How to use content marketing as a vehicle to showcase your business brand
Welcome to your content brand. In this article, we're going to be talking about using content marketing as a vehicle to showcase the value of your business, and if you're a solopreneur the value of you yourself.
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We're going to be covering the following in this topic:
Make sure you stick around until the end for this post how you can benefit from using content marketing to showcase your business as your own brand.
What Content Marketing Really Is.
Conservative Self Promotion
So first, let's talk about what content marketing really is.
There are three basic things.
The first thing is conservative self-promotion, and this one's a big one.
When you think about the whole concept of self-promotion, the first thing that pops into a lot of people's' minds, the first feeling, so to speak, is it's a negative connotation. People don't like promoting themselves. They don't like talking about themselves. They don't want to toot their own horn.
Most of us have been conditioned not to do that, to be humble and to be gracious and have humility and not really talk about yourself all that often.
But that's what content marketing is. If you want people to know about your business, if you want people to know about your products and your services, you must be able to promote your company and yourself and the value you bring to the table.
So with content, you can do this in a subtle sort of way, rather than just telling people how awesome you are and here are all of my accomplishments. You can demonstrate how good you are through good, quality content, whether it's articles or videos or audio programs or podcasts, or some kind of combination.
Just by speaking about your area of expertise, you will automatically promote yourself through the quality of your work.
Useful stuff that inherently promotes
Secondly, useful stuff that inherently promotes. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with self-promotion, but think about it.
People like consuming content. We all log on every day, whether it's Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or we're going to new sites or blogs, whatever, we're looking for things that are useful to us, to gain new information, to be entertained, to be enlightened or inspired.
We all search for content all the time because we want new stuff to flood our minds and to fill us with these new ideas and new concepts, and so your content can be part of other people's' recipe for doing that on a daily basis.
Again, it will inherently promote you, if we go back to what we were saying in number one there, if you do a good job of expressing what it is you're already good at.
A Chance To Tell Your Story
Third and finally, it's a chance to tell your story. Your story is what will ultimately connect your audience with you, your company, your business, your brand, and it's your story that will ultimately separate you from the pack, from the competition, because your story is unique.
Your product might be very similar to your competition, your service might be similar, maybe everything you do, everything you sell is similar, except your story, your personality.
Your unique being is what is unique, and that will separate you and allow you to attract an exact perfect audience, based on your story and your background, for you and for the things that you offer. That's what content marketing really is all about.
Now what is the main purpose of your content? This is an area that people sometimes get confused on, so let's dive into it.
THE MAIN PURPOSE OF YOUR CONTENT.
The main purpose of your content is to do these three things: Education, i.e. show your expertise; entertain; and motivate and/or inspire.
Now think about this for a minute. Can you classify all the content you currently consume, for you as a content consumer, not as a publisher right now but think about yourself as a consumer, do you agree that content you see on a daily basis generally falls into one of these three categories?
Don't mix this up. Especially if your audience is a professional audience, just because your audience is a bunch of professionals, if they work in the corporate world, if they're in sales, whatever, doesn't mean they're only interested in the education piece.
Think about what gets shared. Think about what people pass around through interoffice email or on Facebook.
It's number two and three. It's the entertainment. It's the motivation and inspiration, not just the education. That's important as well, but when you're entertained, when you're laughing at something or when you see something really, really interesting, those videos where you see people doing all kinds of amazing things with their bodies or riding vehicles or running up the side of a building, you name it, that's shareable material.
That's entertaining. It distracts us maybe from our job or from what we're doing, but at the same time it's still powerful content because it grips us and it's something we want to share with our spouse, with our family, with our friends, colleagues, you name it.
And so it's not just educational, although that's important and you should be doing that, you want to make sure that your content covers all three of these categories.
If you cover all three on a regular, consistent basis, then you'll be doing a good job with your content marketing
But it does something a little bit more important than that, and here's what it is. The main purpose of your content is to simulate a personal connection with your audience, that establishes trust and makes buying decisions easier and more comfortable.
