Content Marketing is not a gimmick or a fad. In fact, it’s been around since the printing press was invented. It just wasn’t called that back in the time of Chaucer. Content is information, and marketing is merely a means to share that information so that the right people see it.
Content marketing is fast becoming the marketing method of choice, because it is based on information sharing and generosity and recognises that consumers are savvy, are researching and are actively looking for answers rather than marketing-speak.
In the face of so many social media choices available to small businesses these days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
The thing is, you could be really active on Facebook and have a terrific following, but if none of the people you interact with are going to buy from you, you have a problem.
For your business to thrive in a competitive market, you need to set yourself apart and content marketing is a great way to do just that.
But it’s not just a matter of throwing a few strategies together and hoping they work. If you really want to leverage social media, your online content and your offline presence and branding as well, you need to be putting a strategy in place that feeds what I call the Content Marketing Cardiology cycle.
The Content Marketing Cardiology Cycle
In the content marketing cardiology cycle, [tweetherder]your website is the heart of your business.[/tweetherder] No matter whether you produce content on your website blog, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter or Slideshare, your website is where people can go to access everything you say and do. It becomes your virtual hub and all activity flows out and then back into it, like arteries and veins, pumping blood from and back to your heart.
When you have a strategy in place that feeds the cycle, your search and socially-optimised website content works to create conversation and build your networks and following. As people get to know your content, they move from being onlookers to being followers. Engaged followers then become subscribers and they get to know you on a whole new level. Your subscribers then become buyers or clients and, so long as you also throw in a measure of outstanding customer service, they join higher level mailing lists so you can nurture those relationships on an even deeper level.
Your happy clients then become loyal fans, who not only tell their friends about you, but who also become flag bearers for your business, whenever you have news to share. Perhaps they’ll even become formal affiliates, actively marketing what you promote in exchange for a share in the profits. Perhaps they’ll do that anyway, for no financial reward. Your increased social activity (because more people are creating positive conversation about you) then feeds back into your website, and through your analytics you can evaluate your performance, make improvements and tweak your website, so that you can fine-tune your branding and strategy.
With more people sharing about your business and sharing your content, you attract new people into the conversation and the cycle starts again for a whole new set of prospective clients. This cycle is facilitated (or hindered) by your branding and website design. Get it wrong and you’ll enjoy a high bounce rate (people quickly leaving your website). Get it right, and you’ll enjoy people coming back to your website time and again.
The beauty of the content marketing cardiology cycle is that it doesn’t rely soley on you to do all the work. You are like the spark and your happy clients are the fire. Yes, it takes effort to get going in the beginning, but by honing in on a clearly defined ideal client and generating content aimed squarely at that person (yes, a person… not a target market), you may find you need to do less to get the wheels turning productively than you might have been doing before.
The biggest problem I come across when I talk to other micro businesses and solo business owners is that they aren’t generating more sales, even if they are generating more activity. However, if your content marketing strategy is missing elements that help feed the Content Marketing Cardiology cycle, you may not be achieving the success you could be enjoying if you had a cohesive and focused system in place.
I know, for a fact, that approaching your online marketing in a systematic way saves you time and generates more leads and sales. I also know, first hand, how powerful your content can be. You may not realise that you even have content worth sharing. I can tell you right now that you do.
So, if business is not going as great as you think it should be, and if you’re struggling to keep up with social media marketing and blogging, or perhaps you’re reticent to even start because you’re worried you’ll get sucked into the social media and blogging vortex without seeing results, I invite you to connect with me. It could just save your business.
ps: The 2013 Content Marketing Cardiology small group training program kicks off on March 6. If you want take decisive action to get your cycle in place so you can start working on building your profitability, it’s not too late to step in. Here’s the link for further info: http://bit.ly/cmcardiology.