Have you ever had a customer warmly thank you for your advertising? Or ask you to help them make sure they’ll never miss one of your ads?
Is your advertising changing people’s lives for the better? Does it make you look like a hero with your prospects and customers, instead of just interrupting and annoying them?
That’s the promise, obviously, of using content to market your business. But it’s easy to get intimidated by content marketing. There are hundreds of different ways to use content to attract more leads, convert those leads into customers, create repeat and referral business, and create positive PR. (In this case we mean public relations, not Google PageRank, although it can create that as well.)
Let’s get one thing out of the way. You DON’T have to be a genius copywriter to create a content marketing program that makes your customers love you (and your competitors weep).
Copywriting talent is plentiful. Effective copywriting strategy is much less plentiful.
In other words, there are a lot of writers who can give you beautiful words. But deploying those words in a strategic way is a different thing altogether.
Because content is a fairly complex subject, we’ll be talking lots more about it in upcoming lessons. For this first installment, let’s look at one of the most popular ways to use content: to attract attention in the marketplace and get potential customers to find you.
Create something worthy of attention
I see a lot of bogus marketing “gurus” try to tell you that you can slap together any old mish-mash and market it as content.
So let me be very clear:
Tempted by one of those “auto blogging” programs that promises a keyword-focused blog without any work? Keep in mind that if it’s easy for you to automatically generate, it’s just as easy for your competitors.
(You might take a look at this great post from Problogger outlining some of the reasons that “auto blogging” is a bad idea: Why Automated Blogging Tools Should Be Avoided)
Also remember that this is the sort of content that Google likes to devalue and even ban outright.
The truth is, playing games is harder than just making something of value. Again, if you aren’t a terrific writer yourself, it’s not too difficult to find someone who is.
It’s a net, not a harpoon
Why does content marketing work so well?
Because instead of trying to take a single shot at your prospect and “harpoon” him into buying, you create a nice, comfortable content net that supports him and keeps him happy.
You might hold onto that prospect for three days or three years before he decides to buy. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you keep delivering value, that person will stick with you and stay tuned in to your message. And when he’s ready to buy, he’s yours.
To make sure your readers aren’t tuning you out, you want to shape your content so that it rewards the reader for taking time to consume it. I call this cookie content (read this post to find out why), and it’s a cornerstone of what makes content marketing work.
And for more details on the concept of the harpoon vs. the net, take a look at this post:
Finding customers, not just readers
If creating great content automatically led to a strong business, every blogger would be rich.
You and I both know, obviously, that there’s more to it than that. Your content needs to be put into a system so that it pulls potential customers closer and closer to you, and delivers a marketing message in a way that’s inviting, not creepy.
This doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. I wrote about all of the steps here: How to Use Content to Find Customers. Anyone can use the same incredibly effective content strategies that we use here on Copyblogger to build a profitable (and fun) business.
Stay tuned for the next lesson, because here’s where things start to get interesting. We’re going to give you some specifics about the kinds of strategies that work well to make money online using your great content (and one very popular strategy that doesn’t).
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