As a busy CEO who wares multiple hats, running my 2 year old startup business, It has been extremely challenging for me to create, build up and generate a new service driven company.
None the less, I have overcome a complex number of challenges and built a successful company – with a great team who operate from a number of global locations.
I am often asked whats the secret sauce – how was I able to kickstart the business so quickly without raising external capital and drive such a great interest and awareness in our company and its services.
Well the short answer and my not so secret formula is: content + social media = clients.
There are of course many other factors to this process, web traffic, conversion funnels, landing pages, SEO search, key opinion leaders (KOL’s) and more so its not just as easy as X+Y=Z, but essentially, it all comes down fundamentally to your content strategy.
Without having produced a rock solid content and distribution strategy plan (on social media channels), no one would have know my brand, service or anything about my business.
By leveraging great content that reached and engaged my exact target audience, and leveraging KOL’s to spread the word, I was able to convert more leads and clients who needed help, to do the exact same thing for their own business.
Like many other companies and organisations, perhaps you or your business is wrestling with a convergence of changes that are upending the familiar tactics you’ve always used to communicate with prospects, clients and customers.
Growing demographic diversity, the adoption of interactive technologies, and evolving media consumption habits have altered how consumers get information and how they perceive branded communication messages.
As you struggle with how to speak effectively with today’s consumers, you’ve likely thought about content marketing. Maybe you’ve read about it in another article, or perhaps a colleague or consultant has suggested it to you before.
With content marketing you can tell stories that capture an audience’s imagination and moves them to act. The more compelling the story the more likely customers will embrace the message.
Traditional marketing does it with television, radio and print adverts, whilst content marketing involves creating free materials such as articles, videos, blogs, tweets and emails to inform, entertain and educate.
Coupled with social media and you can Reach, Engage and Convert new customers steadily every month if done right, grow your web traffic, follower base and reach your business goals – for many thats more sales.
The intent is exactly the same as traditional marketing: to achieve more leads and sales. But content marketing is subtler, drawing people in rather than broadcasting a message to them, also known as inbound marketing.
Instead of pitching products, you are consistently publishing content that will inform their purchasing decisions and solve their problems. Content marketing is based on the premise that consumers trust editorials more than adverts.
In today’s globally connected, social-media driven world people rarely pay attention to or believe sponsored advertising messages. They ignore magazine adverts, channel hop during TV commercials and click away from online banner ads. But they actively seek out content.
Content marketing is a powerful way for companies to reach their customers and is fast gaining traction among business to business and business to consumer companies of all sizes.
According to a survey of more than 1,300 firms by digital publishing and training group Econsultancy, 91% of respondents are using content to market their products and services. And 54% cite increased engagement as the principle value of content.
Why I’m concerned about ‘strategy’
In another report, it was found that only 30% of B2B marketers thought that their organization used content marketing effectively.
Although that’s a respectable percentage, it means that at the same time, there’s a lot of poor content being produced.
Content marketing is something that everyone is doing, but not many people are very confident about it.
You may have also read CMI’s industry survey, which explained that only 9% of B2B marketers think their organization’s use of content marketing is “very effective.” That leaves the vast majority of the industry in a situation where they are not totally confident about their efforts.
This is a problem. If content marketing is the wonder technique that we think it is, shouldn’t we have a bit more confidence in it?
The core of the problem seems to be with strategy. The proof is in the data.
What we’re facing is an industry in which “strategy” – whatever that is – is either not working or nonexistent. Why? Because there isn’t a strategy at all.
Here is the critical data:
What’s the goal of content marketing? This is an easy question with an easy answer – to gain more customers.
But there are several nuances to the issue that make it slightly more complicated. For one, many marketers get so caught up in the daily tasks of producing content that they lose sight of this outcome. Instead, they simply are producing more content, more content, more content, and don’t stop to realize that more content isn’t going to get them anywhere unless that content is directly tied to an attainable goal.
The attainable goal isn’t just more clients. A true attainable goal should be more specific. Joe Pulizzi recommends these possibilities:
- Brand awareness or reinforcement – This is a strong goal for businesses that may not sell a product online.
- Lead conversion and nurturing – The types of leads vary according to business, but this is a common goal.
- Customer conversion – Many e-commerce sites simply want their content marketing strategy to drive up actual purchases.
- Customer loyalty/retention – An advanced method of content marketing is the retention strategy – keeping the customer post-sale.
- Customer up-sell – The more that a customer interacts beyond the initial sale, the better. Content marketing can help him or her do that.
Keep in mind that a real strategy – has an attainable outcome. To make that outcome as attainable as possible, you need to focus it as best as possible on metrics that matter.
Relevant: Your content marketing strategy doesn’t actually target the business’ goals.
Content marketing is such a widespread marketing method that many organizations simply do it without taking the time to integrate it with company-wide goals. Often, a business’ marketing department has a different mindset than the remainder of the company.
If content marketing is to be effective, it must be tied to overall business goals. On occasion, I’ve seen businesses that were, for example, in the business of selling SaaS. Their marketing department, however, was in the business of promoting webinars.
