What is content marketing? It's your new marketing strategy, that's what it is! Don't think it's for you? I'm here to tell you it is and here's why...
So you had this amazing concept for a business and it's something you feel super passionate about. You KNOW it's a great idea, you've done your research and there's absolutely demand for it, but something just isn't clicking. Customers aren't coming, you're not making the sales you know you should be and your dream business is starting to feel more like a nightmare...
If you were nodding along with that description, then yay! Of course I'm not happy that your dream business is stagnating, but I'm pretty pumped because YOU are the person I'm writing this post for. Read on and I'll show you EXACTLY how you can revive your stagnant business with content marketing.
Look, you've done the toughest thing. You've branched out on your own, you've risked it all because you have a dream and you have enough belief to put aside your fears and just go for it. That takes guts. The problem is, having a great idea and even executing that idea brilliantly isn't enough. You need to market your business. You have to be able to communicate your idea to your ideal customers so that they understand exactly what you can do for them and what the impact will be on their lives.
That's where Content Marketing comes in!
What IS Content Marketing?
"Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one." Robert Rose
I LOVE that definition of Content Marketing - for me it sums it up perfectly. It also sums up WHY it can be so powerful for your business. These days, most of us have become pretty immune to ads and sales pitches so business owners must look at different ways to show their value to potential customers.
Content Marketing is all about understanding WHO your ideal customers are and building a relationship with them through valuable content that's meaningful to THEM. Take note of that word 'valuable'! The mistake that a lot of people make is to think that quantity is more important than quality. As long as they're constantly getting some form of content in front of people then it doesn't really matter what it is.
The whole point of content marketing is to form a relationship with your audience. To build credibility so that when the time comes when they have to decide whether to buy from you, it's an easy 'yes' because they trust you. In fact they even feel like they know you and they know exactly what your service will provide and how that will impact their lives for the better.
These days we all suffer a bit from content overload so in order for your content marketing to be effective it must stand out, be valuable and talk directly to your ideal customers.
Not sure who your ideal customers are? Find out with this FREE template!
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Examples of Content Marketing
Wondering where all this 'valuable content' should come from? People often connect content marketing with blogging. And yes, it plays a key role and as a business you should definitely be blogging, but it is by no means the only tool in the content marketers box. Here are a few other ways you can get your content marketing on...
Email is where the magic happens. It's personal, it goes straight to your audience's inbox and what's even better? It's cheap and these days, thanks to the likes of Aweber and Mailchimp, it's easy to implement. According to research by Campaign Monitor, for every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses see an ROI of $38. Not to be sniffed at right?
If you've heard people saying 'email is dead' then ignore them. It's alive and kickin' my friend, and if you're not doing it then you're missing out on a massive opportunity to reach your potential customers and make an impact.
Who does email well?
I'm a member of Naked Wines and in my opinion their customer emails are content marketing gold. They're choc full of personality, they're personalised so I don't feel like I'm just going through an automated series and they are funny and engaging enough that I pretty much always open them.
Catch this post for more tips on writing great emails....
As a small business you CANNOT ignore social media. Be active, be social, build a community of ideal customers who love you and when the time comes to sell, you won't need to pitch, they'll be banging on your door, asking for what you have to offer!
There are so many great content marketing opportunities with social media. You can show your personality and help customers feel like they know you better. You can engage in two way conversations with them and find groups and pages where your ideal customers hang out. Heck - you can create your own groups and pages especially tailored to them!
Don't feel overwhelmed - you don't need to be on all the social channels. If one is all you can cope with for now then just do that. But do it well. Be consistent, be authentic and offer value.
Who does social media well?
There are a TON of people I love on social media. I'm a foodie so I follow quite a few food bloggers and Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) is one of my absolute faves. Again, her bubbly personality shines through in everything she does and her Facebook page is a great mix of recipes and behind the scenes stuff that help you feel like you know her better.
Video is HUGE right now. Earlier in the year, Facebook reported that they get 100 million hours of video watched EVERY DAY. That's an insane number and it's growing. Video allows your audience to see you in person and to feel like they know you better. They can often be more engaging than the written word, not requiring as much concentration or attention span to watch.
Video content has wider organic reach so while it may feel a bit intimidating at first, especially if you're an introvert, it can be a very powerful weapon in your content marketing armory (yeah, I'm mixing my metaphors - tool boxes, armories...as long as I'm making my point, I don't care! 😉 ).
Who does vlogging well?
I recently discovered and now absolutely love Alex Beadon. She creates a weekly vlog called 'Chatty Tuesdays' which offers marketing tips and inspiration to help business owners. Her videos are high quality and professional but not to the point where her passion and personality don't shine through. Go check them out!
