent days many niche bloggers even collab with micro-influencers to generate a traffic boost.
But there’s a catch-
If the niche blogger thinks about curating traffic from social media only, then it’s extremely crucial to target the right audience with the right content.
Using Email Marketing Nurture that Audience
Remember we mentioned creating newsletters a while ago? Well, guess what, it’s back!
Once there are some regular traffics visiting the blog, many niche bloggers tend to aim for collecting leads. Once they have significant leads, they start sending out newsletters and other value-packed content straight to the TG.
As a result, they start growing a loyal audience who love content from this niche blog.
This is the most favorite part of many bloggers. Ultimately, this is where the money rolls in.
So, till now we’ve seen digital marketing helping in creating traffic for the niche blog in many ways. Now, the question remains, does it help with generating money?
Well, this is where two branches of digital marketing barge in.
First of all, we have PPC. Niche blog owners can let AdSense or other advertising programs publish ads on their websites. And when someone clicks the ad, the blog owner gets some amount of revenue.
Next, we have affiliate marketing. The niche bloggers can create contents that review or mention the products or services of a brand. One of the most popular affiliate programs is Amazon Associates Program.
Based on the affiliate model the niche blogger generates revenues.
Apart from regular affiliate programs, a niche blogger can go direct with brand collaboration and generate revenue based on the terms agreed by both parties.
Now, that was monetization from the perspective of a niche blogger. There’s another side to it.
You see, traffic sent out from niche blogs is a blessing for business owners. Running ad campaigns is always costly. And this sometimes drags down the brand image too.
However, niche bloggers have a subtle way of doing it. And through this, it gets easier to find a good number of already interested people in one place.
Even though niche sites work within a small area, their overall impact in the digital marketing world is worth admiring.
It’s amazing how there’s the scope of using almost all methods of digital marketing, in the development of a niche blog. And it’s fair to say that, even if some new and out-of-the-box method of digital marketing comes up, the niche blogging industry will figure out some way of using it.