Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

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TrentCaricature

content marketing strategy

This episode touches on some key elements of starting a content marketing strategy and why it’s important to take the time to set up your strategy before starting your content marketing. I’ve built Bright Ideas on content marketing, and I believe you can have success with content marketing as well – assuming you have the right strategy. Take a quick listen to this episode where I discuss:

  • Why Content Marketing is Becoming so Important
  • Your Sales Funnel and How Content Helps
  • Finding Influencers
  • Defining Your Target Market
  • Supporting a Niche or Specialized Service

 For more episodes from myself and other accomplished business professionals, subscribe now and don’t miss out on future shows.

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business. It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

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Transcript

Hey there, Bright Idea hunters!

Welcome back to episode number 114 of the BrightIdeas podcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid and this the podcast where we feature interviews with the entrepreneurs behind some of today’s fastest growing companies, if you’re looking for proven tactics and strategies to help you start a new business or to grow an existing one, you are in the right place.

Now, I just said that this is the podcast where we do interviews and guess what; I’m not going to do an interview in this particular episode. That’s right! I’m branching out and I’m going to start doing some monologue podcasts. The reason for that is that I want to increase a frequency of the episodes that I do in the ITunes store and I want to be able to make myself available to help you guys in small bite size chunks so these episodes that I do as monologues are going to be lot shorter and they’re going to be direct and straight to the point, so with that said lets jump into what we are going to talk about in this one. On this episode we’re going to talk about beginner’s guide to creating an effective content marketing strategy. Now I’m actually kind of cheating in this first episode in that, I already recorded the bulk of this episode as a video and I have decided to repurpose that particular video because there’s nothing on the video that you actually need to see to get the point of what I am explaining. So why do you want to listen to this episode?

If you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place, I can promise — boy oh boy I’m speaking from personal experience — success will take forever if you get it at all! In this episode you were going to learn from some of the many, and I want to emphasize, many mistakes that I made very early in my content marketing career.  when I really didn’t have a clue of what I was doing, and as a result of all those make mistakes, I’ve developed a proven plan that I use and that many of the people I’ve interviewed in the past have used — that’s what I learn it from, so really if content marketing is your thing, and boy oh boy it really should be cause it is the way to get business in this day and age, you really going to dig this episode. So that’s it lets jump right into it.

Everybody this is Trent here from BrightIdeas and in this video, I want to share with you something that I go through with client after client after client at the beginning of our engagements, and that is how to get started with a successful inbound marketing campaign. So before we dive into the tactics, I want to talk a little bit about the concept. So the concept is you need to create a “funnel”, for a lack of a better term, of content that’s going to help people to discover you and then go all the way through to becoming a customer. The top of the funnel is where you are probably going to be, or you should be, creating the most content and this is in the area where a lot of people who are new to content marketing make big mistakes.

They start talking about their stuff, their products, and their services. The problem with that is that early on in the buying process people don’t care about you, they care about themselves, and the problems that they are trying to solve. In the order to be successful to attracting interest into the top of your funnel you need to not interrupt people from what their interested in, you need to become what they are interested in and you need to then create content which helps them to solve the problems that they have. We are going to talk about the specific of how to do that in a minute. In the middle of your funnel, this is where you want to start dealing with what I call “providing answers to pre sales questions”.

As you can imagined if you a sales force a lot of times before people buy something, they are asking “what about this? What about that? What about the other thing? How to do this? How to do that?” In the middle of your funnel you want to create content that addresses those issues, because if you do, you will actually move people a lot further along in the buying process and therefore make closing a sale a whole lot easier, without having any of the one-on-one interaction that you would have to have if you didn’t have this content in the middle of your funnel. And then at the bottom of your funnel that is where you tell him to buy, or is they said in Jerry Maguire that’s where you say, “Show Me The Money!!”

Those are pieces of content which specifically instruct people to go here, do this, buy this, buy that, click here to buy, put it in your cart… content which helps people to do that, it’s going to be the smallest the money your content, but it is going to be the content that brings the money in. Now, if you sell information products and software, this type of content can actually close the sale for you. If you sell something that requires someone to interact with you because it’s a consulting sale for example, this type of content is not necessarily going to close the sale, but it might close the appointment where you then get to have the sales conversation as we often do in our own business in our consulting division. With that concept said, let’s dive into –before I do that by the way, all of these stuff is explained in a lot more detail on a book that I wrote of the digital marketing handbook and you can get that brightideas.co/book.

