Content Marketing is nothing new. There are marketing agencies that are Pro, and those that are Con as to the discipline.
Before embarking on any long term marketing strategy, it is a good idea to understand what you will be doing, and most importantly why. There are several purposes behind Content Marketing, Some may surprise you.
Content Marketing Purposes – Start With the Why
A great deal has been written here and elsewhere about using Content Marketing for SEO purposes, and that is a valid use but isn’t really what we mean. SEO is also a vehicle to a purpose, and one common to the topic at hand: Gaining targeted visitors.
It’s important to understand that there are several motivations. These will shape your content, and the CTA’s (Calls To Action) contained therein.
- Targeted Traffic
- Authority Building
- Build Email Lists
- Extend Social Reach
- Create Direct Sales
Each of these qualifies as a primary purpose. We use Content Marketing as SEO Strategy to accomplish these primary purposes. So SEO is part of the strategy as opposed to a purpose. It is part of the how, not the why.
Now we look at each of the whys.
Content Marketing for Targeted Traffic
Every website and business owner online is looking for targeted traffic. What does this mean? Traffic is what we call website visitors regardless of how they got to the website. Targeted means that they came to the site because they have an interest in the underlying topic, products, or services.
Content is the best vehicle to attract these visitors without paying for them. It also keeps on attracting those visitors over time. When you pay for a visitor, that’s it. If you want more traffic, you have to pay again.
Good quality content attracts website visitors because it contains what that particular type of visitor is looking for. The trick is knowing what they want. Another why question. Why should someone want to come to the website? Answer that in enough ways and you will guarantee a steady stream of targeted website visitors interested in your content, your products, services, and offers.
Content Marketing to Build Authority
It is commonly said that people do business with those they know, like and trust. Building authority in your marketplace is a great way to establish all three of these goals, and Content Marketing can accomplish this in ways that few things can.
Writing content that demonstrates knowledge of your market, and a willingness to forthrightly share that knowledge in a pleasant informative manner fills that bill perfectly. As you build a library of informative content that is readily available to your marketplace, you create authority for yourself.
The word conjures images of power, but it is less like that than it is those three things we started with. When you have authority people know, like and trust you even if they’ve never met you personally.
Their knowledge of you is based on what they have learned about you through the content you have built. Teach them that you are worthy of that indirect relationship they feel they have with you.
Content Marketing to Build Email Lists
The single best way to build a quality email list is through content marketing.
Offering Free Reports (valuable ones), Email Courses, White Papers, Resource Lists, etc. as an inducement is a great way to get visitors to opt into your lists. Each of those inducements are content by nature. So campaigns to build your email lists are Content Marketing.
There are an infinite number of ways to re-purpose your content into opt-in bait. Use what you know about your market to create content that your visitors want, and your email lists will grow and grow and grow.
Content Marketing to Extend Social Reach
Email isn’t the only list you want to grow. Each of your social media accounts allows you to get followers, Likes, etc. which means that those people will see what you post on that social media property. Sounds like a list to me!
As you build that following on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. you achieve what is called Social Reach.
This means that you have the exposure commensurate with the size of your following. Bigger following, greater Social Reach. This is another resource that is only available if you can provide value to those potential followers.
Value here is provided through content. While you can and should share other people’s content, it is your content in the end that will either impress them, or fail to and get or lose that Like, follow, etc..
Provide value through Content Marketing and you extend that reach. Extend your reach, and more people see your content. More people see your content and your authority builds.
See how these purposes feed one another?
Content Marketing to Create Direct Sales
It is generally accepted that your content should be 80% Edutainment (Combo of educational and entertainment) and 20% promotional. That means that one piece in five has the purpose of creating a sale, and therefore to generate revenue.
That may seem like a skinny ration, but it creates a lot of opportunity to promote your products and services. The important thing is to create those pieces of content with the same voice as the other 80%.
People love to buy, but hate to be sold. So sell more by doing less selling. This is not just possible, but reflects the new marketplace and how things are purchased today.
People will buy from you not because you have the sure fire close, but because they have come to feel that they know, like and trust you. Sound familiar?
If people opt-in to your email list, follow you on social media, regularly read your website articles, but then find that once they are in your circle they are bombarded by a hard sell, they will be gone in an instant for good.
As you educate your circle about the niche your business inhabits, you teach them about the problems they face. Now you have the opportunity to provide solutions, or choices as to how to address what you have been key in identifying.
This is the new sales process:
- Identify Problem or Need
- Provide Choices to Solve
- Make Obtaining Choice Painless
Do this effectively and a 1:5 ratio is plenty.
The heart of Content Marketing is known as Attraction Marketing. Conceptually it is pretty simple. Position yourself as the authority in your marketplace, and do so with integrity and the right prospects will come to you and close themselves.
Think about the most satisfying sale you have ever made. Did you close them, or did they simply come to realize that one of the choices you offered filled their need? That is the experience you are seeking to replicate with Content Marketing creating Attraction Marketing.
Content Marketing Purposes Feed Each Other
There is a synergy about the purposes discussed here that makes Content Marketing very powerful. Each of the purposes elevates the others and makes them more effective.
- Targeted Traffic – Website visitors exposed to your content builds your authority, join your lists, follow you on social media, and in time become paying customers.
- Authority Building – Those perceiving your authority in the marketplace come back you your website, subscribe to your email newsletter, follow you on social media, and in time become paying customers.
- Build Email Lists – Email subscribers click thru the links in your newsletters visiting your website repeatedly, grow in appreciation of your authority in the marketplace, follow you on social media, and in time become paying customers.
- Extend Social Reach – Social media followers see your new website content posted in your feed, reading it they appreciate your authority in the market increasingly, subscribe to your email lists, and in time become paying customers.
- Create Direct Sales – Paying customers come back to your website for follow up info, grow in appreciation of your authority as they utilize your products and services, subscribe to your email lists to stay up to date, follow you on social media (referring THEIR friends and followers), and in time will buy from you repeatedly.
Think about this lively and cyclical process that becomes self sustaining, and takes on a life of its own, and that my friends is the true purpose of Content Marketing.
A PDF Version of this article is available for download here: ”
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