Category Archives: Content Marketing

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A Small Business Guide to Paid Content

A Small Business Guide to Paid Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you’re a small business out in the world today, it can feel like your competition is everywhere. The ubiquity of the internet means that anyone, anywhere, can turn to any provider to get the goods or services they need. In an environment like that, what can you possibly do to stand out from the crowd?

In the past, advertising was the cornerstone of any plan to get your company’s name out there and to attract new business. However, with giants like Google now committing to filtering ads, and with customers being turned off by loud pop-up videos and irritating banners blocking a site’s content, focusing exclusively on advertising is becoming a less sustainable marketing model for businesses.

So what’s the alternative? Here we’ll take a look at paid content: what it is and what it can bring to your business.

Why Turn to Paid Content?

Content marketing is essentially a way for you to create deep connections with customers, establish yourself as an industry expert, and thereby drive sales. This content can be anything from blog posts to podcasts to e-newsletters.

Whatever form the content takes, it’s critical that it’s high-quality, informative, and results-driven content that really solves a problem your potential clients have. If you prove through your content that you understand their needs and that you have a means to meet them, you can become their go-to source for whatever good or service you provide.

The challenge, then, becomes getting that content in front of the right people. You know that old adage “If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Same goes for content creation. You can be turning out some really impressive work, but if no one’s seeing the content you’re creating, it’s not doing anything for you.

Leveraging Distribution Platforms

Getting your content out there to a broader audience is exactly why some companies turn to distribution platforms. These platforms allow you to set a budget and timescale, and from there they work to put your content in front of a targeted audience that will find it the most interesting and useful. We’ve discussed this approach in the past, and while there are a lot of platforms for you to choose from, some of the most popular are covered here.

Content Distribution PlatformDistribution platforms will provide you with analytics, so you’re able to see which content is getting the most traction and can tailor your approach as you learn more about your audience. The greatest downside to these types of platforms is that the content still lives on the margins of web pages. Often located below the site’s content, they look like paid content, which may turn some potential readers off.

Sponsored Content on Trusted Publications

If you’re concerned about the look of content on a distribution platform, you may want to consider sponsored content instead.

While perusing your favorite online magazine or newspaper, it’s likely that you’ve come across a story that’s sponsored by a brand. Perhaps it’s a mattress store that’s written an article about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Or an athletic goods company that’s published a piece about how the proper running shoe can help marathoners beat their personal records.

These types of posts are imbedded in a publication and are designed to mirror the look, feel, and tone of other articles, but in reality, they’ve been paid for by marketers. This kind of paid content is beneficial in a few unique ways. First, it allows you to target the readers of whichever publication best aligns with the target audience for your good or service. It also provides an air of legitimacy for your advertising; if the reader trusts the publication, they’re likely to also trust your content that they find on its pages.

Facebook Posts and Google Searches

Similar in concept to the sponsored content approach, you may also consider placing sponsored posts on Facebook or paying for Google search ads. This is another form of native advertising, which again allows your content to blend in with its surroundings.

Google Search Ad

If someone happens upon a Facebook ad as they’re scrolling through their newsfeed, or sees a search result at the top of their Google results, they’re less likely to be put off in the same way they might be with a more obvious marketing tactic. Since these ads are intended to look like a part of the larger platform, readers don’t feel they’re being “sold” a product or service.

The New Approach to Influencer Marketing

When you think of influencer marketing, it’s possible that your mind jumps immediately to the Kardashians or another celebrity with a massive social media following. But the trend in influencer marketing is changing, and many marketers are now moving away from the celebrity endorsement.

In fact, in a recent study by Collective Bias, 70 percent of millennials said they’re more likely to buy a product that’s been endorsed by a non-celebrity blogger, rather than a celebrity. This is good news for smaller businesses, who can’t afford the seven-figure endorsement price tag that Kylie Jenner commands.

If you’re a small business, think smaller scale. Target influencers who are important to those in your desired network, and reach out to them. If you have a compelling pitch and are willing to send them a free sample of your product, they just may cover your business on their blog or give you a shout-out on their social media platforms.

There are a lot of small businesses out there, creating content and competing for the attention of potential customers. While this can make the world of content creation feel overwhelming, if you focus on creating quality content that really helps your target audience, and find ways to get this content in front of an ever-broadening audience, you can make the content creation approach work in your favor to drive revenues and expand your business.

The Value of Discoverable, Shareable, and Useful Content

The Value of Discoverable, Shareable, and Useful Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Creating Useful Content

There’s no way around it, there are a lot of marketing channels today. I’m counting eighteen as of now (which can obviously change very quickly).

When I started my business we had six or seven ways to reach our prospects and customers. A lot has changed.

One of the things that I think is important to understand, first off, is that you don’t have to play in every channel. That’s one of the things that causes a lot of stress with a lot of business owners and marketers today.

What you do have to do is get very good at playing in the right channels, and additionally getting very good at integrating those channels (or at least understanding how they support each other).

That’s a challenge for a lot of people. We look at social media, content, SEO, and PR, and we think that they’re all separate tactics out there doing separate jobs.

When you look at them together, and actually intentionally think about how they can support each other, you amplify the effect, or the impact, of each.

In this post, we’re going to focus on three of these channels: content, social media, and SEO.

While those are separate channels, content is air for marketing today. It really powers every step in the customer journey and is one of the most essential marketing channels out there.

In fact, it probably is not really even fair to consider it a channel anymore, because it’s like the gasoline that goes in the car. You really have to have it no matter what kind of car you have.

I want you to think these channels, and make sure the content you produce in each is discoverable, shareable and ultimately useful.

Discoverability

Discoverability is often seen as an SEO play, and frankly, that’s what it is, but content drives SEO today. There are many search terms that are competitive, so everybody is out there competing for the search terms that they want.

People try to rank by doing effective keyword research, using targeted messaging, and knowing a lot about their users. It’s a good idea to develop a sense of intent as well in order to implement on-page SEO best practices.

While this all helps to make your content discoverable, you have to start with a content strategy that says “yes, we want people to find that, but that’s not where we want them to stop.”

Shareability

Once the content is discovered, the degree that it is shared will determine how widely it is distributed. By thinking about shareability of content, you’re multiplying the impact of search engine results because shares are going to draw links and other important SEO signals. They are going to increase your audience, which is going to draw more people. 

If we build our content with the idea that we can get a higher share rate, one of the benefits to that is that you actually don’t have to produce a ton of content.

