Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable, strategic information that your target market needs and wants. You are not selling; you are offering your expertise, knowledge, and resources absolutely free with no strings attached.
Why would you spend time creating content with no obvious reward?
Content marketing is not a get-rich-quick strategy. It takes time, but the ultimate purpose is to get your potential clients and customers to come to you. It’s often called “inbound marketing.”
Think of fishing. You bait the hook and toss it in the water. If a fish finds the bait attractive, it bites the hook, and you reel it in. Your content is your hook.
Here’s how content marketing works:
- All your content includes links back to your website, products, and services.
- Because your target audience has used the information you have provided for free, they want more of what you have to offer and are now willing to pay for it.
All the paid advertising in the world cannot compete with content marketing to establish your reputation as an expert.
Content Marketing Does Double and Triple Duty
The primary purpose for content marketing is getting people to your website; however, there are other important goals content marketing can accomplish.
Establish and strengthen your brand. Every piece of content needs your brand and brand messaging.
What are the keywords for your website and brand message? Include these in some way in your content by incorporating the actual words or their synonyms in the draft or by using hashtags.
Every piece of content should have a call to action (CTA) that invites your audience to visit your website or product/service page. Try to incorporate your tagline in the call to action.
Showcase your expertise. Everything you create should reflect your knowledge and experience. Reference workshops you teach, mention books and videos you have created, and describe how you achieve results for clients.
Case studies are a good way to do this. A case study is a description of a client’s experience and how you helped them.
Support existing customers and keep them buying. Creating ongoing content is a great way to stay in touch with existing customers and feed their need to have more of your valuable information. It is always easier to sell to an existing customer than get a new one! If they bought one product or service package and got value from it, they will likely buy more from you. By regularly sending out new content to your current customer base, you recognize their loyalty and have the ability to pre-sell new products and services as a loyalty reward.
Your Content Strategy
Do you sometimes feel that you are creating tons of content and no one is paying attention? You blog, you have a great website that you update regularly, you have e-books and audios and opt ins everywhere, and the results are less than stellar?
It might be that you need a better strategy. Al content must fit the picture of your business. A content strategy is a plan for using content to achieve specific results. There are four keys to a successful content strategy:
- Focus on a Niche. Choose a topic that resonates with you, interests you, and represents your brand. Avoid jumping around from topic to topic if you want to become known as an expert. Choose a brand big enough to encompass your many interests. My brand is, “Helping entrepreneurs and career professionals achieve unstoppable success.” This is big enough to hold my interests and my two very disparate customer bases.
- Set a Goal. The goal helps determine the most appropriate media to use. If you want to showcase your expertise, writing a well-researched white paper that explores an issue your customers care about and making meaningful contributions to discussions from other thought leaders would be strategic while writing an e-book or creating a webinar might not. On the other hand, an e-book or webinar would work well to expand your contacts.
- Target your audience. Your content will more effective when it is tightly focused on your audience. What does your audience need and want from you on this topic? How much do they already know? How much background and explanation do they need? The more you target your audience for the content, the more likely it will reach them.
- Choose more than one medium. The more media you use, the more people you will reach. The white paper can be rewritten as articles for magazines and journals, broken into a series of blog posts, form the basis of a lengthy e-book or reformatted into a webinar or workshop. Use a content calendar that will help you keep track of all your content and make it easier to repurpose it in different media.