Content marketing isn’t really anything new. People in business have been using it way before the onslaught of Internet media channels. Networking, writing for magazines, newspaper clips, talking to people–in a broad sense these are all really forms of content marketing.
The ultimate goal of content is to spread the word about your business and get people calling for your service or buying your products.
Instead of relying on traditional media outlets–magazines, trade journals, and newspapers–we now have various Internet media channels where we can become our own media outlet. We can use our channel to create and distribute content that attracts our target audience.
Content creation can include any number of things and usually combines a variety of things, including:
- Blog posts & articles
- eBooks, eCourses, reports
- Email campaigns
- Social media updates
As the Content Marketing Institute clearly defines it: Take note of:
- Create and consistently distribute
- Attract people and turn them into customers
What we can take away from these 3 points is that it’s pointless to shoot in the dark and hope to hit the target. You need a content strategy to help you hit the bulls eye every time.
When it comes to content marketing, it can all get complicated. But like most things, I try to keep it plain and simple.
Let’s dig in.
Reverse Engineer Your Results
Dean Jackson, from I Love Marketing, often talks about ‘reverse engineering your results.’
Stephen Covey, in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about ‘beginning with the end in mind.’
All you have to do is ask yourself some questions, things like:
- What do I want to achieve?
- What is the purpose of my content?
- What do I want people to do?
i.scoop provides this list of common content goals:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Customer retention and loyalty
- Customer evangelism
- Up-selling and cross-selling
This is not an exhaustive list but it gives you some ideas on what to aim for with your content. Usually it’s a mixture of all of them put together that helps achieve your goals.
For example, you might have a blog post that is written to gain leads and subscribers. Those subscribers then go into a lead nurturing email campaign that results in sales. Your new customers then go through another email campaign to nurture them, retain them, and upsell or cross sell them to something else they might need.
The idea is to think about the process backwards to help get clearer on the things that might help you best achieve those goals.
Content Marketing Strategy
Like I said before, it’s pointless to shoot in the dark and hope to hit the target. You need a content strategy to help you hit the bulls eye every time.
There are many strategies and tactics that could be used in a content marketing strategy.
Take this example from MediaCrush:
It shows the crossover that occurs with your strategy/tactic mix.
And then take this example from WebLogCast:
This gives you a more simplified, personalized view of content marketing.
Essentially, a content marketing strategy simply means defining what types of content will help you achieve your goals. Again, it’s often a combination of things that overlap that help you get the job done.
Map It Out
Let me map out an example from my Diabetes Meal Plans site.
Recently I set up a Free Carb Course for my site. Carbs are a hugely confusing subject for my audience, so when this idea arose I had these goals in mind:
- Increase subscribers
- Increase engagement
- Develop relationships and trust
- Sell a product
Note that the ultimate goal is to sell a product. In general, that’s what we all want, right?
As businesses we want to sell more products or services. It’s generally the ultimate goal for most of us.
The free course I put together was designed to be provided on the blog as a content machine, to do exactly what content marketing is designed to do–attract my market, build trust and encourage them to become customers.
Here’s how it works (and the type of strategy I use when clients hire me):
- I write the blog post.
- I syndicate the blog across different social media networks – in this instance namely, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I also break up each post into bite size chunks to get more traction out of each post on social media. This is not something I see many people do but it seems to work particularly well.
- People subscribe and go through the 2 week email series and are encouraged to engage on the blog.
- At the end of the series they are prompted to buy.
I’ve run a number of blog series before and they always seem to perform very well. So far there have been 600+ subscribers, the emails have an average 50% open rate, and the engagement and feedback on the blog has been great. It has also generated sales.
That’s just one content marketing funnel I have implemented for the Diabetes site. The idea is to map out your strategy across the board.
Things to consider
- What is the goal for your blog?
- How often will you publish blog posts?
- What will your routine be for distributing that content?
- What is your goal for Facebook? Pinterest? Twitter?
- What is the goal with your newsletter? How often will you send it?
These are the basic elements you need to consider in order to get started with content marketing.
Create and Consistently Distribute Content
This is where most people come unstuck.
Consistency is the key to content marketing.
Yet, most people fail to produce it on a regular basis.
People want to know you’re reliable, trustworthy and not just another fly by night site. So, by providing your readers and customers with a steady stream of great free content on your blog and social platforms, they get to know you, what your business does, what your brand stands for, and how you can help them.
Content marketing is all about building relationships and is a long term endeavor that takes a real commitment.
As an entrepreneur or healthcare business owner, this shouldn’t be an issue for you anyway, you’re committed to your business right?
That’s why you need to take content marketing seriously. It’s here and it’s here to stay!
And every health business, both big and small, needs some form of content marketing.
Content marketing isn’t hard. But it does take time and effort. And it requires patience, too.
Set aside some time and map out a simple content marketing plan. It might start with something as simple as writing on your blog once a week and sharing it to Facebook and Twitter–at the very least that’s something.
And if you’re like most entrepreneurs and health business owners I know and simply don’t have the time, then hire me to create content for you.
You won’t have to think, design strategies, create the blog posts, or even think about social media either–I can manage it all for you.
Get in touch, and let’s chat about how I can help.