Think about it. We're talking specifically about online content here, and a lot of the cases your perspective buyers have never met you in person. So your content is what acts like that virtual handshake. The main purpose of your content.
Your content allows the person who may be looking at your product or service and maybe are on the fence or a little bit interested in it, and the content is what allows them to break down their barriers and ease up a little bit and start to trust you.
Because they can see through video, through audio, through spoken presentations, through written word in an article, consistently over time looking at your picture you're sharing on your blogs and websites, they become more comfortable.
They start to feel like they know you, and now even if they've never met you, even if they've never even had a single conversation with you, you have a chance to close a deal, to make a product sale or to make a services sale, even if they haven't had a conversation with you, because the content does a lot of that work on your behalf.
Content marketing success criteria.
That is a true power statement in terms of what content can do for you.
Now, in terms of content marketing success criteria, the best content marketing examples always satisfy two very critical criteria. Do you know what they are? Do you want to take a guess? Let's just skip ahead and I'll tell you.
Number one, evident passion and authority, and number two, a skilled display of that passion and authority.
evident passion and authority
Now think about it. If you're getting into a business model where you have zero passion and zero interest for your topic, it's going to be very difficult for you to create good, quality content.
You're not turned on, you're not passionate about it and it's going to be hard to demonstrate your authority, because you don't care or you're just pretending to care.
So that's key. You can't fake passion, so make sure that if you haven't satisfied number one, which is you've got to be passionate about this stuff or find something inside of what you do today to be passionate about, content marketing is going to be difficult.
Now assuming you've done that, and I'm going to assume you have, then part two becomes even more important. Skilled display of your passion.
skilled display of that passion and authority.
If you're a renowned expert but you suck at sharing your expertise, content marketing is going to be a struggle. If you have videos or audio podcasts and you speak in a monotone voice and you just want to get through it because you're nervous or you don't care or don't want to be there, it's going to be hard to be successful with content marketing.
You're going to have to practice, whether it's written, audio, video, getting on camera, doing it live. Content can be a live presentation that you deliver.
Whatever you choose as your vehicle to deliver content, and hopefully you're choosing a number of different vehicles, you have to work at it.
Build your expertise. Get better and better. You have to work on your skills of displaying your content and doing it in an effective way.
Communicating the message is just as important as the message itself. So it does take practice, and be prepared to practice long and hard until you master this skill.
Let's talk about content marketing mediums. Online there are basically five: Written, video, audio, graphical and combinations.
What you want to do is start thinking about all the different ways that you can take your message, the important tips and advice, plus those other things I talked about, entertaining, motivating and inspiring, how you can wrap all of your content into one or more or combinations.
Sometimes just writing an article to explain a point is the best thing you can do. Sometimes your audience will be in a rush. They don't want to watch a video. They don't want to download a half-an-hour podcast. They just want five tips to get the answer to a question.
So know that, especially if it's a particular type of content like a how-to list.
However, in other cases video might be the best way to display it. If you're trying to motivate somebody, let's say you have a course on developing self-confidence, maybe taking a video of your last presentation and publishing that to YouTube, sharing that with your audience, is the best way to give them that injection of confidence because they see you on stage, they see your passion, they hear your message, they see the audience reacting to it and they can get wrapped up into that content.
That might be a little bit more effective in that particular example than a written article would be.
So you get the idea here. Look at all the various content marketing mediums, accept and embrace the fact that you're likely going to have to get good at all of these. I'm sure one or two may play to your strengths in the beginning, but make a plan to get good at all of them.
And then start playing with it and see which forms of content marketing work best for you in your business.
The dark side of content creation.
Now finally, let's talk about the dark side of content creation.
So a little bit about content creation dilemmas. There are two here. When people sit down to actually create content, for some people there's this instant feeling of stress or worry or anxiety, and it usually comes from this whole perfectionist attitude, analysis paralysis.
Is this content persuasive and powerful and awe-inspiring enough for me to even publish it?
You can start really getting wrapped up in your own head, to the point where you never actually publish anything or you take five times longer to create an article or video, even like the one you're watching right now, than it should take you.
