One of the most effective ways to grow your business online (especially with a view to long-term growth and the “sustainability” of your marketing) is to zero in on the burning questions and problems that your target audience has, and then focus on answering them.
Businesses spend far too much time pushing the features of their products/services, and not enough time understanding what makes their target customer tick, and making it clear to them that you have the solution they need.
In my experience, one of the most effective ways to achieve this aim is through content marketing.
Effective content marketing helps you to:
- Generate a more steady stream of inbound leads, helping to keep your sales pipeline full and rich with opportunity.
- Build trust with potential customers, reducing buying resistance (because you have already demonstrated your credibility and expertise).
- Reduce marketing cost by reducing the need for paid digital advertising (or combine both and supercharge your results).
In this short article I’m going to cover an effective content-based digital marketing strategy that you can use to generate more traffic, leads and sales for your business in 2020 and beyond.
Step 1 - Understand Their Pain & Identify Their Problems
To start with, you need to understand the questions your audience have, and the problems they are experiencing.
One of the best ways to do this is to start brainstorming.
It might sound a bit “old school”, but I advise grabbing a pen and paper and doing this process manually to start.
Sit there and think of problems or questions you KNOW your audience have.
After all, the reason you are in the business you are in is probably because you identified a problem/question (or a series of them) and came up with an answer to it.
If you have other people in your business - especially sales or customer support reps who are “at the coal face” - then I would recommend getting them involved in the process as well.
Once you’ve done the manual brainstorming process, it’s time to go to an advanced level.
For this piece I recommend you use “Answer The Public”. This a paid tool with a very usable free offering, and it helps you to find and visualise questions that real people in your niche are asking online.
Start by loading up Answer The Public:
Then input a topic or “seed keyword” that is relevant to your audience. For example, I might do “Facebook Ads” because I know a lot of business owners struggle with Facebook Ads.
What you will see pop up is a visualisation of questions:
You can go through this list and start comparing and combining with the questions you brainstormed earlier.
Basically, what we are doing here is “verifying” your earlier brainstorm topics by using this tool.
Once you’ve done this, the next step is to prioritise the questions into an order that you’re going to tackle them in.
The conventional school of thought here is to find questions (i.e. “keywords”) that have plenty of search volume and then focus on targeting those first.
However, for DIY content marketers I think a better starting approach is to actually review your question/problem list and find ones that you can answer confidently and quickly.
The reason for this being that it allows you to get the ball rolling and get some runs on the board.
This approach makes it easier to get into good habits and a consistent, diligent approach to content marketing.
Over time, you can then transition to the more advanced forms of keyword research, looking more at search volume and competitive metrics.
Step 2 - Creating Your Content
Once you’ve picked your initial topics, what comes next?
Now comes the fun part - you actually get to start “creating”.
There is no real shortcut here ... you need to combine your industry knowledge (along with research) to create quality content that answers those burning questions you have identified.
One way you can look to speed up the process is to use audio transcription. Most of us are better at talking out our ideas than we are at writing them down. Use a transcription tool like Otter.ai to turn your spoken word into written word, and then spend a bit of time editing the content to make it more readable.
You can watch my video review of Otter.ai here
Another option (and something that I strongly recommend) is to create video content first.
By creating a video version of an article, you now have the ability to distribute it on additional platforms like YouTube (I will get to this important part shortly).
However you choose to create your content, the important part is that you get down to the business of making it.
You don’t need perfection here - it’s much better to focus on putting “pen to paper” (metaphorically speaking). You can refine your content creation process over time.
Step 3 - Distributing Your Content For Maximum Reach & Impact
Once you have created your first piece of content, the next step is to distribute it.
At this juncture, most business owners choose to simply place the article on their website (usually in a blog post) and then leave it at that.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that “if I build it, people will come and see it”.
Instead, you actively want to focus on trying to distribute your content as far and as wide as possible (while keeping the targeting relevant).
Here are some ideas you can try:
- Email your database with a link to the article.
- Post a link to your social media channels.
- If you’re active on LinkedIn, create a specific LinkedIn article (as opposed to a post which is limited to a shorter character count)
- Create a video version and post that to YouTube.
- Consider setting up your own podcast and then creating audio versions of your articles.
- Look at targeted paid advertising on Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Google Ads to drive people to view your content.
Basically, you want to maximise the reach of each piece of informative content you create, drawing more targeted people into the top of your funnel.
Step 4 - Scaling Up
Once you’ve followed this “rise and repeat” process a few times, it should become easier and faster to do.
You will hopefully find yourself getting in the groove of the process, meaning you need to spend less time per piece of content but the quality of your output actually grows.
At this point, the focus is on scaling and optimising your approach.
You should be looking at the statistics of the content you have created (using platforms like Google Analytics) to see what topics and formats perform the best.
For example, you might find that shorter articles that are heavy in pictures and video are the most popular with your audience.
You also want to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of your creation, pumping out more quality content to answer more questions.
One way to do this is through outsourcing the creation process. You might choose to come up with the topics and key points per content piece, but pay someone else to write for you.
Also look at processes for improving efficiency like creating video first and then transcribing to text and editing from there.
So, to recap the process:
- Identify questions/problems your audience has
- Create your answers as articles, videos, audio content etc
- Publish and publicise on your channels like website, social media etc
- Rinse and repeat, and remember that you have to be in this for the long run - you won’t see immediate results, but diligence and patience will win you more business in 2020 and beyond.
If you need any help implementing this strategy, then feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free, no-obligation call to discuss your digital strategy.