If you produce content that is focused on:

  • How to do something
  • Why to do something
  • Lists
  • Great headlines
  • Great calls to action in the content
  • Using impactful images
  • Mobile usage

Then you can build your SEO-optimized content and make it much more shareable.

Shareable content is going to evolve your social media. This is one of the best ways to think about your content in the social media space. Making your content shareable will help expand the reach of people outside of your immediate network.  

Useful content

As I said in the beginning, I think the ultimate measure of success of any SEO plan is the degree to which people who discover and share your content, also find that content useful enough to quote, bookmark, link to, and consume deeply.

This idea of linking your content together to make it even more useful is an important part of trust building in the journey. If people have a problem, they go out and search for a problem, not for your solution.

They may not associate what you offer with their problem, but they’re trying to get a problem solved.

If they go to your website make sure you address their problem and give them an entire guide for how to solve it. Link together eight or ten pages, or at least associate all of your related content to a topic in a way that you’ve packaged it to make it easy to consume.

That’s the content that people not only love to share, but they love to link and bring other people to it as well.

It’s the kind of content that is going to make your SEO more effective, and make your content more discoverable because Google sees the signals that are being sent to that content.

It’s the kind of content that is ultimately going to lead people to buy your products and services, because you’ve addressed their problem, and made it easy for them to consume the content. You built trust signals, which is going to help you show up on page one of Google, which is huge. 

You’re giving somebody a reason to dig in on their own, and discover that what you sell is going to actually solve their problem.

That’s how you have to think about content.

There are a couple of metrics that I love to look at when I’m trying to analyze somebody’s content. I use tools, like Ahrefs, to see the number of keyword phrases driving traffic to page one.

I also like to use a tool called BuzzSumo. One of the things that it will do is dive into your content from a social media standpoint and will answer questions like:

  • How much sharing is going on?
  • What kind of content gets shared the most?
  • Who’s linking to it?
  • Who’s Tweeting it?
  • What is the length and format of the content?

It really breaks down all the sharing activity that goes on in your content.

I love to look at that kind of shared data because in many cases it will clearly point to your best content that’s being shared. Most of the time, that’s longer content that is more in depth, and that people find very useful. 

The value of your organic traffic is also a tremendous metric to really allow you to see how you’re stacking up.

Typically, what happens is your content becomes more discoverable because it was useful. It’s more shareable because it was useful. So it’s like this vicious, positive cycle that ends up making your traffic and visits worth so much more.

The Role of Content Has Changed – Here’s How You Can Adapt

The Role of Content Has Changed – Here’s How You Can Adapt written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

It wasn’t too long ago that you could follow the formula below to attract and generate leads for your business:

  • Develop a content upgrade, like an ebook
  • Gate it behind a form on a landing page
  • Drive people to your landing pages through blog posts, social media, advertising, and email campaigns
  • People see the offer on the landing page, are interested, and give their contact information in exchange for the content
  • Voila, you have a new lead that you can nurture to a sale

While content upgrades still work well as a lead capture tool, you need to now get creative with how to get eyes on it. The market is so saturated these days and so many businesses are now following this approach that it can be easy to get lost in all the noise.

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now and began testing an approach that I had seen to start to emerge that I want to share with you. While my results have been significant, it may take time for business who are just getting started to see the same results, but in my opinion, it’ll be well worth it in the long run.

The key is to continue to position yourself as the expert in your field, and the best way to do this is to create and aggregate content into one place to show not only your visitors that you know what you’re talking about, but search engines as well.

Have I lost you? I hope not! To understand what I’m talking about, take a look at the details below.

Creating content – An evolved approach

As content continues to grow in importance for your business, it now must take on an elevated position in your strategy and planning.

The use of high-quality, education-based content has become a necessary ingredient in creating awareness, building trust, converting leads, serving customers and generating referrals.

Marketers these days have a lot in common with the traditional role of publishers. The good news is that the days of creating an infinite amount of thin content are over. You can create content less frequently, provided you structure it correctly and include a ton of value within it.

Today we have evolved into the “less is more” approach. Big content projects, even if there are only three per year, is better than writing a blog post every week, just because you think you should.

I’m currently experiencing great results with something that I’m calling Hub Pages. This is something many have already started doing and I understand why.

Content planning has really risen to the strategic level. It’s no longer an SEO tactic or simply content marketing. While we should certainly use it for those things, we must plan it at a foundational level.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, content really is now air for your business as it impacts every channel, which elevates how we have to think about it.

Content becomes an asset over time

Content is no longer created for today or tomorrow. It is created as an asset that can be used throughout every stage of the Marketing Hourglass. Because of this, you need to think about the time and energy you need to invest to get it right.

Hub themes

local marketing

I’ve talked about the Total Content System for years and it’s really driven by what I’m starting to call “hub themes.” These themes can be monthly, quarterly, or whichever timeframe you think is best.

Let’s say the theme for the month is “local marketing.” You’d want to drive all the attention you have to this idea of local marketing, so one of the main tabs on your website may become “The Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.

Instead of it just being a page that talks about local marketing services, it becomes a foundational page that has a tremendous amount of value about what local marketing is, with tons of resources and links that people can click through to for further information (it may even end up looking like a course).

All of the content you have pointing to it are like the sub-chapters of the hub theme. I not only have all of these internal pages driving back to this one hub page, I also include links to external, high-quality content on the page that can also be linked back to the hub page.

Hub pages are also a great way to organize existing content and get more use out of it. Driving it to, and including in, these hub pages is a great way to give old content new life.

With so many pages driving to one another, you’ll start to gain a lot of trust and authority from Google, which will eventually help to increase your rank in search engine results pages over time.

The role of content upgrades

Content upgrades are still the new free. When you put these hub pages together, still include content upgrades, like an ebook or webinar signup, on these pages. People will now see these content upgrades because you are driving more traffic to these pages and they are easier to rank for instead of individual posts.

So, what do you think about this approach? Have you started to implement these types of efforts in your business?

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice…see what I did there?

How to Fix a Broken Content Strategy

How to Fix a Broken Content Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Many businesses out there spend the last few months of the year planning their content strategy for the year ahead. They have color-coded spreadsheets completed, goals in the place, and the optimism that the next 12 months are going to be the best yet.

