blogging, ebooks, infographics, videos, images, audio, social media marketing, email marketing and PPC are all things that I should be doing, but I can't start doing everything now. What's the one thing I can do right now to get the ball rolling?
Typically, the easiest starting place is with a focused blog that you contribute new content to frequently. The flipside would be to create one thought-provoking thought leadership piece (whitepaper, ebook, etc.) that you can use to drive traffic to and show your expertise.
Another route is to purchase a highly-targeted email list of people in your target audience and use that list to push content to via email. That would be a quicker way to get a large number of eyes on your content, as opposed to (or in addition to) starting from scratch with a new blog and relying on people to find it via search. But there are some obvious pros and cons of purchasing a list.
That being said, a lot of this will depend on your business and what your goals are. If you're interested in chatting about this, let me know. Newfangled (the company I work for) offers a lot of content marketing consulting, so we can likely get you moving in the right direction.
That's an excellent question and one that many startups and business owners struggle with, so know you're not alone. First, you want to look at who your audience is. What would be the most helpful for them? Does your product or service require more demonstration? If so, it might be best that you start with short educational videos. At the same time you need to start with what is easiest for you to create on a consistent basis. That latter part is the key. Start with what ever you can create on a consistent basis that is exceptionally good. If that is one blog post every Wednesday then start there and grow to other content types as you get a routine down.
The only way to become a thought leader is to start writing and getting your content out there - people are always hungry for content and many will allow you to submit articles. Today you can create an info product or quick tips guide that you can offer to industry leaders and potential clients/customers. Also - subscribe to . Use services like http://go.helpareporter.com right away and start responding to reporters that are writing on topics relevant to your industry.
You absolutely need to have a solid content strategy at the foundation. I personally had a great experience getting guidance in our own strategy formation from Shelly Bowen at Pybop.com, as she helped me realize that I was thinking about our tactics before setting a vision and strategy. She described the content strategy as a foundation that allows you room to move, which was refreshing. I also recommend The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane and Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson.
I really found it to be a reductive process more than anything, like peeling back layers of an onion, and getting clear on why your company exists. With the "why" in place, you can then move to the "how" and "what" and know that your approach aligns back to your vision and mission, and the bright shiny objects that don't jive with that can be set aside for now.
Without this framework in place, your efforts are going to be scattered and you are going to waste time and resources on content with no clear purpose. I think of a first person shooter game, in which you accidentally have your controls switched and you are aiming your gun up in the sky when you are trying to point it down, and firing shots in random directions just trying to figure out how to even know where you are moving, and then someone shoots you.
With a proper decision-making framework in place, you can find the highest impact opportunity (trust me, with patience and intentional focus, it will reveal itself to you in an "oh shit!" moment). Give it the focus it deserves to do it well, and then confidently move into the next area.
I'm happy to discuss more specifics on this. As the CEO/Cofounder of Column Five, we have been implementing successful content marketing campaigns for over five years, but to be honest, nothing taught me what it takes to really make an impact like the process of properly redefining our own content strategy over the past few months.
I agree with Jason, 100% -- before you dive into the what and the how, it's critical that you understand the why and the who first.
Let's start with the why:
- what's the problem you're trying to solve?
- what are the business and personal goals that you want to fulfill?
- who else is talking about the same subject? What value are you adding to the conversation?
And looking at the who:
- describe the ideal member of your primary audience. How does s/he want to receive your message? Where are they already listening?
Finally, it's important to be honest about your own work style. One of my clients couldn't get jazzed about writing a blog, no matter how much the data said it was the right way to go. So we set him up doing video reviews of his products and he's been super successful because the process isn't daunting for him. Other people I know hate being on camera, so they podcast instead. And many people enjoy the flexibility that written blogs offer, so that works better for them.
I think you'd find a lot of value out of a Skillshare class I put together recently. It addresses most of these topics and more and is priced so it's affordable in any budget. http://skl.sh/1f08fmd
The best advice I can give is pick one thing you enjoy and keep at it. If you'd like, I'd be happy to chat with you for about 15 minutes or so to help you clarify your goals. Here's my free clarity link: https://clarity.fm/andreagoulet/howdy
Best of luck! :)
It all comes down to your goals and your budget. If you have a decent budget to begin a PPC campaign, that's an easy way to start driving traffic and generate conversions (you just need to know how to manage PPC so you don't burn through all of your money too quickly). If you have less money but more time, you can consider blogging and some of the other content items you mentioned.
Content is not only one of the primary strategy used by top businesses to generate millions of page views - automatically.
It’s also great for SEO.
To build a killer brand that people trust and recall.
To remain top-of-the-mind for your category of products.
To help you build a personal brand and a closer relationship with your customers.
In a few words, “content is king” as Bill Gates said.
But, Angelo, “how can I write contents that sell, even if you're not a natural writer?”
1- Don't worry too much!
You don't have to win the Nobel prize this year :-D
Focus on consistency first.
Write at least one post per week.
You can focus on add quality once you got your writing habit.
My first company was a group of online magazines that I then sold in 2013.
I built it with 0 dollars spent on ads, only badass contents that people wanted to read and smart marketing to distribute them.
2- Know your audience.
What do people interested in buying your search for on Google?
What are their major problems?
You can get all these insights in different ways:
1- Using answerthepublic(.)com
2- Check the subreddits that you know your customers subscribe.
Click on “Top,” and you will get a full list of posts that already performed well.
You can either improve them by adding something missing or take inspiration.
3- On Quora check for answers with many followers in your niche/audience.
4- Go to Amazon or other big e-commerce that sells your product.
Check for the review from 2 to 4 stars.
You will quickly start to notice some patterns, where people are complaining about the same things over and over again.
Or maybe something is missing or is not how they expected.
These insights are not only useful for creating contents around your products and category but also to understand better your customers and their struggles.
It's gonna turn back valuable to write any copy (for your emails, your homepage, ads, etc.)
When you write, do it like you're writing that piece of article to your ideal customer.
Give him a name.
What does he think about during her day?
Who he'd like to be considered? (Cute, successful, etc.)
Maybe they're only assumptions for now, in the future, especially if you built an email list, it's going to come much easier to get into the mind of your customers and using the exact words they use :-)
BONUS: When you will have 5-7 contents ready, you should implement an email sequence for who just subscribe to your email list.
How? A simple but effective way to do this is: Use MailChimp or similar software. Create an automated sequence.
Send a welcome email and your best-performing blog posts in the first five days.
On the 6th day send another content but in the P.S. give a limited time coupon or add scarcity in some way for one your most requested product.
On the last email restate that the coupon is about to expire :-) You're increasing sales automagically in this way.
BOOM by Cindy Joseph, Headspace, Pandora, and many other companies send this kind of sequences.
- Angelo (http://angelosorbello.com)
P.S. Don’t forget that distribution/promotion is as important, if not more, than writing the damn thing :-)