Content doesn't necessarily need to be a full-day project. You can pump out a really good piece of content in a matter of minutes, if you get good at this and if you follow some of that advice I mentioned earlier about practice makes perfect.
If you're practicing your content creation on an ongoing basis, a lot of this will go away.
So the antidotes, there's two really. One, remember that your one piece of content that you're stressing about right now is just one item in a sea, a giant, massive internet see of business and noise.
There's content flying all over your Facebook wall right now. If you have Tweet Deck install right now for Twitter, you couldn't even see the number of Tweets that are being pumped out there in the Twittersphere right now.
There's just so much out there, and you're lucky to get people to glance at your article for just a second.
As long as what you're communicating displays some of the things I mentioned earlier, like passion and authority, and if you do a good enough job of expressing that then your content will do well. You don't have to worry about it being perfect.
Even if you have typos, even if you spelled something wrong or something didn't flow, as long as the message comes across, and more importantly that passion and authority comes across, it will work for you.
I always say this. Something published, even if it does have a few mistakes, even if it isn't your best, most amazing piece of work ever, is better than nothing published.
If nothing is published then you're not doing content marketing, and if you're not doing content marketing you're missing the whole message here. You're not going to be getting the benefits of pumping out really good stuff that inherently promotes you and gets people knocking on your door, without you having to sell all the time.
So that's what we're talking about here.
Remember this. If you look at the road between failure and success, when in doubt, you need to embrace the discomfort.
I'm talking about those anxieties, those stressors when you're building that content, when you embrace your discomfort and you sit down and you pump out that article and you look yourself in the mirror and you say, "I'm finishing this video. I'm not taking another sip of coffee. I'm not removing myself from this chair until this piece of content is complete."
You're going to stop going to your comfort addictions, which is Facebook, reading CNN or any news websites, picking up your iPhone and texting your friend. It's going to the kitchen for a bite to eat.
All of those are comfort addictions that are taking you away from this discomfort zone.
It's uncomfortable to force yourself through the completion of a piece of content. You're going to stop reverting to those comforting addictions, and you're going to force yourself to stay in place until your content is complete.
If you do that, that becomes that mode you get into where you're practicing and you're becoming better and you're going to develop confidence and you're going to stop caring about that perfectionist attitude.
Suddenly, you're going to see that your content works, because you're getting better at it and you're forcing yourself through that process.
But it's not going to feel like force over time. It's going to feel fun, because you're going to develop the habit of doing a good job of it.
Remember this last point here. Content marketing is totally useless if you don't have some kind of call to action.
It's got to drive people somewhere, to some kind of opportunity or offer where you can actually do some selling, where you can close people on what it is you offer.
You can't be flaky about this. Your content marketing has to display good quality content and needs to share valuable information. It can't be all salesy, I agree with that, but at some point you've got to let people know what it is you sell.
That's the whole point of content marketing. That's the key word here, is marketing. It's got to pre-sell people on what it is you offer, and if you do a good job about it they're going to want to buy from you anyways.
So don't be afraid to tell people about what you do, and don't be shy about it and don't worry about people telling you not to do this. You need to do it.
You have to eventually get people to your offer pages, and the way to do that is to be 100% onboard with what it is you sell.
So if you're just getting into business, be 100% onboard with what you're selling. Products, services, I don't know what it is for you, but make sure you believe in it.
And if you're not at that stage right now, it's going to be pretty hard to confidently pump out content that gets people over to your website or over to your offers, because you yourself aren't sure about what you're selling.
So get sure about it. Make sure that whatever it is you're offering helps people and you know that it gets them results.
Content Marketing Is Useless without Call To Action
I don't care what it is you sell, if you're not 100% onboard, the content is going to suck, people are going to see through all of the nonsense and nothing is going to work.
So be onboard with it, believe in it, make sure that you live by what it is that you're selling, and if that's the case your content is going to be awesome and you're going to convert more people and they're going to want to buy from you because you have good content and you have a good offer.
So thank for taking the time to read to this article about your content band. We've talked about how to use content marketing as a vehicle to showcase the value of your business.
Now it's time for you to get out there and act on it.