The Pursuit of Online Entrepreneurship
Podcast Episode 023 – 5 Reasons Why Content Marketing is Important to Your Business
5 Reasons Content Marketing Is Important to Your Online Business
I’ve got a secret . . . Content marketing can completely change your business. But it takes TIME.
I know this is probably NOT what you wanted to hear from me today. You’ve probably heard that using content to lead your marketing is simple, right? That’s half true—the overall concept is simple. But executing an effective content strategy requires a lot of work, thought, creativity, research, and of course, TIME—your time up front, and then more time for your content to do its job.
If you’re a service based provider, especially one with a client-facing practice, and you’re starting to think about expanding your business to the online space, then you’ve come to the right place to learn how to grow your online presence.
But given that bit up front information, you may also be wondering now where to find extra time to dedicate towards creating this content we all talk about. I’ll tell you right from the start: however many hours you choose to spend, it has to be the number of hours that makes sense and works for you and your schedule. There is no magic number of hours that equals content strategy success.
In the beginning stages, developing your content strategy can feel like a pretty daunting task, especially since you already have your hands full with serving your existing clients and running your business.
For this reason, I recommend you start out slow and build up your process and your systems. Do it at a pace that’s not only comfortable for you, but a pace you can sustain, because your content marketing strategy is a long-term one. It requires you to be consistent. You can’t just show up nilly willy (. . . is that the right term? I do confuse expressions sometimes).
As you grow your business, your processes become more efficient, and your service offers become more profitable, you’ll want to consider outsourcing your content marketing efforts. (We’re not spending too much time on this phenomena today, but I’ll be sure to cover it in a future episode.)
While you’ll often hear ‘overnight success’ stories of many online business owners—I for one know I was overwhelmed with seeing those types of posts everywhere; “Six Figures in 30 days,” “Five-Figure Months in Five Days,” and so on—I can tell you that it takes time. In general, I’d say most people wait and work with few results for about six months (sometimes more). For some people, that number may be as short as three months. The latter was the case for me, and I’ll tell you more about how I accomplished this in a few minutes.
Regardless of exactly how long each of us takes to see results, working on your content marketing strategy is super important to your business. As a business owner, you understand the long game—right? You’re in it for the long haul. I just want you to set realistic expectations for your efforts.
So, having said all this, today we want to focus on exactly WHY content marketing is so important, and the many ways it can benefit your business. Truly understanding the WHY will help put into perspective why it’s okay to dedicate your valuable time to developing a solid content marketing strategy. Executed correctly, content marketing absolutely will grow your online business.
In last week’s episode, #22, I talked about the difference between paid and free content. Prior to that, in episode #21, I went over what content marketing is at its most basic level, and what is it supposed to do for your business. If you need to back up and listen to those first, go for it!
Today, we’re delving even deeper into content marketing because yeah—it’s that important. I want you to see what having a strong content marketing strategy can mean for you, your business, your clients, and your profits. I really want you to understand what content can do and why it may be one of the best time investments for your business.
Content marketing is about using your knowledge, skills, and information to solve your ideal client’s problems.
By building your “Know, Like, and Trust” factors first, you’ll be better positioned to convert them to super fans, as well as paying clients. Your online audience appreciates getting to know you and learning about your business through content rather than constantly being bombarded with promotions and ads intended to sell to them.
I personally didn’t completely understand this part when I started out—there was such a disconnect for me. I thought adding value meant creating a bunch of techniques, how to tips, step-by-step trainings, and sharing it in a very bossy, robotic kind of way. After all, this style of communication had served me well in my corporate career. I was just following that framework.
I would spend hours creating what I thought was a jam-packed written post with a beautiful graphic, only to hear crickets after I hit the publish button. My content didn’t have a purpose. There was no strategy behind my offering. I was all over the place, and I was confusing my audience by talking about all sorts of different topics. The stress and overwhelm combined with the huge letdown I felt over the fact that my content wasn’t engaging anyone was enough that I very nearly gave up on creating content altogether. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.
Luckily, I found a mentor who helped me create a marketing strategy by starting with the end in mind. We refer to this as reverse engineering our content creation to take our audience on a journey which will lead to the thing we’re offering.
Implementing this strategy not only changed my online business, but it improved my confidence and my relationship with my audience. It allowed me to develop a system and strategy that I could duplicate over and over again to create effective content with a purpose, a goal, and a strategy.
Now, let’s get back to today’s focus.