So, let me ask you a potentially awkward question: Are you on track to meet those goals? If the answer is no, don’t worry you are not alone, and there is still plenty of time to not only play catch up but to exceed the goals you originally set.

It’s OK to hit the restart button.

Through analytics and customer feedback, you should have insight into what’s working and what isn’t and should recognize the areas that need improvement.

If you’re stuck on how to turn your content strategy around, here are some tips to help you revitalize it.

Refocus your marketing message

When it comes to marketing these days, you must not only match your message to your ideal client, but you have to engage them and keep their attention as well.

Here’s something I’ve said for years, and will likely say it a few more times: Your clients and potential clients don’t care about your products or services (that’s not supposed to sound as harsh as it likely reads). What they really want is somebody to solve their problems.

If you can pinpoint what those are and succinctly explain how you address and solve those problems within your messaging, then you’ve basically won the golden ticket. Make it clear that you understand what they want and need.

Just remember, your messaging should not be about you.

Knowing your audience front and back will help you across the board when it comes to your content strategy. If you know how to speak to them and know what their trigger phrases are, you’ll be in a great place to move forward and take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Lastly, in addition to speaking to your audience with your messaging, be sure to also aligns it with your business goals, because at the end of the day, reaching those goals is what all of this is for.

Put the “must haves” on your website

When it comes to content revisions, it always surprises me when people don’t think to start with their website, the content hub. The role of your website is to help you:

  • Get found
  • Build trust
  • Educate
  • Inform
  • Nurture
  • Convert

To accomplish the areas above, you need to be sure your website has:

A promise

Add a promise above the fold on your homepage to show visitors that you understand the challenges they face. As mentioned in the previous section, you need to make them a promise that will solve their problems.

A call to action

Your call to action can be a number of things, including a request for more information, schedule a consultation, or download a free report. Just make sure it’s relevant and useful.

Video

In my opinion, this has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for small business. Video allows you to give people a real sense of who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story.

Trust elements

You need to have elements that build trust on your homepage, whether they are logos of current clients or testimonials for your audience to glance over. Make it easy for visitors to see them.

Content and content upgrades

Given the purpose of this blog post, this area should seem pretty obvious. To keep content on your website fresh, post to your blog frequently (have a blog feed on your homepage for easy access).

A content upgrade gives people the ability to download premium content in exchange for an email address or capturing a lead. If they download this content, it shows that they are interested in what you do. Use the information they provide you to nurture them through to the sale.

Core services

You likely have full pages dedicated to these services, but by adding short descriptions and images of each to your homepage as well, that link through to your service pages, you’ll also get additional SEO value.

Create a lead generation content plan

First and foremost, have a plan! So many people just wing it these days which often gets them nowhere. I find it helpful to create a theme for each month that all of your content can revolve around.

Each theme I use has a substantial topic related to my audience’s industry/pain points and represents an important keyword search term.

I also find it helpful to think about the themes as a book where each month represents a chapter in what will eventually make up a body of work by the end of the year.

Provide valuable information and use content upgrades to convert the readers of this information into leads. Try to personalize and add emotional components to your content as much as possible to really establish a connection with a reader. The more they feel that connection, the more likely they’ll be to convert into leads and eventually customers.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel with your content. You can share relevant content from other sites on your social platforms to provide value to your audience. You can also repurpose content you already have, so, for example, if you have a podcast episode, transcribe it and turn it into a written blog post.

The more value you can provide on a consistent basis, the better off you’ll be.

Outsource your content

A big reason why content strategy falls through is that people run out of time and don’t end up creating the content they had planned on. Listen to me when I say “outsource that content!”

Of course, you should own your process and strategy but you do not need to create the content yourself. There are plenty of people out there that can do that for you. Some sites you can start with include:

I have a plethora of additional outsourcing tips that you can find here to help you get started.

It’s never too late to turn your content strategy around. Follow these tips, continue to track progress, and keep revising as necessary until you hit your goals.

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.

Why Podcasting Should Be A High-Priority Content Platform This Year

Why Podcasting Should Be A High-Priority Content Platform This Year written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

I talked about the benefits of podcasting quite a bit last year, and with the new year up and running, I wanted to take the time to re-stress the value that podcasting can bring to your business ( I can’t even begin to explain the wonders it has done for mine). Plus, it’s actually very easy to set up and is a much more efficient use of your time compared to how long it takes to create other pieces of content.

If you haven’t already included it somewhere in your plans for the next 12 months, I highly recommend doing so, and here are a few of my reasons why.

1. Increased engagement

Let’s face it, these days, it’s hard to pay attention to content for extended periods of time. With podcasts, however, you can fit them into your day whenever it works best for you, making the consumption of this type of content for extended periods of time far more common than it is with other forms of content.

This gives you opportunities to showcase your knowledge in a way that you’re unable to otherwise. This goes without saying, but having your brand in front of your audience for extended periods of time can be extremely valuable.

2. Less competition

As of July 2017, there were around 350 million blogs from Tumblr alone. If that stat doesn’t show you how crowded the online space is, I don’t know what will.

Podcasting is different. While becoming increasingly popular year over year, there’s still significantly less competition in this space, making it easier for you to stand out with your target audience.

Podcasting still allows you to compete on an even playing field.

3. Establishes an emotional connection

Podcasting allows you to develop a deeper relationship with your audience. Hearing your voice frequently makes your audience feel like they actually know you. The more a person feels like they know you, the more likely they are to trust you, and in turn, buy from you.

Plus, if people feel a loyalty to you and your brand, they’ll be more likely to leave you positive reviews, which further builds on your trust and credibility.

4. Networking at its best

One of the big surprises to me was the relationships that you develop during an interview.

Reaching out to others to have them as a guest on your show is a great way to build your network. The more people you can connect with, the more you’ll increase chances of referrals, leading to more opportunities and business for your company.

What’s even cooler about networking on this platform is that you can network with people you would never be able to otherwise, like influencers and people you view as mentors or role models.

5. Catalyst for additional content

Creating content is essential to the success of a business today, but finding time to create a bunch of content can be difficult.

So, why reinvent the wheel? With podcasting, you can repurpose the material into other forms of content, such as video or a series of blog posts. Repurposing the content will also help you to further expand your reach because part of your audience may not consume audio-based content, but they may be avid readers and vice versa. See what I mean?

6. Monetization

You certainly don’t have to monetize your podcast if you don’t want to, but if you are interested in making money from your show, there are a number of ways to do that, including:

In general, a podcast is also a great way to build leads, so although the monetary benefits may not be immediate, the business in can bring you over time can be huge.

