If you happen to be a blogger, perhaps you understand the importance of content marketing already. But, perhaps not. Or maybe you are not utilizing the full potential that smart content marketing can provide you.
In discussing content marketing, I want to expand beyond just how it can benefit bloggers; because content marketing if implemented correctly can have a huge impact on the income for traditional businesses; perhaps even those without an online presence at all right now. So, if you want to know how content marketing can raise awareness for your brand, generate leads, and increase sales; I'm going to show you exactly how several other brands have done just this!
I also am going to emphasize the important of not just creating great content, but how to actually get people to view that content. This can be a very important part; especially for those small businesses that don't have an established audience yet.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is any means of freely sharing content to either your current audience or to your potential audience through a variety of means. The idea is that by creating something of value that potential customers are interested in consuming (whatever it might be), you can get your name out there and broaden your reach to new customers that you may have never reached through traditional advertising.
Common forms of content marketing include: blog posts, podcasts, webinars, videos, ebooks/whitepapers, newsletters, or emails.
In addition, content marketing can also help to establish you or your company as an expert in your field. This can go a long way if you position yourself properly. When someone thinks of their “problem”, they will think of you as someone who can provide a solution (potentially through your own products). Finally, if content marketing is done properly, there is the potential for a viral effect. Although its not common for content to go massively “viral”, great content is commonly shared freely at least is small circles which can eventually lead to solid name recognition.
Traditional Marketing vs. Content Marketing
Traditional marketing typically involves paying for ads in television, radio, newspapers, Google ads, banner ads, or other online advertising. Essentially traditional advertising typical involves interruption marketing. Rather than the customer actually looking for you, they only see an ad because the were doing something else. Commercials interrupt the TV show. Radio ads interrupt the music. Newspaper ads interrupt the article. Online ads (including Google Adwords) interrupt the natural search results or desired content.
So, with traditional advertising, you are taking the potential customer away from what they really want to be doing in hopes of distracting them long enough to get sold on your idea. Its a tough sell to say the least. However, because you can simply pay for it and potentially scale, businesses do it. But in reality, there is a better way to engage your customer without interrupting them.
Content Marketing on the other hand is about building a relationship with users. By providing content of value, as opposed to interrupting your audience, potential customers will actually enjoy interacting with you and your business.
Examples of Successful Content Marketing Campaigns
An example of a blogger successfully using content marketing is Brian Clark of CopyBlogger.com. Brian provides a ton of great information for free on his blog about copy-writing, email marketing, SEO copywriting, and so much more. He also has several free reports that cover specific topics. Because he provides such high value content for free on his blog, he is seen as an expert.
This expert status has led to lots of copywriting jobs for him. After all, if you have a copywriting “problem”, where would you turn? Also, because of his huge following on his blog, he has been able to launch related products such as WordPress themes, hosting services, and more.
Now his business does millions of dollars a year in sales, and the foundation of it is through the free advertising model of content marketing.
Have you ever wanted the most durable and powerful blender known to mankind? Well, thanks to a video campaign that went viral, Blendtec are the blenders of choice that people turn to when they want a high end blender. This is a great example of how something as boring as blenders could take advantage of smart content marketing to boost their business in a big way.
With their fun and quirky videos asking the question, “Will it Blend?”, Blendtec has raised awareness for their product at the same time entertaining millions of people. This has directly increased their bottom line in a big way. In case you haven't seen one of their videos before:
Drew Manning of Fit2Fat2Fit
Another example of someone launching a business purely from content marketing, we can take a look at Drew Manning from fit2fat2fit.com. Essentially Drew is a personal trainer that was in great shape, but he decided to get fat on purpose for 6 months. After gaining 70 pounds, he then lost it all to show what was possible. Because of his unique idea, he has been able to build a massive blog through free exposure!
He has been highlighted on CNN.com, was a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, was on Good Morning America, and been featured by many other news and entertainment organizations. Again, all of this was free exposure through unique content marketing.
To be honest, he just runs a regular weight loss blog. There is nothing unique necessarily about the advice or content that he provides, there are thousands of other health “gurus” that provide just as valuable information as he does. However, and this is the important part, people flock to his blog because he has taken a unique content marketing approach (through he weight gain and loss). By taking this unique approach, he has been able to launch a book, now has a monthly membership weight loss program, and sells supplements on his site.
Thomas Paine and Common Sense
I am going to dig way back to 1775 for this example to show that content marketing is not something new. Thomas Paine wrote the wildly popular pamphlet, “Common Sense” to spread his ideas about freedom and the need to fight for that freedom. Yes, this example is a little different that the pamphlet was sold (rather than freely distributed like blogs nowadays); however, once the pamphlet was purchased it was commonly read in the streets, at private gatherings, and passed on to others.
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The impact of Thomas Paine's pamphlet was immense. According to Wikipedia, “The impact of Paine's thin little pamphlet upon the general call for independence, upon the other Founding Fathers and their construction of the Declaration of Independence, and upon the common folk, many of whom would soon join General Washington to fight the British military, was quickly spread and deeply felt. The moving words of Common Sense virtually knocked colonists down off the fence and into the fight for freedom of a new nation, into the American Revolutionary War.”
These examples and many more clearly show the huge benefits that can be achieved through content marketing.
How to get Traffic to Your content?
Of course the ideal situation is to have something go viral or otherwise become hugely popular. However, for most of us mortals, that is never going to happen. Despite this, you can still generate traffic to your content through non-viral means. Sure, we'd all love to get on a popular news show and have our videos shared freely by millions of people, but its not realistic.
So, if your content doesn't take on a life of its own, welcome to the reality of most people. But I want to mention 2 ways you can get traffic to your content: search engine optimization and contacting others in your industry.
In particular if you have a blog, you can gain a lot of natural search engine traffic if your properly target easy to rank for keywords. If you target, “Long Tail Keywords”, you can often rank for these terms without any links or very little links to your content. I explain this concept in detail on video about Long Tail keywords here.
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But in a nutshell, if you run a blog, you should be picking keywords to use in your blog post title for every post you write. This simple act of targeting proper keywords can have a dramatic impact on the amount of traffic that can find your site.
The second way you can get traffic to your content is through sharing. If you can contact other bloggers or businesses in a similar market as you and tell them about your research, free giveaway, videos, or other content, you are likely to broaden your reach. This also gives you a reason to network with other people in your industry, which invariably can open doors to great contacts, joint ventures, or other exposure for your business.
Of course there are many other ways to share your content as well through Facebook, Twitter, and more – but the principle of sharing is the same.
Wrapping it Up
Overall, I can speak from personal experience as well, that content marketing works. I try to share quality information on my blog here, and because I do, my audience continues to grow. Other bloggers freely send traffic to my site and my tactics or expertise gets discussed on forums or other sites.
By sharing my knowledge about niche sites and other topics, people return to my site when they have a “problem” or question about building a niche site or doing keyword research to see what I have to say on the subject. This has certainly increased the bottom line of my own business and increased sales of my keyword research tool, Long Tail Pro.
Content marketing is a low barrier to entry activity that ANY type of business can participate in. Local businesses can start up blogs, internet based businesses can create videos, and bloggers can do better keyword research and networking within their industry. We've seen that these strategies work very well for Brian Clark on CopyBlogger.com, Blendtec Blenders, Drew Manning of Fit2fat2fit, and even Thomas Paine's Common Sense pamphlet.
So how will you use content marketing to boost your business?
I would love to hear and thought, comments, or questions that you have below!