«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 ...»
Offer another teleclass that takes your content further and provides additional value. Again, the call can be recorded and sold as a product for as long as the content remains relevant.
8. Build a membership web site.
A membership site can be a profitable business in and of itself.
9. Build a Facebook page.
This is a page separate from your personal profile, and it gives you another platform for interaction with your customers.
10. Compile your best 100 blog posts into a physical book.
It worked for Godin, and it can work for you.
11. Contribute in forums.
When you contribute to an online forum in your topic, remember that your answers are content. Make sure this content reflects well on you.
12. Make your most popular blog post a video.
Take your most popular blog post, add some really good images, and translate it into PowerPoint. Then record it for a YouTube video.
13. Create mini niche sites.
Use WordPress to efficiently create these. Since you’re a student of quality content, your sites will tower above the usual fare. Then, use these niche sites to sell products from affiliate marketplaces like Commission Junction, which offers “real world” products as well as digital ones so that if you want to sell coffee, movie posters, or collectible figurines on your niche site, you can.
14. Optimize your Twitter strategy.
Most of us know that Twitter is an exceptional tool for building relationships with prospects and customers. To use Twitter most effectively, make your tweets entertaining, funny, and/or personal. The right balance on Twitter is generally 95% relationship building, 5% selling.
15. Be real.
Use any content vehicle to talk about how you’ve overcome a difficult problem related to your topic.
Don’t try to be an infallible guru. Instead, be a smart, real person who has solved problems that your readers will find relevant.
16. Write a yellow pages ad that looks like a blog post.
Make it interesting, informative, funny, and compelling. For bonus points, in addition to the usual contact information, provide information in your yellow pages ad about how to sign up for your email autoresponder or get your free white paper.
17. Make your podcasts an ebook.
Take your 10-15 best podcasts, get them transcribed and edited, and sell them as an ebook.
18. Host a virtual conference.
Bring 5 or 6 of the strongest people in your topic together and create a virtual conference, with each presenter giving an audio or video workshop. This is a relatively simple way to create a very marketable product. Again, the recordings can be sold as long as the content remains relevant.
19. Hold a Tweetathon for your favorite charity.
Consider creating a piece of valuable content (a special report, etc.) as a reward for donations over some specified amount.
20. Create a treasure hunt with some blogging friends.
Each person hides a clue somewhere in the content on their blog, and readers are invited to find all the clues and put them together for a prize. (The prize, of course, is another piece of valuable content.)
21. Comment with purpose.
Your comments on other people’s blogs are content. Treat them that way. Be original, relevant and interesting.
22. Use your own content to sing the praises of others in your topic.
Partnerships, both formal and informal, can exponentially multiply your success in the content world.
23. Create a buyer’s guide.
Use it to frame purchasing questions on your terms. Let buyers know what to look for and what to watch out for. Tell them what questions they should be asking. But don’t make this too self-serving. If you make it real (and let other vendors win some of the business, especially for customers who aren’t truly suited to you), it will get used.
24. Write an editorial for a dead-tree newspaper or magazine.
Yes, lots and lots of people still read these.
25. And if the newspaper/magazine doesn’t print your editorial, buy ad space and run it as an advertorial instead.
Yes, lots and lots of people read these too.
26. Collect weird stories from sources your readers don’t usually see.
If your audience is made of particle physicists, gets stories from The Enquirer. Sift through and find the metaphors and analogies in these stories that will relate back to your topic. Quirky, oddball stories make any content more compelling.
And you can’t get results from content that doesn’t get read.
27. Write an industry report on a hot topic.
You’ll be surprised at how many high-profile folks will agree to a recorded Skype/phone interview for an industry report.
28. Be true to yourself, but show your different facets too.
If you’ve got a piece of content that is too weird, rude, vanilla, sentimental, rated-R, rated-G, etc., for your own site, run it as a guest post on someone else’s site.
29. Use a label that resonates with your readers.
You don’t have to call it a blog just because you created it in WordPress. Maybe it’s an Online Coffee Shop, a Web-Based Self-Coaching Site, a Virtual Concierge, a Tutorial, an E-School, a Directory, a Dictionary, or any other compelling phrase relevant to your niche.
30. Build holiday-themed Squidoo lenses Build a collection of Squidoo lenses that are optimized to sell goods around a particular holiday, like Halloween costumes or Christmas lights. There are a good number of these now, so find an underserved niche within those broader subjects.
31. Write a manifesto!
Have a good ranting voice and something interesting to say? Get it out in a manifesto, and then send readers to your blog or email list if they want to know
more. These tend to work better if you don’t require an email opt- in to receive them—the idea is to spread your ideas (and name) far and wide.
32. Review everything.
Books, blogs, newsletters, tools, physical products, information products.
33. Make an unwieldy topic manageable.
Take a topic that’s subject to information overload (maybe it’s “the coolest apps for your iPhone”) and make it manageable. Create a “10 Best” post that’s simple, user-friendly, and gets the reader out of information fog.
34. Leverage pop culture.
Compare your product or service to the weirdest celebrity story that people are currently talking about. Look hard enough and you’ll find 7 things your business has in common with Lindsey Lohan’s addiction to World of Warcraft.
