At Intentionally Inspirational we talk a lot about making a content marketing strategy and how that can help drive customers into your business. But for a person outside the marketing field, “content marketing” can be for a foreign concept so it becomes difficult to create a strategy around it.
What is Content Marketing?
We start out by answering this question. While I could concoct my own answer, I have to defer to the website Content Marketing Institute instead because holy cow, they sum it up perfectly.
“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.”
Wow. It sounds so simple. But if it was really that easy, then anyone could do it.
Let’s break the definition down into parts.
A Clearly Defined Audience
I’m starting out with this because it’s very important to define your audience before you take any action. Think about your customer base. Are they men, women or a mix of both? Do they have a certain household income? Do they have children? What do they like to do? Do they travel? Are they into hiking?
The customers of your business have common attributes you just need to pinpoint what they are. This is how you define your audience.
After that, you need to attract them to your company. Let’s say, for example, my company’s core audience in moms with more than two kids, who have a middle-class income. I have a new product that’s even better than Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser (a miracle cleaning tool if ever there was one).
I will attract my customers by creating a short video that points to a problem — in this instance the crayon self-portrait made on my bedroom wall by my darling toddler — and then show them how my product will clean it up in less than a minute. By doing this I am pointing out a problem that’s common among my core audience and then showing them how I can solve it in a very small amount of time. A lack of time is also common when it comes to my core audience so any time-saving measure I can provide is beneficial.
To attract customers you need to show them how you can solve their problems while making it as easy, as quick and as painless as possible. They need a solution that makes sense.
Attracting and retaining your audience comes next and it starts with…
Creating Valuable, Relevant, and Consistent Content
When you create content that is both valuable and relevant, you attract and retain customers.
This part is usually easy for people to wrap their heads around. Creating valuable, relevant content just means that you are creating content that a person needs. You’re creating content that they will use.
If you’re a handyman, a quick one minute tutorial on how to fix a dripping faucet is valuable content. If you’re an accountant and 9 out of 10 of your customers ask if they can write off the miles they drive to and from work every day, then a blog post about that exact topic may be in order.
If you sat down and thought about it, you could probably come up with 10 questions you get from clients every day. You know those topics are going to be valuable and relevant because 90% of your customers ask them. Now you have topics for your first 10 pieces of content.
When it comes to the term consistent, that means you’re offering something new on a consistent basis. We as a society are constantly consuming information. To be consistent, you need to be putting new information out there. Whether it’s daily, weekly, twice a week. Be a consistent source for something new.
I gave this part its own section because it’s important to look at it all on its own. Once you create the content, you have to figure out how to distribute it to your core audience. Some companies will choose to post ads on Facebook that are specifically targeted at the core audience. That’s a good way to go. Your core audience may read trade magazines; that’s another way to reach out to them.
You’ll also want to make sure your blog posts have common keywords that are often searched on Google. This is how you get the clients that are looking for answers but don’t know to specifically turn to you.
It’s called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Good SEO is an art and it takes practice, but what you want to remember is Google programmers are smart. Their algorithms aren’t just looking for a list of keywords like, “content marketing” “strategy” “SEO” “growing my business” “getting more business”. I could go on and on and on.
What the algorithm is set to look for is keywords that are well integrated into quality content. That’s what’s really going to get your ranked high on Google.
If you have an email list, share your content with your subscribers. Make sure that content is easy for your subscribers to share with their friends. Put Facebook, Twitter, and email links into all of your posts, so readers can post it on their Facebook page or Tweet a link to the article out to their friends.
Come up with a distribution plan that will work best for your core audience. Older audiences like email. Younger ones such as Millennials may be better suited for Twitter or text messages. Knowing your core audience will help you shape your distribution plan.
Drive Profitable Customer Action
Once you’ve connected with your audience, you need to engage them. Offering quality content is the first step because you’re putting your company at the front of their minds. However, that doesn’t make you any money.
Think about the best way you can give your customer just a taste of your experience. Maybe it’s a free consultation. This method works especially well for service industry professionals. If you’re trying to sell your expertise, consider offering the first course of your webinar for free. If it’s a software, offer a free trial before you start charging.
If you’re not into free, testimonials are always a great way to go. Just make sure you’re getting the right kind of testimonial. Knowing a business helped “increase revenue three-fold” is a lot more impressive than working with a “nice guy”.
The best way to drive profitable customer action is to prove to the customer you’re everything they want you to be.
Content Marketing Strategy
Congratulations. By reading to this point in the article, you have already started creating your content marketing strategy.
You have identified your target audience. (Define an audience.)
You have determined what it is you can do to help them succeed. (Attract.)
You have figured out what content to create to make their lives easier. (Create.)
You have come up with a distribution plan that suits your core audience. (Distribute.)
You have figured out how to finish the sale. (Drive profitable customer action.)
You can work fine details in the coming days, but you now have a solid foundation.
If you’re still feeling lost or just need a sounding board, that’s what we’re here for. Drop us an email and we’ll try and get you further down the path to business success.
Written by Erika Towne