Content marketing is a way of subtly selling your product or service. It’s a method of positioning your company as a thought leader and to show prospects you don’t expect anything in return for the valuable information you’re providing.
Of course, by giving prospects important information at no cost, they will be more likely to buy from you when the time comes for a purchase decision. Content marketing isn’t like traditional advertising; you aren’t making a clear pitch for business in the material you’re sending to the public. You won’t have any calls-to-action or specific promotions but you will call attention to yourself or your company as an expert in the field in which you operate.
This article will discuss five content marketing vehicles you can use to drive some serious business.
These take some time and effort, but when done well can really boost your reputation in the marketplace. I use these to position myself as an expert copywriter and some of my e-book topics include:
- How to create killer web copy
- How to develop a great brochure
- How to build and deploy effective email marketing.
My goal is always to provide real value and actionable content to prospects. The idea is simple, while some of my readers will develop their own web copy, brochures or emails, the majority will see me as the go-to expert and choose to hire me when their company needs this type of marketing material.
The trick is to discover what sort of information your prospect base is interested in and then to create content around those topics. E-Books are often used as list-bait, a way of getting prospects to provide you with an email address you can then use to stay in touch. This leads directly into the next content marketing approach.
#2: Email Newsletters
Nurturing prospects with regular email communications is a powerful long-term sales tool. It is also a fantastic approach to content marketing.
Leveraging topics your consumer base is interested in and sending out messages your list expects can lead to increased and steady business over time.
My target market tends to be marketing managers or business owners responsible for their company’s advertising and marketing. So, my email series sends specific messages about various aspects of marketing.
Some of my topics include:
- How to Track Marketing Results
- Why Most Marketing Fails… and How Yours Can Succeed, Writing to Communicate
- and 48 other email messages I developed.
If you send out actionable information that adds value to your prospective customers’ business or professional lives, you’ll see great results.
Nowadays, almost every organization has a blog – from private businesses to newspapers through government departments. They all have some form of a weblog providing information to the public.
It’s up to the blog writer to provide content that will cause people to visit the site more than once and eventually buy a product or service from their organization. Blogs offer the added benefit of providing a forum where people can interact with your company.
They can ask questions, offer opinions and get feedback on ideas. It’s a great way to make personal connections with prospective clients.
One of the issues I see quite often in this medium is content that focuses on topics that hold little interest to the target audience. It’s important to use your blog like you would with email marketing. You’ve got to provide concrete value to readers or there’s little point in putting in all the effort or spending money on content creation.
Blogging is more valuable when it’s done regularly so it’s a good idea to post consistently. This encourages people to return and check for new content.
Creating an editorial calendar with all of your blog ideas is a good way to stay on track. Simply make a note every time you think of an idea or come across an interesting topic for posts – then set a specific schedule for each post and stick to it!
#4: Webinars and Video
A great way to personalize your messages is to appear in video or offer educational webinars on a specific topic. For example, I might offer a webinar on improving email marketing conversion rates.
Webinars can be recorded and offered for free or as an exchange for contact information – providing you with ongoing ROI over time. It also offers information your consumer base will appreciate having access to.
You can also provide live webinars that include Q&A sessions to really increase the interactive nature of your lesson.
Videos also offer a great way to position yourself as a thought leader. The truth is, people like doing business with people they know or at least recognize. If you offer solid information and present yourself professionally, you’ll have a great chance to increase contacts, leads and sales.
#5: Case Studies
They’re a creative way to show how you helped a company overcome a specific issue or challenge. Case studies should focus on common challenges faced by companies operating in your target demographic so prospects can relate to the material. In detail, a case study will outline the initial issue faced by a company and then focus on how you analyzed it, figured out a solution, implemented the solution and the end results.
Case studies show precisely how you can help prospects solve their own problems. They are a fantastic way of highlighting your skill set as well as the products or services you provide. It takes imagination out of the equation for prospective clients and helps them understand exactly why you’ll be an asset to their organization.
When developing your content marketing, it’s vital to remember you aren’t going for the hard-sell. You want to show how you’re an expert in your field and let the prospect conclude you’re the right choice for them. This isn’t your average marketing approach but can lead to superior business results.
The articles is prepared by Brian Birnbaum