7. Podcast guesting provides new opportunities

Earlier in this post I discussed how having guests on your podcast can be great for networking, but you being a guest on another person’s podcast can provide the same benefits.

As you are interviewed on more podcasts, your reach begins to snowball. It’s a great way to get exposure with very little effort (far easier than taking the time to write a guest blog on another website).

A few other perks to keep in mind include:

  • Gives you access to an engaged audience outside of your own
  • You have virtually no preparation (the host does the majority of the work)
  • High production value will make the content more shareable
  • There will likely be show notes (and often transcripts) that will drive links back to your website (helping improve your SEO)

Now, in order to be truly effective with podcasting, be sure to have a clear vision of what you’d like to get out of it and know who you are targeting. Once you have those in place, dive in and start receiving the benefits discussed above.

Bottom line, in one interview, with little preparation, you can gain access hundreds or thousands of targeted listeners. Who wouldn’t want that? Do your research, set everything up, and get going.

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.

How to Remove Writers Block and Come Up with Awesome Content Ideas

How to Remove Writers Block and Come Up with Awesome Content Ideas written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Seth Godin is often quoted as saying Content Marketing is the only marketing left. The real truth is this. Useful marketing is the only marketing people will tolerate and content marketing can be very, very useful.

However, even when you have the time to produce the content, that doesn’t always mean your mind is right there with you. Anybody who produces content has fallen into a writer’s rut or mental block with the direction they want to take (ironically, I had that issue with this post).

So, how do you overcome this? Below I’ve listed some advice on overcoming writer’s block as well as how to develop additional content ideas once you’ve done so.

Removing writer’s block

Take a break and go outside

Seems simple enough, right? Stand up, walk away from your desk, and get away from your computer for a bit. Do this even if you’re on a tight deadline. There’s no point in just staring at your computer if it’s getting you nowhere. Getting some fresh air will help get your creative juices flowing and will make you feel refreshed so that you can return to your desk and conquer a stellar piece of content.

Remove distractions

I get that this may be easier said than done, but it’s imperative that you try.

The easiest way to remove distractions is to know what they are ahead of time and remove them before you try diving into your content (maybe having the TV on for background noise isn’t the best idea).

An easy distraction to eliminate immediately is to turn your email notifications off and close the tab on your computer. It’s so easy to check email consistently throughout the day, but it’s a huge distraction. You’ll find you can get a lot more done if you aren’t constantly looking at it.

Using tools like RescueTime can help you eliminate digital distraction across the board mindlessly.

Mix it up 

This can apply to background noise, location, and so on. I’m all for routine, but when it comes to writing, sometimes it’s helpful to change things up. It may take some trial and error, but once you figure it out, stick with it for future writing endeavors.

Write an outline

Remember in grade school when your teacher would make you turn in an outline before you turned in your paper? At the time it seemed like such a daunting task. As an adult, however, you come to realize how incredibly useful this is. It helps to put structure to your writing.

It gives you a plan that you can follow so that when you sit down to crank it out, you have a clear direction which will help make the time needed to write go a lot faster.

Developing content ideas

Once my creative juices are in working order, I often like to take advantage of this time to come up with ideas for future content as well. Although you may still experience some writer’s block when you actually begin developing the content, having an editorial calendar in place will definitely make the process seem easier.

Have a brainstorming session

You know your audience (or at least you should), so brainstorm the types of content they might like to consume. The ideas you come up with can be a great starting point as you dive into the other tactics below.

Conduct keyword research

Keyword research is a necessity that can be used to drive your content strategy. The power of keyword research is that it gives you the ability to understand the exact phrases people use to search for the products and services you provide.

When you’re aware of what those phrases are, you can address the topics through your content and blog posts.

Great keyword research informs your editorial calendar and that’s why you should never stop doing it.

Look at industry/topic related forums

In forums, people will often say exactly what they are looking for and what they are having a hard time finding. If you spend enough time on these platforms it becomes a great way to pick up on trends.

Rely on tools

The tools below can be extremely beneficial in coming up with topic ideas because they’ll provide you with real data and insight about your target audience.

  • BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is a search engine that ranks content by how often an article is shared. After I have my list of keyword phrases, I use this tool to see what types of content people are writing and sharing for my list of search terms.
  • Keywordtool.io – I use Keywordtool.io because it turns up actual questions people ask about specific terms. I think this is one of the best ways to find intent in a search phrase.
  • Answer the Public – I should warn you, the homepage is not what you think it’s going to be, but it’s a fantastic tool for discovering content ideas!
  • Quora –  Quora is “a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.”

Look through emails and chat with your team

Go through your email and search for questions your customers have asked, how they talk about their issues, what they like and don’t like, and so on. The information you can gather here is priceless and can give you amazing content ideas.

If you don’t personally answer a lot of external emails, ask your team members who do. Anybody on your team who interacts with your customers, whether in-person or digitally, can be a wealth of information and a great resource for developing impactful content.

What recommendations would you add for overcoming writer’s block and developing content ideas?

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.

How to Create Effective Content Without Adding More to Your To-Do List

How to Create Effective Content Without Adding More to Your To-Do List written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Content influences not only all aspects of our marketing but of our entire business as well.

Content is not something you can take lightly. It needs to be front and center of your strategy and it needs to be done well. The only issue is, it’s time-consuming.

For small business owners, finding the time to create high-quality content on a regular basis can seem impossible. With the ever-growing to-do list that so many business owners face, how can the content giant get taken care of without adding more to their plates?

The answer? Outsourcing.

Outsourcing your content creation efforts is far more common than you probably think, and in my opinion, it’s a necessary tactic if you want to do content marketing well. In today’s virtual world, the sky’s the limit for the talent that you can use to create the content for you.

Not only will it benefit your business, but it will likely save you money by giving you the time back needed to focus on other lucrative areas of your business.

Below are a few tips for outsourcing that will get you on your way to being a successful content creation machine.

1. Own your process and strategy

So here’s the thing. You can, and should, absolutely outsource the creation of your content, but you must still own your process and strategy (it is your business after all).

The only way to outsource effectively is to put systems in place that ensure successful collaboration between you and your outsourced team.

I’d recommend using a project management tool to manage deadlines and provide feedback efficiently. Things can get lost in email and has the potential to get messy. I use Asana, but there are a lot of tools out there that can help you get the job done.

