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How to Build a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Do you want to know the truth about content marketing? You’re exposed to it every day and probably don’t even realize it. It’s a lot like the plague, but a plague of positivity. Companies, artists, schools, and government all use content to send messages to their audience. In the last article, we learned that you get to choose your audience by choosing your content.

But how do you choose your audience without sacrificing your message or spending way too much money?

Through targeted content marketing!

Definition of content marketing:
Content marketing is the use infographics, videos, pictures, and blogs to inform your audience about a topic and persuade them to choose your services or products without forcing it down their throats.
In other words, you create great material and the buyer eventually purchases from you because of your free content. You inform, and they make the final decision.

Why do I need a content marketing strategy?

You may think that content is overrated. If I’m going to create something worthwhile, why not make people pay me for it?

But this would be the wrong idea. By giving away some of your best stuff for free, people learn to trust you and will come to you for advice about your chosen field. You are now the expert, and you’re in a position to charge for your services because you have built a relationship of trust.

via GIPHY

Think of this guy hedging your bushes. You could hire anybody off the street to do an average job. Or you could hire this guy with his blades of glory! You need expert content because it’s the best way to prove to people that your the right guy/gal for the job. Experience speaks for itself.

How do I develop a content marketing strategy?

A 2012 study found that 90% of business believed content marketing would be more important in the next 12 months, but only 34% had dedicated budgets for content marketing. (1)

The number one reason most entrepreneurs don’t invest in content is because they think it will cost too much! Do any of these sound familiar?
  • “I tried content marketing, but I ran out of money before I gained any real following.”
  • “Content marketing is just way too expensive. Nuff said.”
  • “My boss is a penny pincher, and he will never spend more than a dime on content.”
  • “I’m starting my own business, and I don’t have the money or time to open a profitable operation and publish fantastic content.”
Well, you're in luck! Today I’m going to show you how to boost your content on a small to non-existent budget.

Developing a content marketing strategy can be broken down into three phases:
  1. Pick a target audience
  2. Define your message
  3. Create amazing content and send it out

Phase 1: Pick a target audience

Without a target, you're going to miss the mark. Period. Think of it this way. Would you go to Starbucks to buy a brand new Ford Mustang? You could, but you would end up being really disappointed. Turns out that baristas are not the best people to turn to for car advice. Who knew?

Before you ever publish your first piece of work, you need a clear picture of who your audience is and how your product/service well...serves them.

You need to create a simple buyer persona. A buyer persona is just a fancy way of creating your ideal customer. If you can nail who your ideal customer is, there will likely be many more people who face the same issues and problems.

Phase 2: Define your message

With your target audience in mind, it’s time to think more about your product.

This is probably the hardest phase, but also the most pivotal. You need to know what sets you apart from your competitors. What makes you tick? Are there weird things that you do that nobody else would think of doing?

Often the best message not only describes what you do but how it meets a true need. Think of it as a benefit statement. Nobody wants to be in a one-way relationship. It’s all about give and take. Here is a classic benefit statement example:

We help [x] do [y] by [z].

This is a simple way to know exactly who your serve, what they want, and what you can give them to get their needs met.

Phase 3: Create amazing content

There are so many ways to create content. Here are just a few of my favorites.

1. Publish a free E-Book

In 2016 alone the number of online shoppers surged to a whopping 179 million. (2) That’s a lot of people online looking to purchase goods and services. But what’s really telling is how much people rely on information they read to make a buying decision.

88% of online shoppers consult online reviews before purchasing from an unfamiliar brand. (3)

That means that if you have great content that informs customers and helps them make a decision, you will be far ahead of your competition. Consider making a free E-Book about your topic. At the end of the book include a simple call to action so that your readers will consider buying your products/services.

PROS:
  • Attract a huge audience through your books.
  • Inform your readers while persuading them to take action and purchase something from you.
  • Little to no cost to create.
CONS:
  • Takes lots of time to develop a stellar book.
  • May not reach as many customers as you hoped it would.
  • Lots of competition.

2. Start a blog

Starting a blog can be a great way to attract a real following through your content. Why? Because blogs are living, breathing creatures. As your opinions mature and you become a sophisticated adult, your blog changes with you. There are many options that range from totally free to more expensive than your grandmas funeral.

PROS:
  • Starting a blog takes very little effort.
  • Starting a blog does not have to cost you an arm and a leg.
  • Starting a blog can drive huge amounts of traffic to your product/service.
CONS:
  • A blog takes lots of time to keep updated regularly.
  • Professional blogs with beautiful design and high amounts of traffic cost money to keep up.
  • You have to write solid, consistent content in order to drive authentic traffic.

3. Build an online course

While this is the most expensive option listed here, you can still produce a quality course for less than $200. Depending on your lecture style, you may even be able to do it for much less.

PROS:
  • Saves students money and time.
  • More convenient than traditional classes.
  • Fewer resources used to maintain school budgets.
  • Huge opportunity to teach valuable skills and earn a decent income.

CONS:
  • Will require advanced technical skills.
  • Can take lots of time to practice your lesson.
  • Costs more money to make and market your course than a simple blog.
The list could go on and on. Here are 25 other types of content you could use to attract the right audience.
  • Whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • Photos
  • Podcasts
  • Presentations
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Guest posts
  • Interviews
  • Q&A sessions
  • Quotes
  • Testimonials
  • Company news
  • Product announcements
  • Forums
  • Landing pages
  • Wikis/Dictionaries
  • Audiobooks
  • Emails
  • Vlogs
  • Demos
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Learning academies
READ: 113 Content Types

Hope you enjoyed this quick introduction on how to create a killer content marketing strategy. What do you do to generate fantastic content?

Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Related Articles

Choosing a Stellar Audience
7 Proven Steps to Sales Pages That Convert
7 Blogging Rules You Should Break Today

SOURCES:

Content Marketing Survey Report. (2012, October 03). Retrieved from https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-marketing-survey-report

E-Commerce Reviews: The Dramatic Impact on Consumers' Path to Purchase. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://influence-central.com/e-commerce-reviews-the-dramatic-impact-of-online-reviews-on-consumers-purchasing-journey/

Ellering, N. (2017, January 25). 113 Types of Content to Organize On A Marketing Calendar - CoSchedule. Retrieved from https://coschedule.com/blog/types-of-content/

Gordon, K. (n.d.). Topic: Internet usage in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/topics/2237/internet-usage-in-the-united-states/

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