THE KEY TO ONLINE MARKETING IS CONTENT – MAKE YOURS GREAT
Online marketing is the new mantra for business because it has the potential to reach a global audience, be more targeted, and cost a lot less money; if you are willing to put in the work. It is new and high tech, but has the same requirements as traditional marketing. Online content still needs to answer the 3 key marketing questions:
1. Why should I care? (you must get my attention, stand above the noise on the web)
2. What’s in it for me? (give me something valuable that benefits me)
3. Why should I believe you? (be credible, don’t sound like a sales person)
How do you create value for others with content?
1. Give them information they didn’t have before (thought leadership)
2. Entertain them (feel good)
3. Help them solve a problem (answer a hard question)
4. Help them develop their own skills (how to)
5. Help/empower them to deliver an outcome, succeed & look like a hero (do it yourself)
Content follows a continuum of value, the list above goes from least valuable to most and reflects the increasing effort in preparation to make it more valuable. The reason most people don’t make great content is it takes a lot of work and that is the key, your value add is to do the work so others don’t have to. Simply put, the time and effort you spend on creating high value content is the time and effort you’ve saved others to do it for themselves, and depending on your level of expertise 1 hour of your time may equal 10 hours of theirs. What the internet gives you is the ability to share the value of your work with so many others and in doing so you will build your online brand and reputation by helping others.
Below is a simple framework I use for content:
Thought leadership, tell people something they don’t know – “an MIT research report says the future of work is contracts, not employment”
Saves time; make this type of content interesting, useful and relevant. Simply re-sharing other’s content marginally builds your brand credibility, creating your own thought leadership is better if done well, information has a short shelf-life and limited reach as it is hard to get through the online noise
Give people something to lighten their day – picture/audio/video/story of something cute (puppies), something funny, something inspirational, …
Generate a positive feeling; this type of content creates a positive emotional association with your brand and has the potential to go viral; it doesn’t necessarily build your business credibility. Humour can be risky as not everyone interprets the way you intend
Give people something that gives direction, answers a question or solves a problem for them ie. – “Here are 10 things you need to do when setting up your new company”
Save time, solve a problem that leverages / showcases your special expertise; this type of content has better staying power and builds your brand and image as a subject matter expert (SME)
Give people something that empowers them to solve their own problem, develop skills & produce results that makes them look like a hero ie. – “Here is a word template for a start-up founders share agreement complete with a shareholder spread sheet to keep track of everyone’s equity through multiple financings”
Save time, save money, solve a problem, look like a hero; this type of content enables someone to produce their own outcome, this give you the greatest credibility as a SME, you are positioning yourself as an educator and an enabler, and it invites people into more of a dialogue for you to help them fine tune their solution
This content social marketing strategy is effective for business and for individuals looking for work. I have written more about how people looking for work can market themselves online in another article if you are interested.
I develop content for both businesses and myself and when I am I think of this framework and I consider: what does my “target market” want or need most urgently; how can my knowledge or experience help; how much time do I have; and how many people will it be relevant to. Then I jump in and start writing, as you see here in this article.
I hope this helps and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know.