HERE ARE 5 REASONS why content marketing is important to your online business. By developing and implementing a strong and consistent content marketing strategy, you can:
- Attract your ideal clients
- Grow your online presence, brand, credibility, and reputation
- Generate quality and qualified leads
- Build strong relationships with your online audience
- Enjoy a long-term strategy (and useful life) for your content
Okay—now let’s do a deeper drive on each of the 5 reasons I just listed. We’ll start with the first item:
ATTRACT YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS
What do YOU do when you need information on how to do something? I know what I do. I Google it, or YouTube it. That’s the norm now. When we need to find out how to do something, our instincts tell us to go to the internet to find the answer.
When you create content, you want to make sure you’re sharing information that solves a problem your clients have. Then, you also want to share it where your clients hang out.
It sounds so obvious, but it’s true. You want to be where your prospects are, which means you want to be easily found on social media and with search engines like Google, Youtube, and Pinterest (that’s right, I said Pinterest . . . Both YouTube and Pinterest are search engines just like Google).
By producing helpful and valuable content that directly solves a problem or addresses your audience’s challenges or concerns, your content will get traction, and your audience will begin to grow. It takes time, commitment, and patience, but creating and sharing valuable and helpful information for your ideal audience increases your online traffic, period.
GROW YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE, BRAND, CREDIBILITY, AND REPUTATION
There are tons of entrepreneurs offering the same services and marketing online daily. Building an online business isn’t easy, no matter how many posts you read telling you to ‘just do it.’ But I personally don’t mind the hard work, the discipline, and the roller coaster that comes with entrepreneurship. I happen to love the opportunities and freedom my online business provides.
Having just said “Building an online business isn’t easy”, there are several things you can do to improve your results and increase your business’ online presence—which, in turn, also grows your brand, credibility, and reputation:
1. Don’t copy other entrepreneurs. Be yourself—the combination of your experience, your skills, your style, and your voice is enough. Give your audience the opportunity to get to know the human behind the business. Let them get to know the real you. Build trust and relationships based on authenticity, not some version of someone you think you should be online.
2. Get clear on who your ideal clients/your audience/your peeps are. The fact is that you need to speak to a specific audience. You ever hear the phrase, “The riches are in the niches?” The more specific you are with your target audience (your niche), the easier and more impactful your content marketing will be, and THIS is what ultimately grows your business. Your target audience will connect and engage with your content, and this is the audience you want to convert to paying clients.
3. As my mentor Amy Porterfield says, “Keep it simple. Get fancy later.” When someone visits your website or reads your content on other social media platforms, it shouldn’t confuse your target audience. It should be simple and clear.
Online, it’s your content that drives traffic to your website, to your social media platforms, to your offers. Content marketing helps you create and accelerate the right kinds of content, strengthening your online presence in particular niches.
In episode #21, “What Is Content Marketing & What’s It Supposed to Do for Your Business?,” I shared:
“Content marketing, when done right, creates demand—demand for your product, for your service, for your course, for your program, or whatever it is that you’re selling. Which makes selling so much easier because if you do it right, that content you create is pre-seeding. So all along, the content you create, share, and promote begins to create a demand for your thing, your product, your service, your program. In other words, it creates a buzz around the thing you’ll ultimate promote and sell.”
People are often turned off by a hard sell. (Do you get excited by seeing, reading, and hearing promotion after promotion?) But content marketing allows you to position your online brand as being of service, being helpful, being valuable—not salesy.
If people like the information you’re sharing, they’ll begin to trust what you say. If your audience consistently sees you being of service, providing useful and helpful solutions to their problems and questions, they’ll start keeping you, your business, your brand at top of mind, and you’ll develop a strong reputation as being someone who is resourceful and helpful—as the go-to pro in your area of expertise.
GENERATE QUALITY AND QUALIFIED LEADS
Creating and sharing the type of content you know will help your ideal client will ensure you grow a following that is interested in your information.
Even if your audience isn’t ready to buy from you straight away, they’ll continue to follow you and through engaging in conversations, you’ll learn more about them, which will help you create and share more relevant content and, ultimately, convert that interaction into a lead.
This is one of the golden rules of the online space: People need to get to know you, learn about you, get exposed to your teaching style or the kind of information you share. Over time, by showing up consistently and sharing helpful information that solves a problem and is of value, your audience will be more likely to pay attention and take action when you have something to promote and sell.
Remember, you’re in this for the long haul. You’re committed to showing up for your audience, solving problems, letting your audience get to know you. And as you get to know your audience, you’ll notice that you’re developing a relationship that is built on trust.
