A ServiceProfessional's "Newbie" Guide to Content Marketing
by Susan Friesen
Understanding Content Marketing... In Less Than 5 Minutes
There's been a lot of talk lately about the term "Content Marketing" but sometimes these industry buzzwords end up being quite meaningless to the people who need to understand them the most.
In this case, anyone who is in business needs to understand what this term means.
So at the risk of using "industry jargon" and not make any assumptions that all entrepreneurs and business owners know what this term means, plus why they should know about it to begin with, today's article will shed some light on the content marketing subject.
What is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as being a "strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience - and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
What this means to you is the need to create articles, images, audios and/or videos that can be shared to your followers through various means, with the intention of attracting your ideal target market so they will eventually convert into being a paying customer.
And once that content is created, then it can be re-purposed and re-distributed again as a new form of media.
For instance, I post a video eTip on YouTube but it doesn't stop there. l can then make a blog article out of it by embedding the video into the blog post. From there, I'll send out a newsletter with a snippet to the same blog article.
But there's still more that can be done. I can take things further and flush out a whole new article based on the premise of the video, providing a more in-depth look at that particular topic.
From there I could create quotables and tip snippets for social media where I use #eTip as my hashtag. Maybe there's enough information to create an infographic from that article too. Or take the audio portion of that original video and post it as a podcast.
As you can see, there are many different ways one piece of content can be used and re-purposed. But first, let's address why you should even bother going through that effort.
5 Benefits of Content Marketing
With the age of "relationship marketing", content marketing is an ideal tool to attract paying clients in a non-evasive, non-selling manner, more authentic manner.
Here's some benefits of adding content marketing to your business strategy:
1. Generate Brand Awareness and Visibility: Showcasing your expertise through content distribution is a great way to get in front of your ideal target market and begin to build brand awareness every time someone views your pieces.
2. Build a "Know, Like and Trust" Factor With Followers: People buy from people they trust and there's no better way to gain trust than by sharing your knowledge through your own voice, no matter what industry you're in.
3. Set The Stage for Converting Followers into Purchasers: Some people need to see or hear about your many times before they start to think about hiring you. By providing them a tonne of value gives them peace of mind you are in business for their best interest, not yours, and are more likely to purchase from you.
4. Create Brand Advocates: Existing clients (and some that aren't) can be your best advocates if you give them an opportunity to share your content to their followers. The more they share, the more your brand awareness escalates.
5. Build Repeat Business: A great way to stay top of mind for your existing clients is to continually reach out to them in the form of offering further value that they will find useful. This will make it easier for them to remember you the next time they need you again or know of someone who does.
The Challenges to Content Marketing
When I speak about content marketing with clients, one of the biggest areas of resistance to implementation is the amount of time that is required. It's time consuming to not only create the content in the first place, but to also distribute the content.
I remember watching a video from an incredible content marketer, Gary Vaynerchuk, who had mentioned it may take him an hour to write a piece of content but another 5 hours to distribute it. But that's exactly how he built his empire - through content marketing.
A challenge that I face is keeping track of all my content marketing efforts. There are several tools that can help with this, and I find using an Excel sheet works well where I track each post and where it has been distributed.
These challenges may seem daunting to begin incorporating content marketing strategies for your business, but the benefits really can have a huge impact on your bottom line, so it's well worth the effort.
And don't think you have to do all of this by yourself either. We do a lot of social media and content marketing for clients so outsourcing is a definite viable option to consider.
Where to Start
The first thing you need to do is create content. Seems obvious but the real question is, what kind of content? My advice is to focus on your blog.
Since writing articles for your blog has so many benefits, such as SEO positioning, these efforts will get you the biggest bang for your buck (a.k.a. your time).
Begin by writing an article and posting it to your blog. Then think about ways you can distribute that article to get it in front of your ideal target market.
Here's a brief list:
- Your Facebook page
- Instagram (and other social media accounts you might have)
- Article repository sites
- Medium and LinkedIn Articles (formerly known as LinkedIn Pulse)
There are many others but this is enough to get you going.
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.
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