Content marketing effectively builds a brand’s online presence and influences how the market perceives your business. According to Wikipedia:
“Content marketing is a long-term selling approach to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a definite audience — and, consequently, to motivate them to buy your products.”
Therefore, “the term ‘marketing’ is commonly understood as attracting customers.”
These days, brands need a steady online presence to stand out. One of the best ways to do so is to publish quality content that will significantly influence how the market identifies with your brand. Well-thought out content earns clients’ trust. Also, Google ranks businesses higher when the content is better. In turn, people see your brand first when searching online.
Aside from helping engage clients and build healthy business relationships, here are other notable advantages of using content marketing tools.
As a brand, you must stay in touch with your audience and show that you’re listening to their needs. When you publish high-quality, informative content, it can help build healthy relationships with potential clients.
“Gaining more search engine credibility, providing better service to your customers, and reaching a larger online audience are all key incentives for having high quality content on your website.” Global Reach
Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy for a brand would involve understanding the following before creating any type of content.
- Figuring out potential clients’ needs and wants.
- Anticipating when and how those needs and wants occur.
- Identifying ways to satisfy those needs and wants.
Content is any message expressed through a medium such as speech, writing, or art form. All content is delivered through one or multiple mediums. Many brands build a content strategy involving more than one form of providing their content for maximum audience exposure. Here’s just a few ways a brand can get their message (content) out to the world:
- Live events, conferences, and stage performances.
The New York Times described marketing in 2017 as “the art of telling stories so enthralling that people lose track of their wallets.” As funny as that may be, content marketing is using incredible storytelling. Storytelling authentically to pull potential customers to your solution and purchase (the product/course/book) you are selling.
Marketing that makes sense makes for a happier business and brand. Have you ever heard yourself saying any of the following:
- Marketing sucks!
- I want my business to succeed…
- I have a small or non-existent marketing budget…
- I have a great product or service, but I need to figure out what to do…
- Why do I have to be everywhere all the time?
The first step in marketing that makes sense is building your audience. Businesses need to take advantage of this crucial business-building step. You don’t need to run ads when you are first starting. Surprisingly, businesses that build their audiences first are more successful without selling them anything.
Audience Building With Content Marketing
Building an audience takes time. Nothing about business and marketing happens overnight. Most brands/businesses first build an audience before selling anything. If you try to sell before building an audience, you will need help finding people to buy your product or service. By building your audience in advance, you’ll have people waiting (anticipating) for your product.
By building first and selling last, you will earn more overall, and you won’t need to spend as much on paid marketing to get buyers for your product.
While the building is essential for selling a product or service, one must also build trust. If no one knows who you are and you start doing paid marketing, throwing ads all over FaceBook, you will spend more on marketing.
People are tired of being sold to. People are tired of every marketing term to ‘sell’ something. People are smart – FYI. Savvy internet users and television watchers are painfully aware that every ad on FaceBook and commercials on tv is targeting them and trying to sell something. Hello, pain point marketing.
Marketers try to ‘relate’ and use ‘pain points to get people to use their hard-earned money to buy whatever crap is being sold. Yes, most stuff is crap – we don’t need it.
When developing a product or service, building an audience first helps with market research. Fact: there is nothing new in the world. Everything is from something else. All people do is ‘reinvent’ something old into something new.
Having access to an audience while building a product or service is invaluable! By having an audience, you’ll learn what your audience is interested in first-hand. When you know your audience’s needs and wants, your marketing strategy will be tested when you launch a service or product. You can also find people within your audience to provide valuable feedback and testimonials. You can give them your product or service for free in exchange for their feedback.
Building an Audience
- Create and share valuable content.
- Develop your social strategy
- Interact with your audience
Creating valuable content via a blog, article, or social media post, for example, where you post regularly, is one of the quickest ways to establish yourself as an industry leader. Building trust with your audience is key to success.
Post-in-depth and helpful content your audience will find useful when posting on social media or your website. And don’t forget to be yourself – your personality must shine through all your content.
Pick a social media platform and get good at that one platform. Once you master one platform, repeat the process for a second platform. You only want to pick social media platforms where your audience is looking for help. If your audience is not on FaceBook, don’t spend time on FaceBook.
Try to incorporate ways to get your audience involved. People want to feel wanted and part of something. Involving your audience through groups and giveaways will show your brand cares and will go a long way in building a solid audience relationship.
Many businesses build communities on Facebook. These groups can feel more intimate and foster open communication between you and your audience.
However, people are tired of communities that self-promote, make spammy comments, or are not monitored by the business or brand that started the community. Audiences are put-off by communities that make them feel like they’re being targeted for sales purposes only.
Email for Audience Building
One last thing businesses can do is stay in touch via email. Email is the only thing a business truly owns. Suppose Twitter, FaceBook or TikTok closed today, which was your way of communicating with your audience. What would happen to your business? Instead, as part of your marketing, your business needs to focus on building an email list while building an audience. Access to your potential client’s inboxes will allow you to reach them with newsletters, sales, and promotions anytime.
Social media is a type of marketing, but there is other marketing for a brand to be successful. Before everyone gets their underwear in a bind, relax. Here’s the thing about marketing… you don’t have to use social media to be successful. GASP! You can be on something other than FaceBook to be successful.
Content Marketing That Makes Sense
Marketing to most businesses, especially those just starting, is challenging, and you feel like you are constantly “online,” being everywhere all the time and getting nowhere.
