What is content marketing and should you have a content marketing strategy? First, content marketing is providing valuable information that will lead your target market (buyers persona) to your website to complete an action, whether it be submit a form or make a purchase. See why you should now have a content marketing strategy? And why you should know the best ways to become a content creation machine?
Firstly, because the more value you can provide for your prospects the more trust you will build and the more you will be looked at as the authority. So two things:
- You position yourself as the authority
- You build relationships with your readers, viewers, listeners etc.
Now the key here is to know what type of content your prospects prefer. In other words how does your ideal customer (buyers persona) consume content? Is it mostly through images, videos or text? If it is text for example, do they prefer long form or short form?
Content Marketing Strategy
Let’s say you’re writing for an audience of amateur writer’s, or people who are looking to become content creators but have very little experience, you’ll also have to know their age at least to start. What kind of content will be easier for them to consume?
If they’re a young and busy audience, maybe short form content that is high quality and gets to the point will be best. If they have a lot of time and are willing to invest time versus money then long form is ideal.
Another great thing that I think is going to gain a lot of traction is audio form content. For example, podcasts, recorded seminars or trainings, radio shows etc. The reason being is because people can listen to almost anything while do something else.
They can be on their way to work driving or on the train and be listening to their iPod for a few hours daily and not have to change their routine. It’s a lot harder to watch a series of training videos while driving and I seriously don’t recommend it.
Audio content also requires way less resources from your device’s processor and your Internet provider so it loads quickly. You can even download the content before hand and easily sync your device to play later without Internet access.
Ray Higdon, an extremely successful network marketer does Periscope’s while driving short distances. He does give a disclaimer before starting that his eyes will remain on the road and he will not be looking at the screen to engage with his audience. It’s fairly easy to talk and drive a lot of people do it all the time.
The point here is to find what type of content will get you the traffic you want so you have to think about your ideal prospect. You can even classify a customer with the right content written for someone in a buying mood so content marketing is extremely powerful.
Once you know what style of content you will need then you need to create the content. At first you might be the only one doing this for your blog or website but down the line you’ll want to consider hiring a company or freelancer(s) to give you a hand.
Become or Hire a Content Creator, Content Writer
Content writing is a skill that obviously involves being a good writer. It’s something that’s not easily taught or even learned, it takes a lot of effort and time. To be a good writer you have to write, you have to write often and, you can’t be a writer who doesn’t write. A good practice that works for me is to write a minimum of one hour daily and sometimes I write several hours daily.
When starting out we may not have the capital to spend for a good content writer so the best we can really do is write every day as a practice. American novelist Anne Lamott would say, “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” Her well-known book Bird by Bird says it in the title, we have to take writing bird by bird, one step at a time.
A few good places to find content writers are Upwork and ProBlogger Job Board. If taking this route make sure you know what you’re getting into. Make a detailed posting of the content you require, what level of experience you’re looking for and compensation you offer.
There are several forms of digital content as I mentioned before and you don’t have to focus on all of them. If writing daily is just not working out for you then make a video or an audio recording everyday.
Some prefer to make a video and share it instead of sitting down and writing a blog post. Even if you do choose this route you have to at least write a description with tags for your content.
The type of content you choose to create will also depend on the platform you choose to promote it on. If it’s Instagram or Pinterest then it needs to be an image, graphic or video. I’ve seen some social media accounts grow their following to 25,000+ followers and their website is still under construction (even worst the link in their bio is to a page that says “under construction”).
This reveals that you have to know what form of content your particular audience prefers to engage with and then you must deliver it consistently. If you’re a photographer for example, then you have to be posting quality content on Instagram at least twice a week to keep your audience engaged, there’s really no excuse. How else would people know that you’re a photographer? And then you’re complaining that you’re not getting work from Instagram?
Content Marketing Services
Before I continue, I want to address that you need to first have clear goals for your content marketing. What is your end goal?
- Increase sign-ups? Then you’ll want to start working on your landing page and sign-up forms/call to actions/buttons.
- Increase sales? Then you’ll want to optimize your sales pages and blog posts that offer informational content but then drive traffic to your sales pages (promotional content).
- Page views? If this is to increase brand awareness then you’ll want to provide an epic reason the bring people’s attention from their busy lives to your content. This goes for time spent on site too.
- Increase traffic? If you’re using something like Adsense on your website then the more visitors you get the better. You’ll want to focus on SEO content, which is content created to be easily found by the search engines. For an example of SEO in action, take a look at this article from codecondo.com that outlines how Payday Loans Companies can use SEO strategies to promote their services. Want to further your knowledge of SEO? I talk more about SEO in a previous post.
Determining your goals will determine what strategy is best for you. Even if you’re hiring another company/individual you need to have clear goals so they can help you in the best way possible. Here’s an elaborate list of content writing services for your reference.
So not only does your content have to provide value and be optimized for the search engines but it also has to provide a good overall user experience. To find the sweet spot between providing value, SEO and usability requires a lot of A/B testing (split-testing). I talk a little bit more about split testing in a previous post about online marketing softwares.
