When you began researching the steps necessary to achieve success in your online venture, you most likely started stumbling across advice from the marketing realm. You have probably also come across catch-phrase “content marketing.”
Your first thought may have been: What the heck is that? Today we are going to explain what content marketing is and how you can use it to increase the visibility and engagement level of your brand. Don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as many people in the marketing world make it sound.
What Is Content Marketing?
Copyblogger, one of the leading authorities on the subject (and a good site to check out) says:
“Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”
So content marketing is valuable to your audience – they get something out of it – and this, in turn, creates trust in you. Instead of merely talking about how great your product or service is, you give a little bit of your expertise away for free to set the foundation of your relationship with your audience and increase the ways new people can discover you and your brand.
Now, what exactly is the “content” that does this? Content is everything from blog posts and videos, to tweets, Facebook posts, photography, and infographics. You’ve probably been consuming content as part of a company’s content marketing strategy without even realizing it. For instance, you’re reading this.
Why Content Marketing Is Important
This will help to establish you as a leader in your industry, worthy of the support you hope to earn.
That trust part of the content marketing equation is one of the main reasons people will get behind what you’re doing. It’s why they will support you and tell their friends about you. It’s also quite often how people discover you. Without a content strategy, you won’t get nearly as far as you will with one.
How can you establish trust? You can build credibility through your expertise and by being transparent. Share your goals and experiences and what you’re learning along the way. This will help to establish you as a leader in your industry, worthy of the support you hope to earn.
This kind of trust is a big part of how people identify with your brand’s story. The content you create will show the human side of your brand – what drives you and how you hope to change the world or achieve your dreams, as well as the pride you take in your efforts.
Blogging is one of the most effective ways you can share your story…
It’s important to point out that a good content strategy is NOT a way of misleading or tricking anyone into trusting you. Instead, in many cases, you are giving something back to your audience or customer base. You are sharing information as a way help others, demonstrate gratitude, and continually reinforce your own commitment to your values and goals, often at a considerable expense since creating content takes time. That said, it pays off to do so, if you do it well.
Blogging is one of the most effective ways you can share your story and build trust with your audience no matter what your field is. It’s an essential part of a well-conceived content marketing strategy. A few reasons why blogging should be part of your content marketing plan:
- You’re in full control of the content since you own the site. As long as you pay your hosting fees, the content will remain online.
- You’re driving people to your own site, which is where they can buy your goods or support your cause.
- Blog posts can be shared via most social media platforms, all of which lead back to the original post.
- With your own site, unlike social media services, you have total control over metadata for SEO and integration with other sharing mechanisms.
- You can monitor traffic to your site with analytics and get a real sense of what’s working.
If you’re using IgnitionDeck for e-commerce or crowdfunding, you’re in luck because WordPress is one of the best, if not the best blogging platform!
Content Marketing Examples To Boost Your E-Commerce or Crowdfunding Brand’s Reach
No matter what a your brand’s goal is, you can create content to demonstrate your dedication to your project. A By the Numbers blog post, for instance, is something just about any kind of online venture can put out. This kind of post can detail things like:
- The number of hours spent researching developing your website.
- How many people you’ve got working on each thing (web development, marketing, finance, etc.)
- The number of phone calls you’ve made or emails you’ve sent
- The number of consecutive days you haven’t left your office because you’ve been too busy prepping for the launch
- The signs of success you’re seeing so far and what you hope will happen in the coming days, weeks, or months.
Be creative and have fun with it. If you’re having fun making this list, then your audience will likely have fun reading it. Plus, you can create an infographic out of it if you have a graphic designer on the team.
Beyond By the Numbers, here are specific content ideas for different organizations.
Businesses – Build anticipation leading up to product launch by revealing small hints about your product at scheduled intervals. Then, share the article link on all your social media networks. If you’re already in the e-commerce game, then do a behind-the-scenes look at how you created a certain product or how the product went from idea to creation.
Musicians – Have each band member write a blog post about how they got into music, why they keep playing/singing, and why this project is so important to them. The more embarrassing childhood photos you can find, the better!
Filmmakers – Create a Now and Then blog post sharing a some early work from the start of your career to contrast to a recent video. Everyone improves as they gain experience. Give people a chance to see how far you’ve come. This same concept could be used with still pictures of you working as a kid or teen and a picture of you in action today.
Nonprofits – Share the stories of individuals (or animals) you’re helping. Use pictures to drive the point home. If you have the time, spotlight one person’s or family’s story a week. If your nonprofit is aiming to reverse an ecological problem, you could create a blog post of pictures that show the affected area throughout the years.
One tip: If someone you’re wanting to feature on your blog doesn’t feel comfortable writing, ask them to record the answers to these questions on their phone and then send them to someone who can transcribe it and turn it into a post.
Some Blogging and Social Media Guidelines
Remember the following when you’re writing and formatting blog posts:
- Keep paragraphs short and to the point.
- Always try to include photos, graphics, and/or videos in your posts.
- Use bold and italics to emphasize main points. This can help make your content easier to read, and can also be beneficial SEO-wise.
- Stay on top of comment moderation and reply to your readers’ questions.
A few social media sharing tips:
- Pictures will help you stand out. There are many WordPress plugins that help you to optimize how your
- Frequency and timing matter.
- Don’t make your social media channels only about you – share or retweet others’ posts/tweets.
- Respond to your audience. They want to engage with you, not see their comments or questions disappear into the abyss.
Hopefully these pointers will help to demystify this whole ‘content marketing’ thing and provide you with a little inspiration. Whatever you decide to do, make it your own and have fun with it. Your audience will appreciate it and with any luck, it’ll be totally worth your while.