What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is educating your prospective customers using various forms of content for the purpose of establishing a relationship that enables you to make multiple offers for your products and services over time.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Now, let’s get practical.
The Four Elements of Effective Content Marketing
Your content must provide value. Give your prospects information that they care about. Let’s say you run an online cosmetics store, information that your prospects value might include:
How to Apply Makeup So It Looks like You’re Not Wearing Any
Sexy Seasonal Makeup Styles and Colors
The Health Benefits of using [your type of makeup- not brand]
5 Ways to Enhance Your Eye Color with Eye Shadow
3 Techniques for Fuller, Juicer Looking Lips
The possibilities are endless, but your goal is to find out what problems or needs your prospects have and then solve or meet them. You must talk to your prospects about the things they give a hoot about, and I hate to break it to you, but it’s not you, or your great company, or cute little kid. They care about themselves. So, give them content that they can’t wait to read. Establish an expectation that your content is must-read material, and prove to your audience you are worth their time because of the value you provide.
Your content must be reliable. When a friend makes a compelling recommendation, how often do you take it? If it meets your need and they’ve made good recommendations in the past, you probably take their recommendation without much hesitation. Why? Because you know, like, and trust your friend. So what does this mean for you as a female online entrepreneur? Become your prospects familiar friendly resource. Do this by providing your prospects with useful information that solves there problems. If your prospects learn from your content, apply your tips as instructed, and get reasonable results, they are going to trust you. They are going to rely on you somewhat, and as a result, they are more likely to buy from you.
Your content must be believable. You have got to provide credible content that your users can accept as truth and apply to their needs and problems. Think about it. Unless you are a desperate buyer, how often do you believe a person or product that promises you millions in the bank overnight? Never! I hope! In online entrepreneurship there are no shortcuts to success, you’ve got to do the hard work for the big rewards. If you want your prospects to become loyal customers, you must provide them with legitimate information that meets their needs. Do yourself a favor. Just tell them like it is.
Your content must demonstrate that you are an authority in your niche. You need to become the go-to problem solver for your target market. You need to be a need-meeter (clearly that is not a word, but I’m going with it). Most importantly, you need to respect those willing to listen, learn, and buy from you. Basically, you need to become a leader.
Why Content Marketing Works for Online Businesses
Duh! Because people are on the Web looking for information! They are Googling their hearts out for answers to their concerns, fears, problems, and desires. It doesn’t get any better than this as an entrepreneur because if you meet the right needs, solve the right problems, and alleviate those pressing concerns prospects are looking for YOU!
This is why it is essential that you deliver exactly what your prospects need. You only get one chance to catch your prospect’s attention, so make sure your content does the job. Not to mention, providing supercalifragilistic content means your prospects will continue to come back for more which means that over time you can erode any barriers they may have to buying your products or services.
Differentiate Your Content or Die
Okay, so you’ve got the fundamentals. Now let’s kick it up a notch. Let’s talk about how you can actually get people to crave the content you produce. For the most part, we live in a sea of sameness on the web. Add to that the proliferation of content generating software and content scraping sleazebags, and you have a bunch of regurgitated junk that can be found almost anywhere. Whatever you do, you must avoid getting lost in that mess at all costs. Use the following checklist to make sure your content stands out from the crowd:
Make your content interesting. Tell a story. Share an experience. Write like you are talking to one person sitting right across from you. Being conversational enables your readers to engage with you through your content. No one really enjoys textbook, so just be you.
Make your content persuasive. Let’s be real. You are not just writing all of your brilliant content for the greater good. You are writing your content to build relationships with potential customers so that you can sell to them over time. This means that at some level you need to do some convincing, you need to make a compelling offer, and you need to get your customers to take action.
Make your content a reflection of yourself. Your content needs to be relate-able, tangible, encouraging, and easy to understand. Most of all, your content should reflect your unique voice and demonstrate to your prospects just how much you care about the things that matter to them.
There are a number of ways you can differentiate your content, so take some risks and get creative. Whatever you do, avoid being a carbon copy of the next guy. We’ve got enough of that already.
Getting Your Content Out There
Your content is only as good as the people who receive it. If you’re doing things right, people are going to want to read, bookmark, and share your information. This is where SEO, social media, and social networking can play a big role in increasing your visibility.
Using social media to distribute your content deserves an article all it’s own, so for now I recommend you check out the following posts by Chris Brogan for some quick social media schooling.
If you build it, they might not come, so go find them and share the good news.
Is Blogging the Only Way to use Content Marketing?
No way Josefina! Content marketing takes place in many forms. If you are not into blogging consider using video or audio. Or, create a special report or write a guide book for your target market. In the article 49 Creative Ways You Can Profit From Content Marketing, Senior Editor of Copyblogger, Sonia Simone, shares 49 knock your socks of ways to create content that will help you grow your business. Check it out, because it will certainly get your gears turning.
I should also mention that if you’re not familiar with Copyblogger, and you plan to use content marketing, you should be. Copyblogger offers a multitude of resources that can help you grow your online business. As far as I’m concerned Copyblogger is the godfather of content marketing that doesn’t make you cringe.
So how will you apply content marketing to your online business? What kind of creative content can you think of producing that your audience might enjoy? Let me know in the comments. Let’s kick around some content marketing ideas!
Speaking of all this content marketing now would be a good time for me to give you a heads up on a special document I’ve created just for you. If you’re not subscribed to my RSS feed, do it now so that you can get this document right in your feed reader. And, don’t forget to submit your e-mail address in the box at the top right of this page so that you can get first dibs (and the best price) on my upcoming Girls Guide to a Kick-Ass Online Biz.
Okay, so tell me what you’ve got?