I’ve been a marketer so long I remember a time when email marketing was something only really big retail brands were doing. I’ve seen the evolution of how we market our businesses and ourselves, and it has created so much opportunity for leveling the playing field. Big brands don’t always have the advantage, which is amazing for us entrepreneurs!
And this new age of using content to drive your marketing and sales efforts can be SUPER confusing.
Today I’d like to share a different perspective on content marketing. We’re going to get into the nitty gritty behind using a content marketing strategy because I think understanding the WHY behind the WHAT you’re doing to market your business will really help you navigate if a new tactic is right for your business, and make it easy to measure your results.
Don’t worry about taking notes. I’ve got you covered with a helpful pdf download to help you put this concept into action within your business. It’s something that you can immediately start using to review your strategy, identify any gaps, and better understand how everything fits together. You can grab it here.
So before we dig into the strategy, let’s define content marketing.
What was a bit of a revolutionary marketing tactic in the early to mid-2000’s has turned into the new way of marketing. At the heart of it, content marketing is simply giving away value to engage your audience in order to get your audience to know, like and trust you. It really is as simple as providing value at each stage, nurturing the relationship with someone from stranger to brand advocate.
So, how do you know if you’ve taken on a content marketing strategy in your business?
If you are using tactics like a blog, social media channel, Facebook groups, live video segments, a podcast or really any other method of giving free advice or information out there to draw your audience in – congratulations, you are a content marketer – even if you didn’t know it!
So, because so many have taken on this approach and didn’t know it, and therefore don’t really understand how the pieces fit together, and how to measure to know what’s working, I’ve been thinking of how to simplify the phases of this content marketing concept in such a way that makes it so easy to understand.
I’ve settled on this: Approach everything in your business as if it were an employee and give it a job.
In nurturing your audience, there are four jobs:
- Sales guru
- Customer service specialist
Whether you have actual people doing these roles, you also have content performing these duties. And by acknowledging the role each piece of content plays in your business, the easier it is to know if it’s doing its job.
- Megaphone – whose job is to attract people to you and help you get in front of those who best fit your business. Like the person standing outside of a store making you notice them.
In our online business world, this is where our social media posts land. This is where we look to keywords to allow searchers to find us. Guest posts or guest interviews would fit in here. So would your blog or a podcast like this. And, of course, any ads you’ve got running and the hashtags you use in social channels.
It is the furthest stage from the sales person and really is just a first impression. Something that gets the interest and attention of people, making it the stage that casts the widest net.
Your megaphone’s job is to turn strangers into visitors; to encourage people to come over to the greeter.
Let’s put this into a tangible, completely made-up example and say we have a membership site for busy moms that helps with meal planning by providing weekly meal ideas. We are using a Facebook ad as a megaphone to drive exposure of a really awesome blog post about how meal planning for school lunches can save you time in your morning routine.
- Greeter – who helps create an experience that matches their needs and converts them onto your list so you can stay connected.
A greeter can look like a call-to-action such as joining your free Facebook group, getting access to a downloadable guide or quiz, or joining a 5-day challenge. The content at this stage is a little more in-depth than your megaphone content. It’s things that help someone take a next step.
It’s also things that are likely automated, which is important for being able to scale your business.
This is the point where you want to include a form wherever possible to add people to your email list. The sales guru can’t do its job of building a better relationship with your audience if it can’t reconnect with them later.
Going back to our example, we used a Facebook ad to gain exposure to our blog post. We already got attention from moms who don’t know us by telling them how to save time in the morning when packing lunches. To help them out even more, we offer a free 5-step guide to planning lunches for kids. We call this out in the blog post, and after they complete a quick form on a landing page, they get access to this guide.
- Sales guru – who takes them on a journey that leads to your product or service as being the solution to their problem.
This can look like 1:1 conversations like a complimentary coaching session, a webinar, a free trial and your emails that you regularly send out to your list informing them of your latest blog post or free download.
In our meal planning membership site example, this could look like a free master class that shows how to meal plan, step-by-step, and leads to your membership site being a solution to make it even easier by putting together a collection of recipes each week.
- Customer service specialist – who provides such a great experience at each turn that people keep coming back and, even better, tell all their friends about you.
While you may have someone in your business that handles direct customer support, your content plays this role too. It can look like bonus content, an exclusive community for on-going support, or exclusive events.
To close out our example, let’s say this is an exclusive Facebook group where moms can connect, and where you share additional tips, tricks and nutrition information.
Ok, I admit it’s a little weird to think about these phases as people. And you’re probably wondering how what you do today fits into this system. If you haven’t already, grab the guide to start organizing what you do in your business today.
I’ll dig into each of these phases even more in my free marketing guide, so if you want more details (including tips on measuring the effectiveness of what you’re doing) be sure to grab that resource. It’s SO GOOD.