A More Realistic Way to Attract Customers Through Content Marketing
We’ve been fed a lot of crap about content. It’s the end-all, be-all, content is king and more crap. It’s not. At least from my own experience. Publishing posts upon posts for your website that get scanty views from family, friends and a few passer bys isn’t a viable way to scale.
Yet while content without marketing can be deemed lazy, just like Faith without works is dead, a major ingredient to successful PR is a combination of great content plus marketing.A major ingredient to successful PR is a combination of great content plus marketing Click To Tweet
So, while we’ve established that content without marketing is lazy and almost ineffective. Let’s look at what content marketing entails more indepthly.
Here’s the wrong conception we’ve all had at a point during our online marketing forays. Once I put up amazing content, customers will come. That is, here’s what I need to do:
- Create amazing content. Spend hours editing and revising so that people read it and after reading, fill a form on your website.
- Share on all my social media networks. So that more people in your personal networks share and drive traffic to it.
- More traffic. Once more readers get on the content and share using the share buttons embedded, our website gets more traffic and consequently more sales.
Unless you have much going already i.e great personal or company branding, very active social interactions and industry reputation, it doesn’t always work that way. Even at that, you might be able to drive a lot of traffic to your blog. But relative to conversions, results might be subpar.
The 3 steps above exemplify content marketing in its most basic. Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content. That is, high value content + promotion. It would probably lead to multiple sales opportunities in the long term as we keep up with consistency and value.
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content Click To Tweet
But we all want fast results. Wouldn’t it be nice to put up two posts, share and get a lot of inquiries about your latest offerings. It would. But it most often wouldn’t happen unless you’re Kylie Jenner, The Honest company or a niche influencer with massive reputation.
Moving from the 3 step process, Gareth Moon, cofounder of coschedule defines a five step more realistic content marketing framework.
How Content + Marketing actually works
In a more realistic case, after you’ve written a piece of long-form, valuable content and someone comes across your content, that person enters the reader stage.
1. Reader. The reader stage simply means what is implied – a visitor reads your content. I believe a visitor to your website becomes a reader after they visited your website a few times (more than once). The best way to keep visitors coming and turning them into cold leads or readers is by producing valuable content in a consistent tone. The purpose of your consistent tone and valuable content is to build trust and familiarity over time. Once a reader comes back a few times to read your copy. They proceed to share.
2. Promoter. They stumbled upon a piece of your content that actually hits the mark. They think why not share on Twitter? The purpose of share buttons is to encourage readers to become promoters. Sharing content is a basic way for readers to express support. However, they might not be ready to open up their wallet yet. Not just yet.
3. Subscriber. The third phase is the subscriber phase where a reader might actually bookmark your website, follow you on Twitter, subscribe to your email list or RSS feed or keep tabs on you through any other social media channel, implying that they find your content very relevant and useful. Or they simply believe you could offer more value through your emails, offer or social media page.
4. Advocate. At this stage, trust has been built. The person becomes an active participant in your content creation process. They participate in your comments section, share your content actively on social media, participate in quizzes and giveaways on Instagram. They have moved from a passive reader and consumer of your content to an active prospect. That is, from a cold to a warm lead.
5. Customer. Once a reader becomes an advocate, it’s easy to convert them into a paying customer. A simple email might get them off the edge and compel them to subscribe to or buy your product. Even if they had bought your product at a time, now they are buying because they trust your brand. It’s easier for an advocate who becomes a customer to stick with you long term.
Obviously, what this five steps indicate is that you need not just churn out content but impressive content. You don’t need to create 11 posts per month to garner trust in your brand. Research is busting the quantity over quality myth. Now we know that actionable and impressionable content is much better for converting leads and for sprucing up your brand’s reputation.
While each of your reader isn’t going to follow the same steps. Some steps could be skipped in some cases and some people may not even have any intention of buying from you. They may just want to read your content. Others might skip straight from seeing and reading your FB ads to becoming a customer.
Yet on a wider scale, most people won’t buy from you unless they trust you. And if you’ve not built a big reputation, you really do not have any other means of garnering your target customer’s trust. You need to prove your value through content – anticipating needs and offering up solutions to questions.
Can I Speed things up?