Getting a routine going between you and your outsourced partners can also be extremely beneficial. For example, have blog posts due to you for review every Thursday and podcast show notes due every Wednesday. That way, you know what to expect and when to expect it, and the person creating the content will also know what they need to be doing and when without a lot of back and forth communication.

Develop an editorial calendar that lays out a strategy that your outsourced team can refer to. Planning ahead makes month-to-month operations easier for you, and lets your content creators know what’s to come.

2. Be picky

Anybody can really claim to be a writer, but claiming to be a writer and actually being one are two different things. When searching for somebody to outsource this work to, seek out references and testimonials, and ask them to write a blog post for a title you give them to see how they approach your topics and writing style.

There are numerous sites out there that you can use to find writers, including:

In the beginning, take the time to review the work for specifics, style, tone, and voice. Edit each post to make sure it still represents the brand well, and feel free to tweak a bit to add a personal touch. Provide your content creators with feedback from the beginning, otherwise, they’ll never be able to learn what you’re truly looking for. If they don’t apply the feedback to future posts, you should consider this a red flag.

If you find they are consistently living up to your expectations, bring them on board. The review process will take less time the more they get used to writing for you. In fact, you’ll hopefully get to the point where you don’t have to review their work at all.

It’s important that you do what you can to prevent bottlenecks. There may be times that your content isn’t 100% perfect but, don’t let an endless editing phase prevent you from getting your content out into the world.

Your audience cares more about receiving helpful information than they do about whether or not your author’s tone perfectly aligns with the brand.

3. Remove the guesswork

You must be clear about the instructions you give your writers in terms of tone, style, and formatting. Create a document that outlines these areas for each of your writing needs as well as any background information that is necessary for them to get the job done.

It can be easy to blame remote writers for creating less-than-ideal content, but if you haven’t taken the time to provide the information they need to get the job done, then the blame is on you.

4. Focus on results

When it comes to your content efforts, you must always be paying attention to the results you’re seeing. Even if the content appears to check all the boxes on your list, it doesn’t mean it will perform well once it’s published.

Keep an eye on the metrics to see what resonates with your audience and what does not.

Keep in mind that one piece of content shouldn’t dictate strategy moving forward. You need to look for trends to help you decide what to stick with and what to revise moving forward.

5. Take care of your team

Your outsourced team may be remote, but they’re still a part of your team now and should be treated as such. Don’t forget to give positive feedback when it’s deserved. People want to work for those that appreciate them. The more valued and appreciated they feel, the better the work they produce will be.

By outsourcing content, you are able to focus on areas business of your business that require your attention. If you feel inclined, you can still create one thorough piece of content on your own each week to help keep you on your toes and current with marketing trends, but that’s entirely up to you.

Outsourcing can be extremely valuable for your business, provided you do it the right way and pay special attention to the process.

Remember, although another person is doing the work, it’s your or your brand and reputation that stand behind it, so don’t take the process and development lightly.

Facebook Advertising and Engagement for Small Businesses

Facebook Advertising and Engagement for Small Businesses written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising for small business is a hot topic, and it’s gotten even hotter since Facebook’s been in the news lately talking about limiting people’s organic reach.

This is something that’s been going on for a couple of years, and I think that this whole political storm that kind of crept up made them take it a little more serious and bring it front-and-center.

In my view, the bottom line is that it’s going to sell more advertising, it’s going to make you more reliant on advertising. It’s not going to be an awful thing for Facebook; in fact, I tell people — half kidding, half serious — that you should buy some Facebook stock because of this, because if Facebook’s going to stick around, it’s going to because we have become so dependent upon it.

So, as a business, it’s still a great, viable place to advertise.

But I want to talk about that word a minute, because it’s not just a strict advertising vehicle, it’s a social media and content amplification play as well. It’s a great place to get very low-cost awareness of your business, promotions, and content.

If you’re going to be using social media, you need to produce content that creates awareness and drives engagement, particularly blog posts, and post it and promote it on Facebook.

I’m going to break this down, and it may be basic for a lot of people, but I think some people need to still understand the moving parts of Facebook for a small-business owner.

Getting started on Facebook

Business Manager

First and foremost, the ticket to play on Facebook is to have a personal profile. Personal profiles can create pages, ad accounts, and groups. Every personal profile comes with a Messenger, which is a direct inside-of-Facebook messaging component, and every personal profile can also create something called a Business Manager account.

For a long time, agencies, people like myself, have had Business Manager accounts, but I believe it’s the tool that every business on Facebook should have.

Pages

Pages are another component, and for the most part, every business should have a page. A page can also be an advertiser, and it can also have its own Messenger account.

Ad accounts

Ad accounts are a separate component. Profiles and Business Manager accounts can create ad accounts, and pages can be advertisers.

Groups

Anybody with a profile can create a group that can be private or public. Typically, a group is created around specific topics. They are great for community building. Groups are one of the best places to go to plug in and get information, ask questions, and engage folks to help you.

Messenger

Facebook Messenger is becoming more significant because that’s the tool that Facebook is going to use to reach out to the web. In other words, you can use Messenger today as a service or chat. You can install Messenger on your website now.

I think a lot of folks will put that on their website because if somebody asks a question, and if they’re logged in to Facebook already, you’ll know who they are, and you can respond.

In fact, you can create auto-responders that say, “Hi, John, how can we help you today?” because they’re logged in to Facebook. I think you’re going to see growth in that area. (Check out one of the bot tools like ManyChat for this.)

Setting up your Business Manager

But let’s get into the advertising component of Facebook for small business. First and foremost, you want to have a Business Manager account.  Once you have your profile, go to business.facebook.com.

With a Business Manager account, you can more securely manage your pages and ad accounts, and today, a lot of people have multiple ad accounts.

If you’re managing advertising efforts on behalf of a client, you have to do it inside of the Business Manager. It makes it easier to add employees and agencies and remove them, to give different levels of permissions.

You can get by without it, but I think it’s a tool that will make your life better.

Once your Business Manager account is created:

  1. Enter the name of your business
  2. Select the primary page that you want to associate with that
  3. Enter your name and work email address
  4. Move through the rest of the onboarding flow by entering the rest of the required fields
  5. Manage with Business Manager

What I typically am recommending that people do, if you have a page and ad account set up already, is assign those now because that way, you’ll be able to use all the functionality of Business Manager.