Oh, and I also post a new video every week called Business Class Monday - you should definitely take a look! 😉
Podcasts are another great way for your audience to get to know you better. They can hear you chatting and feel like they're there with you.
Another plus is that people can listen to podcasts while on the go so they're a great way to reach your audience at a time when you wouldn't necessarily be able to get to them through the other channels that require hands on interaction.
Who does podcasting well?
I love James Wedmore's podcast, called Mind Your Business. Each week he chats to his co-host Phoebe
Oooh, I love a good webinar! I've attended loads but never actually done one myself - YET. I fully intend to give it a go though. Why? It combines ALL of the great things from the above channels. With a webinar you're offering value - you're teaching your audience something. They get to see you and your lovely personality and in turn, feel closer to you and better able to trust you.
Your audience can show up live and feel part of a community as they add comments and chat to the other participants too.
OR if they can't make the live event they can watch it at their leisure. SO. MUCH. VALUE.
PS - webinars are an awesome way to build your email list. So win, win. In fact, win, win, win, win, WIN!
Who does webinars well?
For a while now I've been following Allison Marshall (aka Wonderlass). I love her enthusiastic and colourful vibe and so when I saw she'd started doing webinars I was keen to check them out. She's a self-proclaimed introvert (although you wouldn't know it) so I figure if she can do them, then so can I! She's great fun to watch and comes across as relaxed and quirky BUT well prepared and full of fantastic info that she teaches. She EVEN did a webinar on webinars - oooh, meta...
Types of Content You Can Try
'Ok, ok Colette - you've convinced me. I want to give this content marketing thing a try. But what actual content should I be using??'
Never fear! I've got your covered. As well as all the different channels you can use there are a TON of different types of content that you can share with your audience. In fact WAY too many to go into all of them here. However, they can all be pretty much broken down into the following five categories and if you can achieve a good mix of these then you're on the right track.
If you can teach your audience something they didn't know then you've just given them a whole heap of value. Whether it be a blog post telling people about content marketing *WINK!*, a vlog showing people how to braid hair or a webinar giving people the secrets to a perfectly planned wedding - teaching builds your credibility and creates evergreen content that people can come back to and find useful over and over again.
Examples of Educational Content
Step by step guides
Facts & Stats
Sometimes people just like to be entertained. Make them smile and you'll stick in their minds and they'll be more likely to check out your other content too. It could just be a one liner on Twitter, or perhaps a funny video on Facebook - even the occasional blog post that looks at the funny side of whatever your niche is.
Examples of Entertaining Content
Games & Puzzles
Inspirational quotes & stories
Personal/Behind the Scenes
Depending on your personality, this can be the easiest or hardest to do! It's so powerful though - I encourage you to try! People love people. They don't love corporations. So by showing people who YOU are and what goes on behind the scenes, they'll feel closer to you and more engaged with your brand.
Examples of Personal/Behind the Scenes Content
Sneak previews of upcoming projects & launches
Behind the scenes photos & videos
'Meet the team'
Personal stories (did I already say that? It IS good though...)
Live streaming video
Content is EVERYWHERE these days. Some better than others. If you can weed through the rough stuff and pick out the juicy bits for your audience then there's value in that, even if you haven't written it yourself.
Sharing other people's content not only adds extra value but it also prevents you from appearing too pushy with your own stuff. This is especially the case on social media. If your entire feed is just you talking about you and promoting your stuff then people may well be turned off. If however you're showing them stuff that you've found interesting or entertaining or useful - even if it isn't YOUR stuff, then it shows that you care about helping them and not just selling to them...make sense?
Examples of Shared Content
Posting links to content you like on social media
Reviewing books, courses etc
Linking to other relevant content in your blog posts
Round-ups - creating a collection of shared content on a specific topic
Customer driven content is SUPER powerful. It's the nuclear bomb of content. Imagine how much more impact it has when someone ELSE is saying how great you are as well as just you 😉
Examples of Customer Created Content
Customer demos of your product
I hope you've found that a useful breakdown of the ins and outs of Content Marketing and I REALLY hope I've convinced you that it's a key marketing strategy for YOUR business. If you're struggling to see how you could make it work for your niche then drop me a line and I'd be more than happy to help give you a few ideas.
I'd like you to do three things for me;
- If you enjoyed this post then let me know in the comments below what you found most useful - it would make my day!
- If you found it useful then I'm certain you'd love my Facebook group which provides social media help and support to all small business owners and entrepreneurs. It's called Social Media Strategies for Small Businesses and you'd be so welcome to join us 🙂
- Lastly, if you got value from this then go ahead and subscribe - you'll never miss another post AND I'll even and throw in a FREE Ideal Customer template so you can start planning your content marketing today!
Thanks so much for stopping by and hopefully I'll see you again soon!