In this blog series, we take our inspiration from some of the most famous successful content marketers and how they are making lots of money as a result.
Content marketing is something that’s relevant to any business, regardless of size or sector. Whether you want to make a career out of content marketing (podcaster, blogger or online trainer) or just learn some new tricks from the pros, these insights will help.
How Content Marketing is Different
First of all, you need to understand what content marketing IS.
It’s different to traditional marketing: a lot of traditional marketing was in print format, with much of it direct mail, and conducted offline and face to face. Content marketing doesn’t replace those things, because they’re still valuable, but it’s more about right time, right place and right person.
Content marketing is self-published content, whether videos, articles, images, updates or news. You don’t need to buy media space on a radio station or in print and you don’t have to go through a public relations professional, journalist or editor to get your story online. PR is still a valuable activity, but sometimes, what you want to tell people doesn’t constitute a really big story and wouldn’t get into print. However, there are plenty of other places to share your news and views.
It also differs from traditional marketing because it’s more user-focused, than brand-led. You’re not trying to sell the people your products or services, but trying to educate and entertain them. It’s also a way of building trust and being open-handed about what you do and how you work.
It’s a good way to differentiate yourself from others in the marketplace. Even if we are selling the same product, we’re very different as businesses, with different values. This is often what people remember about you, and it’s why they come back, not because you were slightly cheaper or finished earlier.
So, where do you get the ideas from?
Your customer-facing colleagues may hold the key to content marketing. It’s often questions or language that pops up in conversation, feedback from customers or their random questions – the things everyone wants to know. As you can easily publish it yourself, there are many ways and places to answer those questions online.
Why does it matter?
The customer journey has changed dramatically. The internet has made a big difference as has the smartphone. There is such a proliferation of digital channels and media where your audience (potential customers) can consume information, news and entertainment wherever they are.
Customers now look in many different places to find out not just what you say about yourself, but what others say as well. If what they’re buying is new to them or they’ve not previously purchased it online, they’ll need a lot of reassurance. They’ll be looking in lots of different places to gather that information.
It’s no longer a straightforward journey – it’s a bit more like flight of the bumblebee!
Content is king, because it helps you with the buyer journey and with the kinds of information that people need at different stages in their decision making. Social media is a good example, as it can raise brand awareness for people who don’t realise you exist or what you do.
The closer the customer gets to making a decision, the more they need information that’s tailored to them and relevant to their purchase. It can’t be boring, as they won’t spend time with it. You need to hit them at the right time for them, when they’re looking to buy immediately or very soon. It can be as simple as something arriving in their inbox at the right time of day and the right day of that week.
Timing is everything, and you’re competing with all the other tasks the email recipient is trying to do, particularly on a Friday afternoon when they’re ready to go home.
Finally, it’s important to be entertaining.
People love to be made to laugh and to be able to engage with what they’re reading. This works in business to business engagement too. There’s still an emotional connection and a set of needs that have to be met.
People will buy from a business or brand because they like them, how they look and how they do business, and they trust them.
Here’s a handy acronym (thanks Mark W Schaefer) to help you remember these key points:
RITE content: Relevant, Interesting, Timely and Entertaining.
What are the “Seven Habits of Successful Content Marketers”?
Tips and real examples from people who’ve inspired me over the last five years. They demonstrate, by using Content Marketing, how it has worked for the businesses they run.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the 7 Habits of Successful Content Marketers. Why not check out the other blogs in the series:
- Tell them what they want to know – often
- Follow the plan and pick the right tools
- Be efficient – reduce, re-use, recycle
- Master social media, especially TWITTER
- The 80:20 rule: 80% theirs: 20% yours
- Earn Active Passive Income with RITE content
- Find you niche… the smaller, the better
- Measure your content marketing, often
If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.
Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.
Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash