If you have a website or blog and are just starting out in your venture you will have heard the term Content Marketing and probably wondered what is Content Marketing about?
The first bit of good news is that it is not as complicated as you may think. The second bit of good news is that I am about to tell you exactly what it is and how you can implement it.
Now Wikipedia’s description and version of content marketing is:
“content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.“
Pretty boring and needs breaking down in simple terms as per usual!
What is Content Marketing?
The clue is in the title and simply means that you are marketing or selling a product or idea through writing content about or around that product or idea, to a specific audience on a regular basis.
This on the surface may seem very simple but to be good at content marketing you need some skills.
You need to know who your specific audience is.
You need to have a sound knowledge of the product or idea you are promoting or selling.
You need to have good writing skills.
You need to have a good knowledge of the psychology of sales.
All of these things can be learnt.
Who Is Your Audience?
One of the hardest things to pin down, is who your specific audience is. This is the first step to success and one that most website owners or bloggers fail to do. They are trying to attract anyone who will listen. Bad approach. I call it the spray and pray method.
If you are doing this. Stop Now. Really think about the audience and the readers you are hoping to attract. If you are trying to attract the bright young things, hoping to make a name for themselves online you will use an entirely different language than if you are trying to attract people nearing retirement age who need or want to make extra income.
Try to create an imaginary someone you are writing for. Are they Male or female? How old? What are their hobbies? Where do they live? What income bracket? What are their pains? What are their hopes and dreams?
If you really pin down who you are talking to and trying to help, you will be able to be so much more successful at using content marketing to promote and sell products.
What Are You Selling Or Promoting?
Knowledge of the product or idea will require you to research it thoroughly. Now obviously the best way to research it, is to actually use the product or idea. This means you are able to give a great review of how it works, it’s plus and negative points from an actual user experience. But it never hurts to research what others are saying about it too.
This is sometimes not actually possible but it does not mean you cannot write about or promote it. Research what it says about itself. Most products or even ideas you are promoting will have their own website. Search in Google for what others are saying about it. Do as much research as you can. Only start to write about it when you feel as though you can write a post or article without referring back to the sites you got the information from.
If you do all of this research, whether you have used the product or not, then you will be able to write from your own viewpoint. Something written by you, for your audience, will be better received than any copycat or half arsed attempt at it.
Your Writing Skills
The more you write the better you will become but here are some pointers for you.
Make your sentences shorter and to the point.
Write with short Paragraphs.
Use Headlines as a way of signposting for your audience
Write as though you are actually speaking to your audience (that imaginary person)
Don’t be afraid to be yourself and use the type of language you would use in normal conversation.( Unless you swear a lot! Then maybe don’t )
The Psychology Of Sales
No one likes to be sold to at least not in an obtrusive way. With Content Marketing you will be using a very subtle sales technique but you are selling all the same.
If someone is reading your post then they are interested in the subject matter, whether it is an idea or a physical product. Your reader wants information as to whether the product or idea is for them or not. People like to make informed decisions and with the wealth of information on the net they can.
However you want them to be in the decision, “I want this” state of mind whilst reading your post. You do not want them to read your post and think “that’s interesting, I’ll go and see what else I can find out about it” You will have helped them but not yourself. Some other website owner or blogger will be really pleased though!
This means that you have to be thorough when doing Content Marketing. Take your reader from start to finish in their journey to make a decision to buy. It doesn’t matter if they have a vague idea of the product or idea or have read other articles. Start at the beginning, give them all the information they need to make a decision and give them lots of opportunities throughout the post to click here and buy.
Now I have a sales background and have always used The Influencing Model to great effect in everything I have ever done. You can apply this to almost anything, emails, sales pages, conversations or in blog posts. (The bit you are most interested in)
The Influencing Model
There are six steps and they have to be used in this order for them to be effective.
Make Your Audience Feel Important
Address Your Audiences Needs
Tell Them The Benefits
Tell Them The Facts
Address Their Questions or Queries
Ask For The Sale
Let’s look at each step.
1. Make Your Audience Feel Important.
This need to be done at the beginning of your post. Empathising with their need to find out facts about something and letting them know they are not alone should be enough but you may find other ways of making them feel important dependent on the subject matter.
2. Addressing Your Audiences Needs.
State quite clearly why your post will help them and with what in particular. Empathise with why they may need this information.
3. Tell Them The Benefits.
Focus your next part of the post on the benefits of the product or idea. Why and how will It help them and with what.
This should take up a big bulk of your post. Make sure you sign post each benefit clearly. It is at this point you should introduce an opportunity to purchase or join.
4. Tell a Them The Facts.
Once people are bought into an idea of how something will help them, the facts can become inconsequential. However, you are an honest and open person and the facts needs to be told. This can be Prices, Methods Of application or joining. Whatever the facts are, tell them but you can continue to remind them of the benefits alongside the facts.
5. Address Their Questions Or Queries.
Many people (not me, I jump in feet first at Benefits if they resonate with me) will have many questions or queries as they read your post. Think, “yes but what if?” Yes but “how long does my subscription last?” And on…..
Think of as many objections your reader may have for not joining, buying etc.
It is always good to put a Q&A section near the end of your post. The more objections to purchasing you can cover, the better, your chances of getting that elusive click to “Yes Please.”
6. Ask For The Sale.
You will be surprised at how many people do all of this hard work whether, online, face to face or over the Phone then forget to ask for the sale. Why? Because they are scared of the “No”
Do not be scared of the “No” SWSWSWN …. Some will, some won’t, so what, Next. No one gains anything from a maybe. You spend time nurturing them. Online this may be through email lists or contact through social media groups.
Now I’m not saying don’t do this but spend 80% Of your time on gaining a firm “Yes Please” and 20% Of time on “maybes”.
Be very aware that most people hate saying No so they throw you a maybe but not yet. Saying No is so much easier to do online than in real life interactions. They can simply leave your site or post but people are people and they will still out of a naive kindness still throw you a maybe.
Personally I would rather take a No than a maybe. At least I know where I stand. Maybe you disagree? Please leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as I can to argue my point… lol !
Content Marketing is a real skill and one worth learning. Practice makes perfect but there is still so much more to learn if you want to make money online. Now I know I have a background in Sales but learning the online skills has been a revelation to me.
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No matter what you decide, I hope I have been helpful in helpiny you to Understand Content Marketing. If you have any further questions you can leave a comment below. Ohh Quick Question? is this post content marketing or not ? I would be interested in your views.