Content Marketing Mini Guide: Why, How plus Dos and Don’ts

Why bother with Content MarketingThe-Marketing-bit-content-marketing ?

Business owners often look at me with crossed-eyes when I suggest content marketing can help them achieve their goals.  What they’re really asking me and themselves is:

Why bother? 
How is content going to do anything for my business?

Fair questions when you don’t understand how content marketing can help the business owner accomplish bigger marketing goals.

Like what, you ask?

Here are a few goals and the role content plays in reaching them.  Which goal best fits your needs?

1.  Demonstrate the value of your product/service

You can do this easily through the power of storytelling or case studies.  People easily relate to either formats.

Think of sharing a story or case study about one of your customers who benefited from the use of your product or service.  Would this type of content help answer questions your customers may have about you, about your products?

2.  Increase or shorten the lead/conversion process

Often the only thing stopping your customers from buying are the unanswered questions they have rattling around in their heads.  You already know what these questions are because you’ve answered these questions before.

By creating content that addresses these questions upfront you take away the mental barriers and help people make a purchase decision in your favor.

3.  Increase or shorten the decision making process

Who are all of the people in the decision making process?  Each will have their own basket of concerns that need to be addressed.

Crafting content that speaks to each of these decision influencers can move people and companies off of the fence and onto your bottom line.

4.  Attract prospects/leads

There are people out there who want what you have to offer.  They just have to find you.

Content and the marketing of that content can make you more findable online.  This helps pull in more potential customers interested in what you have to offer.  This could be through SEO rich posts on your own blog or as a guest post on other blogs that target your audience.

Once created, content continues to deliver. It becomes a business asset living online pulling-in additional prospects for a long, long time.

5.  Creating/enhancing your brand image

Content goes a long way to amplify the image of your brand.  The words, the formats (blog posts, videos, etc.), the frequency with which you create content, the overall look and feel of your website, the images you use with your content all play a role in the mental picture your audience forms about your brand.

6.  Build trust with your audience

Trust is also a by-product of your brand image.  By providing reliable, thoughtful and helpful content you send a strong message to your audience that you can be counted on.

7.  Getting on the short list 

The short list are the resources that immediately come to mind when people think about a problem, a product or a service.

Content that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise earns you a spot on the short list in your market.  This could be through white papers, ebooks, trainings, or through joint efforts with other top experts in your field.

Content of Value

To accomplish these goals, your content has to provide readers with ‘value’.The-marketing-bit-content-marketing-value

How do you know if your content offers value?  Good question.

An easy way to think of content with ‘value’ is to craft it with one of three characteristics in mind – the three Es.

Does it Educate, Entertain or Empower your audience?

Content that includes one of these three qualities is certain to hit the mark.

Notice ‘selling’ wasn’t one of the three qualities defining content value. Good content is always about meeting the wants/needs of your audience.  Do that first, and you’ll find your audience far more interested in your offerings.  You won’t HAVE to sell them.

Different Types of Content Marketing

Clients often think of blog posts when we talk about content.  It is true that blog posts can be the cornerstone of content marketing, but one shouldn’t stop there.  You have a variety of formats from which to choose.

How to choose?  Ask yourself: Which best meet the needs of your audience and your marketing goals?  Spice it up and instill some variety into your content.  It will be easier to create and more interesting to your audience.

Text Content:

  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • White Papers
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Templates
  • Press Releases
  • Case Studies
  • Research Reports
  • Newsletter

Visual Content:

  • Infographics
  • Slide shows / Power Points
  • Photos
  • Mind Maps

AV Content:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Tele-Summits

Dos and Don’ts Guide

There are guidelines around each of different types of content.  To ensure your content hits the mark, check out the Dos and Don’ts infographic below covering blogging, press releases, infographics and guest blogging from WebNetHosting.

There’s a lot more surrounding the topic of content marketing.  But this mini guide will get you started.

What do you think?  Can content marketing help you achieve your business goals?  Has it already?

Go ahead and leave your thoughts about content marketing below and feel free to share this content marketing guide with others who may be struggling.

The_Marketing_Bit_content-marketing-infographic

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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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