As you’ll learn, an engaged audience is considered to be a warm lead, and this warm lead is way more likely to buy from you once you’ve earned their trust.
BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR WARM LEADS AND CLIENTS
Did you know that our audience needs to see an average of seven pieces of content from you before they start to notice you? Yup, that’s right. Seven.
So stop worrying about whether the post you shared a few days ago is too similar to the one you shared today. Chances are, your audience won’t remember or hasn’t seen your other post; therefore, it’ll be fresh content for them.
What you see as repetition, your audience will see as consistency. Consistency in the frequency you’re sharing your content online and consistency in the type of information you share.
This consistency builds trust with your audience. They’ll trust that serious about your business. They’ll trust your information, especially if it helps them solve a problem, get unstuck, or claim a quick win.
Sharing consistent content means that by the time someone engages with your or contacts you, they’ve already seen your expertise in your field, and they know that you’re qualified to help.
They already trust you—and trust is a key cornerstone of any long-term relationship, especially in the online space.
So you see how before your online followers engage with you, your content marketing strategy has already helped you with your sales. Focusing on serving your audience first leads to building a strong foundation for a strong long-term relationship that will ultimately convert some of them into lifelong fans and paying clients.
ENJOY A LONG-TERM STRATEGY (AND USEFUL LIFE) FOR YOUR CONTENT
I haven’t shared what type of content to create as part of your content marketing strategy. That’s because I’ll cover that topic in great detail in next week’s episode. However, I do want to give you an example of what I mean by. “Enjoying a long-term strategy and useful life for your content.”
Let’s say you have a blog on your website, and one of your blog posts was a detailed step-by-step training on how to use your Facebook Business page to grow your consulting practice and get fully booked with clients.
Let’s say you wrote that blog post about nine months ago and it’s so darn good that you continue to share it periodically on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. In addition to the social media exposure, your headline and blog content on that particular post is full of relevant search words and phrases, which leads to folks finding your post via Google searches. Google sends a ton of traffic to that blog post each week, even nine months after you first wrote and published it, without you doing much extra work on that post at all.
In that way, you can create and share content that is helpful, valuable, and which has a very long, useful life. The right content can be continuously shared, found organically through searches, and it will continue to drive traffic to your website.
In this particular example, once you’ve published something to the internet, it’s going to live online forever. This means you can continue to benefit from the internet’s SEO rewards for a long, long time.
That same blog post can serve as the original content. You can then repurpose it by using portions of it to create other types of content such as Facebook posts and Instagram graphics with quotable phrases. You could do a Facebook Live focusing on one of the tips you share in your post, or create a series of pre-recorded videos for each tip you shared in the blog post. And if you’d like, you can even invite the audience you reach with these smaller posts to read the entire original post for a detailed step-by-step training . . . Which of course extends the life of that original post even more. Your original content will continue to work for you long after the initial time you spent creating and publishing it.
Can you think of a few ways you could extend the useful life of content you’ve already created to drive organic traffic for your business?
LET’S RECAP ON THE 5 WAYS HAVING A STRONG CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY CAN BENEFIT THE GROWTH OF YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS
1. Attract your ideal clients
2. Grow your online presence, brand, credibility, and reputation
3. Generate quality and qualified leads
4. Build strong relationships with your online audience
5. Enjoy a long-term strategy (and useful life) for your content
Look, when you align your content with your client’s problems, challenges, or needs at each step of their journey, you make it easier for them to go from prospect, to fan, to loyal client.
Remember how I started the show today: Content Marketing takes time to work, but it does work. And the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll get to the fun part when it starts to generate the results you expected.
If this is starting to make sense but you need a little help to give you a quick start, I’ve put together a FREE worksheet to help walk you through the different stages of your content marketing strategy.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN . . .
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. I’d love to hear from you! Scroll down to the comment section and let me know: How are you using content marketing in your business?
Also, have you subscribed to my podcast yet? It’ll take you less than 30 seconds, and each week’s episode will be downloaded automatically so you’ll never miss and episode. Go to iTunes (or whichever platform you use) to subscribe and review.
Be sure to listen to next week’s episode, Content Creation 101, where I’ll provide some step-by-step content marketing tips.
I thank you for showing up for me, for yourself, and for your business.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Podcast Episode #21: WHAT DOES CONTENT MARKETING DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
- Podcast Episode #22: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FREE AND PAID CONTENT?
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