What Is Content Marketing & How Does it Work?

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating, publishing, and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

If you’re like most marketers, you’ve asked yourself this question more than once. What is content marketing NOT? More chocolates in your monthly subscription box… more space in your newspaper… more ads and billboards on the side of the road. According to Ann Handley, CMO of marketing solutions firm MarketingProfs, “Content marketing is a strategy — not just a tactic. It’s not what we say, but what we spend time doing.”

The Importance of Being Organised

How on earth do the big, influential content creators stay on top of it all?

The secret is being organised. If you want to use content to gain exposure, build relationships, and sell your products and services, you’ll need to be organised too.

A Steady Stream of High Quality Content

The greatest challenge anyone creating content faces is that they have to create a great deal of content on an ongoing basis. Think of all of your different marketing channels – your blog, your YouTube channel, all of your social media accounts, your email list, and so on. You need unique content for each channel.

Think also of the time frame. You don’t have to create a month’s worth of content, but a stream that goes on for months or years, depending on your marketing plan. Of course, you can delegate or outsource, and tools can help. But if you’re organised, you can handle your content creation and publishing needs no matter the volume. 

Creating an Editorial Calendar

A content marketing strategy has many moving parts. The best way to organise these moving parts is to create an editorial calendar. Once your calendar is in place, you can simply open it each day and you’ll know what needs to be done.

Your editorial calendar should include each piece of content and when it needs to be published. It should also include each step along the way to creating the piece, such as planning, writing, image research, and editing. Actually, every single task related to your marketing plan should be on this schedule, including brainstorming sessions, reaching out to people who are involved, and monitoring your results.



Knowing Your Audience and Solving Their Problems

In order to produce content your audience loves, you have to know your audience well. You need to collect data about them and use this to create your content. This requires an organised system of gathering and analyzing data about your audience, and keeping in constant contact with them so you can learn more.

The most effective content is that which offers a viable unique solution to these problems. Your system needs to be designed to pay close attention to these needs and challenges. 

Seeing the Big Picture

All of these moving parts, your editorial calendar, and data collection from your market should be aligned with the “big picture,” your long-term business goals. The first step in getting organised is to review and/or clarify your major goals for the next year or few years. This allows you to see the big picture, which makes it easier to understand how your content fits in. 

Each piece of content has its own mini-goal within the big picture. Some pieces are for attracting people to your marketing. Some are geared towards building relationships or generating leads. There could also be pieces that are designed to drive sales directly. 

The wonderful thing about content marketing is that it costs very little to do. It just takes the time necessary to build an organised, streamlined system for producing and publishing content. 

The other great way you can create content is to make it revolve around your signature system of signature methodology. This tends to be the main method you use to help your clients get revolved. For example my Digital S.I.M.A.C Method has 12 key modules under 3 key sections

Strategy: Niche / Signature System / Business / Networking

Implementation: Brand / Sales Funnels / Websites / Live events

Marketing: Content / Traffic/ Tracking / Media

As you can see using these I can have clear topics and subtopics around any of those subjects. So content planning becomes easier. (If of interest you can learn more on how to create a signature system or methodology here)

Did You Know These Things About Content Marketing?

  • Writing content is only half the job. The other half is promoting your content. You’ll do best when you invest as much time promoting your content as you do writing it.
  • Content that is at least 2,000 words tends to rank a good deal higher on Google than content that is less than 2,000 words.
  • Depending on the niche, infographics will often produce a better return on investment than any other form of content.
  • Content marketing, once started, must be continued to see results. If you aren’t consistent with your content, traffic will drop and you’ll lose ground.
  • Write blogposts as though you’re talking to your friends – not as though you’re trying to impress a teacher or professor.
  • Time-based or news-related content can get you some quick traffic. But evergreen content that continues to be relevant for months and years produces the best long-term results.
  • Regardless of your niche, it’s a great idea to consistently guest post on other blogs to build links and traffic.
  • You should link out to other sites from within your content – even if it’s your competitor’s site. Your goal is to benefit the reader. Plus this will help other sites to notice you, share your content and potentially link back.

5 Keys to Writing Content That Makes People Want To Read It

How would you like every piece of content you create to be your sales agent? Imagine if every article, post or video you created led to more subscribers and more sales… how awesome would that be?

Here are 5 keys to writing content that makes people want to read it, use it and buy from it.

1: Create Numbered Headlines that Make People Want to Consume Your Content

The first step to writing profitable content is to make sure it gets read by your audience. This means you need a headline that grabs attention and makes people want to read it right away. 

