You sell a product or service that is valuable to other people.
To grow your business you need to let people know about what you offer and why they should do business with you.
This is accomplished primarily in two ways:
- word of mouth
- the printed word
Word of Mouth Marketing
Nothing is better than a personal endorsement for your business.
The downside is that it takes a REALLY long time to make those personal connections one to one.
Networking should be part of your marketing strategy – but to build your business faster, you need to reach a mass audience.
Enter the world of content marketing.
In the past, this fell under the umbrella of advertising, press releases, and paper newsletters. If you were really lucky – somebody would write an article about you.
Fortunately the internet has given us more control over singing our own praises.
For a fraction of the cost of paper advertising, we can communicate with our potential customers and our current clients as often as we want.
By broadcasting valuable and relevant information on a consistent basis – we can showcase all the great things all of our businesses have to offer.
If the content that we offer is truly valuable, relevant and consistent, people that we have never met will begin to “know, like, and trust” us.
When they are ready to use our product or service, we won’t have to go to them, they will come to us.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as follows:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
And THAT is why you should bother.
How To Get Started
The two best ways to get started with content marketing is through a website or blog AND through an email newsletter.
If you are an offline business then you may already have a customer base.
When you communicate with your customers ask for their permission to send them your email newsletter – written permission is better. Or you can send them an opt-in link offered by your email service provider. (According to the CAN-SPAM act – you must get express permission from a recipient before adding them to an email newsletter list.)
Using an email service provider is the only way to do email newsletters right. MailChimp offers a free plan, which is a great way to get started with little investment. Other popular providers are AWeber, MadMimi, and Infusionsoft.
A Website or Blog
Using an email newsletter for content marketing is not enough.
You also need a website or blog that is full of useful information for your clients and customers.
You want people to come to your website and spend time reading your articles and learning about you and your business.
Of course, you will want to include contact information.
Websites have replaced the yellow pages. When people need to call or email you, they google you. Make it easy for them to get in touch.
If you like to DIY you can set up a simple WordPress site fairly easily. Here are the steps you need to take.
If you plan on creating podcasts or a membership site – New Rainmaker by Copyblogger is an all in one solution.
A Content Marketing Plan
An email newsletter and a website/blog will help you distribute your valuable content.
But the content marketing definition specifically states that you must communicate consistently.
The best way to do this is with a plan.
A professional organizer can help you put together a plan that is achievable and that you will stick to. To do content marketing right, you need to organize your time and your information.
I can help you with basic blog set up and organization as well as your email newsletter.
What are Your Biggest Content Marketing Challenges?
Join the discussion in the comments below.