Telling Your Story Through Content. — #theprep Lesson 7
Have you started #theprep yet? If not catch up with lesson 1 of #theprep. It’s simple — in 8 lessons I want to to help you take your idea to launch. Enjoy!#theprep
You hear the phrase content is king thrown around a lot. What people mean is content is an opportunity to add value to what you’re selling. We just finished up the website design portion of #theprep, now lets dive into how you can drive traffic to your site and create more value with content marketing.
Tell Your Story Through Content
What’s your story, anyway? As we discussed in the identity episode of #theprep, your brand is how you talk to your customers. It’s the way you want to be perceived.
This is a big part of content marketing. Nailing down your voice and the pillars of content you focus on with your business. Optimizing content on your site for keywords related to your products. And finding what matters, what adds value to your audience. That’s all part of telling your story, building authority, and earning trust from your customers.
There are three big ideas about content to learn: strategy, adding value, and context.
What is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is a very complicated system of production and distribution across different channels with a specific goal in mind. The high-level goal should always be to add value, but that can be broken down into smaller, more specific goals. After you publish, you measure and tweak your strategy based on the results.
We can break this down even further. Think of it this way: who are you, what do you sell, and who is your audience?
Next, you look at ways to add value to your product by providing content for free.
That’s what we’re doing right now. Our customers create businesses and they need websites. So we must be WordPress and website experts, selling website products and services that will help our customers succeed at building their business or website. That’s why we write WordPress tutorials and create videos for entrepreneurs
That’s how you add value. You don’t just create a product and assume that people will find it useful. You make sure that you are talking about how it is useful, and actually help your customers get the most out of it.
Adding Real Value with Content
Let’s talk more about value. It’s a two way street. On one hand, you’re providing information, resources, and guidance around your industry. On the other hand, you’re getting more eyes on your site, your products, and your content.
When we talk about content pillars, that really comes from the world of SEO, or search engine optimization. In a nutshell, a content SEO strategy involves finding keywords that are most relevant to your business. Then, you can identify pillar topics related to those words to structure your content strategy around.
You would then write some evergreen content, something that never gets old, like a guide on how to build a website, for each pillar. And then you continually produce supporting content, every week. Eventually, you build a reputation and a footprint on the internet in your space, and you’ll start ranking better in search results for those keywords.
The goal can be visualized like this. You’re an HVAC company. You want people to call you when their systems go down, of course. But what about air conditioning maintenance?
Who thinks about that in the winter? So you can start targeting questions about A/C maintenance and answering them with your content. This will drive search traffic to your site, provide useful answers for people who land there, and enable you to convert those people into customers.
But how do you make that conversion happen? Sales copy.
How to Turn Free Content Into Sales
One word: action. Just as sales people must always be closing, or ABC, your content must always be active, ABA.
Be cautious. You don’t want every article or video you produce to be selling people on how great your products are. That doesn’t sound authentic, and it doesn’t add value. It merely repeats what’s already there–the features of your product.
Your content is about turning people who need your help into real customers. And that can be a long journey in some cases, but it always pays off.
Instead of listing features or coming up with fancy jargon that makes your product sound intelligent, think of concrete actions your customers can take. And funnel them through your content to those actions.
Here’s an amazing example from CoSchedule. This article is about how to write headlines. It’s useful and relevant to their product and audience, and it’s one of their content pillars–content marketing.
The article goes in-depth about writing headlines, the strategy, the execution, etc. And it provides you with a free tool, the CoSchedule headline analyzer.
This analyzer is just a small part of CoSchedule’s overall product, and they give it for free. This is the perfect pairing of content and product, and the customer doesn’t even have to buy anything.
This is an example of what a customer lifecycle can be with content marketing. Drive your customers to act with quality content and solid sales copy and ideas.
Distributing Content and Finding Appropriate Context
A common mistake a lot of content marketers make is distributing content to as many places as possible with no context. Imagine that you have a blog about dog walking and you create some 10 minute tutorials about training your dog.
If you post that to snapchat, no one’s going to pay attention–it’s a ten minute video! The attention span isn’t there. But, what if you did a 10 second video of a dog doing a funny trick? Now you’ve created the right context for snapchat, and you can funnel that audience into other channels they might be interested in. Or, they can just stay engaged watching your weekly dog trick video. Maybe in 5 years when they get a dog they’ll remember you and come back for your products.
Another part of achieving the right context is your audience. Using the same dog example, you want to focus on audiences within your channel that are genuinely interested in dogs.
An additional content marketing mistake is pumping out your content to as many people as possible, no matter what. This creates bad vibes and makes people feel like you’re spamming them. Don’t try to convert cat lovers into dog walkers.
Before you achieve world domination, start with the small stuff by targeting people within Facebook, Instagram, etc. who are already looking at dog videos. Finding a niche to establish yourself is probably the fastest path toward bringing in your best customers.
What’s After Content?
The answer? More content.
There will never be a shortage of ideas that can build your content engine and keep it running smooth. You can do a YouTube series, like #theprep, Podcasts, Guest Posts, Instagram stories, Pinterest boards, Holidays… the list goes on and on. A single Google search can yield a handful of content ideas.
In many ways, once you’ve created a product or business, your job stops being about the product and starts being about the people who need it.
Good luck! Reach out if you need a hand with your content strategy. We’re here to help because that’s our job.
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