Once everything is set up, you’ll see a different interface than you’re used to, but it’ll show you the ad accounts and pages that you’ve assigned to it. It also then gives you a great deal of access to building audiences and finding your pixel, as well as using either the Ads Manager or a tool called Power Editor to manage.

From there, you can create page post, boost posts, and do a lot of things on this one platform, once you get used to the various components of it.

Ads Manager

Understanding the Facebook Pixel

When everything is set up, the first thing I like to do is to go into the ad account, and go into the Assets component, and find something called the Facebook Pixel.

Trust me; you’re going to want to go through the process, take the steps, and get the code. You’re going to get a bunch of code that you’re going to have to install on your website. If you’re using WordPress, a lot of themes have a place to install code that will put it on every page, and what that’s going to allow you to do is start using some of the functionality to build audiences based on behavior.

In other words, you’ll be able to track somebody visiting your website or visiting a landing page that you created, and you’ll be able to send them different ads based on their behavior.

To ensure the pixel is installed correctly, use a Chrome plugin called the Facebook Pixel Helper. You’ll be able to surf to your site and see if the pixel is firing, based on using that tool.

Defining your audiences

There are a couple of standard audiences that I like to create once the pixel is set up.

Go back to your ad account, and to the Audiences tab. You’ll want to define an audience that is in a certain city, zip code, and has certain demographics. Save that audience because you’ll have the ability to then promote pretty much anything you want to this targeted group – this is called a Saved Audience.

When you go to create an ad or boost a post, you’ll be able to say, “Yes, use that audience,” and so it’ll already be defined and saved.

There are a couple of audiences I’m going to suggest that you build as well, and the first one is a custom audience of your customers. If you have, say, 1,400 names of customers, you can upload those to Facebook and create a custom audience of your customers. There are a couple of reasons you might want to do this:

  1. If you’ve got existing customers, you might just want to run campaigns to them, so you are promoting to somebody who already is a customer and who is theoretically familiar with your business. If they’re a customer, it allows you to stay top-of-mind.
  2. Another thing you might want to do with that audience is exclude them from your ads. If you’re running a new-customer special, the last thing you want to do is flaunt that in the face of your existing customers, so you might want to build an audience or a campaign, and say, “Okay, promote to these people, but exclude my customers, don’t show this ad to my customers.” It’s a great way to avoid wasting ad dollars.

Facebook audiences

The other thing you can do with your existing customers is you can create something that Facebook calls a lookalike audience. With this, you can upload your customer list and tell Facebook that you would like them to go out and find people that are like your customer list and share the same demographics. (Note that sometimes it takes a few days for uploaded audiences to be ready.)

One word of warning in building these lookalike audiences is that you can say, “Hey, I want a big one, I want a big audience,” and there’s a lot of appeal to that, as, “Hey, I want to have more people that I can market to.” But keep in mind, the bigger your audience gets, the less focused it becomes.

I tell people that if they have a customer list and want to build a lookalike, pick the smallest amount to start and test with. (1% perhaps)

On top of the custom audience, saved audience, and people that you’re trying to attract, you’ll want to create an audience of people who have visited your site (this is where the pixel is especially useful).

For this list, assign any page on your website, and give it a time frame. Keep in mind, the bigger the time frame, the more removed they are from visiting your website. A lot of people will start with a 30-day visit window because those are the hottest folks.

Let’s say you start driving traffic to your site, or just boosting content, and having people come and visit your site. With this list, Facebook is going to say, “Okay, I recognize that person,” and now you can start running ads specifically to people who have visited your site.

If somebody visited your site, read a blog post, looked at an offer, but they didn’t do anything, you can follow them around for a while with an ad set that is only going to be shown to them. This is often referred to as “remarketing.”

The theory behind that is that they were interested enough to go and read, or interested enough to go and check out an offer, and so you want to stay in their face a little bit and nurture the relationship because they may have just gotten distracted.

There are many audiences you could build but I wanted to discuss the standard audiences that we try to build for almost anyone we work with because I think they’re important.

The role of content in Facebook advertising

When it comes to your overall content breakdown, I recommend the following on Facebook (areas I use in advertising efforts are noted below):

  • 35% towards your ongoing content – with advertising support
  • 20% curated from other sources
  • 25% supports business goals (lead generation, product launch, sale) – advertising
  • 20% about people and culture

Content plays a huge role in the effectiveness of Facebook advertising.

You can log in to your Business Manager account, create an ad that says, “Here, buy this stuff,” and blast it out to the world, but we all know that most products and services are not going to be successful if we’re marketing in that format.

We have to warm people up and earn their trust for them to get their wallet out. Most often, this is done by creating awareness, understanding that they have an interest, and staying on their radar to the point where they decide that they’re going to buy.

At the very least, if you’re on Facebook today, and you’ve got:

  • Everything that I’ve discussed set up
  • You want to get something going
  • You’ve got a great piece of content
  • You’ve defined a target audience

You can benefit at a very low cost by throwing $20 at boosting that post. Again, don’t throw $20 at “Buy my stuff”; throw $20 at “Come check out this relevant, really useful piece of content.”

If that content is a great blog post that maybe has a checklist associated with it, and you can capture the name and email address of somebody who wants that checklist, that’s a legitimate way to use Facebook.

Spend a hundred bucks a month, and with every blog post that you write, promote it for $20 to your saved audience. You’re building awareness and driving traffic that will ultimately turn into some benefit for you.

Facebook audience

The funnel approach

You could stop there, but eventually, content posting and boosting are only going to take you so far. You have to take the funnel approach to using Facebook. The idea behind that is that people move through a funnel from:

  • Awareness – They’ve heard of you and may want to get to know and like you
  • Consideration – They’re developing trust with you and may be interested in testing the waters
  • Conversion – The point at which a person converts on the desired action

Facebook Funnel Approach

You have to think about how you’re going to layer this. The typical approach for this is:

  • You have a message of great content and education that you think a certain target market is interested in
  • You’ll buy awareness ads so that they become aware of your content

There are many ways to do this. They may become aware of your content because they go to your website to read it, or they may consume it right on Facebook, but what you’re essentially doing is saying for anybody who takes that action, you are going to take that audience and say, “Okay, those people are interested in our content, so we’re going to up the game now” (you know this because of the Facebook pixel.)

These people will then see an ad that gives them a free trial, or an evaluation, for example.