Is that a good approach? Sure it is. Webinars are a powerful way to drive traffic, build thought leadership, expand influence, and produce all kinds of wonderful results, they can provide a lot of value to many people.
Problems arise when the webinar goal and the business goal are separated at the core. If those webinars aren’t designed to improve the sale of SaaS, then they are a waste of time and money.
For those webinars to possess explosive power, they should contain calls to action that drive attendees to sign up for the SaaS.
Content marketing is a funnel. The skinny end of the funnel should be the company’s business goal.
Case Study: Growing to $100,000 per month in revenue behind content marketing
If you ever want to study a recent example of growing a business using content marketing, Groove is an excellent place to start.
Groove was far from a struggling company when they began their content marketing, but it still had a long way to go in order to hit their goal of $100,000 in monthly revenue:
Since they started blogging back in 2013, they’ve easily surpassed their original goal, which shows the effect content marketing can have on sales:
Content marketing isn’t always slow (if you can do this…)
One of the things to mention about content marketing is that it usually takes time to produce results.
You’re not going to get tens of thousands of readers overnight, but it also doesn’t necessarily have to take months to get any traction.
Groove was one of the very notable exceptions to the normal growth of a blog.
On the very first post they published, they received more than 100 comments:
You can check out the dates on these comments, but most of them were made when it was first published.
And it wasn’t just random people. They even got Gary Vaynerchuk to chime in:
Considering that these influencers not only commented on the post but shared it as well, it’s not surprising that they were able to pass 1,000 subscribers from that single post.
These aren’t typical results, but they’re possible if you have 2 things:
- A really interesting idea
- Extensive promotion
One of the key things for Groove was being able to pitch the idea of a behind-the-scenes look at how they were growing their income. Even experienced marketers are interested in that if it’s executed well.
As for the second part, they identified a ton of relevant influencers and found ways to connect with them.
After that, they sent a really well-done email to formally introduce the idea and post:
If you want big results quickly, you need to implement content marketing tactics better than everyone else.
Transparency and content marketing should go hand in hand
If you look at just about any of the content that Groove has published on their blog since its inception, you will get smacked over the head by the transparency (in a good way).
Now that transparency is more common these days, Groove took it a step further.
Instead of just showing their successes, like most “transparent” bloggers do (which is still pretty interesting), Groove doesn’t hide much of anything.
As long as it adds value to content, they include it for the reader.
When they try different experiments, they share the results of all of them, even the bad ones:
The real value is in explaining how they overcame their challenges and achieved their successes.
One final note on this: Don’t be transparent for the sake of it. Be transparent if it adds value to your content.
Since Groove usually focuses on their marketing efforts and experiments, the private data behind them actually adds a lot of value to the content, so it makes sense to include it.
Decide what parts of your business your readers would actually be interested in, and don’t be afraid to shed some light on them.
Outsourcing content marketing can work:
One of the reasons that companies are afraid to really invest in content marketing is because they believe it will take away from their existing marketing efforts.
They believe that they need to get employees to spend time creating blog posts and promoting them.
Understandably, it’s tough to make this kind of commitment when most employees are already overworked.
On top of that, most employees don’t know how to create effective posts that will get results.
The companies that do try content marketing usually conclude that it’s not effective.
There are 2 good reasons to outsource your content marketing:
- You don’t have the manpower to execute a content strategy
- You don’t have the expertise to develop or execute a content strategy
One concern when outsourcing content marketing is that you’re stuck with them forever, but that’s rarely the case unless you want it to be.
Most content marketers will spend a majority of their time creating a strategy for you to follow and then figuring out the best way to execute it.
In most cases, the content marketers will find writers who are also experts in a particular niche.
The explosive growth of content marketing is one of the best things to happen to the marketing world. At the same time, we’re still in the early stages of defining, understanding, and making sense of its digital application.
If you feel like your strategy is messed up, you’re probably not alone. A lot of other businesses are enduring the same challenge.
If you replace the vague idea of “strategy” with some crystal-clear goals, you’ll see your content marketing advance.
At Social Media Authority we build genuine connections in less time filling the gap between between you and a genuine qualified lead, or engaged customer. We take the daily social media and content tasks off your “to-do” list so you can focus on the rest of your business and ultimately increase your success rate.
How do we do this?
Ghost writing for our clients. We create highly targeted and engaging, quality content, which is tailored for our clients target audience, industry or sector.
Our content speaks in the tone and style of the clients business and is developed to tap the social triggers of the receiving audience.
We select the best social media platforms to reach the right target audience segments, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and then consistently distribute the content through these channels to drive audience interaction and engagement.
What we don’t do is just sit back and run paid advertising or banners like a traditional agency then charge you a hefty fee.
Social Media Authority gives you a completely managed, social media and content marketing solution that can be tailored across a variety of industries and sectors.
We’re confident we can help you market your business across the right social media channels to target and ultimately drive your sales in less time.
Fill in the form below to find out how we can help you 5x your revenue and customer base for your business, whilst saving you time and money today.