Well, it’s not a fad.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by advertising messages, it’s something you should be doing if you want to have any hope of getting new clients and having a successful business.
Here is the skinny on content marketing…
Telling people what you sell and why its so great will not get people to buy from you. You might even tell them why your service is better than others. But, you’re still just telling them about what you sell.
That’s the traditional method of marketing: explain your service and the great features of your service, and describe how it will benefit them. Maybe you throw in a special offer or a discount.
Prospective clients MIGHT pay attention to this kind of marketing IF they happen to be in the market for what you’re selling. And IF they happen to run across your advertising at the time they happen to need it.
But, what are the chances of that?
And, what if some Joe Schmoe next door who is selling the same thing catches their attention by offering a better discount or incentive?
Consumers don’t owe you their loyalty just because you’re selling good stuff.
Loyalty (and trust) are things that you have to earn.
How do you do earn the trust and loyalty of your prospects?
By changing your marketing message from features/benefits/buy-now to relevant, useful, educational, entertaining information that will engage your prospect.
And what do we call relevant, useful, educational, entertaining information that engages your prospect?
You got it…content marketing!
I also like to call it “wooing” your prospects. By engaging them in conversation that is fun or useful, you are gaining their trust, increasing your credibility and your likeability as a person.
People like to do business with people they know and trust. And content marketing, when done right, is the perfect way to accomplish this.
Once you have their attention (and their trust) then, voila, you can now begin making sales offers and convert them into money, er…I mean clients.
If you’ve agreed with me so far about why you need to be doing content marketing, you might now be wondering how to start. Or what to write about. Or how to distribute the content.
It’s not as hard as you think. Here are some ideas to get you thinking…
How to start:
Start with a list of topics you can write a short article about. For example, if you’re a personal injury attorney, some of your topics can be
- The biggest mistake a car accident victim makes
- How to find the best lawyer for your accident
- Why settling your case is not always the best option
- How to talk to the insurance company after an accident
You can also write about local or national news that relates to your area of expertise. For example, if a lawyer recently got in some kind of ethics trouble, give an opinion on it.
The goal is to show that you are experienced and know what you’re talking about. You also want to show your personality through your writing so people connect with you on a more personal/emotional level.
That means don’t be afraid to be edgy, funny, or opinionated. Don’t be afraid of how people will react. It is better to authentic than to be boring. You don’t need to bludgeon people with your authenticity, but don’t make your content vanilla either just to please everyone.
How to distribute (aka your media):
With all the amazing technology we have these days, distributing content is the least of your problems. Here are some ways to get your message out:
- Print newsletter
- Facebook and other social media (this is just fabulous for getting content out)
- YouTube (you have to convert your content to a short video)
- Direct mail (yes, this still works and is highly effective when done right)
- Print Advertising
Each of these has it’s own strategy and method on how to do it effectively.
So if you already have content, then start promoting your content using whatever media you are able to do now.
If you don’t have content, start by writing one or two short articles and blasting them out.
How to convert the prospect:
Sometimes your content marketing is just for engagement and fun. For example, you can run a contest for best holiday recipe, or ask people to like your page, or reply with their favorite books. You would then pick random winners and award a prize.
But, most of the time, you should be making some kind of offer. The offer could be to sign up for a consultation with you, buy an information product that you’ve created, request a free book or report, or give you a referral.
If you’re selling products, you would offer those products for them to buy.
Remember, the content should be relevant to the offer.
For example, if your content is about the biggest mistake people makes in selecting [the service provider for the services you provide], you could offer a special guide that tells what to consider when making that decision. Or you can make a sales offer for your services.
The funny thing about attorneys and accountants and other service professionals:
If you are an attorney or accountant or a company that provides services and not goods, you have the extra challenge of being at the right place at the right time.
In other words, no one wakes up and decides they need an attorney today, or a financial planner today, or a consultant today.
But, when they do suddenly need an attorney when they get in an accident that day, who are they going to call?
When they’re ready to pull the trigger on engaging an advisor, who are they going to call?
For professional services, people often “mull” things over before they commit.
They may not be ready to buy now, but they will be ready one day, either by changes in circumstances, financial situation, or simply their comfort level in moving forward.
When you do consistent content marketing, you are staying in front of them and developing a relationship with them.
When that “one day” comes, who do you think they’ll call first?
If you’ve done your job of giving them relevant, useful, educational, entertaining information, then you will be the natural choice.
Not just that, but you will be the natural choice when their friends or family need a trusted referral.
It’s almost magical how it works.
At Zine, we specialize in helping your business achieve positive results with your marketing, without the blood, sweat, and tears that normally accompany running a successful business.
Contact us to schedule a 30-minute marketing assets analysis, and get a second set of eyes on the marketing you’re doing for your business.
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