Getting Started With Content Marketing

by Annie

in content marketing 101

Brightly wrapped present with large purple bow

Content marketing: the gift that keeps you giving (Photo credit: Irum Shahid - SXC.hu)

So you’re convinced that content marketing is the way to go with your home-based, small, solo, or freelance business. Good for you!

Now, how do you begin?

As with most complex undertakings, you begin with a plan.

Start With the End in Mind

Before you start researching how to add a WordPress blog to your site, or begin writing one word of content to deliver to your market, take a deep breath and ask yourself this question:

What do you want out of this?

Clearly, you want more clients, and more of the kind of clients you really enjoy working with. An improved bottom line is on every business owner’s wish list, right?

But what does that look like for you?

Spend some time creating your vision for this marketing plan in the beginning and you’ll save yourself some trouble later on.

Who Are Your Ideal Clients?

One of the best places to begin when you’re creating your vision is the concept of the Ideal Client.

Whether you’ve been in business for years or a few days, you already have a sense of what kind of clients you really want to work with most of all.

Spend some time creating a profile of these people. It’s not a detailed anthropological study. It’s a sketch portrait of an archetype. So don’t worry about getting details exactly accurate.

Just think about the people you most enjoy dealing with. What traits do they have in common? What kinds of work do they do? What are their lives like? Specifically, what do they need?

Identifying those needs, and then figuring out where the nexus lies between their needs and your services is the key to any successful marketing program but it’s critical for content marketing, which concerns itself with delivering the answers to the questions that Ideal Client is most interested in understanding.

Spell Out Your Content Delivery Strategies

With that sketch of your Ideal Client in mind, and knowing what questions he or she will be trying to answer, it’s time to explore your options for delivery.

Twitter is a great place to start. It’s easy to get started and master the 140-character limitations. You can target your message precisely. Get started by signing up for an account (which is free) and simply observing the conversation for awhile. (There will be more information on mastering Twitter on this site next week, so be sure to check back!)

Make sure your account name reflects your brand. You can choose your name, or some version of it, or your business entity name (mine is @PJProductivity).

By the way, sign up for Twitter, follow @PJProductivity, and I’ll follow you back – which will get you started easily and painlessly!

Facebook pages are another great channel to explore, as is LinkedIn. I’ll tell you how to get going with these sites in a later post, but for now, sign up for LinkedIn (again, keeping in mind your purpose for doing so) and Facebook, if you’re not there already.

You can begin to get a handle on how other businesses and blogs are using these sites by simply searching, once you’re signed in, for a blog you read or a business you patronize already.

As for your target site — the location on the web that you’ll be driving traffic to from the other channels — it’s a pretty simple matter to add a blog to your existing site, if you have one already.

If you don’t, you’ll need one, of course, and the most cost-effective and efficient way of doing this is doing a WordPress install on your URL. Again, I’ll be providing further instructions on this down the road; you can also hire a WordPress designer or freelancer through sites like elance.com and Guru.com at prices that will suit most budgets.

You can also upload video to YouTube, and create your own channel on that site. Video is a fabulous way to connect and deliver exciting content to people you’re trying to reach, and if it’s entertaining, then so much the better. You could go viral, but don’t count on it — and don’t count your efforts a failure if you don’t go viral.

I’ll be covering video later, as well, but for now, think about whether you want to include this as a content delivery strategy. If so, go ahead and create your YouTube account, and search for other businesses and blogs on that site to see how others are utilizing this medium.

Article marketing is another content delivery strategy that many business owners and freelancers choose. By writing articles (of 500 to 1000 words, or so) and uploading them to sites like EzineArticles, you can help increase backlinks to your site and your own visibility and authority in your field.

And yep, you guessed it — I’ll be writing more about article marketing here later on, too.

This post is just meant to give you an overview of the channels available to you as a marketer. It’s not exhaustive, by any means, but it does cover the options most often utilized by content marketing pros.

Once you’ve decided on your delivery methods, you can start to think about what kinds of  content you’d like to distribute using those methods.

  • Twitter and Facebook pages are great for directing people to your written content on your site or blog.
  • Twitter is also good for engaging and building relationships with others (clients, referral sources, possible JV partners, etc.).
  • LinkedIn is great for getting discussions going and looking for referrals for work you need done (say, on your website, or your logo).
  • FourSquare is good for brick and mortar locations to build brand loyalty
  • YouTube, obviously, is for video, and your own site or blog is best for written content, although you might choose to explore article marketing as well.

The next Content Marketing 101 post will cover specifics about blogs and websites.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca June 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Feel free to link to my Twitter primer when you write about using Twitter. No need to reinvent the wheel 🙂

http://rebeccatlittle.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-ive-learned-about-twitter.html

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Annie June 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm

No indeed. And you bet I’ll link to it – it’s quality stuff. 🙂

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