Content marketing 101
Publishing content is an excellent way to position yourself as an authority in your industry. But unless you have a firm content marketing strategy, you may be wasting your efforts.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is about creating and freely distributing truly informative content with a clear end goal in mind, from signing up to your newsletter to subscribing to a 12 month paid membership that costs thousands of dollars.
It’s about building trust through a long-term relationship.
Content marketing is NOT about masking ads as content. Nor is it about producing infomercials. If you expect your reader to take action after reading one piece of so-called content, it’s not content marketing. It’s an ad.
Content marketing is not a one-night stand.
"A good rule is to freely give away the who, what, where, when and why – and then sell the how."
So what’s classified as content?
Frankly, everything you publish is content. From your tweets to your blog posts, your whitepapers to your newsletters. Even your images are classified as content.
Your goals and your content marketing strategy
Don’t think you need to start with an enormous goal. Let’s say your goal is to generate a certain amount of profit from your latest eBook on DIY web design, timed to coincide with the end of the financial year.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.
Depending on the depth of knowledge and the cost of the product, you need to start your strategy way before June. Working backwards is a great way to determine your timeframes.
Each fortnight might be dedicated to a chapter in your eBook. So in Fortnight 1, you might create a blog post reviewing the top three DIY web design tools, publish a newsletter on the latest web design trends of the year and tweet links to interesting DIY web design articles on the web.
In Fortnight 2, you might create a checklist on the web design process, publish a newsletter on the role usability plays in web design and tweet links to informative posts on user testing.
Get my drift?
Think of this content as a teaser to your product. Just don’t give everything away! A good rule is to freely give away the who, what, where, when and why – and then sell the how.
Keeping track of the strategy
There’s only one way: a content marketing calendar.
Using a project management tool (although I find using a spreadsheet just as effective), track your dates, entering what content you’re going to publish when, and using what medium.
A content marketing calendar is also an excellent way to banish procrastinating, keeping you on the straight and narrow.
The home stretch to achieving your goals
This doesn’t mean to say you won’t need to craft excellent sales pages; they’re an integral part of your success, and coupled with your effective content marketing strategy is the best way to create synergy.
It does say that by carefully using content during the pre-launch period, you are drastically increasing your chances of fulfilling your goal.
How have you used content to successfully market your products or services?