What is the greatest marketing challenge in the digital age?
For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, it lies in creating content profitably and sustainably over the long haul.
When virtually all of your customers are spending their waking hours reading, searching for, and sharing content online, it makes total sense for you to write and publish content online.
However, writing content to market your products or services online isn’t quite the same as copywriting for an ad. On the contrary, online content should be focused on helping your targeted customers to solve their problems, achieve their goals, and improve the quality of their lives or work.
So how can you create content that works hard for your business while bringing in leads and customers?
Start with a detailed customer profile. Fill it up with demographic, psychographic, and behavioral details such as the following:
A customer profile provides you with a deeper understanding of who your customers are, what they want, and how they behave. Such information informs and guides your content writing process and makes your brand more relevant and empathetic to your customers.
Once you’ve got their details, you need to identify their “itch that needs to be scratched.”
To discover your customers’ biggest problems, consider the following:
Now that you know what keeps your customers up at night, you need to provide them with the “medicine” for their pain.
If you are an expert in the business (which I’m sure many of you are), all you need to do is to write down the steps to solving the problem. If you aren’t, you can use search engines to find what experts are already sharing, and curate the best available strategies into a coherent piece of content.
The more precise your solution is, the better its chances of being noticed and valued by your customer. Here are three examples of topics for a business that targets restaurants:
Notice how the best title is both specific (Facebook) and includes important keywords (boost local traffic).
Depending on which stage of your customer’s buying journey you wish to target, you may consider different forms of content to wrap your solution around. This is also determined by your available time, talents and resources.
Some common examples of content formats include the following:
Also known as the CTA, your Call-To-Action refers to the specific next step that you want your reader to take. The best forms of CTAs are matched to your audience’s readiness to act and the type of content that you provide.
Here is an example of an appropriate and inappropriate CTA for a specific content type:
Now that you’ve got your content masterpiece, you need to consider two important questions:
For the first, go back to your customer profile and match your channel to your customer preferences. I normally encourage my clients to use their website as their “content home” – it is usually easier to convert your customers on a landing page on your website.
Once your content is published, you should share it as widely as possible. I would share it on all my social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google Plus – plus send out an email newsletter to my blog subscribers using MailChimp.
For important pieces, you may wish to invest a small sum to boost your content on Facebook, LinkedIn, or content syndication networks like Outbrain. Doing so helps you to extend your reach beyond your own networks.
Once you’ve sent your content out to the world, you’ll need to adopt the three M’s:
Producing effective content that offers payback takes time and patience. It is a skill that requires daily and weekly practice.
By adopting these seven steps, you can shorten your learning curve and be more effective and targeted at creating content that builds your brand, generate leads, and increases sales.
Walter Lim is a digital marketer, brand storyteller, trainer, and consultant. Director of Cooler Insights – a boutique content marketing agency – he loves to help businesses create, nurture and grow winning brands through storytelling, social media, and PR. Connect with Walter on LinkedIn or visit his website.
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