Discover how to create a non-stop flood of leads, prospects and customers to fill your sales pipeline and make your business boom.
What You Will Learn
- What content marketing is all about, and why it is so important to bloggers and online marketers
- The kinds of content you can create, and what they do for your online business
- How to leverage content marketing to get more clicks, reads, and shares
The Content Marketing Revolution
Imagine having an endless flow of new prospective customers inquiring about you and your business. You don’t spend a dime on buying ads, yet your phone keeps ringing, and your email inbox is full of ‘new sale’ notifications.
The inquiries and sales keep coming seven days a week, 365 days a year. In fact, the only way to stop them is to tear down your website, unplug the phone and delete your email account.
How fast would your business grow? Could you triple your revenue next year? Or maybe 10X it? This time next year, you could be a millionaire. Within a few years, you might be retired, sitting on the beach with a Tequila in your hand and a fortune in the bank.
All of this is possible, thanks to content marketing. So if you are not entirely sure what content marketing is, then pay attention…because you are about to discover a strategy that could change your life.
Content marketing has undergone a boom in recent years. Thanks to technological advances such as new blogging platforms and the social media explosion, it has become possible to reach people in ways that simply did not exist previously.
This has opened up a whole new era of growth hacking. Many companies have gone from startups to multi-million revenues through content marketing alone. And as technology continues to advance, the opportunities are getting even bigger.
So what exactly is content marketing, and how do you make money with it?
Content Marketing Basics
Let’s start with a definition from the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
In other words, instead of using paid advertising to drive sales, companies are investing in creating various forms of content for potential customers to consume. From blog posts to videos, these are aimed at building relationships that lead to sales.
Does this strategy work? Heck, yes. As an example, let’s look at Insider Inc. (formerly Business Insider). In just a few years, this media company has grown to serve a global audience of 400 million people, with stories that generate more than 5 billion views a month.
Thanks to an aggressive content marketing strategy, they have over 100 million followers on social media, and the numbers are growing fast. And they now have over 500 employees.
All of this success is founded on the simple principle of sharing stories. And that is the same principle that has made Red Bull the poster child of content marketing:
Now, I appreciate that you may not be able to splash out millions of dollars in generating stories as Red Bull does. But don’t worry. One of the great advantages of content marketing is that this is a strategy that you can bootstrap.
You can get started with little or no investment, and start seeing returns very quickly. Content marketing is the principal strategy used by Groove to grow their customer service software business from startup to $100k monthly recurring revenue in just over a year.“Content marketing is ridiculously effective if you do it right,” says CEO, Alex Turnbull.
“I’ve said this a number of times, but it bears repeating over and over again: content marketing has been the single biggest driver of growth for our company.
“Not advertising (which we don’t do). Not affiliate marketing (which we probably won’t do). And not referrals (which we do but need to do better). Content. Our content efforts have carried the growth of this company, and the ROI of blogging is not to be ignored.”And if you want an idea of the kind of ROI he is talking about, just check out this growth chart:
How would that kind of growth rate change your business? Let’s see how we can make happen.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when dipping their toes into content marketing is to adopt what Brian Dean calls ‘the publish and pray’ approach.
That is, they invest all their efforts into creating a quality piece of content. Then they publish it and pray that they will get results. They are relying on the ‘build it, and they will come’ philosophy.
The problem with that approach is that this is usually the result……the sound of silence.No phone calls, no emails, no customers. If you want to get a real return on investment, you need to get serious about content marketing. And that means having a strategy that goes far beyond simply publishing content.
Here’s how to do content marketing, step by step:
It goes without saying that while quality content is not enough on its own, it is clearly the cornerstone of any effective content marketing strategy.
You will most likely create several different types of content. These will work together to create an interlocking puzzle of information that allows you to engage with prospects in many different ways.
However, these pieces of content are not designed to sell directly. At this stage, your prospects are at the very top of your content marketing funnel:
At the discovery stage, you should be providing helpful information and advice. Once people start to see you as an expert in your field, they will consider you as a supplier.
From there, you can scale up the relationship and convert them to customers. Finally, you stay in touch to maximize your customer retention rate.
There are many different kinds of content you can create. Let’s look at the most likely options:
If I had to pick just one tool to use for content marketing, it would be a WordPress blog. Nowadays, you can start a blog for just a few bucks and start sharing content immediately.
To make the most of the opportunities that blogging represents, you need to get good at search engine optimization and social media marketing. These need to be baked in from the start.
You should have social sharing built-in through the use of a good sharing plugin, such as my favorite, Social Warfare. Your blog posts should be optimized around your desired keywords, and you need to understand all the nuances of on-site optimization.
If you get good at blogging, the results can be exceptional. Ryan Robinson has built a very successful consultancy by growing the reach of his blog to around half a million page views. His blog provides proof of what his team can do, and his ability to pick up lucrative clients as a result.
White papers work extremely well if you have a more technical product that requires an explanation. However, you should not fall into the trap of letting them become dull and boring.
Reading white papers is usually less exciting than watching paint dry, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Write in an approachable, friendly style. Use short sentences and even shorter paragraphs. Allow plenty of white space and illustrate with simple pictures and diagrams.
Although white papers are traditionally created in PDF format, remember that PDFs are not mobile-friendly. And with over half of website traffic now coming from mobile devices, you may want to think again. A professionally-designed responsive web page will be a better option.
Now that we are living in the YouTube era, you can’t afford to overlook video. YouTube is the world’s second most popular search engine, and over five billion videos are watched every day.
The numbers are insane…and you can’t afford to miss the boat.
