Marketing: it’s a tricky thing.
Almost as tricky as love.
And they both have similarities.
Think about how romantic relationships develop. Sometimes we meet someone and there’s an instant attraction; sometimes we have to go out looking for love – maybe try a few dating sites or blind dates.
Then once we find someone that might be compatible, we get to know them. We go out together, meet up, have calls, exchange messages. We do all this to find out if we are right for each other. Sometimes we know straight away, sometimes it takes a while to be sure.
The relationship evolves, and we make a commitment. But we don’t stop showing our love for each other – we don’t take each other for granted. Maybe we buy each other flowers and gifts ‘just because’. Perhaps we surprise each other with little treats. Maybe we simply message once a day to say, ‘I love you’.
Well, content marketing is just like this. It’s wooing your clients. It’s letting them get to know you – showing them why you’re such a good fit.
Instead of Tinder profiles, you have websites, social media pages or blogs.
Instead of going on dates, you share valuable, engaging content that showcases your brilliance.
Once the client has committed to the relationship, you don’t stop showing you care. You can continue to provide great content through blogs and articles, emails, newsletters, messages and any of the other hundreds of channels available to communicate through.
And just like our personal relationships, sometimes we realise early on that we aren’t compatible, sometimes relationships will simply fizzle out, and sometimes we meet our soul mate.
But the best part is that when it comes to business relationships, your clients don’t mind you ‘dating’ other clients. You can be in multiple business relationships at once and nobody will bat an eyelid. You can make a client feel special, even if they aren’t the only one.
So, it’s time to fall in love.
Fall in love with content marketing and make your clients fall in love with you.
What is content marketing?
Put simply, content marketing is creating valuable content for a defined audience with the purpose of stimulating interest in your products or services.
There are three key elements to this definition.
- Valuable content
- Defined audience
So, let’s break them down.
Although this is second on the list, it’s the thing you need to consider first. If you don’t know who you are creating content for, how do you know what they will find valuable?
You may have one very specific client profile, or you might have a few different types of client. Start by writing down as much detail as you can for each of the different client types – I recommend sticking with three to begin with.
Who are they? Business owners, employees, retirees, students, HR managers etc.
What problems can you help them with?
What type of content are they most likely to engage with and where?
Once you’ve built your client profiles, you can start planning your content.
Content can take any format: social media posts, video, podcasts, blogs, articles, emails, images, infographics, eBooks, white papers, checklists, apps, PDFs, and so on.
But it needs to add value in some way.
That could be by informing, educating or entertaining your audience. You could share top tips, how-to guides, step-by-steps, reviews, news, advice, guidance, warnings, opinions, facts, conjecture, ideas, research, interviews – it’s completely up to you.
It’s up to you to work out what resources or budget you can dedicate to content creation and which types of content your potential clients are most likely to engage with.
Your content needs a purpose. If you don’t know what you want to achieve through your content, then how can you measure the results – how will you know if it is working?
Usually, the purpose of content marketing is to eventually generate sales, but that doesn’t mean that your content is a sales pitch. You aren’t trying to sell through your content, you’re simply generating interest so that when people are ready to buy, they want to buy from you.
Some people will already be familiar with your company, know you, like you and trust you, but not yet be ready to buy. That’s when your content needs to get across the benefits of what you do.
Some people will be in the market for what you do, but won’t know much about your company. That’s when your content needs to showcase your expertise and personality to build trust and show you’re the right fit.
How do you sell without selling?
Well, let’s take this article as an example. I’m explaining to you what content marketing is and how it can help you win more business. I haven’t mentioned any of my services – I’m simply providing you with information and a few tips. At the same time, I’m (hopefully) getting you interested in content marketing. I’m showing you how it can benefit your business.
Perhaps you’ll read this and be inspired to get in touch. Or maybe you need me to take you on a few more dates first. And of course, you might read this and never do business with me. That’s ok too, because sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince.
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