Now that creating content is once again King, you will need a way to start sharing that content with your readers (and potential customers).
This is where content marketing comes in. Content marketing can be applied to any type of content that you create, including:
- online articles
- how-to videos
What Is Content Marketing?
CopyBlogger has a good definition of this (bold highlights are mine):
Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you. —CopyBlogger
So why is content marketing useful for a business, or even a non-profit? The two main benefits of content marketing are it:
- Keeps people coming back. By providing free content, you keep people interacting with your website and business. This could be by encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter or website updates.
- Avoids the quick sell. Because people return to your website frequently, or read your newsletter when it comes out, you have more opportunities to win them over (whether that means selling them products or services, or convincing them to donate to your non-profit).
Five Traits of Great Content
When you examine your existing content (or content that you would like to create), keep in mind the five traits of great content. Great content needs to be:
- Valuable to the reader. Not to the website owner. If your content takes a back seat to the ads on your website, then chances are you are just filling up the Internet with noise.
- Interesting (to someone other than yourself). How can you tell? If people click on your content or link back to it often, then you probably have interesting content (unless it’s boring, but extremely useful, content).
- Trustworthy. Creating content is not just a way to showcase your business. It’s also how you build trust. Your content proves that you know what you are talking about, or that you can be trusted to provide a specific service (like wiring a house, or designing a website).
- Subtle. Great content should be clear about what you want readers to do, without beating them over the head with a sales sledgehammer. What’s the call-to-action for your content? Is it for readers to sign up for your newsletter or blog, or for them to share the content?
- Self-standing. Take a look at your content. If you printed it and dropped it on the sidewalk, could someone pick it up and read it without being left hanging. If you give out the first page of your eBook or the first 30 seconds of your informational video for free, that’s not very useful. This type of “teaser” is more annoying than satisfying.
Start Creating Great Content
If you need to start somewhere, your content is the best place to begin. If you have existing content (or ideas for what you’d like to create), take a look at it to see if it has all five traits of great content.
If not, take a step back and reassess your content strategy. Go back to basics.
- What are the goals of your business or organization?
- What is your expertise?
- How can you bring those two together? What’s the best way to organize your content?
Not exactly something that can be covered in the end of a post, but it will get you moving in the right direction. Once you have a path laid out, it’s time to start creating content that inspires (this is from a post that I wrote for yoga teachers, but it applies to everyone).
The best gauge for whether your content is worth giving away for free is whether you get an uneasy feeling when you post it online. That shows that you care enough about the content to charge for it … so bite your lip and put it out in the world … for free.