It’s easy to start your own YouTube channel and start uploading content. Create the best quality videos you can, and make good use of playlists to maximize watch time.
Top YouTubers get millions of views and can generate a lot of business through their channel. Sarah Chrisp of Wholesale Ted is a great example of how great video content can create a successful business:
Creating quality video content takes some work, but there is no better way to engage with your audience in a very personal way.
We are experiencing an explosion in the popularity of podcasts, and this is a great time to get in and ride the wave.
You can start a podcast on a low budget. Even a $50 mic is enough to get you started. The key to success with podcasting is to publish episodes on a regular basis. Create great content at least once a week, and more often if you can.
Podcasters such as John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn have built multi-million dollar businesses around their podcasts, so there is a real opportunity to leverage podcasting technology.
Another great way to offer high-value content is to use webinars.
The technology has improved enormously in recent years, and it’s now economical and practical for anyone to get started.
A webinar is an event that brings the excitement of live action to help you engage people. You can use webinars to provide lots of value for free, whilst also pitching your paid products.
Webinar specialists like Amy Porterfield generate substantial sales on the back of their free webinars. Amy parlayed what she learned from Tony Robbins’ content marketing strategy into a very successful business of her own. In particular, she learned to focus on these three principles:
If you don’t want to host webinars live, you can always use automated webinars instead. You also upload your webinars to YouTube for additional leverage.
Many marketers have achieved huge success with visual content such as infographics. These are designed to be shared, and they can have a huge impact when they go viral.
Infographics don’t have to be complicated. In fact, simple is often best. They do need to be interesting and useful.
Although infographics are very popular, you can create all kinds of visual content. As long as it’s relevant to your core message, any visual element can be an effective part of your content marketing program.
2. Promote Your Content
Content creation is hard work — yet it’s still the easiest part of the process. Next comes the slog of promotion. It’s not easy, but it’s what separates the amateurs from the pros. Forbes says:
“In the content marketing world, creating and publishing content are only the first steps toward a successful campaign. Often, the most important piece is also the most overlooked: content promotion. Many content marketers fail to promote their content in any way, and end up missing a huge chunk of ROI because of it.”
In order for your content to have an impact, you need to work hard on spreading the word about it. There are various ways to do this:
Leverage Your List
You are building an email list, right? If so, this is the first place to share your content. The people on your list are your biggest fans, so they are more likely to spread the word than anyone else.
For a large, in-depth piece of content, you can even email them several times, highlighting a different part of the content each time. That will give you maximum mileage and also help your subscribers to get the most value from your content.
Deploy Social Media
The next stop is your social media following. Hopefully, you have been busy building up good followings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other platforms. Now is the time to share your content with them.
Pinterest is great for content promotion because pins stick around for a long time. While tweets and Facebook posts are history within hours, a popular pin can bring you a steady stream of traffic for months — or even years.
Run Paid Ads
A great way to leverage your social media following is to spend a little money to promote your content. Even a modest amount spent on Facebook ads or Pinterest Promoted Pins can increase the reach of your content considerably.
If money is tight, you can focus your spend on pieces of content that start to get traction. Then every dollar you spend is increasing the momentum of the content and can produce fantastic results.
Get Good at Outreach
Now that we’ve got the easy stuff out of the way, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to work. Outreach is probably the most effective way to promote your content.
The basic principle is to contact influencers who may wish to share your content and convince them to give you a link, or a social media share. When done right, this works very well. Using just one outreach strategy, Leo Wildrich, co-founder of Buffer App, propelled his business from zero to 100,000 customers.
Outreach is a major task that is beyond the scope of this post. But done right, it will make a huge difference to the success of your content. If you want to delve deeper into this topic, here’s a huge post that gives a whole load of information.
3. Engage with Your Audience
Once you start getting attention in the form of clicks, opt-ins to your mailing list, video views, and so on, it’s time to start moving people down your content marketing funnel.
Now they are moving from the Discovery stage to the Consideration stage. That is, they are considering you as a possible supplier.
They say that it takes multiple points of contact to establish a relationship with a prospect. Opinions on this vary, but it is clear that you need to nurture your leads and establish a bond with them.
We tend to buy from people we know, like, and trust — and this is what content marketing is all about. You distribute content so that people get to know you. Then as they engage with your content, they (hopefully) get to like and trust you.
In order to build this relationship, you need to generate trust carefully. You should share more useful content with the people on your list, for example. But you should not spam them with all kinds of useless offers.
4. Generate Sales
If you get all the above right, you will reach the stage where your prospects are convinced of what you can do, and they are ready to sign up as customers. At last, you are ready to reap the rewards of all the work you have put in.In fact, you should hardly need to do any selling at all — you have already presented your credentials, shown what you can do, and dealt with objections. All you have to do now is take the order.
5. Get Shares and Referrals
Finally, get your customers to help you spread the word, and leverage your efforts even further. Ask them to share their experience of working with you on social media, and to give you referrals for further business.
Remember that the sales process doesn’t end with the sale. In fact, making the sale is just the beginning. The checkout should be the start of a long and fruitful partnership between you and your customer.
This should be a mutually beneficial relationship that serves you both well. Remember that there is nowhere to hide on the Internet. Let just one customer down, and the damage to your reputation could spread worldwide.
But if you deliver good service to every customer, then you can prosper on the back of your content marketing strategy.
The Future of Content Marketing
There’s no doubt about it — content marketing is going to grow at an exponential rate over the next few years. Those who seize the opportunity will have the opportunity to lead their markets.
So you need to make a start on content marketing now before your competitors do. Build your platform now, and you will be one step ahead of the game.
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