New Year, New Marketing Ideas?
This year in Scribbles, I have decided to focus each monthly issue on something seasonal, to help you with your marketing. For example, in July we’ll look at how to give your marketing a summer holiday, while in November we’ll see how to make your marketing go with a real bang and some fireworks!
So this month, because it’s January, the start of a new year, I’d like to talk about a ‘new’ marketing concept, which you can use to promote your business, but that I don’t actually think is that new! Read on to find out what I mean.
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Is 'Content Marketing' New?
A couple of years ago I started to notice more and more use of the term ‘Content Marketing’. Everyone was telling us that we should be using it to promote our businesses and that it was the next best thing that would change the way that marketing was done. I heard people say that the secret to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) was actually Content Marketing and that your marketing would fail if you used traditional marketing techniques, rather than switching to Content Marketing.
But is it really a new concept? And what exactly is Content Marketing?
While writing this issue of Scribbles, I discovered that there is actually an organisation in the US called the Content Marketing Institute. According to their website, “Content Marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behaviour. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy.”
So what they’re saying is that Content Marketing will help you attract clients to your business and that you can use it keep hold of those clients. You do this by giving them useful content that will encourage them to buy from you and to keep buying from you. Oh, and you should keep doing it on a regular basis, in line with your other marketing activity.
Let me share a trade secret with you. There is nothing new there!
Over 15 years ago, a new Marketing Consultancy was set up with the aim of helping small businesses to write good stuff about what they do. The Marketing company spent most of its time writing newsletters and articles that shared the expertise and knowledge of those small businesses, who always gave their material away for free. Sometimes they asked for an email address is return, but mostly it was free, to anyone who needed some advice. The Marketing Consultancy also helped small businesses to share their experiences through speaking at networking groups and running workshops that anyone could attend. As time moved on, social media was invented, which made it even easier for the Marketing Consultancy to help the small businesses to share their content and ideas, through blogs, tweets, LinkedIn articles and videos.
In the same way, the Marketing Consultancy shared a huge amount of advice and expertise by writing and talking about what they knew about marketing. They always gave away answers to anyone who asked nicely enough. Over time the company grew and developed a reputation for being generous in the amount of advice they would share (and for producing good content!)
So you see, Content Marketing is not a new concept. It’s been around for a long time; it’s just that it’s only recently been called Content Marketing and heralded as a great new marketing concept. It’s about building up relationships with prospective clients so that they learn to trust you, without selling them stuff they don’t need or want. In fact, get your ‘content marketing’ right and you won’t ever have to sell again!
How can you use Content Marketing?
Here are some ways in which you can share your knowledge, in order to find and keep new clients:
– some people think they’ve had their day, but I disagree. Share useful advice every month, rather than pushing sales onto your readers and they’ll keep reading and buying from you. (Scribbles has been published every month since 2001!)
– think about the problems that your clients and potential clients struggle with. Write the solutions into your blogs, showing that you really know what you’re talking about. Put your blogs and newsletters onto your website, because search engines love content and websites that are updated regularly.
How to Guides
– got more to say about a particular topic? Write a guide, booklet or ebook about it, which gives you the space to go into real detail and depth.
– if you’re writing content for newsletters and blogs, it’s really easy to share links to that information on platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also break down your long blog and newsletter content into a big series of tweets and LinkedIn updates.
– if you’ve written about it, you can talk about it to a video camera. Or, if you record a short 1-2 minute video about a topic, you can then create a blog post by transcribing your words.
Workshops and talks
– content marketing isn’t just the written or recorded word. Run seminars and give talks at networking groups where you just share advice, without selling. Record your talks and give away the videos through your website.
The great thing about all these marketing tools is that they work brilliantly together. Write a newsletter that showcases some of your best blogs; tweet about your newsletters and videos; use videos to attract people to your workshops; give away a free How to Guide to anyone who subscribes to your newsletter. Spend a bit of time thinking about what help your clients and prospects need, that you can give; then share that advice with them and work out a way of doing a bit every week and every month. And hey presto – you will have mastered Content Marketing along with the professionals!
Next month, in February, the month of Valentine’s Day, we’ll look at how important it is to love your clients and how this will help you promote to your business.
Content is Queen
Here are a few blogs that will tell you more about content and writing and talking and how you can use it all in your marketing.
Content is Queen
– why she is so important!
How to share you content through SlideShare
And just to prove that we’ve been writing about it for a while, this one is from 2012