You’re making a determination that because those people watched your first video, clicked on your ad, or went to get your ebook, that they are going to be interested in an even more aggressive offer.

At this point, you can start saying things to them like, “If you like the ebook, why don’t you get the $29 course?” which allows you to move them up into something that engages, educates, and allows them to move along the path and the journey.

Ultimately, you’re going to go after people who take that action and send them messaging to see how you can sell them your products or services.

As you can see, the funnel approach is your typical customer journey. The conversion component may end up being a one-on-one strategy meeting that you’re offering, or some low-cost audit.

You’re taking people that have raised their hand and said, “I want to know more,” and you’re moving them along the journey with this approach.

The funnel approach is audience-building. It’s a series of ads that are triggered by the fact that somebody took action, and it can be a low-cost way to funnel people to the point at which they want to buy.

If you skip these steps, and you just run “Hey, buy my stuff” ads, you’re probably not going to be that successful, and I see a lot of people wasting a lot of money that way because it’s easy to do.

The funnel approach takes a little time to set all the assets up, but it’s the kind of thing that you could run and repeat over and over again once you find a formula that works.

There you have it! Those are my best tips for getting started the right way with Facebook advertising. I’ve also included some of my favorite types of ads, tools, and further education below that I highly encourage you to check out.

Types of Ads

There are numerous types of ads on Facebook, but the examples below are what I find most helpful.

Facebook Ad Types

Facebook Tools

Further learning

Content Marketing is About Customers, Not Keywords

Content Marketing is About Customers, Not Keywords written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Content Marketing for Small Business

I’ve had content marketing for small business on the brain recently so I thought I’d write about it today. “Boy, there is a topic that hasn’t been covered recently,” said nobody in a long time.

Here’s the thing though, I think it’s one of those topics that is misunderstood and certainly evolving. Content creation has fallen squarely into strategy as far as I’m concerned. In fact I often call content marketing the voice of strategy.

Looking at your website, website’s structure, your SEO plan, and content or editorial plan, overlap significantly in the category of strategy, and while you have to address them in an integrated way, you also have to start thinking differently about content and how you’re going to use it to meet some of your business objectives.

Ever since the major algorithm changes that everybody talks about, the hummingbirds and the pandas, where low-quality content and dubious backlinks really got slapped, a lot of SEO people are really starting to come to realize that content is everything that drives that entire industry.

Then Google comes up with something called RankBrain. This is their artificial intelligence engine that learns not only about what people are searching for, but what they do when they find it, how they engage, how they dwell, and how they share.

In fact, one of the most important metrics or ranking factors in the future is going to be engagement. So creating your content around getting engagement is not only a good thing from an awareness and trust-building standpoint, it’s also a very crucial ingredient in how content is going to be ranked.

Towards the end of 2017 I created a guide for local marketing, because I wanted to create content that was specific to the challenges of getting a local business to rank or to get customers. By local I mean that they are in a community and most, if not all, of their customers, are in that community and interact by coming into their store, or their place of business, or that they go out and have a sales call with that person.

There’s a lot of content on local marketing. It’s a really hot topic right now, and with that guide, I was able to rank number one in Google for various search terms around local marketing in about two week’s time.

I have a lot of pages that are on page one, about 1700 last time I looked. So obviously I’ve got a tremendous amount of momentum, and so I’m not going to suggest that just anybody can do this.

There are a lot of terms I don’t rank for in this approach. Identifying a term, a problem and a challenge that a prospective client has, and then putting all of my energy into getting that content to rank, is what took me from, maybe page two or three to the actual number-one spot, and this now is generating significant traffic,links, and opportunities.

Understanding intent

The key to anything we talk about with regard to content strategy is intent. What problems, questions, or goals does your client have?

Keep in mind that they’ll probably change along the way when they’re trying to find a product or a service like yours. To discover your customer’s intent, look at emails that you’ve sent. Talk to your sales or service reps. What questions are they answering?

It’s important to do keyword research, and SEO folks will still tell you that that’s step number one. I’ve certainly done a lot of education around this idea of how to do keyword research, and it’s important, but it’s a starting point only. If you stop there, you’re only going to get one piece. You’re going to optimize your content for keywords.

People aren’t keywords and their problems aren’t necessarily keywords. People may express problems in ways that turn into key phrases, but the content today has to be customer-focused. Go out and talk to your customers. Look at reviews. Look at your competitors. What are people saying?

Those are oftentimes some of the best markers, or clues, to find the real problems that people want to be solved. Many times what we find isn’t the stuff that we want to put on our website. It’s the little things.

Do you show up on time? Do you return my calls? Do you clean up the job site? Those are things that are real problems that you or your competitors are actually solving for their customers because they are turning up and voluntarily writing those words as though they are talking to another prospective client.

It’s some of the best content you can get, but don’t forget to talk to your customers and ask them a lot of questions as well.

Helpful tools for content marketing efforts

There are a couple of tools out there that we use all the time. Answer The Public is a relatively new tool where you can put in a search term and you’ll get all kinds of variations, ideas, and questions that people ask.

Questions are so great and so valuable because there’s a lot of intent. If somebody just types in a couple of words, “referral marketing,” for example, it’s not often easy to tell what their intent is, but if somebody types in “how to set up a referral marketing program,” it gives you a pretty good idea of what they’re looking to do.

We also use BuzzSumo which is another great tool that shows the most shared content related to your phrases. A lot of times the fact that people are sharing content means that it hit the nail on the head. It addressed a problem or answered a question.

I wish I could tell you that you’ll magically get five themes that will just be the perfect thing that you need to write about, but it’s not that simple. There’s a bit of art in this. I can’t always tell clients exactly what I’m going to find, but I always find it.

Choosing content

The last piece of this is that a lot of times people make the mistake of saying, “Well, we’re this kind of company, but the most popular content people want is X, Y, and Z.”

There are a couple problems with just choosing content that you think will be popular. It’s very hard to be customer-focused.

If you’re a business that serves a certain type of customer, but you’re choosing content because it’s popular but you aren’t an expert on the topic, or you don’t have a unique point of view about that content, you’re probably not going to produce something that is customer-focused.

After you do keyword research and talk to your customers, you’ve got to take your unique twist, approach, and expertise, and bring those to it so that it will be completely relevant for your customers.

