Looking to grow your business online? You may be wondering if content marketing could work for you. In this guide, we'll explain what is content marketing and how to make it work for you as a complete beginner.
It's no secret that the language you use to represent your brand shapes the perception your audience has of you and your business.
After all, content is your voice, and one of your most authentic forms of self-expression to help your brand stand out. Establishing your tone of voice, your brand vocabulary, and your overall online presence means giving your brand another dimension for your audience to connect with.
Storytelling is the foundation of any content marketing strategy, but crafting your story is only just the beginning. Every entrepreneur–whether a complete beginner or a seasoned pro–must diversify their content to meet the needs of their audience and industry. The world has become such a well-connected place, with an abundance of different formats of content people consume on a daily basis (blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media, etc.)– you don't want to miss the opportunity to reach those people who are searching for exactly what you offer!
That's why everything you incorporate into your content marketing strategy should be considered with great care and tailored carefully to suit your specific goals and aspirations.
However, all of this may seem complex and somewhat vague for those just entering the world of online business. Defining and understanding your content marketing strategy from the get-go will help you create a brand that people flock to!
Let’s start with the most fundamental definition of content marketing. As the Content Marketing Institute puts it:
“Content marketing is 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.”
Let's break that down real quick.
First off, "content" can be anything. From a random Tweet, to a YouTube video, a product description, a meme, or a written blog post.
However, content marketing gives all these bits and pieces of creative ideas a clear purpose: all the pieces of content work together to drive sales of your affiliate product, service, online course, or whatever you do to make money.
Valuable, relevant, and consistent – these are the three qualities you want to have in every single piece of content. If your blog post, video, or infographic doesn’t meet these criteria, then you should revisit the topic in question and tailor it differently.
As you can see, content marketing is the exact opposite of the old-fashioned “pushy” marketing approach, where selling is the main purpose of your efforts. Rather than pushing people to become your customers, your content should create a pull, or a magnetic appeal towards your brand. This way, you are helping people out even before they buy, and in the end you'll not only make the sale, but you'll have raving fans.
So, content marketing should first and foremost be customer-centric (focused on what your ideal customer needs and wants), although branded. It should represent your values and clearly show your purpose, without imposing itself on the consumer. It should be designed to nurture real, human relationships over making a sale, thus serving a long-term goal over short-term profit.
When done this way, your content marketing will ensure that every single person who comes into contact with your brand knows that you genuinely care about them, and you will earn their loyalty!
Ready to get started with creating your content marketing strategy?
Great, let's go!
The first step is getting up-close and personal with what you want to achieve with your content.
Of course, every business wants at least several distinct results, preferably measurable, from their content efforts, even if you’re a lone-wolf tackling the business world on your own. Would you like more subscriptions to your newsletter? More chatter in the comment section? More shares? More sales that lead back to the links in your content? All of the above and then some?
Here are some tips for setting good goals...
The most critical factor for creating the right content marketing strategy is understanding your audience and ideal customers.
Since you’re aiming to dazzle, inspire, and win over their hearts, and not simply spew out several blogs and social media posts per day, the quality of your content should be in the spotlight. Defined by what your audience needs and wants, it will help you reach all the goals we outlined above.
Here are some tips for getting to know your audience...
While the quality of your content is certainly #1, it’s important to consider that quantity still plays a role in your strategy.
After you've defined the quality your audience needs and find the way to deliver it, you also need to create a consistent schedule that will provide your audience with the given content according to a defined routine.
In short, you need a content calendar. Here are some tips to get you started...
Obviously, we're not just talking about blog posts here. These tips apply to any type of content that you are publishing!
Sometimes, your blog posts will get likes and comments through the roof, getting you more attention than you initially anticipated, while at other times, your posts may go by unnoticed.
The key to increasing your content’s visibility is to get it in front of the right people, at the right time, and in the right place. That way, a single blog (or video, or podcast) can suddenly get much more exposure, and more traction will ensue – and we all know that engagement is the best way to inspire a purchase!
Here are some tips for getting the word out there...
In an ideal world, all you'd need is the analysis of your audience’s preferences, and you’d nail your content strategy from the first try. However, the real world is a tad different.
You’re bound to come across setbacks, and you’ll need to make changes on the go. See what your readers actually respond to well, by looking at the metrics that you decide to monitor, and adjust from there.
Here are some tips for implementing the feedback...
As a newcomer in your niche, you will quickly notice that the entire content marketing process is far from set in stone. It does come with a learning curve, hence the need to stay open-minded and flexible.
With such a mindset, you’ll be able to pick up on the latest market changes, and implement them into your strategy without having to start from scratch every time a new trend arises. In fact, by staying flexible and curious to learn about your consumers, you will allow yourself the opportunity to not only be at the forefront of the content industry and your own niche, but become a content trend-setter yourself!
Let's do a quick recap:
To get started, write down your goals. What do you want your content marketing strategy to accomplish for your business?
Next, get to know your ideal customers. What format of content do they like best? What topics are they interested in?
Then, plan out your publishing schedule. It doesn't have to be anything crazy to begin with, but having a plan will help you be consistent.
With those 3 steps done, you're well on your way to becoming a content marketing pro!
David Webb is a Sydney-based business consultant, marketing analyst and a writer. With a decade of experience in a business sphere and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is an Editor in Chief at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.
*Source: Research and Markets forecasts.
These are powerful techniques that I've used to help grow 7- and 8-figure online businesses– and they can work for you, too.