We have previously written about “Getting Started in Content Marketing” where we discussed content strategy, and what you want to get out of the experience of content marketing, where you will send people, what channels you’ll market with, how to format your postings, and how you’ll know you’re successful.
In our NorthIQ Smarter Business Guide we talk about figuring out who your customers are and creating personas around them.
Today we’re going to discuss how you can use content marketing to find your customers.
A Refresher on Content Marketing
Content Marketing, sometimes referred to as “inbound marketing” is creating content with the intent of marketing your business or service.
This is the most cost-effective form of marketing you can do, and can result in an incredible return on investment. The team at Groove – a small business support software company, wrote an amazing article on the power of blogging, and the ROI (return on investment) of their content strategy titled “The ROI of Blogging”.
Content marketing acts as both an anchor for all of your marketing efforts, but also as effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) inbound links.
Effective content marketing contains text, images, and even videos. Pictures and videos need good, descriptive text to accompany them, which reflects on your brand guidelines. The search-ability of text allows good text content to generate search results when you are anchoring keywords that are vital to your business.
When you write good content, you help establish your authority. This makes you a “go to” resource for your readers. If someone is looking for help with building awesome websites, they’ll go to the person who has been writing about what makes an awesome website.
How to be Effective with Content Marketing
First, think about your ideal customer. What are they looking for? What can you provide them with? Where will you find them online? Thinking about all of these things will help you to write content that will be put in front of them.
How can you help? You need to keep who you are writing for in mind at all times. Who is your target reader? What are they interested in? What is keeping them up at night? How can you help them?
Provide unreasonable amounts of value. What you are writing needs to be so great that people would pay you for it. You’re not going to ask money for this though, you’re going to ask for something even more valuable than cash. Their time, and their attention.
Post little, post big, post often. You don’t need to only write a weekly 1000 word blog post, you should also share relevant links on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and anywhere your customers may be.
Post regularly, on a schedule. You will need to post on a schedule, that means posting regularly on the same day of the week, at the same frequency every time.
Your audience needs to know that they can return to your website regularly and see new content there.
Make your writing goals achievable. If you say you are writing weekly, then write weekly. If you know you’ll only be able to write twice a month, be up front about it. The more regular you can be, the more your audience will grow, but it’s just as important to be consistent about your posting.
If you are on a weekly schedule and you choose to skip posting one week, it will be harder to get people to return the next week. You are better off to post a brief article that summarizes some of the articles you are working on, or which showcases some interesting links, than skipping a week.
Plan for absences. There will be times when you won’t be able to post. It’s a good idea to have a backlog of “evergreen” posts, ready to go on a moment’s notice. If you know you’re going to be away, then have a post already scheduled. Most blogging platforms will auto-post for you.
Focus on your identity. Who are you, what are your values, and what do you offer that is unique? Everything you write about should re- enforce your “brand” and the products or services you are selling. For example, if you were a book store that was focused on selling mystery novels, you would need to establish why people should buy from you over an online bookseller?
Focus on Relevant Topics. Your content marketing should be focused around topics that are relevant to your business. Don’t post a random movie review just because you saw a movie over the weekend and couldn’t think of a better topic. Instead, establish a list of potential content posts and continually update it.
Have a style and stick to it. Part of having your own voice on the internet is the “tone” you write with. Are you formal and proper? Are you casual and silly? Are you somewhere in between? Personally, I prefer to write similar to how I talk. I will pepper in the odd euphemism, or give a “for example”. Part of this is creating an online persona.
For NorthIQ, we have decided that we would write in the style of “Your smart friend who you go to when you have a question about your business, and who always seems to have the answer. They are smart, funny, and often painfully poignant.”
By having this persona, and judging all of our communication against it, we know not to get too formal, that we could make the occasional joke or funny comparison, and most importantly, we could tell stories.
Your Grade School English Lessons Matter. Use good structure, edit for spelling, and minimize grammatical errors. While your posts might be conversational, there’s still no room for bad spelling.
Think about your ideal customer. Picture the problems that are keeping them up at night. Focus on what you can add to the conversation. Provide ridiculous levels of value, and offer up your help. By establishing your authority and helping solve real problems, you’ll become an invaluable resource for those people who may one day need exactly the product or service you provide.
We want to help you out! We have built the NorthIQ Smarter Business Guide, which will help you answer four questions to make your business smarter, and three solutions every business needs. This is one of the questionnaires we send every single client who works with us, and to date every one of them has said it has helped them focus on what’s important.
We’re giving it away FREE! Plus, you’ll get weekly updates whenever we post new content on our blog. Get the guide today!
Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.