The old cliche, “it takes money to make money,” may be true on some level. A business can make money without spending a dime. Because let’s be honest for a moment… as a new business owner, you have more time than money. You spend, on average, 12+ hours a day figuring out how to bring in more cash to your business.
In addition, there are ways to spend your time wisely without spending any money. Your efforts will build an audience and create a marketing strategy that makes sense.
- Host a virtual, in-person meeting or webinar for FREE. The key word is FREE. People like free.
- Emails. Your email is flooded daily with emails that sell you something, mostly spam. Correct? Interestingly, studies show that businesses bring an average return of $43 for every $1 spent on email marketing. Email is the most cost-effective way to promote your business/services and reach your audience.
- Recording and sharing videos or podcasts. In the digital era, people are over fake and phony crap clogging their feeds. If you give your audience a chance to know you, see your face, and hear your voice, your audience will trust you.
I bet by now you feel:
2) You have no strategy or plan
3) You are wasting time because no one is seeing, hearing, or feeling you.
Am I correct?
THERE’S A BETTER WAY
When you have clarity in your business, marketing is much easier. Many times, businesses either:
- Hope, on the one hand, crap on another.
- Throw ideas at a wall and hope something sticks.
- Hire a marketing company that charges outrageous fees with little ROI (return on investment).
Most businesses believe marketing is all about social media. While there is a little bit of truth to that, there is more that goes into a successful marketing campaign/plan.
How to Get Your Brand Out There
No ‘one-plan-fits-all’ type of marketing works across all business platforms. Numerous options and approaches are available to attract your business traffic and have your brand seen online. Brands that use unique strategies and campaigns win.
There are two strategies most businesses will use in 2022; I recommend a hybrid of these strategies. I work with start-ups and small businesses. Why? Because at the heart of these are passion, dedication, and tenacity. I’m not saying more prominent businesses/brands don’t have that… My preference is smaller businesses.
Free vs Paid Marketing
Free traffic is perfect for someone starting with little to no marketing budget. Because free traffic is free, there is no predictability, challenge to scale, and more time and work.
Paid traffic means you will pay to get traffic to see your brand. However, paid traffic can be scaled, predictable, and automated, so less time and work are involved.
As mentioned above, there are pros and cons to free versus paid marketing traffic. I recommend using a free marketing approach if you are in the start-up stage. As soon as you gain traction with the free option, you can begin using paid marketing.
When to Start Paid Marketing
There are different theories of when to start using paid marketing. My suggestion is when:
- You have a marketing budget that allows $1000+ to spend a month.
- You’ve reached five figures or more from your business.
- You are gaining momentum using free marketing/traffic.
If you don’t have a free marketing/traffic strategy, using paid marketing to gain eyeballs will do you very little (in my opinion). Why? Because free is organic, and organic is always better for the long-haul sustainability of your company/brand. Your efforts will only be worthwhile if all you do is paid marketing with a solid strategy beyond paid marketing.
Something to think about: if you paid $50 to acquire one client who pays you $25, you are losing money.
On the other hand, if you develop a long-term strategy to keep clients, you will retain the client who pays you $25.
A long-term strategy is giving away free content. You can create videos, write newsletters, email newsletters, develop podcast episodes, or create blogs/articles on a website.
Suppose you create a long-term marketing strategy beyond paid marketing in the form of content. In that case, you will generally win clients who like, trust, and value your offer.
Free Marketing Options
There are numerous free options to consider without being a burden, sleazy or salesy. Consider friends and acquaintances that may be a good fit for your business. Sometimes, I don’t recommend leaning on family (that never goes well). The same can be said of friends – proceed with caution.
Consider who in your community or network has a problem your service or product can help. I recommend looking through your contact list to see who you can serve and solve a problem first. Yes, this is tedious and may lead nowhere. But, I have found this to be an accessible marketing avenue that has generated revenue and results.
Another free marketing strategy is to find free groups online where your ‘ideal’ client tends to hang out the most. If you’re like me, I don’t like FaceBook. Therefore, I don’t hang out in any of those groups. Now, 5-10 years ago, I was socially active in groups on FaceBook. Word of caution using FaceBook groups: pitching or contacting other group members is not allowed.
Groups as a Content Marketing Strategy
If you decide to use FaceBook groups or other online groups, provide insanely huge value, answer questions, and give, give and give some more. The number one rule of marketing: give before asking.
A word of caution. You can only be everywhere sometimes. When choosing what platform to use for free marketing, pick the one that makes the most sense to your business. For example, if you are starting a social media marketing business for pet owners, I will choose Instagram or TikTok.
Social Media Marketing
- The ideal social media schedule: when and how often to post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter
- How to create thirst-worth images
- Where to find high-quality free photos + editing photos on your phone
- How to connect with your audience for higher engagement: comments, shares, and clients
In conclusion, “Content marketing is a long-term selling approach to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a definite audience — and, consequently, to motivate them to buy your products.”
Therefore, there is no short-term strategy that will get any brand or business immediate results. Content marketing that makes sense for success is long-term. Remember, as a brand, you have a lot to offer. Your products are great, and so is your service!
Creating high-quality, engaging content motivates clients toward your business over your competitors. If you want to increase your website traffic, it’s important to have a content marketing strategy that motivates consumers to visit your site. Once they’re there, win them over with your content!