Don’t Freak Out About Content MarketingContent Marketing is no grand, complicated new science that you need to get all stressed about. It is the mere development and distribution of the reasons why your target customer or audience should want to choose your wares over those of another. Your job is to paint a picture in the minds of those who read your content, of their eventual happiness or satisfaction from doing business with you.
Let’s do an exercise, shall we?
- You have been running your business for how long?
- Do you have a viable business plan that is working?
- Are you making money?
- Is your business profitable?
- Do you have a list of satisfied clients?
Of the questions above, if the answer is yes, do you know WHY? Do you really, Bunkie? If so, then what is your problem? You’ve got content to market! Don’t believe me? Read on…
WHY = Content
If you know why your business is winning; then would you please write down those reasons somewhere, and for everything you do that makes your business the success it is, would you keep a running journal of your bad-ass company’s success stories? Tell me!
HOW = Content
So, what is your secret? Is it your prime location? Might it be that you and your staff work your butts off to satisfy customer desires? Is your product simply better than your competition’s? Is your pricing better? You deliver better value ? Is yours the product or service that simply makes better sense than the other guy’s? Do you provide unmatchable customer service? Tell me!
WHAT = Content
Can you tell me about that problem you solved for your client or customer that resulted in positive results for them? Tell me a story. Give me the particulars, the dates, the times, the places, for the win. Make me feel like I was a witness to your success. Don’t drown me in statistics; math is hard. Give me evidence of what you can do for me!
WHO = Content
So who loves ya, baby? Who is singing your praises, and what did you do to earn such positive kudos about your business? Care to share? Tell me why I need your business number on my phone. Why do I want your product sitting in my Amazon wish list? Will an association with you make me stick out my chest, or hide my head when we are seen together? Tell me, baby!
Now take an honest assessment of your business through the above, and determine if you have enough information there to share with others in the promotion of your business. If you are light on historical success, light on stories, light on reasons why your company rocks, then you have bigger problems than trying to figure out this thing called “Content Marketing”.
Let’s get on with it!
Your content marketing mission begins and ends with a conversation you must create with the people you want as clients and customers. Online, you have about 10 seconds to get this right. That is how long it takes for the people who visit your web site to decide whether or not you have what they are looking for. They have usually arrived on your page through a search engine click-through, or a referring from another web site.
Your problem is that visitors to your site know inherently that they have hundreds if not thousands of options beside yours, so they will waste no time in leaving unless your site satisfies their curiosity. Your web-sites “Bounce Rate” (in Analytics) will tell you the percentage of people who visit your site, then click away from you without bothering to look at another page.
Website analytics are another subject for another article, but I wanted to point out that your content is the reason visitors will either stay or go, so do not be shy about putting your wares out for display. The reason why retail stores have window displays is the very reason why your web site needs to draw the audience inside.
A bounce rate of over 40% means one of two things; your content is wrong for the audience you attracting to your web site, or you are attracting the audience you want, but the content does not immediately communicate the relevance of your wares to the visitor. Either way, the visitor is gone, and not buying from you. Worse yet, you may never, ever get another chance to convince that visitor that you have what they wanted. Its kind of important that you get it right the first time.
Target Customer/Client Identification
So, how do you go about marketing sharing all of the above with the types of people you want to buy your product, or use your service? Do you know who they are? Describe them to me. How old are they? Where do they live? What else do they usually buy, and from whom do they buy it from? Do they have children? What do they do for a living? How is your offering paid for? Does personal or business credit matter? Who is buying your stuff, or who do you WANT to buy your stuff, baby?
If your first thought is “Everyone”, then stop reading now, and head without delay to Facebook, where you can waste your money on Shotgun Marketing. That’s right, blast your pellets everywhere at the masses in hopes that someone will get in the way of a pellet or two.
When you are able to identify the profile, behavior and corresponding needs of specific target groups the conversations you have are much more meaningful and relevant to your potential customers thus increasing your probability for success.
Now, go back up to the content stuff, and ask yourself, do these people want to hear what you have to say, and if not, why not? Keep in mind that every successful business transaction is about what your client wants to buy, and NOT about what you have to sell. Unless you are putting out oil fires in the Middle East, you probably have competition for your target customer.
The more your content focuses on what your customer wants, rather than what you have to sell them, the more relevant your content becomes and the more often it will be read, shared and linked to buy others, increasing your online authority by default. If you have done no research about your target audience, you are better off standing on a street corner with a sign that says “Come buy my stuff”.
That marketing thang…?
This is the part where the business person new to Content Marketing feels that they (after endless consultation with Social Media “Experts”) should employ an agency to develop a content marketing strategy for them, and for said agency to actually write the content themselves.
Quick question: Who knows more about your business than YOU? Do you really need to hire someone to tell you what to say about your business? Maybe you don’t write well, but so what? If you are running a successful business entity, it probably means that you THINK well, and it is YOUR thoughts that are going to provide your business with the authentic and relevant message your audience is looking for.
If you use an agency or a writer, it is their job to help you craft and structure YOUR words for effect, and incorporate the specific keywords necessary to tie the relevance of your business to the target audience you wish to attract. But beware of content-for-hire help. Don’t you think your audience can tell between the knowledge, experience and passion that made your business a success and paid writers who drown their content in industry buzzwords that make you sound like everyone else?
Whatever you do, the responsibility for content is yours. Can an agency help you with your Content Marketing strategy? Absolutely. Whatever your approach the fundamental responsibility for content is yours. Tell an agency the message YOU want to convey to the target audience YOU want, and only then let them help you with the wording, keywords, on-page SEO structure, semantics, etc. Just make sure that the message is YOURS, not something you purchased lock-stock and barrel from some word farm.
I don’t care what business you are in; look at your marketing literature, and if the term” thought-leader” is used ANYWHERE, you have failed, unless your product is a book on how to be a “Social Media Expert”.
Do all you can to write your own content, and if you feel the need, have your Online Marketing/SEO agency help you to improve your web presence with YOUR message. Make sure that your messages (content) are not about PROCESS, but about OUTCOMES. You are not writing about YOU, but about that target customer you want walking out your establishment with your product.
The successful matching of buyers and sellers is not an accident, 98% of the time. Ask anyone with a TIVO what they think about advertisements inserted between them and what they want. The only ads that people want on their TiVo’s are advertisements for a better TiVo, dude…
The next time you think advertisements are a successful model for people who are doing something other than already shopping for what you happen to be selling, think again. The most effective place for online advertisements is via search engines, period. Many will go nuts about that assertion, but even though math is hard, it does not lie.
As you can see, there is nothing magical, secret or scientific about Content Marketing, yet we’ve noticed on both Social Media, and in inquiries at my company TekPersona, that there appears to be a lot of confusion about what Content Marketing is, and how to do it. I hope I have pointed out that you are already doing it, and have been in one way or another since you’ve been running your business.
Content Marketing is no different than what you would do if giving a proper presentation to an audience of people who have come to hear you speak:
- Tell them what you are going to tell them-(what people should see IMMEDIATELY when they visit your site)
- Tell them- (the story and value proposition about your business)
- Tell them what you told them-(how your audience can take advantage of what you have to offer)
Sound familiar? It’s all about getting the word out, baby… You got a rocking business? Your job is to let people know about it, and how your business can benefit your target customer. Go shout it from the rooftops!
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