Alright, one of the things, the most important thing for you to do to make all of the funnel stuff happen is that you need to start up with researching and the defining a target market. Very, very often when I am in discussions with consulting clients and I say to them, “who is your target market?” and they say “well small business”, “I sell marketing services for example, and I want to sell to small business.” The problem with that is that it’s far too broad and it’s not specialized enough. So you really do need to pick a niche and specialize and the way you do that if you have customers you need to get on the phone with your customers and you need to ask them questions to gain a really deep understanding of why exactly did they choose you? How they find you? What they like most about working with you? What are areas that you could improve?

You really want to get inside the head of your customer and figure out, especially when they were in this top of the funnel phase, kind of what were they interested in? What problem were they trying to solve? Now if you don’t have any customers yet, you can still do this and it is a crafty way to do it, use something like LinkedIn for example, great for connecting with other business people, and say “listen I am doing a survey because I want to understand how the fastest growing companies are using digital marketing to achieve their results. If you help me by answering questions, we will be only in the phone for about 10 minutes, I will make sure that you will get a free advance copy of the survey so that you can gain and understanding of what the fast growing companies are doing different than the companies that are not growing so fast.” Trust me when I say, people will be fairly willing to help you because they are very interested in seeing the results of the survey.

We are going to use those conversations to gain a much deeper understanding, you want to understand their problems, their needs, their wants and their desires, and you also want to understand the language that they used to describe these things. Imagine that you were sitting at the conference room with the management team, they were doing their strategy session they are talking about their problems, what words are they using? What terminology? What phrases? You really need to understand this stuff, because you’re going to use it later on your blog post titles and also in your free report titles, the headlines on your sales pages and opt-in pages, you really have to make sure that you use their language. The other thing that you going to gain deep understanding of, is their media consumption profile. What is that? It is all the sites that they go to a regular basis, the magazines that they read on a regular basis.

The discussion groups, the LinkedIn groups, the Facebook groups, and where did they hang out online? Who did they follow? Who did they think is in an influencer within their niche? The reason that this is so important for you to know is later on when you start to promote your content, you need to know who these people are so that you could go build relationships with them and a very easy way to build those relationships is when you’re creating your content basically you just suck up to them. For example, let say that there’s a guy named Bob and Bob is really influential in the same niche that you want to get traction in. You are going to write an education blog post covering whatever.

In that post you are going to make sure that you make Bob look really good, then once the post is live on your site, you are going to tweet or email to say, “Hey Bob, I made you to look really good on my blog post.” You’re not going to use exactly those words, but that’s mostly what you need to say. Bob is going to come along and read your post, he is going to think “wow, and he made me look really smart I better tell my followers about this.” The more that you make other people, who are already influencers in your niche, look smart, the faster you will get traffic to your blog and followers. I cover a whole lot more about on how to promote your content in the book that was mentioned earlier. Once you’ve gone through step number 1, step number 2 is you want to find your buyer personas, what is it persona? Well in every sale there are people who are influencers, generally they are tasked with doing the research because their boss asked them, and they have some kind of specialized skill or knowledge that the decision maker doesn’t necessarily have. You get influencers and then you get decision makers. Now when you are creating your content, because you know that the influencers are probably the ones doing the research early on, you need to make sure that you create a lot of content for those influencers, but if you don’t know who they are, if you don’t know the problems that they have the things they are interested in, it’s going to be harder to create relevant content.

Then you need to speak to these people, in maybe a different way than you need to speak to the decision makers and you are going to get it figured out when you’re having those one on one conversations. That is why, I don’t recommend that you use surveys to do these research because the meat, the stuff  that you really after is in those live conversations that you want to have on the phone. Step number 3, is to develop a unique selling proposition, which is what USP stands for, and the important word in that sentence is unique. Earlier in this video I talk about the importance of specialization. The reason that specialization is so incredibly important is that you need to be unique. Let us go back and say that I’m trying sell services to the legal profession and I put up my website, “I serve lawyers.” Well it is really hard to be unique if I say “I serve lawyers.”