35. Hijack a story.
If you’re stuck for content ideas, find a story on the Reddit front page that has absolutely nothing to do with you. Then rewrite the story so it does. (You might keep nothing other than the headline. That’s fine. In fact, it’s probably ideal.)
36. Hijack a headline.
Use headlines swiped from popular magazines. Cosmo is especially effective, but anything will work if it’s designed to jump off the newsstands. Like the previous tip, this works best when the magazine has nothing to do with your topic. Sonia Simone wrote one of her most enduringly popular posts using this technique.
37. Address objections.
Use your content to address every objection you’ve ever faced when trying to sell your product. Write interesting articles that show your product or service getting around these objections.
38. Offer a “test drive.” Record a session with a client (with their permission, of course) and offer it as a “test drive” to people who are thinking about working with you.
39. Create a useful tool and give it away.
Create a checklist, spreadsheet-based calculator, cheat sheet, planning worksheet, etc., that can be distributed to your blog subscribers or email list.
These make great “thank yous” for subscribing to your site or autoresponder.
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
40. Create special “gratitude content” for subscribers.
Send special subscriber-only content on days like Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving to thank your readers for their attention and business. Try to take it beyond a simple message of thanks, and make the content itself a small gift for my readers.
41. Create a sideways sales letter.
Use a blog post series or an email autoresponder to create a sideways sales letter.
42. Find a “guest author.” Write a series or a regular column “authored” by your two-year-old, your dog, your cat, your parrot, or your guinea pig. Think it’s too cutesy to work with your audience? Try it and see.
43. Make an absurd comparison.
The farther you have to reach, the better it will work. “101 Ways LOLCats Can Improve Your Arc Welding” is just about guaranteed to capture some attention.
Among arc welders, anyway.
44. Create a monthly paid newsletter.
Deliver it electronically or by physical mail, in addition to your free content.
Include more detailed how-to and reference information than you would on your free site. You don’t have to sell all that many subscriptions, and they don’t have to be very pricy, to add up to significant income.
45. Make a monthly recording, either audio or using your phone camera for video.
Keep it casual, like a standing date with a friend to grab coffee together. Each month, discuss a single pressing issue facing your audience, and give three or four techniques that will let your audience thrive in whatever the current environment might be. This makes a nice add-on to a paid newsletter.
46. Produce CDs and DVDs.
If your customers aren’t particularly web savvy (or sometimes even if they are), think about producing your content on CDs and DVDs. There are many businesses that can handle this for you inexpensively, and the perceived value is much higher than purely online content.
47. To come up with your own ideas, combine your most generous self with your most creative self.
Think about how to create content that makes your customers’ lives better, and dream up exciting new ways to get that content in front of them.
But producing content -- no matter how creative it may be -- is only one part of the equation.
Your content must then be properly leveraged to help you acquire customers...
How to Use Content to Find Customers So can you actually get any customers with your content? Absolutely, but not if we take the usual blogger’s approach.
Money doesn’t drop out of the sky just because we produce high-quality material. We need to put some time, thought, and planning into the marketing side of the content marketing equation.
And that means we need to think strategically about how different types of content contribute to the larger persuasion cycle.
Get their attention.
Earlier, we talked about the fact that every bit of content needs to be a tasty cookie that rewards your audience for consuming it.
So how can you attract a new audience to come find you? You need something bigger and more exciting than a cookie.
You need a birthday cake.
In other words, a piece of content that’s exciting, that feels special, and that tastes good. (It doesn’t hurt if it also has a great headline.) Not only that, it has to show your potential audience that you know your stuff and that you solve a worthwhile problem. Otherwise they might enjoy scarfing down your content, but they won’t bother coming back for more.
White papers, special reports, extended tutorials, manifestos, and viral videos all make excellent birthday cakes.
Contrary to popular belief, you do want marketing messages in your birthday cake content. But they have to be palatable, subtle messages. You’re not closing sales here... the birthday cake is just the beginning of the conversation.
Raise questions. Poke around at pain points that you can address in later content. Tell stories that resolve objections. But be subtle about it. The purpose of this content is to get your audience into a receptive state of mind before they start hearing any overt sales messages from you.
Create interest and desire for what you have to offer, but don’t talk too much (if at all) about how you’re going to solve all your audience’s problems and make their lives wonderful.
If your birthday cake is compelling enough, your audience will stick around to find those answers.
And how does your birthday cake get in front of a new audience? By being remarkable enough to share.
If it’s not good enough to link to, bookmark, retweet, and email friends about, it’s not good enough. Keep working on it, or partner with a content expert who can create something exceptional for you.
Convert attention to customers.
Good bloggers are fantastic at capturing attention, but sometimes we have a tough time knowing what to do with it.
The answer is to keep delivering compelling messages to our new audience, either using a blog, an email autoresponder, or both.
Here’s where you use content marketing fundamentals to start creating a commercial relationship.
Obviously, you still deliver terrific quality. You teach and entertain more than you sell. You use metaphor, rhythm, and vivid language to make your writing sing.
But you also use the techniques we teach at Copyblogger to create an audience of buyers, not just fans. You begin to call on your copywriting bag of tricks, adding more persuasive elements to your writing.