March 24, 2016
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is using valuable content to build a long-term relationship all the way from stranger to customer to promoter, and every interaction in between. It’s like a conversation. You listen to your customers, your customers listen to you. You share your expertise and insight, the customer learns and engages. Content is always moving the conversation forward. Concretely, content marketing takes shape with… Together, these are all the pieces of content you can use in your marketing, also known as your content vault.
Content Marketing That Made Me Drop $1,000
I pulled out my credit card. I was about to drop $1,000 on a course to learn how to freelance. It was the first-time I was buying something from a blogger, but I trusted Ramit. I read his New York Times bestselling book, had been on his email list for months, and felt like I knew him personally. How did I get to the point where I was ready to spend that much money to learn from him? Content. He earned my trust with content.
How do you do content marketing?
The two halves of content marketing are: Creation and promotion. Without content creation in your marketing mix, you’re stuck blasting people with product pitches and sales meeting invitations…which doesn’t work. Today’s consumers expect more from marketers. Without promotion, no one ever sees your content and the energy you spent creating it goes to waste.
How to create quality content
Unfortunately, great content doesn’t fall from the sky. So here are a few strategies to help you create quality stuff:
- Find your sweet spot – The intersection between what you can teach your audience and what your audience wants to learn from you.
- Source ideas in creative ways – Chat directly with customers. Ping product, sales and success to see where customer knowledge gaps are. Find out what your target persona is searching for on Google.
- Hack the research process – Interview experts to get a different perspective _and _get in front of new audiences.
- Keep these three audiences in mind – Structure for skimmers, write for sponges, decorate for socialites. This is how to optimize your content for today’s web readers.
The bottom line? Create content that informs, educates, and inspires your target audience.
How to promote content
There are a billion ways to get the word out about your content. Here are your biggest and quickest wins:
- Optimize your blog posts for SEO. Naturally place keywords throughout your copy and in your page title, URL, and meta description. SEO is your best friend that brings you new friends.
- Automate lead nurturing emails. Repurpose your top-performing content into emails and send them as part of an automated nurture journey to stay top of mind with leads in your database. This is a quick and easy way to make the most of your existing content.
- Reach out to influencers. Email your best content to influencers in your space. If they like your stuff, they’ll share it with their audience and you’ll get a nice spike in traffic.
- Generate awareness via social advertising. If you have an ad budget, choose your top-performing content to boost on social media. Test different messaging and creative, and target lookalike website visitors to drive quality traffic.
The more you promote, the better.
Bringing it all together visually
These are just a few tips I’ve picked up by observing remarkable content marketers like Ramit and learning on the job as Autopilot’s blog editor. If you’re more of a visual learner, I created this Slideshare that sums everything up in less than thirty slides.
I’m just scratching the surface of content marketing, and would love your insights. How do you approach content marketing? What lessons have you learned? Let us know in the comments.