I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that one of the things all business owners want is to earn more money and not work any harder for it.
This year has been exhausting for so many reasons and because of that I want to be smarter and more effective with my customer building in 2021 so that I can earn more without burning out.
Well, for a start, I’m reshaping my content marketing and I think you should too.
What is content marketing?
According to Wikipedia:
“Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.”
In other words, it’s the information, posts, videos, memes and sales copy you put out on your website and social media.
7 Principles of Content Marketing
There are many principles for content marketing, but these are the seven that I think will give you the biggest bang for your buck:
- Not all of your content should be about business
- Engaging once you’ve posted is a must
- Ask questions
- Give helpful advice about your business area
- Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose
- Ideas are everywhere
- Start from what you’re selling
Let’s go through these in more detail.
Not all of your content should be about business
You might think this is nuts. Surely you should stay on message? Your audience needs seven touches before they buy, yada, yada, yada.
Well, yes and also, no.
People don’t go on social media to be sold to. It’s about creating connections, meeting people, having fun. So give that to them and when you do want them to buy, they’re going to be far more likely to hit the “pay now” button.
In amongst your product posts:
- Share a picture of your dog, ask your audience, are you a dog person or a cat person?
- Post a question asking them whether your new logo should be in green or blue.
- Post a poll asking whether they’re an early bird or a night owl.
Why? Because it humanizes you and your company for one. Second, it increases your engagement on that social media platform and that leads to the algorithms thinking you’re posting good quality content and so all your posts get seen more often—including your sales posts. A big win for when you do post sales content.
Engaging once you’ve posted is a must
I’m hoping I don’t need to write much here. It should be obvious. But if you’re posting a question and people are answering it, you need to at least acknowledge them. It’s only polite, after all.
The quickest way to get someone to engage with your content is to post a question. More to the point, a question that doesn’t require them to put their knowledge on the line. Why? Because that makes them vulnerable—they’re risking looking stupid. So ask opinion questions. Do you prefer our logo in blue or black? Do you read at night or in the morning? Do I look better in the green top or the purple top? Vote on your favorite type of content: design tips or design ideas. These are questions anyone can join in with and not have to share responses that could be wrong or offensive. It’s pure and fun to join in and so they will.
Give helpful advice about your business area
This is another one that can seem counter productive, trust me, it isn’t. If you have a social media management company, share six tips on how to create content faster, or the four best scheduling platforms. If you’re a design company, share tips on how to create a color palette. If you’re a dog walking business, share the best quality training treats, or how to train dogs that prefer toys over treats.
Why? Because when a customer does need a service from a company like yours, your company will be the first one they think of because you’ve already been so helpful. Why would they go anywhere else?
Repupose, repurpose, repurpose
What is repurposing?
It’s when you take content you’ve already created and use it on another platform. Let’s take this article for example. I could share it on my website, it’s here as a guest post, it can be condensed and emailed to my mailing list. I could take tips from it, for example, the seven principles—and share them with a one-line explanation on instagram or Facebook or any other platform. I could create a short solo podcast talking about the content of the article or a YouTube video doing the same—the article is the script so that’s written for me. I could ask my audience if they found the tips helpful or which tip was the most useful. I could even take each principle and post a second even more in depth article focusing on each one in turn.
Let me address the biggest concern about repurposing: the worry that sharing the same content on Facebook as Instagram is bad.
You don’t need to worry. First up, not everyone is going to follow you on every social media channel. Second, even if they do, the chances of them seeing the same post on both platforms is low because of how saturated our feeds are. And even if they do, they may not remember seeing it the first time or may not have engaged with it but will the second time they see it.
Ideas are everywhere
Here’s another concern I hear: I don’t know what to post.
If you have a business then you have an entire field of expertise you can share. Besides, one of my favorite content marketers has a phrase I love:
“Everything is a content opportunity.” Janet Murray
Never have I agreed more with a quote. Late to work in the morning? There’s an opportunity, talk about it on social media. Explain what happened on your morning drive and then ask:
- Would you forgive a business for opening late?
- Do you always arrive on time or are you rushing to get to appointments?
- How does being late make you feel?
- What’s the latest you’ve ever been to an appointment?
- Tell us a funny story about being late
Everything that happens to you can be turned into content and don’t take for granted that whatever your business industry, you have knowledge about that industry that others won’t. Sure, you may not be the top in your field, but you can be assured that you’re ahead of a lot of people already. Share what you know.
Start with what you’re selling
Here is where I think the money is at when it comes to increasing your sales. Everything up to this point is about building your audience. Something you need if you want to grow your sales. Conversion rates are about 1-2% of your audience size. If you have a mailing list of 2000 people, you can expect 20 sales. Yeah... it’s not much. But that’s why building your audience is so vital.
When you start with what you’re selling, your main or core piece of content each week should be oriented around what you're selling.
For example, you have a new digital course out on productivity in February. Every week from January 1st up to your course launch, you should share content about productivity. Productivity tips, productivity software, mistakes people make with productivity, sneak peeks of the course. Each time, you should be linking to your “preorder” page and explaining how customers can get more if they purchase the course. Incentivize preorders by giving customers who do preorder a bonus.
Once your core piece of content is out, you can fill the daily gaps in by creating fun engagement posts.
So that’s it. A quick guide to refocusing your content marketing in 2021. Start with what you’re selling and create core pieces of helpful advice around that product. Then intersperse your core pieces with fun, engaging questions, tips, quotes and polls, and be sure to engage right back.
Sacha Black is a bestselling author, rebel podcaster, and professional speaker. She writes educational nonfiction books for writers and fantasy books for both Young Adult and adult audiences. She lives in Cambridgeshire, England, with her wife and son.
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