The term ‘Content Marketing’ has become a bit of a buzz-phrase in recent times, but what exactly is meant by the word ‘content’?? For me it’s anything you publish that helps people to choose you over the other people who do what you do. Whatever kind of content you publish, you can use it to demonstrate what you do, who you do it for, what problems you solve, and how you solve them. The key to successful content marketing is to choose one or more methods that work for you, and use it/them to consistently publish content that your ideal kind of customer will find valuable.
Here are my top ten kinds of content that you might want to consider using in your quest to be the chosen one.
One: Blog Posts
Blogging is a great way to help people choose you. Because you publish your posts on your own website, you keep all of your valuable content in one place, and you can arrange it into relevant categories that help people find the information that’s most useful to them.
Two: Posts On Other Platforms
Writing posts for a platform other than your website gives you the opportunity to be found by more people. I’m thinking specifically about social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but you could also use publishing platforms such as Medium, or guest post on other people’s blogs.
One of the predicted content marketing trends for 2017 is that more businesses will start to send a regular newsletter, and businesses who already send one, will start making it a better experience, and more valuable, for their readers. This is largely down to social media algorithms favouring advertised posts, meaning that organic content isn’t being seen as much as it used to be. Sending a newsletter to people who’ve given you permission to do so, gives you the opportunity to build a rapport with a captive audience, and you have the added bonus of being able to see what kind of content is most popular.
Four: Newsletter Opt-Ins
These are the ‘ethical bribes’ you give people in return for their email address and their permission to send them your newsletter. It’s like the free gift you get from a magazine to reward you for subscribing. It might be an e-book, a quiz, a video or email series, or membership of an exclusive group. It depends upon what you do, what problem you solve, and what your customers might find useful. My free opt-in gift is a Story Cupboard template, and five ways to make blogging easier.
Five: Website Content
When people land on your website, you want them to understand what you do fairly quickly. Therefore your Home Page, About Page, and Work With Me page need to be clear. Think about the impression you want people to get, and ensure that what you say on your website is aligned with that.
Six: Sales Emails/E-Shots
Many businesses have a series of emails or e-shots that they send to prospective customers when they first get in touch, and then at various intervals thereafter. Treat these like you would any piece of content you publish: have one message per email; stick to the point; write from your customer’s perspective; and write in your voice.
Seven: Social Media Updates
While social media algorithms can make it more difficult for our content to be seen, the more that people engage with your status updates, the more they’ll be pushed into other people’s newsfeeds. So keep an eye on what people engage with, and look at what you and others find engaging on other people’s pages: while directly copying is frowned upon, there’s no harm in taking inspiration from others. When you’re sharing blog posts, add a summary in the update box to give people a flavour of the post. This can entice some people to click through to the full post, and might encourage people who don’t have time to do that, to engage with your post.
Eight: Social Media Profiles
Your social media profile information helps people decide if they’re going to follow you. So try to be as clear as you can be, while injecting some personality into your bio. After all, nobody wants to follow a robot!
This isn’t my favourite medium, but plenty of people love it! The biggest development in content marketing over the last couple of years has been in images, and in particular video. Especially the impromptu talking heads kind of video. You no longer need a studio setting, lights, or specialist camera equipment: just click on the Facebook Live button, and press record on the device you’re using! If you prefer to speak rather than write, then video is your way forward, and these days it’s as easy to make a video as it is to write a blog post.
The problem I have with podcasts is that I don’t know what to do with my eyes. But given the popularity of podcasts, what would I know?! If you like to talk but aren’t so keen on being seen, then podcasts may be right up your street. Especially if you can commit to recording regular content. Many podcasters boost their own content with a series of interviews, so bear that in mind and start compiling a list of people your prospective customers might be interested to hear from.
If you’re struggling to create content, for whatever reason, I can help you. Whether it’s devising your content strategy, topic idea generation, overcoming the fear of publishing, or the actual writing of content you need help with. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk soon 🙂