But within the legal profession there are sub-niches, there are lawyers that focus on DUI, other lawyers focus on estate planning, there are lawyers that focus on injury and there are lawyers who focused on back injury and then there lawyer who focus on other… you’re getting the idea right? There are niches within niches. The more specialized that you become two wonderful things happen: the more unique you become, you have less competition. And because you’re so relevant to the niche you’re going after, you’re so specialized you can charge much higher prices than if you’re a generalist because your buyers perception of value goes up a whole bunch. Make sure that you specialize and make sure that your website conveys that point. Now, you don’t have to specialize in just one niche, but you should start off with just one niche until you get meaningful traction in that niche and chances are, given this you can run a business globally as I do from our home here in Boise, one nice can still have a lot of different customers within it. Second part of step 3 is you’re going to develop content. Two types of content, you need to have, there are lot types of content but in this video there are two types of content, Lead Magnets and Blog Posts.

The lead magnet is the thing that you’re going to offer to people when they come to your site to give you their email address. That is incredibly important because if you don’t ever capture the lead, it is impossible to further nurture those leads. Make sure that you send them the most relevant content. How do you determine what the most relevant content is? You’re going to collect data and I have talked a lot about is in my book, there’s two type of data, internal data and external data. It’s outside the scope of this video but it’s very, very important if you want more info get the book. But, the reason it is so important is that you need to make sure that you send the right stuff to the right people. Because if you send the wrong stuff to the wrong people, relevance goes down, also the thing that goes down is the number of people that open your email cause it won’t be is interesting. Even worse is the number of people that unsubscribe from your list is going to go up. You don’t want to be sending the wrong information to the wrong people. You need to have relevance as high as you can, and so making sure that you understand who your buyers are, understand who your personas are, is going to help you a whole bunch with relevance, but also, you need to collect the data about those people to make it as relevant as possible.

If you don’t have a lead magnet, no one going to give you their email addresses, they don’t ever end up in a file, you can’t collect any data. They are just a random visitor to your website, they may never return again and you don’t want that to happen. Once you have done this, now you can get ready to get going with content marketing, you are ready to start creating content that aligns with the various places in this funnel, you’re ready to create an editorial calendar; you’re ready to create a list of things to blog about. There is a lot of different ways you can create content, there’s a lot of different types of content that you can create, posts, videos like this one, podcast, different types of post, and all of that stuff I cover in detail in my book the digital marketing handbook. It’s what I used to build my own business and I have a tribe now over 10,000 people, 10,000 plus visitors a month at the time I’m recording this video in December of 2013. Maybe you are watching this a year later in the numbers, more likely is gone up a whole bunch.

If you want that info in detail, go ahead and grab a copy of my book. Now if you are not watching this on my website, if you’re watching it on YouTube or some other place and you want more free information, come over to brightideas.co, become a subscriber. When you do, you going to get access to my four part video series on how to maximize conversions, and it is totally free.

All you have to do is give me your name and your email. I  practice what I preach, I have got a lead magnet and I want to capture leads, I want the segment and want to nurture, but most of all I want to help you become more successful. So, thank you for tuning in this video. I’ve got a lots of other videos here on my YouTube channel, make sure you become a subscriber and if you really like this video, do me a quick favor, share it on twitter, LinkedIn, your Facebook or Google+, okay? Share it on all of them.

Thank you so much will see you on another video. Take care.

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  • Capture Comms

    Hi Trent, loved your podcast. Explains the principles of content marketing beautifully and simply. As a very, very new start-up myself, would you recommend still finding a niche rather than going after SMEs for example? I don’t want to isolate myself while still being so ‘new’, but also want to be unique. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • I agree that focusing too narrow too soon is risky. With my agency, I’m currently running a test using direct mail to 100 suspects across a few niches. The goal of the test, aside from landing clients and generating cash flow, is to give me insight into which of the niches I’m testing hold more opportunity.

      • Capture Comms

        Thanks for the reply Trent!