What is content marketing?
The idea behind content marketing is to release original content that does not promote your business but is rather focused on generating interest through education, inspiration, entertainment, etc. This is achieved through any combination of email marketing, blog/news page, e-books or white papers, video, social media, and podcasts.
I’m a huge fan of this type of marketing because I feel it builds a deeper connection between a business and its target audience. Not only can we attract the right clientele this way, we build stronger relationships with other service providers. It’s a great form of networking.
How will this help my business?
Simply put: you are proving that you know your stuff, and you are confident enough to share it.
Educates your target audience
This falls under the idea of building authority, but I feel it is important enough to mention separately. Educating your audience also makes them a better customer. They understand what they are getting, and the knowledge you provide provokes deeper thinking on the subject.
Drives traffic to your website
Posting or distributing snippets of content will make your target audience hungry for more. Leading them from each platform to your website not only brings you to the front of their minds, but it also provides a boost to SEO.
Builds relationships with other businesses
When you quote and tag other businesses in your content, you are strengthening your relationship with them. Bonus: Their following will see the content, so now your content is in front of more eyes.
Builds relationships with ideal clients
In addition to establishing yourself as the authority, you’re providing ways for your ideal clientele to connect with you on a more human level. We tend to infuse tone, beliefs, values, and some personality into our content. More often than we realize, people are buying YOU as well as your knowledge and expertise.
You mentioned 5 actionable steps…
Provided that you already know who your target audience is, the following are simple steps you can take to nail a content marketing strategy.
1. Decide where your content will be seen
Determine what makes sense for your audience and for your business. Don’t worry about overwhelming yourself with the number of platforms. The content can be repurposed across the platforms and can often be posted automatically.
For B2B content marketing, email remains the most effective channel by far, followed by blogs and social media.
2. Decide on how often you will release this content
This depends on a number of factors, but mostly on your specific marketing goals and on whether you have the staff to help you. This could mean releasing content several times a week if you want to be aggressive, but for much of my clientele, it’s a monthly newsletter and a 1-2 posts per week on other platforms.
The most important part of any content strategy is to be consistent. This doesn’t mean it has to be daily; it just needs to be on a regular basis. If you pick weekly, keep releasing something every week.
3. Write out the pillars and subtopics of your content
Pillars refers to the basics. If you had 10 seconds to tell me what you do, what would you say? Let’s use commercial real estate brokerage for our example. Pillar content would include things like Landlord Representation, Tenant Representation, Sales, and Leasing. Subtopics include everything that stems from each of those pillars. So from sales, we have networking, research, marketing, negotiation, etc.
A trick I like to use when stuck with content is to think about questions I regularly get surrounding what it is that I do. If you’re a new business with no past clients, do some networking and make notes in your phone as people ask you things. Better yet, reach out to your ideal client and ask if you can buy them lunch or cocktails in return for their answers to some questions.
4. Expand on each subtopic
Once you have a handful of ideas, start writing. I typically start a 30-minute timer and just braindump onto the page. It doesn’t have to read well. The point is to record all of your ideas. You can go back later to organize and clean it up.
5. Schedule/Post the content
One you’ve cleaned it up, and it looks good, post the thing! I suggest writing at least 2 blog posts at a time. You can repurpose these to your newsletter, and you can even pull it apart and schedule several posts at one time.
Overview & Actionable Steps
- Decide where your content will be seen
- Decide on how often you will release this content
- Write out the pillars and subtopics of your services as well as the FAQ from clients
- Expand on each one at a time
- Schedule / post it