The creation and distribution of content has become such a significant aspect of effective marketing that it requires a high place in the strategy conversation in most every business.
Some might go as far as to suggest content marketing has become the most effective way to build a business.
The word content is confusing enough as it’s bantered around these days, but it’s also difficult for many small business owners to come up with a big picture view of the role content plays in the acquisition of clients.
Strategically, the word content must mean more than a blog post or a blank sheet of paper each day. You must begin to think of your content as a total body of work that is being built to serve your business over time.
You must understand and create content for the most important keyword phrases for your industry, the essential themes of education in your business, and your company’s core points of differentiation.
You must also think in terms of your content as a tool that moves prospects from awareness to conversion and in this effort there are at least five types of content that you must address. Each type must be considered as part of your overall content strategy.
I’ve listed each below and I also discuss them in the audio track that accompanies this post.
Content that builds trust – One of the first jobs of your content is to bridge the gap from awareness to trust building. Your SEO efforts actually marry with this type of content to make sure you are both found and found in abundance.
- How to content – specific advice or tips and tricks
- Reviews – customer reviews on sites like Yelp and Google Places
- Testimonials – endorsements from happy customers
- Articles – articles you’ve written or that mention your firm in outside publications
Content that educates – Once you create awareness and trust a prospect will be hungry to find out much more about your unique approach, your solution, your story and your organization.
- White papers – not boring, dry technical stuff, your best writing tying a bigger topic together
- Newsletter – Weekly or monthly education that nurtures their interest
- Seminars – in person or online, these allow prospects to learn as well as engage
- FAQs – some folks just need the answers to their questions and this format serves well
- Survey data – results from surveys can be very compelling as a way to let prospects know you understand them
Customer generated content – Getting your customers involved in the production of content builds loyalty and community, creates proof of results and gives you another avenue for content creation.
- Automatic referrals and reviews – create ways to move happy customers to a referral and review process
- Testimonials – automate this process by providing online audio and video tools
- Video success stories – create events that bring customers together to tell their story and network
Other people’s content – one of the primary jobs of marketers these days is to provide some insight to the stream of information that our customers face. Filtering and aggregating content produced by others is not only a great service, it’s a great differentiator.
- Custom RSS feeds – create customer or industry specific feeds to share
- Republish, Share, RT – point to and share great content that being produced
- Curate – use tools like Storify to collect and republish customer newsletters
Content that converts – this last category is one that gets overlooked in the write for writing sake view of content. Ultimately, great content has the ability to call and convert prospects to the action of buying.
- In person events – live events are the absolute best way to use content to close
- Case studies – deep studies into the success of another client act as tangible proof in the buying decision
- ROI calculators – use content to help prospects understand the specific value of making a change
- Results – provide documented proof results in simple and easy to understand forms that address the common needs of most prospects.