Once you’ve done your keyword research, the next step is to create themes for your content. To come up with your themes, you must think in terms of a body of work, almost like chapters in a book, that you’re going to put your emphasis on, maybe for an entire month, and create content that will allow you to outrank competitors for key search terms.

You must stay very focused to do this.

Creating content packages

The best way to rank for any search terms is to know your customer better than anyone else and create, what I call, a content package to address your known client problems and challenges.

So what’s a content package? I’m going to go back to the local marketing guide example. I create a page, like The Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing, that becomes an actual core page on my site (not a blog post). I turn that page into a table of contents of sorts that includes all the major elements of local marketing.

From there, I create numerous posts that point directly back to that page, and I link them all together with categories, anchor text, and a little bit of theme magic in WordPress that allows me to display related content.

All of these pages, along with some useful curated content from some very high-domain authority sites, really create this depth of content that allows you to then rank for, in this case, key local marketing problems.

It’s like I’ve built this little wing on my website where the major jumping-off point is almost like a table of contents. You go to that page and there’s audio, video, and a whole list of links to other content that is related to a sub-category.

I’ve taken local marketing, I’ve broken it up into five sub-categories, and then those sub-categories blast out to all kinds of other content on my site.

The beauty of this is that I’ve now got a lot of content that I’d written in the past that I was able to bring to this, but going forward, I’ve got a lot of content that I will continue to write into the future, and I will link it to this page, so this page will continue to get updated and freshened up. If I do a webinar, maybe on local marketing, I’ll go ahead and put the archived video on the page.

While I targeted the key phrase “local marketing guide,” it is starting to rank for dozens of related terms because of the depth of that content. As a bonus, one of the posts for using Ad Words for local business, which is one of the categories, has also jumped to the number-one spot for related search terms.

The power of interlinking and building a table of contents or chapters-in-a-book approach is the most potent way to rank for content today as far as I’m concerned.

Now this may feel like a lot of work and that’s because it is, but the bar’s been raised, and those that jump high enough are rewarded.

These pages are generating significant traffic, links, and opportunities. When people come to the main page, there’s a lot to consume, so they stay on the page. Bounce rate is almost nothing because they click and dwell on those links, and they visit more links because it’s all woven together, so Google sees high engagement in this form of content.

In addition, these pages become tools for all of our advertising and lead generation efforts.

So what next? Simply choose more themes and repeat the process every month. After a few months, you’ve created a massive content machine that is focused on your ideal customers, expertise, and unique point of view, not keywords, which will assist in driving business and leads, not just spammy clicks.

How to Use Content to Create Customers

How to Use Content to Create Customers written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

I know this isn’t the first time you’ve been told that you need to develop content to be competitive in the marketing world today, but the fact of the matter is, it’s so important that it’s worth repeating over and over again. The use of high quality, education-based content has become an essential ingredient in creating awareness, building trust, converting leads, and creating customers (hopefully leading to referrals and repeat business as well).

With that being said, content doesn’t need to be nearly as overwhelming as it once was. Gone are the days where you have to pump out content consistently in order to gain traction online. The name of the game today is quality, not quantity, and Google is getting really good at recognizing that.

I’ve developed a system for turning content into leads. Once the leads are in your hand, it’s up to you to close the deal and turn them into customers.

1. Decide what content you should create

For a while now, I’ve been promoting something I call the Total Content SystemTM, which is an approach that allows you to plan, delegate, curate, create, collaborate, repurpose and get far more out of every piece of content you produce.

Through your knowledge and by using keyword tools, you can develop a list of core content topics and assign one to each month for the next six months. Each theme should be a substantial topic related to your business or industry and represent an important keyword search term.

2. Invest time in content upgrades

Marketers today have tapped the insatiable hunger for useful, actionable, educational content and are employing highly targeted “content upgrades” to convert traffic to lead funnels.

Knowing that you’ll be creating less, but more valuable, content, be sure to marry this content with content upgrades. Since the reader is already engaged with your content, providing value with these upgrades will increase the odds of a conversion because they will already be a warm lead.

An important factor to the content upgrade is that it helps you segment visitor interest. People are very interested in how to do that one specific thing they searched for. If they land on your article, you have the ability to know what they are looking for and which content upgrade to provide when they need it.

One of the quickest ways to identify candidates for immediate content upgrade opportunities is to look through your analytics and find your most popular content and consider ways to personalize a content upgrade for those posts.

You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo to identify some of the most shared content online based on the keyword phrases related to your ideal client.

You don’t have to overthink the package for a content upgrade. In many cases what you’re looking to do is simplify information not make it more complex.

Providing these upgrades will increase your number of leads, and in turn, customers.

3. Ensure your audience sees your content

Keep in mind that no matter how good your content is, nobody will see it if you don’t promote it. You must ensure you promote it to relevant social channels, email lists, and so on to ensure it targeting the right people. Also, be sure to employ on-page SEO best practices within your content to help you get found by your audience organically.

Matching your content to the customer journey

To take your content creation even further, you must ensure that it is incorporated into every stage of the customer journey in order to solidify the close. I believe the customer journey consists of seven stages (what I refer to as the Marketing Hourglass): Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.

As a person moves through the customer journey, you must hit them with content throughout the process to keep them engaged with your business, and the best way to do this is to match the content you’d like to develop with the various phases of the Marketing Hourglass.

You must be aware of what your customer’s journey looks like in order to develop content for each stage of it. To help you do so, I’ve described the stages below to help you brainstorm what content would work best for you.

Know

The Know stage is the phase where people first become aware of your business, and it’s your job to put a piece of content out there that get’s their attention.

Like

At this stage, give your prospects reasons to keep wanting more and move towards gaining permission to continue the conversation.

Trust

I believe this is the most important step but arguably the most tedious and time-consuming. The more a person trusts you and your company, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you. Create content that helps build that trust.

Try

I think this the easiest phase to move people to the purchase. The content here needs to represent a sample of the end result. Demonstrate how much better your product or service is than the competition, to differentiate your business.

Buy

The focus here is to maintain a good experience for the prospect. In order to continue to deliver a remarkable customer experience, you’ve got to continue to educate through content.

Repeat

In the Repeat phase, you need to consider adding a results review process as well as additional upsell and cross-sell touchpoints.

Refer

Build processes and content campaigns that make it easy for your brand champions to refer your business.

Content marketing is here to stay. Put time and energy into creating quality content with associated content upgrades throughout each stage of the customer journey, and you’ll be sure to increase your number of customers moving forward.

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