There are two nearly surefire ways to get people to stop scanning and start reading, and the first one is to use a number in your headline. I’ve found the numbers that typically do best are 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10. Odd numbers tend to do better than even numbers, and once you get past 10 you’re signaling that your article or video might take too long to consume.

“The #1 Way to Get Rich”

“The Fastest 3 Methods for Attracting Women”

“5 Mistakes You MUST Avoid When Buying Your Next Car”

“The Top 10 Cringeworthy Dating Profiles on Match.com”

2: Use Your Headline to Ask Your Reader a Question. 

In addition to or instead of using a number in your headline, ask a question. Questions bypass skepticism and get the reader to engage with your topic.

“Why Does Your Neighbor Secretly Earn 10X Your Salary?”

“Do You Know the Top 3 Methods Internet Millionaires Use to Drive Targeted Traffic?”

“Do You Make This Embarrassing Mistake in Bed?”

You can even place a question mark at the end of any non-question headline and it will still (almost always) work.

“The #1 Way to Get Rich?”

Or you can change it slightly like this…

“Is This the #1 Way to Get Rich?”

Both methods work.

3: Use Power Words and Phrases in Your Headlines

You can find lists of headline power words online. Often times I’ll use these lists to help myself generate headline ideas, and I always try to incorporate at least one of these words into my headlines.

Here are my current favorite headline power words and phrases: 

  • advanced tips 
  • advice 
  • amazing
  • badass
  • barriers 
  • benefits
  • best rules
  • bullshit
  • can we guess
  • clever
  • dangerous
  • errors
  • essential
  • exclusive
  • extreme
  • fast
  • finally
  • free
  • goals 
  • guaranteed
  • guidelines
  • how to
  • if
  • killer
  • latest
  • most
  • moves
  • myths
  • never
  • new 
  • new
  • proven
  • proven
  • rock-solid
  • secret
  • sexy
  • shocking
  • strange
  • stunning
  • these
  • things learned
  • this
  • this is how
  • this is what
  • this is why
  • tips
  • truth
  • ultimate
  • universal laws
  • warning
  • weird
  • what, which, why and when
  • will make you
  • worst
  • X reasons why
  • X things you
  • yes
  • you and your

4: Give Immediately Actionable Information 

Now that you’ve got a great headline that’s going to get your post read, the next step is to give at least one immediately usable piece of information inside your content. 

This should be something valuable that can make a real difference in the life of the reader. It should also be immediately actionable, meaning they can either do it or at least get started on it right away. 

Bonus: Because they can use it right away to simplify or improve their lives in some way, they are more likely to use it, benefit from it and come back to you for more. 

And even if they don’t immediately implement it, just knowing that they can use it will have them wanting more.

5: Create Magnetic Calls to Action that Compel Your Customers to Buy

Decide what you want your reader to do… sign up for your emails? Visit your blog? Go to your sales page?

Here’s how to make it happen:

First, make sure your content flows right into call to action. The call to action should appear to be the obvious next step in the content itself. 

“I’m going to show you 5 ways to drive traffic. Here’s #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5. This is the just the start because I actually teach 25 ways, not just 5. To get the other 20 as well as the step by step methods I use on the 5 above, I invite you to go here to learn more about our traffic driving membership.”

Second, notice in the above example that you’re not beating them over the head with, “BUY NOW LIMITED COPIES EXPIRES AT MIDNIGHT.” That sort of language does not feel very good and makes a lot of people cringe and run away. Instead, by extending them an invitation you are making them feel honored and welcomed, not to mention the fact that you’re not burning bridges, either. They will still seek you out in the future because they know you don’t shout at them to BUY BUY BUY.

Third, all of your content should be branded with your name and your big credential. For example, “Brought to you by Joe Smith, author of the best seller “Unstoppable Marketing” and host of the Unstoppable Marketing Podcast.

This connects you with the great content you just presented, as well as reminding them that the great results they get from implementing what you teach can be multiplied when they purchase your products and continue to consume your content. 

To review: 

  • Grab your audience with headlines that pull them in
  • Give them actionable content they can put to use immediately
  • Tailor the call to action to fit with the content so that it flows while issuing an invitation and branding yourself, too.

These techniques might feel awkward at first, but I guarantee if you make these your go-to practice of content creation, then two things will happen:

You’ll find it’s easier to create content and…

The content you create will do a far better job at generating sales for you.

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