I’m a HUGE fan of content marketing.
OK, so it’s an area that fits my skill set. After all, I am a writer through and through!
But even if the blank page brings you into a cold sweat or you struggle to get ideas from your head onto paper, that doesn’t mean content marketing can’t work for you.
In fact, given all the cool stuff great content can achieve for your business, your positioning, and your sales, I think it’s a strategy well worth exploring.
So to give you an idea of the possibilities, here are 10 outcomes content can help you achieve. I think they’re all worth pursuing. So let’s get stuck in…
1. Help your perfect WHO make an informed buying decision
The internet is the core reason for the explosion of content marketing in recent years.
The reason? The internet has removed so many barriers to publishing. It’s easier than ever for you to share your knowledge with your audience. And customers love this shift too. Just take a moment to consider how the average person decides to buy. There’s a strong likelihood they’ll search online or ask their social media contacts. Significantly, these buyers are ‘self-educating’ – so they can make more informed decisions.
This means if all you’re offering is ‘salesy’ stuff, it’s likely you’ll turn customers off. They’ll simply go elsewhere to get their thirst for knowledge quenched. In comparison, if you create content that helps buyers make decisions, you’ll completely transform the way you’re perceived (think more welcome guest than annoying, ‘salesy’ pest).
So in a nutshell, that is the core goal of content marketing… to provide the engaging information that helps your audience get the answers they need – to be able to take a next step.
And whether your contribution to this discussion is in the form of blogs, e-books, webinars, podcasts, (for example), … if you have a voice in these early stages of the buying cycle, you’ll have a much stronger chance of making the short-list when it’s time to buy.
2. Initiate and shape conversations
Following point one, with content you can join, initiate, and shape the conversations your perfect WHO has around your area of expertise.
Remember that self-education quest?
It means your audience is open to persuasion (in a good way) because they’re looking to draw conclusions and make their own mind up – and content can provide them with the information that helps them to do this.
So share ideas, solve problems, overcome objections, teach, inform, and even challenge… As your voice gains attention and resonates with your perfect WHO, you’ll find they’ll be more tuned into what you have to say – and eventually how you can help.
3. Build your list…
As we’ve seen, content can help you to get on the radar of your perfect WHO. In this way, content can ‘awaken’ your audience and draw their attention to what you have to say.
And whilst it’s nice to have an audience of people reading your content, that’s not sufficient from a business perspective. And that’s why a key content goal should be to build your list.
To do this, you need to create capture content. Here’s a quick definition… Capture content is desirable information hidden behind an opt-in form. Through this content (which can take the form of e-books, cheat sheet, checklists, and infographics), you can entice the people in your audience to share their contact details with you.
And with contact details safely in hand, you’re able to continue the conversation in their inbox (or letterbox).
Don’t underestimate the shift in your relationship that happens as a result of this micro-commitment. Prior to opt-in, the customer is just an invisible member of your wider audience, but once on your list they become a warm lead you can nurture.
4. … and then monestise that list
There’s no question that a list is an incredibly valuable business asset. But the soundbite “the money’s in your list” is only partially true.
Think about it…
It’s no use having a ton of people on your list – if you never speak to them again!
If you want your list to be a meaningful business asset, it needs to drive revenue – and again content can help.
If you have an engaged list, then you have traffic on tap. By this I mean you can send ‘stuff’ to your list that entices them to take an action. For example, buy your latest product, read your new blog post, or give you their opinion or feedback.
The key here is the word engaged – because without engagement, all you’l have is a defunct list of names who once signed up – but are no longer interested because their needs are being met elsewhere.
So make nurturing profitable relationships one of your core content goals. Stay in touch. Send regular emails. and don’t neglect your subscribers.But be mindful of your communication. Remember, your relationship was initially based on helping – so don’t remove this core component. Instead, continue to build on the value you’ve already shared, whilst you weave in some sales messages too.
