Let’s get this out of the way right from the start. Content Marketing Works.
It’s the most effective form of marketing currently available … bar none.
The last time I stood up in a room of marketers and said that someone called BS. I like nothing more than a good discussion so I asked the guy (who shall remain nameless!) what was more effective.
His reply was Facebook ads.
Which on further questioning turned out to be him creating an ad and sending the traffic to his content.
Sometimes I do despair.
Content isn’t King or Queen, it’s everything in the whole damn kingdom.
You may well convert some traffic to sales by sending people to a sales page directly. However, you’ll multiply that significantly if you first send them to content that educates them as to why they should buy from you or listen to what you are teaching.
Content is the top of your funnel. In most cases, it’s the first opportunity you have to introduce yourself to your reader.
Get it right and you may convert that reader into someone who reads multiple posts, becomes a subscriber or even a buyer.
Get it wrong and you’ll likely never see that person again.
Unfortunately most content marketers seem to forget that content marketing is 2 words: content and marketing. You need to get both parts right to be successful.
I made the mistake for many years of just writing blog posts that I thought would resonate with my readers. I would do some keyword research, find a keyword to focus on and then just write content around that.
This was the limit of my search engine optimization, it sucked and ultimately didn’t bring in new readers.
Success came when I created a plan that focussed on my target audience. I created an editorial calendar and planned content around what my readers would want, not around what Google would want.
Creating content that resonates with your audience is only half the job. You then need to ensure that the right people get to see it. That’s where the marketing side of the equation comes in.
Get A Content Marketing Plan
The second aspect of great content marketing is marketing! You know, that bit that most bloggers forget about.
The first thing you should do when you have posted your latest blog post is to distribute it via social media. At a minimum, I would recommend Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Next, inform anyone you’ve mentioned that they have been featured in your post. Sharing other people's content is a great way to network and eventually build your audience. Mentioning someone in a tweet or Facebook post shows you value their content, and might in turn entice them to read and share yours.
Finally, do some outreach marketing and inform relevant blog owners that you have new content that they may be interested in. There is no need to request links, if your content is good enough it will get tweets and links of its own accord.
Great Examples of Content Marketing
Below I've included 6 examples of content marketing done right. Each has a brief summary of why I think their content marketing works and what you can learn from it. I've deliberately looked at different niches so you can see how great content works in a variety of markets.
This is a superb example of the type of in-depth content that you should create. Jon's content has one main job: to get subscribers for his Power Hitters Club. It achieves that by giving away a whole load of valuable information. The post contains everything you need to know to set up your own evergreen campaign. Nothing is held back.
By laying it all out, Jon is firmly putting himself out there as the go-to expert on evergreen Facebook campaigns.
Create great quality content and don't be afraid of giving too much useable content in your posts. This will result in shares and drive more traffic to your blog which in turn will generate subscribers and customers.
Each piece of content should have 1 job to do, in this case, it's to get people to sign up to Jon's PHC. He could easily have used similar content to get subscribers by using a content upgrade.
[bctt tweet=”One piece of content one job. #contentmarketing” username=”m_j_thompson”]
Mariah Coz – Femtrepreneur
What was I saying about one post 1 job?
This post by Mariah Coz is a superb example of that. The post went out shortly before a product launch and was designed to dispel any objections potential buyers might have.
I’ve seen similar styles of email successfully used in many email campaigns to address objections that people may have before they even get to raise them.
Mariah successfully dispels objections in this post about 12 myths that surround creating and launching courses.
Mariah’s target demographic are some of the biggest users of Pinterest. Apart from one content upgrade that is perfectly aligned with her course and article, the only thing to distract a reader is a great big “pinable” image in the middle of the post along with an invite to pin.
That’s bordering on genius!
You can use a similar method in your own content when promoting your own products or affiliate products.
Notice how the bulk of the post is taken up with objections people might have and then it provides the solution.
- I don’t like being in front of the camera – create powerpoint slides.
- I don’t have a big list – neither did these people and they earned $X, $Y and $Z.
- I see very few of these myth style posts and they are incredibly powerful. Use them!