I’ll love to be in control of the process. How can I speed up a client’s progression from passive reader to advocate, then to customer? We all love fast results. A major reason why startups ignore blogging is because of the time it takes to get traffic and ultimately, leads. After six months, you check Google Analytics and the results are downright depressing. Then you start believing there is so much hype around content or “inbound” marketing.
“It’s just not worth the effort”, you say. But if you had just waited three years ago and kept on posting valuable resources, most of your readers would have become advocates, and some customers. Content marketing could have been the chief source of new leads for your business as it is for more than 50% of the brands that actively produce content.
How can I Attract Customers to My Business Through Content Marketing without The Long Wait?
Still want the fast track? Let’s go over the options you have to expedite your content marketing results. There are case studies where each of these have been tried, tested and delivered the results. I’ll point out a few of these too.
1. Create ambassadors for your content. Influencer marketing, an idea which leverages the following (large or not) of some people active on social media to boost your brand reputation has been around for a while. And it has grown so much into a lucrative business, costing businesses between $75 to $3,000 per post. Digitalmarketing.org estimates that the average cost for a middle-level influencer on Instagram is $271 per Instagram post. Businesses using influencers must be getting results. Else, what’s the point of shelling out huge amounts for a single Infleuncer post?
But hey, we’re talking about written blog posts? Not Instagram pictures or video. Yes, you can leverage influencers for your written blog posts too. But what if you can’t spend this much?
Build your own Influencers. This is the strategy Brian D. Evans and Clinton Senkow, founders of the entrepreneurship blog, Influencive used. After an unsuccessful attempt to get his content into Forbes, Brian D. Evans, a digital marketing consultant for some major brands started his own blog. But instead of an exclusive approach, he worked with Clinton Senkow, who had already started building a network of influencers. Influencive, their new collaboration, allowed people who had a thriving and engaged following on social media to upload their guest posts on Influencive. The only requirement was that they had to share their post and other peoples’ on their social profiles or channels.
Check out Brian’s interview on the Ask Avi Arya show.
With a mixture of great content, proactiveness in vetting and admitting influencers plus leveraging interviews with Inc 500 and 5000 business owners, Inluencive built a large following of ambassadors, who helped catapult the brand within a short time.
2. Devise a massive promotion strategy.
Before publishing your articles, you need a massive strategy to drive traffic. Here are 7 great ideas from Neil Patel’s post 17 advanced methods for promoting your new piece of content. You can combine 2-3 of these to great effect:
- Compile a list of about 20-50 influencers and reach out to them to give you a quote on their ideas about a particular topic. Then add this quote to your blog post. Once added, link back to them and send them a link to post on their social media pages. Ryan Robinson has used this strategy to build a list of 100,000 email subscribers from scratch.
- Create 20+ Snippets of each new post for Mega sharing on social media. Share 20 snippets from each post on all your social media channels. Vayner Media uses this strategy for getting snippets of content from their video or podcast content. Then sharing on all their social channels.
- Again use Influencers. Build a list of niche influencers that could be interested in each of your posts and reach out to them. GrooveHQ’s Alex Turnbull was able to build a list of 1,000 subscribers from one post in 24 hours using this strategy. But he wasn’t just reaching out to them out of the blue. He built a connection. Check out this post to view his approach.
- Mention expert sources you quoted in your posts while sharing on Twitter. You can do the same on LinkedIn. Some of these experts you’ve mentioned will retweet or reshare, helping you create a buzz.
- Proactively Increase your backlinks. Check out highly similar content to yours. Use a tool like Ahrefs and Open Site explorer to see top websites that have linked back to these posts. Then contact these top websites with your better content. They might just choose to link to your post in a future post or replace the existing link with yours when updating the post.
- Turn the content into a video and/or podcast to appeal to a different audience. Sift out interesting points to talk about in your video or podcast. Then post on major video platforms like Youtube and Vimeo or podcast platforms like Spotify or Anchor
- Submit your content to content communities or highly relevant groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. If your content is high value, you’ll definitely get good traffic. Make sure your effort is distributed to see tangible results. Apart from your Facebook page, here are 10 high impact websites to submit your posts to:
Keep in mind that most of these strategies will help bring in a lot of traffic within a short period rather than having to wait it out. They might even triple your subscriber list. But for the most part, gaining new customers takes time. On a wide scale, it’s still a 5 step zig-zag process rather than linear. The time it takes for each reader to turn into an advocate might however differ. But content marketing is on the whole, a long term game.