Give To Get: Thoughts On Content Marketing
Carving out your corner in the highly saturated web world is becoming more difficult and more costly. But what if you could become a powerhouse in your niche without spending a so much as a dime on advertising or marketing?
The business version of if you want to have a friend be a friend is if you want to get for free, give for free. Yes, free.
And you do it through content marketing. That is, the dissemination of free, thoughtfully prepared information, with the goal of enhancing your brand, building a niche, gaining expert status, and gathering targeted potential customers.
Content marketing isn’t a new concept, nor it is particularly complicated. But it is becoming increasingly popular in the current environment- perhaps because of its high ROI potential. Business owners and consumers are watching their pennies. We all need to preserve our capital and be discriminating when making purchasing decisions.
But why must it be ‘free’?
There’s so much information out there and, thanks to the magic of search engines, much of it is free. What’s going to set you apart isn’t necessarily the content, but your unique take on it.
The truth is, you give away content for free every single day. Like an interview, a gift, recommendations and referrals, an email forward, and even good, sound advice. So don’t think of it as working for free. Think of it as marketing and branding, and positioning.
So, what can I give away?
- Articles/blog posts
- Videos (youtube, podcasts, webinars)
- Information through case studies or infographics
- Worksheets or templates
- Tutorials & more
Encourage sharing. Be clear, however, that your content needs to remain verbatim and that the author attribution (including your links and email address) must be present on each piece.
Whatever you put out there, be sure your subject matter is unique, useful, and genuine. Bland, insipid information just won’t do. Make it prominent and enticing. Pithy, but beguiling. And speak with confidence. Remember, you’re an authority.
Your content should be:
- relevant to what you sell
- educational and laced with your experience-based spin
What’s In It For Me?
Content marketing positions you as a front of mind source for quality, reliable information. The more perceived ‘juice’ you have in your trade, the more likely it becomes that you’ll be asked to contribute to industry relevant blogs and publications, thus expanding your reach even further.
It also gives readers the feeling that they made an informed decision when purchasing from you. They like you, they trust you, they buy from you. It’s ‘soft marketing’, and it works wonderfully.
End every blog post and every article with a call to action- something you want them to do when they’re done reading it. A link to sign up for your newsletter is always a good idea. Entice and encourage them with a subtle sense of urgency. Make them want to get on that list, lest they miss a beat. Most people are willing to oblige. They perceive value from what you’ve offered they won’t mind returning the favor. Especially when it means they’ll continue to get great content continually delivered to their inbox.
Be an information purveyor as opposed to a salesperson and you’ll build a list of highly targeted people. The larger your list, the more valuable your business becomes. The more valuable your business becomes, the more people you’ll impact and subsequently, the more earning potential you have.
Note that this strategy isn’t just relevant to converting sales. As the value of your presence increases, so too does the value of your website real estate. Highly ranked sites get more traffic, thus can supplement their income by selling ad space and cast a wider net for affiliate programs.
Positive, valuable interactions breed trust, comfort, and loyalty in any relationship. Gratis information gives you the opportunity to consistently get your message across in a non-threatening fashion, all the while extending your relationship with a potential customer.
Become an altruistic protagonist. Your customers (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.
Melissa Bolton is a copywriter and Brand Therapist® who uses Neurobranding to develop solopreneurs, micro-businesses, and individuals residing in the creative arena. Her signature Brand Therapy services include pairing both psychology and behavioral science principles with your story to help you define your brand, impel your niche, and breathe new life into your ideas.