I actually did think twice about including this as there are great things in this post and then one big elephant in the room!
Let’s look at the positives first as they vastly outweigh the negatives.
Just like the Jon Loomer post, the content on this is superb. It’s in-depth and has a very strong educational factor.
It really could replace some of the courses I’ve seen sold over the years. Just looking at the number of shares, you can see how well it was received.
Terry (the author) has used his expertise to create a step by step guide. Additional depth is given by content upgrades that give a more detailed look at the key aspects of this method of Facebook advertising.
I really like the idea of 3 different content upgrades. You could use this method to segment your readers by ability level.
So what didn’t I like?
I found the page confusing. As I said, I liked the 3 content upgrades but there was so much going on in the sidebar my eyes were getting drawn away from the content.
There were several free guides and courses advertised in the sidebar. Give people too many choices and they won’t make any choices. [bctt tweet=”Give people too many choices and they won’t make any choices. #contentmarketing” username=”m_j_thompson”]
Once again we can see that high-quality content is the key to getting shares and subscribers. However, do be careful not to present the reader with too many options.
I think this content demonstrates how you need to look at your blog impassionately and remove as many distractions as possible.
I can’t deny how successful Boom! Social is, I just wonder if they could be even more successful by creating a single path for each post that their readers can pursue.
So many food bloggers get recipe posts wrong, Lindsay at Pinch of Yum isn’t one of them. This site should be the gold standard that all food blogs are judged by.
There are several elements that make this a great example of content marketing.
First is the depth of the content. How many blogs have you seen that just create a quick photo with an iPhone, have an introduction paragraph and then list the ingredients?
This post, in line with most of the others on the site, has over 1700 words. No coincidence then that in March they had over 1 million visitors from organic traffic!
In-depth content = organic rankings = organic traffic
Secondly, we have the high quality photographs on the site. Sumptuous!
A great blog means nothing if it’s not going to generate you an income. Most food blogs rely on AdSense for income, PoY does things differently.
In addition to adverts in the sidebar, they have their own courses and an opt-in form.
The clever thing is that the courses are aimed at people who want to become food bloggers and not at people who want to cook.
A great example of niching down and teaching what you are good at.
Unlike the Boom! Social example above, these are not distracting and the blog has a lot of whitespace and uses it well.
Steve Kamb– Nerd Fitness
I am a nerd and I love Nerd Fitness. It demonstrates the power of finding a niche market and building your brand around that market.
Nerd Fitness does that better than any other blog I know. Steve, the owner of Nerd Fitness, never loses sight of his target market. From the blog title, graphics, headlines, content, content upgrades to the products, every post contains references that the audience will recognize. Quotes from films, from games and comics all scream, “I am one of you.” If you love gaming and superheros and want to get fit, why wouldn't you take the Nerd Fitness route?
The take away from Nerd Fitness is one of the most important in this post.
Know your target market, brand yourself in an appealing way and never lose sight of who they are. Let them know you are one of them, use references that they know and language that they understand.
Be your audience.
There is so much to like about this blog. The first thing that stands out is the content that covers current trending events. Right before Coachella started (back in April), they posted two Coachella-related style posts: What's Your Coachella Style & What to Wear to a Music Festival – 11 Essential Coachella Style Tips. Just like Pinch of Yum, the content is in depth and the photography is excellent.
The thing to notice about this blog is that the owner converts her most popular content into an ebook which she then uses as a lead magnet.
The article 21 ways to wear boots becomes her free downloadable guide: 31 stylish ways to wear boots.
Use your best content as a basis for you content upgrades and giveaways. Don't reinvent the wheel.
When something works, recycle it in as many places as you can. Transform successful blog posts into infographics you can Pin, images you can tweet and freebies for your fans. With a few simple tweaks you can capitalize on the content you've already created to expand your reach.
I'd love to hear your content marketing strategies and answer any questions you may have in the comments below. If you're interested in learning to create content that converts, check out my FREE e-course and share with anyone you think could benefit.
Come and Join The Free Lifestyle Marketer Facebook Group.