«Content Marketing How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business CO N T E N T M A R K E T I N G : H O W TO B U I L D A N AU D I E N C E T H AT B ...»
How to Build an Audience that
Builds Your Business
CO N T E N T M A R K E T I N G : H O W TO B U I L D A N AU D I E N C E T H AT B U I L D S YO U R B U S I N E S S
Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract
and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The
type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words,
you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
If you’re interested in marketing your business online (and who isn’t at this point), you can’t escape hearing about content marketing. It’s everywhere you look, or listen.
• You hear that people don’t want advertising when making purchasing decisions; they want valuable information.
• You hear that it’s content that people desire and seek out, and it’s great content that Google wants to rank well in the search results so those people can find your business.
• You hear that it’s content that spreads via social networks, generating powerful word-of-mouth exposure for savvy content marketers.
• You hear that content is the best way to achieve what advertising is supposed to achieve, but doesn’t do so well online getting people to know, like, and trust your brand.
You hear all of that, and yet, perhaps you’re thinking...
CO N T E N T M A R K E T I N G : H O W TO B U I L D A N AU D I E N C E T H AT B U I L D S YO U R B U S I N E S SSo what?
What does content marketing actually mean for my business? Let’s start with the very basics.
There are many ways to profit with content: blogging, video tutorials, email newsletters, white papers, free reports... and yet many people are confused about the entire concept. So, we put together this ebook that lays out the basics in plain language.
Remember, content drives the Internet, and consumers are looking for information that solves a problem, not an immediate sales pitche. The trust, credibility, and authority that content marketing creates knocks down sales resistance, all while providing a baseline introduction to the benefits of a particular product or service.
The individuals and businesses that are having the most success online tend to take an approach that involves a high ratio of valuable content that seemingly has no sales agenda, mixed with periodic promotional messages.
Let’s take a look at how to do just that...
CO N T E N T M A R K E T I N G : H O W TO B U I L D A N AU D I E N C E T H AT B U I L D S YO U R B U S I N E S SWhat’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting?
by Sonia Simone From a traditional marketing standpoint, the answer to the above question is simple.
Content marketing is the creation of valuable content that has a marketing purpose.
For example, my company creates an awesome special report, and we exchange it for your email address and your permission to educate you further about our stuff.
Copywriting is designed to get the reader to take a specific action.
Sometimes that’s making a purchase, but it can also be confirming an email opt-in, calling for more information, or going into a store to check out the merchandise.
Content marketing is blogs, white papers, and viral video. Copywriting is sales pages, infomercials, and direct mail.
Two different critters, right?
Well, not if you’re doing it right.
Content without copywriting is a waste of good content.
There are some blogs out there with seriously good content, yet few readers.
(Maybe yours is one of them.) If you’re writing great stuff that people would love to read, but you’re not finding the traffic you want, the problem probably lies in ineffective copywriting.
Let’s briefly discuss the elements of ineffective copywriting.
Bad headlines It could be that your headlines are boring and they don’t give people any reason to click through. Or your headlines might be too cute and clever, showing how smart you are without communicating any reader benefit. Either way, if you’re not putting much thought into your content headlines today, hop over to the Copyblogger tutorials on writing great headlines and fix that before you try anything else.
No benefits Just like a product has to provide a benefit to the buyer, your content has to be
inherently rewarding to readers, or they won’t come back. Here’s an article that talks about how to do that.
Lack of trust You can always get social media attention by being a brat, a pest, or a train wreck, but attention doesn’t translate into subscribers or customers.
No social proof You need to leverage social proof to show readers that your blog is a cool place to hang out. This is tricky when you don’t have lots of readers yet, but we have a few tips for you.
Where is the call to action?
You must have a clear, specific call to action that lets people know what you want them to do next. That might be to subscribe to your blog, sign up for your email newsletter, or share your content on social sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Remember, copywriting is the art of convincing your reader to take a specific action. (And yes, it’s still copywriting if it takes place in a podcast or video... if you’re doing it well).
The thoughtful use of copywriting techniques on your blog will get
readers to subscribe to your content, opt in for more from your email newsletter, and share your great stuff with other readers.
That’s how you build a large, loyal audience.
Copywriting without content is a waste of good copy.
So is copywriting everything? Will effective use of copywriting technique propel you automatically into the ranks of the world’s most popular blogs?
If you do a brilliant job packaging and marketing crap, all you do is efficiently get the word out about how bad your crap is. Not the result you’re looking for.
Smart marketers still need to keep these cornerstones of great content
marketing in mind:
Generosity is sexy.
When your free content is so valuable that it makes you a little uncomfortable, you know you’ve got the mix right.
Only ad men like advertising.
If your content looks like an ad, it will be overlooked or thrown away. Make your “advertising” too valuable to throw away by wrapping it in wonderfully beneficial, readable content.
Write for people first.
Content marketing makes for great SEO, but don’t make the mistake of writing for the search engines. Always write for people first, then go back and make your content search-engine friendly so new readers can find you.
