Finally, the ultimate content marketing guide for internet marketers.
Do you run a blog or corporate website?
Or could it be an e-commerce site?
Content marketing can transform your small and mid-sized businesses for BIGGER market profits.
Content marketing 101 will show you how to create and share valuable content, which your target audience needs to trust you.
I’ll be sharing some powerful tips and strategies that we’ve used over the years to increase blog readership, comments, income and responsive subscribers.
How I started from nothing and ranked on Google first page for some competitive keywords. It wasn’t easy, but I succeeded – all thanks to smart content marketing. You too can grow your blog and make more money.
I also attracted the right clients and customers who went the extra mile to tell their fans and friends about my writing services. And you know what that means?
And that is the essence of using content to promote your business. You’re not doing it for the love of it. No, you want people to take action.
You also want satisfied customers to advertise you to the world, without asking for your permission. Can you do that? Sure you can – just keep reading.
What is content marketing?
When I write content for this blog and for clients, I like to simplify a complicated topic. Content marketing could confuse you if I try to go the guru-way. Although I’m not an expert in defining terms, but let me show you what it’s all about quickly.
Content marketing simply means knowing who you’re marketing your products to, knowing their problems, and creating unique, helpful and valuable content to solve that problem. That’s a handful, right?
In a nut shell, when you write an article, you really want people to benefit from it. The age whereby you write content just to meet a routine is far gone. It’s no longer about quantity either, but how usable it is.
In this era, you need to have a proper understanding of who will read the piece of content you write, what they truly crave for and how they’ll use it.
A lot of people tend to complicate the whole issue. But I don’t think you should join them.
In fact, content marketing is as simple as picking up girls in my town. Lol!
Even though a lot of people still use traditional advertising like media buying and others to promote their businesses, the future of marketing will be powered by content that are truly helpful to the end user.
Offline entrepreneurs are shifting their focus form TV commercial buying to blogging.
But we’d look at blogging from a unique perspective. Apart from what you already know, I’ll reveal some advanced strategies to skyrocket your blog to the peak. And bear in mind that BLOGGING is for matured minds, not for mediocre. We’d talk more on this later.
Do you want to truly understand how to create a unique and lasting impression in the hearts of your target audience?
Well, I’ve got 10 checklists for you. We shall be looking at 10 strategies from the basic to the advanced level.
We’ve already defined content marketing, but there is more to it.
The 10 content marketing checklists are:
1. Write a Clear Business Goal
As simple as writing a clear goal is for a business, thousands of people don’t do it.
I’ve interacted with several of my clients who confessed that writing a goal isn’t a priority.
Wow, what a statement!
The reason why people shy away from writing a goal is because, it makes you responsible. When you write a goal and put plans in place to achieve it, it means you’ll spend less time on Twitter or Facebook. And work your ass off, in most cases.
It also means you’ll work harder than you used to. Goal setting reminds you of success and the embarrassment of failure – so you mustn’t fail. That is why people don’t write it down.
They assume everything is on their minds. Before you can grow a real business, the goal, you need a pen and writing pad to write it down.
What exactly do you want to achieve with your online business? Let’s assume you run a blog – do you want people to leave comments and share your posts, or would you prefer them to buy what you’re selling?
The method by which you can increase your email subscription rate is quite different when you want to sell a book quickly. So, writing it out will guide your steps. It’d help you create better content that are focused on achieving that particular goal.
How do you write a content marketing goal? Just answer these questions and you’ll have written a realistic goal:
- – What is your business about?
- – What do you want to achieve (in one sentence)?
- – What will your target audience gain?
- – How much do you want to make in the first 6 months?
- – Do you’ve plans in place to earn that much?
- – Who are you competing with?
- – Are you disciplined enough to achieve your goals?
2. Get a Simple and Professional Website/Blog
Understand that the content you share with target audience must be related to what you’re selling.
For instance, if you’re a web developer, every article and blog post you write whether social media or SEO related must be tailored to your niche. From the first question above, you must know what your business is about, so that you can tailor your content idea to it.
In the same vein, a simple and professional website/blog can help drive your message home.
You want people to hire your services, buy your products and come back tomorrow for more. You need repeat readers & customers – that’s the essence of setting up a website or blog.
Don’t try to make your website heavy with unnecessary widgets and plugins. The header and footer must be simple and professional. The aim is to sweeten the hearts of your prospects when they visit your site or blog.
Market research is a critical aspect of content marketing.
You need to immerse yourself totally into studying your target audience to know what they truly want and how to serve them.
There are several arms to market research.
The market is not the four walls of a building, but the people you’ve carefully designed a product for.
You need to know the one person who needs your services or products. Do you know what they truly want from you?
The more you listen to her, the more knowledge and secrets you’d discover about the person. Participating in discussion boards is a sure way to know what a blog reader is desperately looking for.
