If you’ve been thinking about starting a lifestyle business then I’m sure you’ve heard the term content marketing.
It’s been a buzzword for a few years now. But a lot of people still don’t know what it is and how powerful it can be for your business.
Maybe you fall into this category too?
I use content marketing here on this blog and whenever I guest post. It is the main driver of my business and helps me attract new clients every day.
Let’s take a closer look at what content marketing is and how you can use it too.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the creation of free, valuable information that helps people solve a problem. Its aim is to educate, build trust and ultimately sell a specific service or products.
You see, if you want to build a thriving lifestyle business then the type of content you create and share has to be related to what you want to sell.
Otherwise you will never be able to follow your passion and create the kind of freedom you desire.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got any products or services to offer right now. You just need to have your end goal in mind before you implement your content marketing strategy.
I see a lot of people get this part wrong.
They set up their website and start blogging without a game plan. Their content might be entertaining, it might even be useful but it isn’t intentional.
Done right, content marketing is a very effective way to attract prospects and convert them into buyers. It can also help establish you as a thought leader. You could say it’s a “soft sell” approach because it doesn’t rely on sleazy or pushy sales tactics.
Different Ways To Create Content
Your content doesn’t have to be in written form as I currently do here at EpreneurTV.
If you don’t like writing then you can produce short educational videos like the brilliant Marie Forleo who provides business and life coaching for women.
Video content marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. It’s going to be huge in 2014 so is well worth considering.
But if you prefer to speak and not be seen, then you could set up a podcast show like EntreprenurOnFire. In this example, John Dumas interviews a new entrepreneur each day but you could do it weekly.
Or you can combine all three modalities – written, video and audio – like Michael Hyatt does.
I really like this combined approach and plan on introducing audio and video posts to my own content marketing plan this year.
The key thing is to get good at one format first, then introduce others as you get more confident.
Content Marketing As A Selling Tool
You’ve probably heard it many times – people hate to be sold to, but they love to buy.
Just think for a second about how you feel when someone tries to sell you something – do you get defensive and wary? Does it make you feel uncomfortable and pressured?
It’s the same for your prospects.
You see, people don’t want to be sold to constantly online. What they really, really want is information.
This information could be articles, videos, interviews, tips, advice and resources – anything that helps them solve a specific problem, such as how to lose weight after they’ve had a baby or how to change career at 40 or train their new labrador puppy.
If you can share your knowledge and help people move forward with their lives then you are educating people and building trust at the same time.
Gradually as they get to know you and like you, they may become curious enough to find out more about you and your solution.
That’s when they’re ready to do business with you.
Key Benefits Of Content Creation
Here’s a fantastic infographic by Contently outlining the main benefits of content marketing and why it should be core to your online strategy.
Here are three points that struck me the most. I’ve summarized them here.
#1. Positions You As An Expert
Everyone has knowledge and expertise that they can share with the world. Even if right now you don’t believe you have anything to offer, the truth is you do.
There are probably things that come easily or naturally to you that others want to learn. You don’t need to have degrees or diplomas, you just have to know more than the average person about that topic.
If you can package up this knowledge and share it via a blog or website then people will come to see you as a valuable resource or an expert in that niche.
#2. Increases Visibility And Traffic
The infographic tells us that company websites with blogs get 55% more visitors and 97% more inbound links or “backlinks”.
Without getting too technical, backlinks are links to your website from other websites.
The quantity and quality of your backlinks are very important for search engine optimization (SEO).
Backlinks act like “online votes” and influence how search engines rank your web pages in their results.
In other words, the more high quality, relevant backlinks you have, the greater your visibility.
Content marketing can help you build backlinks naturally (the best way!) because people like to share useful articles across the web but especially on social media.
In fact, content marketing is one of the top reasons why people follow others on social networks.
It’s estimated that around 23% of all online time is spent on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. This is where most people find and look for quality content as well as thought leaders to follow.
Imagine how much more visibility you could gain and how many visitors you could attract to your website if you had great shareable content?
#3. Builds Trust And Loyalty
I found the stats on customer loyalty particularly intriguing.
According to the infographic, 60% of customers feel more positive about a company after reading content on its site and 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a business via its articles than ads.
This means that not only can you use content marketing to help people but you can also give people an insight into the kind of person you are and showcase the values behind your business.
Remember, people do business with people and companies they like and trust. These days, most of us prefer to engage with real people not anonymous brands or big multinational corporations.
Good content marketing allows the little guy (or gal) to stand out.
By revealing your personality or the human side of your company you can increase engagement and gain far more loyalty from your audience than a big faceless brand.
I’m a firm believer in the power of content marketing to help your business succeed and I hope this infographic has convinced you of this.
If you are creating posts for your social media but ignoring content marketing then you are making a big mistake. Content marketing should be your main focus because it is a powerful way to engage your readers and build a loyal audience.
Although it can be time consuming, leading with great, useful content helps you connect with others and genuinely answer your market’s most pressing questions. But don’t just churn out “stuff” for the sake of it. Focus on creating the best quality content you can and make sure it’s worth reading and actually solves people’s problems.
This will help you build trust and convert some of your prospects into customers or clients in time. Because simply producing content without a goal is a waste of time and money.
What About You?
How are you getting on with your content marketing? Have you seen any benefits from your content creation yet? Please share below.