If you do this, then you’ll begin to unlock you list’s potential and turn your content creation investment into revenue.
5. Pre-sell something new
If you have something to sell, then lay the foundations in your content.
For example, discuss a problem and present your product/service as the solution. In addition, create desire for something new – you could discover a stream of customers ready to buy (if you’ve done the groundwork).
Whilst content marketing is about creating content that adds value, it’s also about laying the foundations for a sale. After al, helping is often the quickest root to a sale.
Remember, if you’ve proven your worth up-front (by delivering value BEFORE asking for anything in return), don’t be surprised if you get more customers as a result. When your content builds confidence in who you are and what you do, you’ll begin to dilute the inevitable objections. So create content wisely and you could lubricate the friction that prevents people from saying yes.
6. Express your personality
Sticking with the theme of ‘showing up’, content marketing can also help you show up in the right way.
The biggest content hurdle you’ll face is earning the attention that leads to momentum.
Remember, there’s a ton of brilliant information out there. So how do you get the right eyes on your ideas and make your voice stand out from everyone else?
Fortunately, you have a powerful tool at your disposal – and it’s a tool that not enough business owners use to their advantage.
That tool? Well, it’s YOU…
It’s your personality. Your unique voice. It’s your personal take on your niche. It’s the way you do business. It’s your backstory. It’s the way you speak. It’s the way you make people feel…
All these aspects of YOU blend in a unique way to offer a distinct experience to your customers – that no one else can replicate.
So unleash it and use it.
Please don’t create generic sounding content that could have been written by anyone (it’s boring). Instead, create YOUR content – and then publish it with pride knowing your voice is ‘out there’, making a difference to the people you can best serve.
7. Establish your expert authority
Sticking with the personality theme, you’ll find that content is a powerful way to build your ‘know, like, trust factor’.
The likeability factor is enormous. And f you can add authority and and trustworthiness into the mix, well that’s powerful combination.
Personality rich content can help you demonstrate all three – and it’s an especially effective way to show people what you know – without being a showoff!
So use your content to share your expert message and claim your expert authority status. Published content is proof that you know your stuff. And when people read it, it gives them a sense as to whether or not you’re the right who for them.
One more thing…
Don’t underestimate the value of that expert status. If you become the ‘go-to’, suddenly you’ll find you can charge the fees you’re really worth. And just imagine the impact of that shift on your bottom line.
8. Drive organic visits to your website
Whilst it pays not to rely on organic visits alone, it is worth doing what you can to increase the number of hits you don’t have to pay for.
Whilst the search engines continue to change their ranking algorithms, delivering a top-notch user experience is still the driving force that determines where your website ranks.
Well, a regular stream of fresh, highly relevant content still tops the bill for giving your web visitors that great experience when they land on your site.
So if you’re updating your blog on a consistent basis (as well as reviewing your static pages to ensure they’re up-to-date and relevant), the likelihood is you’ll score a few brownie points with the likes of Google and be rewarded with more organic traffic as a result.
9. Enhance your social media presence
There’s no question that links shared on social media can help spread your message wider, faster, and with more traction. And your content can help to fuel these social media conversations and therefore add more depth to what you do.
What’s more because you can create ads (for example in Facebook) back to your content, you can also get fresh eyes on your content.
10. Attract lucrative opportunities
Once your content is ‘out there’, who knows where it will end up.
That’s the power of the internet… you never know who will read or share your content.
In turn, content can open doors. For example, it can put you on the radar of a key influencer. It can forge partnerships, and connections. It can even open up joint venture opportunities.
So be ready for something surprising and unexpected to happen when you share your stuff and use your expert knowledge to help your audience achieve their goals. DO this, and you just might achieve a few of your own.
What has content helped you to achieve?
Content marketing has helped me win new business, raise my profile, and attract a steady steam of leads. But what about you? What pay off has your content marketing generated? Please let me know in the comments below.