And of course, always remember the first rule of Copyblogger.
Really good content is unsurpassed at building rapport, delivering a sales message without feeling “salesy,” and getting the potential customer to stick around.
That’s why the sharpest copywriting minds are trending more toward a “content net” approach. They combine strategic copywriting with great content to get the best of both worlds.
Which is exactly what Copyblogger has been teaching readers for the past seven years: how to create breakthrough content marketing...
The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing It takes more than “content is king” to work in this tricky environment.
You need to focus your attention on these three key elements to make content marketing work for you.
1. Give your readers a cookie.
What’s the smartest way to train a puppy to sit on command? Give him a cookie and a nice pat on the head every time he does what you want.
Enough cookies and enough pats on the head and he starts to think that sitting on command was his idea.
He likes you, he trusts you, and he sits when you say sit because it’s in his best interest to do that.
Your content needs to work the same way.
High-quality content trains your readers and listeners to keep opening your stuff. It rewards them for doing what you want them to do.
That means every piece of content you write has to either solve a problem your
audience cares about or it has to entertain them. Preferably both. Everything they receive from you should make them feel good. Each piece of content is a cookie that rewards your audience for consuming it.
When you do this consistently, your content becomes an appealing habit for your readers. When they see your name in their inbox or in a retweet, they know there will be something they like on the other side. And they’ll click through.
Fortunately for us, most people who try content marketing get this wrong.
They train their readers to look away, by producing content that doesn’t benefit readers, by putting out too much irrelevant fluff, or by overselling.
2. Position yourself for success.
Remember your mom telling you that you had to be a good friend to get lots of friends? Well if you want to find more customers, you need to be someone worth doing business with.
Yes, it’s about authority, but not about being a pontificating guru who can never admit any weakness.
Some personas work much better than others for content marketing. Your audience wants a smart, cool friend who understands how stuff works.
They want someone to share experiences and lead by example. They want a trustworthy person whose word means something.
When in doubt, remember Paul Newman’s axiom: always take your work seriously; never take yourself seriously.
You definitely want to show that you know your stuff, but that doesn’t mean your readers want a college lecture.
3. Sell smart.
Remember, you’re not trying to land a sale in a single shot, like some desperate used-car dealer who wants to put you into a 1994 Pontiac Bonneville TODAY.
Instead, you’re building a content net that supports this sale and many sales after this one.
Use your content to address underlying objections that might keep someone from buying. Use it to tell interesting stories about how others have benefited from your offering. Use proven persuasion techniques to show your reader just how much he or she needs your product or service.
Successful salespeople will tell you that your customer needs to know, like, and trust you before he or she will buy. That’s exactly why content marketing is so effective. Great content buys you the time to build that trusting relationship. So use that time wisely.
Yes, you still want to ask for the order with a strong call to action. But keep the
balance right. Use your content to build desire for your product and to create an unshakeable relationship with your audience... then ask for the sale.
The point when you begin striking this balance consistently is when you can begin actually generating revenue, even profit, via content marketing.
And here’s a smorgasbord of ways to do just that...
47 Creative Ways You Can Profit From Content Marketing Maybe you think “content marketing” means having a blog that makes money.
Or that it’s about producing content for sites like EzineArticles and Squidoo. Or having an email autoresponder.
Content marketing is much bigger than that.
The whole idea behind content marketing is that you can use your creativity and know-how to make something cool, then take that cool thing and use it to market a product. It’s often associated with Seth Godin’s notion of permission marketing, but content marketing can be a part of any promotion or selling you might do.
To jog your creativity, here are 47 content marketing tactics you can start using right away. Some of these are ideas about making any form of content more interesting, some are attention-getting strategies, and some will be useful for lead generation or prospect conversion.
I had a conversation with Bill Glazer recently (he’s Dan Kennedy’s business partner), and he believes passionately that every business needs to send a paper newsletter to existing customers, to build loyalty and better repeat business. I don’t know about “every,” but I think he’s on to something for many businesses.
Incidentally, businesses usually find that customer newsletters work better when they don’t get too fancy in their format or printing. Four-color printing on glossy paper looks like an ad. A simple photocopy on plain paper looks like valuable inside information.
2. Utilize direct mail.
You’d be surprised at some of the well-known Internet marketing gurus who are experimenting with direct mail, especially as pay-per-click gets more and more expensive. The same techniques that make your online content marketing work will do beautifully offline.
3. Write a white paper.
Write a special report or white paper that addresses a thorny problem in an interesting way.
4. Create a free course delivered by email autoresponder.
This is a great way to build trust and rapport.
5. Publish a blog post series.
Write an educational series of blog posts designed to attract traffic for a competitive keyword phrase. (Like this one on the fundamentals of copywriting, for example.)
6. Offer a free teleclass.
This is a great way to build interest in your business. You can do all the talking yourself, or work with a partner in an interview format. And remember to record the class—the recording will also be valuable content that you can use in future marketing.
7. Offer a paid teleclass.