Content Marketing for Beginners
Are you busy growing your business, but feeling uncertain about where to put your focus? Do you have a content marketing strategy? Providing consistent, value-driven content might be the single greatest thing you can do to build an audience in today’s digital world!
Content marketing can be a bit of a vague term, and there are a lot of interpretations out there. But let’s look at a definition. Then we will talk about why you need to be creating content, what kind of content to create, and how to develop a strategy for promoting your content.
Sounds complicated, right? It doesn’t have to be. Let’s break it down.
What is content marketing?
In the big picture of content marketing, everything you create points to your brand and lives on your website, your own little corner of the internet. And the key to that content needs to be your audience. Provide value, solve problems, create community.
The Content Marketing Institute CLICK FOR LINK defines it like this:
I love sharing all the things I learn while building this savvy design business. Everything I learn I owe it from other people whom I learned from. I hope by following me online I will be able to create the same impact others did with their free resources.
So content marketing is more than just the content you create, but the whole package of how it fits into your overall marketing strategy.
Why do you need to create content?
We live in a society driven by social media. And many people talk about how we are becoming more isolated and alone because of it. Now more than ever, people crave community. They long for a human connection and are looking for it in the form of online interactions.
If you dig in and find what your ideal client is searching for, not just online but in life, and produce content that fills their needs, you are building that connection. See your clients for the people they are. Feel their pain and struggles. Offer help generously. Learn about them and their businesses and their lives.
People can spot a fake. You know the kind. The person who sends you a friend request on social media and immediately fills your inbox with their gushy pitch.
Be genuine, and create content that feeds your people. This will develop your brand, grow your authority, and fill your audience with people who trust you because you’ve proven your sincere interest in their success.
So you know that your content matters! Now, what should you create with it?
3 types of content that will connect you with your audience.
Truthfully, we will barely skim the surface of all there is to know about content marketing! It’s an ever-changing, ever-growing field. But we are going to look at three styles of content you can use to start solving problems and connecting with your ideal client.
Blogging has been around for nearly two decades! It refers to regular written content produced on a website. Most websites today have a blog since fresh, relevant content is a must-have to keep on top of SEO. So whether you have a local hair salon, or you’re an online course creator, a blog is an excellent way to offer solutions to problems you see your clients facing.
Even if you haven’t delved into the whole realm of SEO, keeping a regular stream of value-driven content coming can play a huge role in how search engines view your website!
Blog posts can vary in length, but generally speaking, 400-1000 words seems to be a good guideline. Write for your ideal client. They will sense it and keep on engaging with you!
“Vlog” is short for “video blog.” Simply put, it’s the video version of a blog! If your brand is heavily influenced by your personality, creating videos is a great way to connect with your ideal client because it’s almost like talking right to them.
Do you have a list of questions or problems your audience is talking about? Create a short video to address it. Offer help. Show vulnerability. Allow your viewers to see that the real you cares about the struggles they face.
Podcasts are a form of downloadable content your audience can take with them on the go! Whether they are going to the gym, or on their morning commute, podcasts offer an opportunity to multitask by listening to great content hands-free.
You have the opportunity to get inside your ideal client’s ear by simply recording and promoting your own podcast. Episodes can vary in length from just a few minutes to an hour, sometimes even longer. But find out what your people want. For example, if you want to provide value to busy moms just starting a business, you need to keep things short and to the point, or you’ll lose them to an impatient toddler!
Recording a podcast can be as simple as using the internal microphone in your smartphone. As your following grows, there are plenty of options to upgrade, including equipment, recording location, and outsourcing podcast editing and production. But there is no shame in starting small and just getting that value to your potential clients.
No matter how you record your podcast, always write yourself an outline, so you can stay on topic and not lose your audience. And be sure to make use of the “Show notes” section to share links, information, and reinforce your message.
How to promote your content.
Now that you have a handle on the content you can create, you can’t stop there! The marketing part of “content marketing” means you need to promote so people can find it. The quote from Content Marketing Institute says your strategy should meet “the objective of driving profitable customer action.” You want your clients to find your content, relate to you through it, and come to a decision to use your service.
So how can you get your content in front of the people who need it?
Whenever you’ve created a post, video, or podcast, share it on your Facebook page, link to it from other relevant posts, and talk about it on other social channels. Use these opportunities to point back to your content that lives on your website. This grows your authority in your field and gains visibility for your brand.
Vlog content can be promoted on YouTube. Build a following through consistently adding videos to your own YouTube channel. Use the description area to link back to your website. And Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play are options for promoting your podcast and gaining regular listeners.