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What is content marketing?
It’s the process of creating and publishing written, audio, or video content for your website and then promoting it on the Internet.
Those are two separate processes, so let’s look at creating content first and WHY your company may want to do so.
The answer to Why is simply to grow your business.
To generate more traffic to your website, more opt-in to your email list, more prospects, and sales to your business.
With most of the world’s attention on the Internet today, your company needs to produce and promote content that can attract the eyeballs and ears that matter to your business.
Suppose you haven’t realized that yet, then your company is probably in jeopardy in the long run. Word of mouth business will only get you so far and scale that word of mouth should be very attractive.
So we all know WHY you should be creating content that attracts your ideal prospects and customers. The next step is WHAT kind of content you should create.
The simple answer to that can be summed up in a single word, HELPFUL.
Now you can add enjoyment and entertainment to it if that’s your style and aligns with your brand, but helpful is the primary objective because that’s what people are searching for in topics related to your services.
People hate sales and promotional content, so don’t waste your time with that crap.
Help, inform and educate.
But before we get into what kind of helpful content to create, let’s quickly talk about what FORMAT you should create your content in.
You have three choices:
- Written form on your website’s blog.
- Audio form on your blog and maybe in a podcast.
- Video form on your blog and YouTube.
Choose the form that aligns with your personality.
I choose audio because I don’t enjoy writing very much and I’m camera shy and don’t want to put myself out there on video.
Video is probably the most effective because people get to see you and your personality may come through more that way, but again, if that’s not your style, do what works for you.
So what appeals to you, or maybe it’s one of your team members who will be doing the content creation, in which case what appeals to them and what do you as the business owner prefer.
Both audio and video can and should be transcribed into written form and posted on your blog with the original audio or video production.
Audio can be turned into a video and posted on YouTube, just like original video content.
Both audio and video allow you to publish on at least two platforms, your blog, and YouTube.
Since YouTube content is an evergreen content platform, meaning it’s up there and searchable forever or until you take it down, and because it’s the 2nd largest search engine in the world, it should be a goal to get your content up on YouTube as well as on your blog.
That doubles your chances of generating business from it.
We create audio content for a podcast and then transcribe it for a blog post and turn it into a video for YouTube.
We create all three formats with one piece of content.
But you do YOU, and with what will be easiest for you and your team to create.
You can always start with one method and expand later.
Step #1 would be to detail and define exactly WHO your target audience is. Often referred to as your “buyer persona” or “customer avatar.”
Don’t try to be all things to all people. Zero in on exactly who the BEST prospects are for each of your products and services.
Don’t start making content until you know exactly WHO you are speaking to.
- How old are they?
- Are they married?
- Are they mostly male or female?
- Do they have children?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their profession?
- What’s their income level?
- What are their pain points, problems, or desires as it relates to your business?
- What are their objectives or goals as they relate to your products or services?
- What do they look for in a company to provide a solution to their problems or desires?
- Where do they consume information? Favorite books, newspapers, blogs, social media channels, conferences, seminars, events, etc.?
- How do you find these things out if you don’t know them already?
The answer is to ASK simply. Send an email survey out to all of your existing customers.
You can use Google Sheets to do this or use a paid tool like Survey Monkey or others.
Whatever you do, don’t assume you already know. You probably don’t and will be surprised by lots of the responses.
I once worked for a business owner who insisted he knew everything about his customers. “I’ve been doing this for decades, and I know everything about my customers,” he said.
Of course, he didn’t and out of all the business owners I know, he struggles the most.
Here are a few pieces of helpful content that should be easy for you to create because you most likely already have it at hand.
Remember that’s all about your ideal customer and what’s in it for them. Inform, educate, and be helpful.
- What are the top questions prospects ask about each one of your services and products?
- What are the top questions paid customers to ask after the sale?
- What are the common myths about your industry?
- What are the common myths about your key products or services?
- What are the best benefits and features of some of your products?
- What’s your company story?
- How did it start?
- Why did you start it?
- Who makes up your key personnel?
Is there any service calls your team goes out on for simple things that the customer could have easily done themselves if they only had great instructions? Make a step-by-step process for them to follow.
Not all of them will want to try it themselves, but some will. It also saves both the customer and your valuable time and resources.
What products do you offer and why are they better than other choices? Are they good, better, and best options? Lay it all out for them.
Do you offer financing options?
What DIY tips can you provide that are related to your business?
Who can you interview your company or your suppliers that may provide helpful info to your ideal prospect?
What do people want to know before they decided to purchase your products or services?
What free online tools, calculators, or software can you offer?
Don’t forget to include a call-to-action at the end of each piece of content.
Ask people to share it, join your email newsletter, receive a multi-part email educational series, download a bonus chapter or ebook, call or complete a form for more information.
Now that you have some content creation ideas let’s look at a few content promotion strategies to help attract more eyeballs and ears.
#1 is to ensure you create good content your ideal prospects will want to consume and share.
Don’t just create content for content’s sake. Make it useful.
Once it’s on your blog, the first step is to go to Google Search Console and request they index the new URL.
Then do the same in Bing’s Webmaster Tools, both of which you should have set up already; if not, do that first.
This will get the page recognized by Google and Bing and available in search results pages. Plus, it will help establish your timeline as the original author of the piece.
Provide social sharing buttons on your blog posts to make it easy for people to share your content.
Next up is to share the whole piece and perhaps short clips of the piece on your branded social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Reddit, and many others.
Look for influencers in your local area.
Search for local blogs, podcasters, YouTubers, and Instagram influencers who may be ideal candidates to share your content in exchange for money, services, products, or other mutually beneficial arrangements.
You could offer some of your content pieces for other sites as a guest blog that can help you gain traffic and links from other popular websites local to your area.
Paid promotions are a potential for your best content. You can run YouTube or social media ads to your best content at growing your email list.
You should promote the content through your email newsletter to your existing customers and make it easy for them to share it on their social channels.
If you had an automated referral program in place and promoted that to them already, your content pieces that follow may be great tools for them to help you grow more referral business.
You can also use paid content distribution networks to promote your content. We’ve not used them ourselves, but they exist and work for many companies.
Places like Outbrain and Taboola may be potential candidates for your best content.
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