And if one person has that need, then thousands of other people in your market have similar needs. It’s about sampling the population – starting with 10 active forum posters or social media fans.
Don’t be in a hurry. Read their threads and comments. I’m sure you’ll get a clue of what they truly want.
Once you’ve a clue of what a reader or potential customer wants, keyword research would be easier and much more rewarding than the way we usually do it.
You’ll be searching with a proper view of what people actually want. Most people are not able to research better keywords, because they don’t have a clue of the market or what the target audience truly wants.
- – Hangout with readers and prospects
- – Listen to them as they talk, comment and ask questions
- – Don’t create a blog post until you have a clue of what readers want
- – Research your keywords with a clue, after listening to your target audience
- – Aim for long-tail keywords to steal some search engine traffic
4. Analyze your competitions critically
If you’re just starting out in your content marketing career, you’d want to know your competitors. It’s worthwhile if you check out their websites to see what they’re doing right.
Yes, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or try to formulate a new tactics. Instead, copy what’s already working for competitors and optimize for it.
This is common sense and legal. It’s not plagiarism or violation of rights. It simply means that you’re leveraging on proven marketing systems to grow your business.
Let’s take an instance: If you’ve a blog and want to increase subscription rates, your competitor’s website and blogs can reveal the right spots to place your subscription box. Is the opt-in box on the header or sidebar?
Secondly, where are your competitors linking from? Are they building off-page links from authority sites? And how can you get your links on those sites without struggling or guessing?
There is a link monitoring site that can reveal these metrics. It’ll monitor everyone’s site and the inner pages and show you were they’re getting links from.
With this information, you can quickly use guest posting to power your content and get quality off-page links from the same sites. The monitoring site I’m talking about is called Backlinkwatch.
When you get to the homepage, type any website or blog URL and search. You’ll see where they got all their links from, in just 2 minutes or less.
5. Be specific in your marketing
Content marketing will only work if you’re specific with your marketing activities. In order words, you must specialize in a particular field.
Of course, if you’ve spent years marketing online, I’m sure you’ve tremendous ideas flowing through your mind right now. You literally know everything.
However, when you write consistently about a topic or subject, your target audience would see you as an expert in that field. And guess what, the world doesn’t reward average marketers or bloggers. We all want the best and industry experts tend to give the best advice, the best coaching and the best products.
Are you are real estate consultant? Then focus on everything related to real estate. Don’t clutter your blog with irrelevant advertisements. You should only write and promote apartments, buildings and so on.
Don’t write about Pets because they’re not related to your field in any sense. If you’re a social media examiner, every article you write must be specifically tailored to meet people’s need in that area.
Write about social media marketing, news, trends, case studies, guides and… There is so much you can do in your chosen niche – which is what your target audience is looking for. Be specific. Period!
Blogging has been my #1 platform for attracting avid readers, clients and joint venture partners.
If your company already has a corporate website, which isn’t dynamic or flexible enough to reach a height of success, you need to start blogging.
Content marketing reveals itself more in a blog. Gone are the days when blogging was regarded as a personal diary. It’s no longer what it used to be.
These days, you could actually leverage your blog to grow a successful business.
It can inspire people to follow you on Twitter and like your fanpage.
And you can make money blogging – I’ve proofs that blogging works to put food on my table. It truly works!
But the true essence of blogging isn’t to make profit and disappear into the clouds. Far from it – It’s a business model on its own.
Don’t approach blogging half-baked. You’ve to be there for readers when they need you. Unlike other business models, blogging is not a push button system. It’s for serious minded people.
You’ll have to structure your content so that people can read it through. One way to do this is to break up BIG chunks of paragraph and make it light: 3 – 4 lines are ideal. Anything more than this could decrease discourage people from reading the entire post.
Writing magnetic headlines is also the secret of blogging. Most people who are successful today have mastered the art of crafting clickable headlines. If you want to learn how to write great headlines, see below:
- The 8 Most Greatest Tips To Write Unstoppably Killer Headlines Guide Ever
- 101 Proven Headlines For Travel Blogs (Yours Free)
- The Ultimate Guide To Writing Incredible Headlines
- Write Magnetic Headlines With These 7 Tips
7. Read cute content marketing blog content
Those who embark on content marketing as the only source for promoting their business should read extensively.
Reading exposes you to ideas that can be implemented into your business. My content marketing blog have grown exponentially, since I started reading.
No matter your level of experience, you need to read some of the blog posts I’ll be mentioning below. But don’t substitute reading to doing the work involved. There is a time to read and a time to write content, which can promote your business – reading is just a part of the equation.
Take a look at some of these powerful posts about content marketing. You can read them at your leisure time or quickly bookmark them.
