This week from Washington Place in the heart of Little Italy here in Cleveland, Ohio. Place for third year in a row in Top 10 Best Patios in Cleveland. WashingtonPlaceLittleItaly.com
Inbound Marketing is a way to market that brings people into your business or web site.
You draw attention by making your business easy to find online and this is done by producing interesting and compelling content – this aspect of Inbound Marketing is called Content Marketing.
Over the next few weeks we’re beginning a series of videos on how your business can get started with content marketing and how it can work for you.
What is content marketing?
It’s the ability to create content that is interesting enough to grab people’s attention by answering questions, solving problems or providing information that your audience would valuable and find helpful.
There are many forms of content, be it a BLOG or VLOG (Video Blog such as this). It could be in the form of a research document distributed online that some call an e-Book or white paper. Or it could be in the form of a Case Study.
Whatever that content is, it will be part of a broader plan to gain attention and position you as a thought leader or expert of your industry, then your prospects will come to you before going to one of your competitors. And that’s because of that relationship you’ve established with them prior to the purchase.
The key is to not only produce and deliver great and compelling content to your audience, but do it consistently. You must make that commitment before you even begin creating your Content Marketing Business Plan.
And really, it’s actually better to not get involved in Content Marketing at all than to start it, and fail to deliver high quality content and lose your audience. And content marketing is a long term way to market. There are no shortcuts. It’s a lot of work, but the upside can be tremendous for your business.
What am I going to talk about? What am I going to BLOG or create a video about?
To answer those questions, first decide why you want to create content in the first place. What can you offer your audience for them to want them to come back and consume your content week after week?
Businesses often create a Facebook page or Twitter account with no plan of action in mind. They do it because ‘everyone else is doing it’, but most everyone is not doing it right. This is why it’s so important to create a Content Marketing Plan and make that plan available to your staff so everyone knows exactly what the plan is. You need to create a content or editorial calendar that spans out over a 4-6 week period that is your road map or guide to the type of content you’ll be creating.
While we’re discussing the basics of content marketing here, but we’ve also created an eBook that will build on this foundation – How to Get Started with Content Marketing. Its a free download included when you subscribe to Happy Hour Recap (see sidebar).
Determine your audience
The first question you should ask yourself is “who is my audience?” “Who will I be creating content for?”
There are a lot of ways to go about identifying your audience and buyer persona, but we always ask a client, “Who is your customer? What are their interests and what processes do they go through before making that decision to buy?
You could come up with 3 or 4 buyer personas for your business, but chances are, and for purposes of getting started, just focus on 1 or 2; then decide what type of content you need to create to position yourself as an expert or leader in your industry.
Once you establish who your audience is your next task is to ask, what’s my plan? How will my content marketing mission statement read?
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; it could be one or two sentences, and according to Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, you’re content marketing mission statement has to include:
1. Your core audience – who will the content serve?
2. What will be delivered in terms of content?
3. What will be the outcome of your content? How will your content make life easier for your audience.
And that’s it. If you’re content marketing mission statement speaks to that, you’re off to a good start.
And second, don’t forget your content should be the basis for growing your email contact list. For example, if you’re creating great content you also need to create a call to action for people to sign-up for your e-newsletter or sign-up to receive premium content such as an e-Book, a webinar, a white paper or a case study.
It’s not only about creating great content, but also getting people’s permission, via a name and email address, to send or offer to send them more great content. All the while you’re establishing a relationship with your audience as you continue to become the thought leader of your industry.
Thank you, Washington Place Bistro and Inn for having us. You’re one of the special places in historic Little Italy.