Content marketing is the foundation of any successful business (online or off). Your content is the first connection that you have with your prospects. A blog post or social media post can be their first interaction or exposure to you. It established that “first impression” and then it builds on that impression, either negatively or positively. Content is your communication tool to build that relationship, to establish trust, increase awareness and exposure, and ultimately to earn the sale.
You probably already know all of this and yet content may often be the last thing on your to-do list. This is a mistake. It’s understandable, business owners aren’t always writers and content creators. You may have your priorities set a bit differently. Yet business goals are tough to reach without a strategic focus on content. So as we continue with this content foundations series, let’s explore the 8 foundations of developing your content marketing mindset. Embrace the importance, and the role, that content can play in your business success.
#1 Build Your Credibility
The first step toward developing a content marketing mindset involves using the online world to build up your credibility. Use your blog, release white papers, and participate in social media and more to ensure that your reputation is well represented online. Perfect every social media profile and don’t start an account unless you are willing to keep it up to date at least weekly.
#2 Seek Out Thought Leadership
Getting to know thought leaders in your industry can actually rub off on you and make you into a though leader – eventually. Find and follow thought leaders in your industry, comment on their blogs, offer donated original content, review their products, and ask them to review theirs. Interview them on a podcast. Do what you need to do in order to become part of their circle.
#3 Understand Your Business
As you are building credibility and hobnobbing with thought leaders, study your niche and your business. You need to know everything there is to know, inside and out. That way when someone asks you a question you’re ready with a good answer and “sound bite” that can be used, makes sense and is true representation of what you do and what you stand for. Plus, you’ll have more to say (blog) if you know more.
#4 Become a Strategic Publisher
Learning to think like a publisher is essential today in the online marketing world. Developing a publication calendar will go far in helping you know what information you’re going to share with your audience over time. If you take the time to develop a calendar, you can match product launches with the content. Doing without a publication calendar is a huge mistake. Planning in advance from day one will ensure that everything you do has a purpose.
#5 Develop Your Own Online Space
In the old days of marketing, content marketing consisted of sending out duplicate articles to article directories. But, today content marketing consist of filling out your own online real estate with content before you even think about donating to any other sites. The more relevant, useful and enlightening content that you can put on your own online real estate, the better for SEO, and the better for your audience.
#6 Remember You Are in Control
Sometimes, as a business owner it can be hard to remember who is in control. But, if you can accept that you’re in control of your own business and your own destiny, you’ll have a better chance of successfully developing and following through on your ideas, as well as meeting your goals.
#7 Build Your Lists
One way to remain in control is to always be building your lists. Your email lists are the difference between success and failure when it comes to online marketing. Set up sign-ups for your newsletter or lists on your content and on your websites in ways that your audience cannot refuse. Plus, provide value by using the lists appropriately to build relationships and provide information.
#8 Build Communities
One way to build relationships is to build online communities through your content marketing. Using your content, lists, and social media networks to build a community is an essential component of content marketing today. Because just producing the content isn’t enough; you have to push it out to your audience, too.
Finally, accepting that content marketing is an essential element of marketing today for all types of businesses will help you to get on board with the right marketing plan that will move your business forward.If you want a helping hand or a bit more expert guidance, check out these three books available on Amazon. I personally really love the Ann Handley book, she appeals to the writer in me. The other two books are exceptional with strategy and helping you create a plan for your business.
Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi (Founder of Content Marketing Institute with a foreword from Brian Clark of Copyblogger)