A quick word of advice, if you’re charging a customer $1,800 on average, think about what that means, what else costs $1,800? What else could they buy with $1,800? I know some 5-star hotels that would cost you that much for just a few nights but think about why would people go to those hotels? For the location and the experience. The experience at such a place needs to be mind-blowing and the staff usually caters everything to be as personal and helpful as possible. Are you providing such an experience for your $1,800+ buyers?
Content Marketing Tools
Analyzing data is only the beginning of creating your content marketing strategy. Not only must you define your target market (best to feed a hungry market) but you also need to analyze what is the specific process that causes or creates a sale on your website.
In other words, what are the series of actions your users take before they purchase? This is known as optimizing your sales process or sales funnel. For this there are many, many other types of content marketing tools available. See this ultimate list by Curata. I’ll go over some of the most popular tools below.
The main objective for most websites online is to makes sales. Content marketing is a crucial aspect when it comes to educating the prospect as to why they need your product or service and showing them how to use it.
Remember when I mentioned sales process above? This is process that your prospect goes through before they buy. What is your sales process? Do you even have one? If so, how can you optimize it to increase your conversions?
- The first step in doing this is tracking and testing to see what works best.
- Gathering enough data and making a decision to move forward from there.
- Repeat until desired results are achieved.
There are so many analytics tools available on the web today from analyzing cost per customer to generating heat maps that show where your visitors are looking at on your website the most. Other tools measure user behavior, how far people are scrolling on your pages, conversion rates, what sources are bringing in the conversions and more. Four tools that I’ve used and many other successful marketers have also used are: Crazy Egg, VWO (Visual Website Optimizer), KISSmetrics and Buzzsumo. For a list of more and reviews of the tools see this post.
The Ultimate Goal Of Content Creation
I really don’t understand how someone who’s considering taking blogging seriously can say things like, “what do I blog about?” or, “what if I run out of ideas?” There are so many things that have yet to be written and especially from your unique perspective. If you’re feeling stuck with your marketing read this post on creative marketing.
Here’s a quick tip whenever you come up with an idea that you think is remotely useful, write it down, anywhere, on a piece of paper, your smartphone, notepad etc. Come back to it later and see how you can expand on it. Make this list as long as you want it to be. Don’t worry about not getting to everything because you won’t but make sure you get to one thing at least every week and finish it.
Some unorthodox content marketing tools include libraries and bookstores. Going to Barnes and Noble and reading up on your niche can be an excellent way of coming up with content. You’d be surprised how beautiful a moment can be when you’re alone in a bookstore reading about your passion.
So, I know there are way too many resources, available content, trainings and videos online today but the truth is we’re not making use of them. We’re all guilty of “scanning” the Internet for content that grabs our attention and that’s okay. The problem is that we’re not spending enough time with content that really matters to our niche and then giving our take on it. It’ll only make us better bloggers and writers.
I’m not saying to spend most of our time consuming content, I’m saying that we should respect the content we come across and read through most of it to see what we can get out of it. Use Evernote to save webpages you want to revisit but would rather not bookmark or leave open with the rest of your 47 tabs. Evernote is really a great tool to save everything in once place from screenshots, notes, and webpages to full articles and even audio recordings.
When we spend time with content in our niche we become the authority. From there we can start looking at sub-niches and become authorities in those as well. If we do this we’ll be able to create a wealth of content not only consistently but also frequently.
Another great source for content are life lessons. Have you ever tried taking off a sweater or shirt so fast that you punched yourself in the face? That’s a life lesson, a funny and short one too. Write about it. Write about your personal experiences. Write about your passion. Write about what you love.
Surveys are another really great tool if we’re feeling we’re just not good enough or no one is reciprocating with our content. If we have enough followers online then we can send out a survey asking people to give you an honest review. You can also make a blog post asking for your readers’ opinion about your blog. Send out the survey by email. You can even create your own group on LinkedIn for example, and create a survey on there. Whereever you choose to do it make sure you respond to the criticism in a positive way and use it to make yourself a better person and blogger.
So, these are the best ways to become a content creation machine (in a list for your reference):
- Position yourself as the authority in your niche (or sub-niche)
- Build relationships with real people
- Consider the different kinds of content available online/offline today
- Use a variety of content: written word, audio recording, video, data, graphs etc.
- Ask for help or hire help
- Use the myriad of content marketing tools available today (links above)
- Have a working list of content that you want to create in the future
- Read more but write more then you read
- Go to libraries and bookstores more often. Too much of our time is spent on the Internet today.
- Write about small life lessons you may have experienced
- Create and send out/share surveys to your readers/customers/followers
There you have it. There’s really no excuse for not being able to produce outstanding content today. So, start now and become the best content creation machine there ever was. If you’re a creative reading this then read this post I published just this morning on Medium: Blogging for Creatives.
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