- The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing
- Inbound Marketing Strategy: 3 Effective Ways To Attract Customers Easily
- 7 Tips For Diving Into Content Marketing
8. Build email list and offer great value
Email is entirely powered by content. No matter the format; videos, slideshows, podcasts, articles, reviews and so on, you still need content to deliver your message.
Since you’re aiming to attract blog readers and encourage repeat customers, you need to start collecting leads from the outset.
I keep telling my readers that email marketing is the best form of marketing ever. It can transform your blogging business and give you an edge in the marketing world.
See, you don’t actually need everybody to read or visit your website. You need the right people to take action. And one of such actions is to subscribe to your email list and get more marketing offers as well as quality and exclusive information at no cost.
Sure, some people will not join your email list no matter the persuasive words you’r using. If that’s the case, ignore those people and work on those who already respect your opinion – your subscribers.
If few targeted people decides to join your list, rejoice and disciple them. I think that’s what matters in content marketing. To read more about email marketing, how to start and how it works, see links below:
- Email Marketing 101 – How To Grow A Mailing List And Make Money
- 12 Action Steps To Build A Profitable Email List From Scratch
- 10 Commandments of Effective Email Marketing – slideshow
- Email Marketing 101 – How To Build A Highly Responsive List
9. Implement call-to-action marketing
The truth of the matter is this: If you’re not implementing a call-to-action to whatever content format you put out there, you’re not actually marketing.
You’re wasting your time and that of your target audience. It’s a great honor to have people visit and read your blog posts. And they’ve shown you that more information, which is helpful, truly won’t hurt them.
A call to action could be a link or a button. For bloggers, visible call-to-action links within the post tends to perform better than banners or buttons.
The strategy you use to initiate a call to action may differ from mine. The bottom-line is to instruct blog readers and customers on what to do, next.
Would you like them to read more posts, subscribe to your email list or buy your product? That’s what call-to-action marketing is about.
Some digital marketing media blogs are beginning to implement a new call-to-action system. The blog below is a popular blog, with a call to action (subscription box) on the homepage – I think that’s so cute!
Here’s a typical call-to-action opt-in box on the homepage…
Look at the red arrow on the screenshot. The copyblogger team has decided to channel all their readers into their email list. They also showcased the services like copywriting, SEO content writing, content marketing, email marketing and others.
Apart from having a subscription box on the homepage, you could add yours to the header, like I did to the blog you’re reading. Take a look below…
Did you see the red arrow that’s pointing to my optin box? Well, if you look closely, you’ll observe it’s my blog’s header. I had to tweak the design just to have that call to action box there. Did you know that my email subscription rate has tripled by over 200%?
I get at least 10 subscribers on a daily basis. I know it’s still little compared to most email marketers out there, but it’s a great start. Call to action is important for your blog. Do you’ve a call to action at all?
And finally, you may decide to add the subscription box on the footer. My good friend Oni of YoungPrePro with his professional theme can show you how to do it. I’m sure his list has grown since he made that tiny tweak. Take a closer look at his homepage, beneath the copy.
Note: When you’re asking blog readers and prospects to take action, either by clicking a link to read more, or to subscribe, you must offer VALUE.
I’ve a quality e-book I’m giving away. Oni at YoungPrePro also gives away a great report to aid freelance writers achieve tremendous success. I’ve actually read the report and I encourage you to get it.
Content marketing is much more powerful than you already know. It takes a simple idea and turns it into something worthwhile that your audience can stake their lives on.
10. Slow down and profit BIG
At last, we’ve come to our final checklist. Now, you’ve to take it slowly and profit BIG with content marketing. For your blog posts to garner comments, shares and befriend search engine spiders, you’ve got to give it time to cook.
If you’ve a team of writers, it’s a great idea to write daily and keep updating your blog. The simple act will improve your alexa ranking and get you more traffic.
However, if you’re the only person who will write, promote, and connect with other bloggers, you can’t afford to update your blog on a daily basis.
Give your readers time to spread the newest post, before publishing a new one. Spend quality time promoting it via social media and guest posting. Write guest posts that can lead fresh readers to your blog. Make sure your lead capture system is well-planned.
Encourage a first timer to join your email list. In fact, don’t sell anything to them until they join your list. Content marketing can bring you so much profit if you allow others to promote you via word of mouth, social sharing and recommendation.
When you’ve the opportunity to write a blog post, a guest post or copy, do it from your heart. Write as though today is your last on earth. Pour yourself into the content and make it extremely valuable. That’s the secret of effective content marketing success stories.
Share your opinion
Has content marketing helped your business?
In case you’ve forgotten what content marketing is about, it simply means studying your audience to know what problems they’ve, and creating relevant and valuable content to meet their needs.
You’ll be solving their problems without hype or B.S. The goal of writing article and blog posts is to build a brand and encourage repeat readers to your blog. Can you do this?
Now, leave a comment below and please, help me share this post on Twitter and Google+. You’re the reason why I wrote this – see you at the top!