How does content marketing work?
I bet you do a lot of ‘content marketing’ – you probably post regularly on social media. You may have recently written your website. You might even have a blog. However, do you know why you are creating this content and what you hope to achieve?
It may seem like a silly question – why put in all of your time and effort to create marketing material if you don’t know why? However, it is amazing how often business owners get lost in what they need to do’ and what they have to do….and forget the ‘why’!
Content marketing should get you more leads, which in turn, lead to more sales
YES IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT – THERE IS NO OTHER GOOD REASON…content marketing takes time and effort, so it has to help you to make more sales and to grow.
Yes you might add value or educate…blah…blah…blah…but the main reason for doing content marketing has to be to make you money, ultimately. Let’s be honest – why pay me to do it, if it isn’t going to increase your sales?
So, let’s talk more about why to do it and how to do it effectively.
The four-step process to make content marketing work hard for your business
STEP 1 – CONSISTENCY
It is so important that your marketing is consistent. There is no point only doing it when things are quiet – this too late! There is no point doing it sporadically…all the algorithms will work against you. There is no point only advertising an offer or event when it is happening, because you will not have built a base from which to launch.
Now, consistency does not have to mean daily. How often you post on social media or write a blog is up to you and your sales goals. It is up to you what you can manage. However, it is much better to make a commitment to creating content once per week and doing it well, than going crazy for a month and then disappearing off the face of the digital world for weeks. If nothing else, it confuses your followers and potential clients – are you in business or not?
On thing to remember though: posting or publishing consistently is not the same as ‘creating consistently’. You can prepare and create content whenever you want. You can batch it. You can sit for a whole weekend and prep a quarter’s worth of content …but then put it out in a consistent drip feed format.
Furthermore, consistency refers not only to time but also ‘style’, in terms of how and what you post on social media, your blog and in your emails. People hate the unknown – we all like to feel comfortable and familiar, so think about your content creation as a whole and evaluate if you are offering a consistency of message across all platforms. It will also help the memorability of your brand.
STEP 2 – VISIBILITY
When you create and post content consistently, you will notice that your visibility grows. Making that commitment to your audience to ‘turn up and be seen’ will be rewarded. People like consistency and familiarity. The more they ‘see of you’ the more they feel they know you and this is so important for building brand awareness and trust.
If you are creating content, you also want to ensure it is visible to your ideal clients, so think about where they are and share your content in those same place. Perhaps you have a blog post that would be relevant to those in a Facebook group – why not ask if you can share it? Also, choose your social media platform wisely, based on your target audience and where they ‘hang out’ – not everywhere and anywhere.
You need to be where your ideal client is looking…this even includes posting at times they are most likely to be online. Be easily visible and catch their eye with engaging content.
STEP 3 – ENGAGEMENT
With enhanced visibility comes familiarity, and when followers and potential clients become familiar with your content and perhaps benefit from its value (even better!), then you will start to see more engagement. People like to comment on social media posts by people they feel ‘connected’ to. It is emotional. It’s not about them knowing you personally (although through video and authentic posts this can help) – it’s about trust and feeling comfortable enough to comment and engage.
When you are consistent and visible, engagement is more likely to happen, but don’t forget, engagement goes both ways….so make sure you are replying to comments and following up with enquiries…even if they are very subtle.
It’s also important in your content marketing to ask for engagement! Yes, I literally mean stating “Tell me what you think”; “Comment with your favourite x” – whilst direct ‘salesy’ calls to action are important (e.g. Book now!)…more subtle, engaging and encouraging ones are also really important too. You want people to react to your content … you want them to feel like they are invited to comment and engage …and, sometimes, the best way to ensure this is to literally ask. And when your audience engages they are showing that they want to be involved with your business.
STEP 4 – LEADS
Leads simply means ‘people who are interested in your business and what you have to offer’.
Once you have engagement, it is so important that you analyse it and identify your leads. I am not talking about boring engagement rate percentages or how many new likes you got…I am talking about actual human beings. Do you know who is engaging with your posts? Have you noted the names of the people who are reacting to your posts the most or who have opened your latest email? Know who is engaging with you, because they are effectively showing their support at the very least…and their interest in buying from you at the very best!
You need to be making a note of this and analysing how you are going to use this information efficiently. It is so important that you know who is interested in your business. Who is taking note of the wonderful content you are creating?
And next…converting those leads in to prospects
If you follow this four step process, you will end up with a list of leads. Simple! In my next post, I’ll tell you more about how to find those leads and then (the scary bit!) how to approach them! Trust me – it is not as difficult as you may think.
In the meantime, if you need support with your content, so that it is an effective lead generation tool for your business, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a strategy call.