At the end of last year, I began a series about content marketing.
If you haven’t read the first two ‘episodes’, then I suggest that you do so before you read any more of this third and final one:
Up to now, I’ve given you some of the best tactics you can use to create great quality, engaging content for your online ‘tribe’. More importantly, they’re tactics that actually work (as you’ll have seen from the case study examples I showed you in the previous posts).
However, you could create the best content in the world, but if no one sees it within your target market, it’s pointless.
This post is all about how to ensure that as many people in your market see your content as possible, even if you have a relatively limited budget.
So, let’s dive straight in…
Growing Your Following
There’s no easy way to say this…
Most people who run businesses that are either fully online, or have an online presence, are going to fail at promoting themselves this year… And every year that they don’t apply what I’m about to discuss…
(By the way, that might sound arrogant on my part but I assure you it’s the truth, based on what I have seen and continue to see in online business.)
As a business owner with a website, you need to make sure that you’re building your following in three key places:
- In high-traffic communities that relate to your niche
- On your mailing list
- On social media where you can interact with your fans and prospects
That’s it. Nail those three consistently and you’re onto a winner.
In High Traffic Communities
The majority of these will be websites run by people who are already big names in their market. Crucially, these are people or organisations that allow others to contribute high-quality material to their sites.
You may have heard of guest posting… If you haven’t, it simply means that a well-known blog allows other writers to ‘guest’ on their blog. The writer doesn’t get paid, but they usually get a link back to their site and the kudos of writing for a more prestigious site.
They also get more targeted traffic to their site and new people find out about them who would never otherwise have heard of them.
If you want to grow your traffic as quickly as possible while maintaining the quality of the visitors, combine guest posting with my Enhanced Blogging Method.
You can also get ‘Forum Famous’ by regularly contributing to forums and becoming the go-to person. This builds your credibility among your chosen community.
On Your Mailing List
There are some people who are so into what you’re doing that they actually give you their email address and actually allow you to contact them.
That might sound insignificant, but have you any idea how often most people check their emails?
Depending on what time you’re reading this, you may have checked your email anywhere from once to 15+ times today. And you’re not the only one.
Email is one of the few communication staples that hasn’t changed much since the first email was sent in 1971 (yes, it really was that far back).
And your prospects are checking their emails regularly. If you want to engage with them and you have their email address, then get emailing!
And no, I don’t mean ‘spam them until they buy or unsubscribe’. I mean build a rapport with them, help them solve their problems and create products that they really want to buy. Again, it’s all about consistency.
On Social Media
It blows me away how many people build their site with the attitude that ‘if you build it, they will come‘.
That may have worked at the very dawn of the internet when there were only 100 or so websites online, but nowadays you have no chance of anyone finding you ever… Unless you go and give people value in the places they hang out in.
Are you targeting women who love fashion and jewellery? Then you need to get yourself or your company on Pinterest, because that’s a great place to hook up with that demographic.
Want to chat to a cooler, younger audience who are into all things visual? Instagram and Snapchat are for you.
Want to sell your stuff with highly targeted ads, using tons of social data and records of purchasing habits? Run some Facebook Ads.
You need to be in the places where your chosen market hangs out.
Go to where your prospects are. Give them plenty of value to show that you know your stuff. Don’t just try to make a fast sale. Engage with them, answer questions, share cool or relevant stuff. In short, be a real person.
The goal is get plenty of followers in those places that you can then convert into site visitors, and eventually, subscribers.
Hooking Up Your Social Media
If you’re the proud owner of a WordPress site of any kind, then this process has been made even easier for you. Don’t worry if you don’t, there are ways around this on other platforms.
Either way, you can ensure that your social media properties are all hooked up to your site, so that when you hit the publish button, all those accounts get notified.
One tool we use is a free plugin by WordPress called Jetpack.
Jetpack connects your site to the main WordPress.com servers and allows you to make use of some of their cloud-computing abilities. Put simply, you can use the features and reach of a huge site to get your (relatively small) site powered-up.
Within Jetpack are two features that help you to spread the word about your amazing content: Enhanced Distribution and Publicize.
Enhanced Distribution simply lets your site notify third-party tools like search engines about your latest post. It’s useful, but it’s unlikely to drive decent traffic.
Publicize is a different matter. You can activate it and then add your Facebook, Twitter and several other account types to it. Whenever you hit ‘Publish’ on a new post, your site automatically posts it to all of those social networks, saving you time and effort.
If you’ve been building your community in the way I suggested above, then that new post should reach some very receptive eyes and ears.
Fast-Tracking Your Facebook
Most of our regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Facebook Ads when it comes to spreading the word about your new content.
And it’s not just because I’m a Facebook Ads nerd that used to run all the ads for our clients here at Roar…
It’s because the potential ROI is off the charts, if you’ve built a community of fans who are hungry for your content and products.
Here are my two top tips for growing your following and eventually getting a good ROI:
- Continuously run a small-scale Facebook Like campaign – Even if you only have £10 per week to spend on it, run a Facebook Like campaign that targets your ideal prospects. With the dawn of Facebook Audience Insights, those potential fans should be easier to find than ever, so get your message in front of them. A consistent stream of new fans not only makes Facebook’s algorithms happy, but it also allows you to use those new fans as the perfect audience for your promoted content. They’ll be cheaper to advertise to and they’ll be more responsive.
- Make sure that you have a good funnel behind your marketing – There’s no use in putting up an amazing Sponsored Post that gets tons of people to opt-in if you’re not actually selling much on the back end. I help clients of mine get 300%+ returns on Facebook, but I can only do that if they have a strong back-end offer and they know their numbers.
Actually Getting A Return On Investment?
With everything I’ve written in this 3-part series, I’ve emphasised that it’s all about getting a better ROI for your content marketing output.
But can you really quantify your results?
The short answer is yes and no. Don’t worry though, that’s not nearly as vague as it sounds…
The reason the answer is yes is because you can track and measure on the internet in a far more effective way than you could ever track the success of print or TV advertising.
Google Analytics and many more tools like it can tell you that someone who saw your content on YouTube clicked through to your site and opted in. Your autoresponder service can tell you how many of those opt-ins regularly open and read your emails. And Analytics can also tell you how many of your site visitors have bought from you as a direct result of finding you on another site.
So, the answer to the ‘Can you quantify your results?’ is clearly yes, right?
Well… No, but ‘no’ in a good way. 🙂
Because think about this for a second…
What if someone sees your stuff on YouTube and then goes back to your site content and shares it. Then a few months later, they come back again and read some more. Then a month after that, they share some more. Remember, they’ve bought a grand total of bugger all at this point.
It’s hard (nigh on impossible actually) to track that one person’s effect on your business. By sharing your stuff with their ‘tribe’ they could well have bought you new business that you thought came about just because you’re awesome. Equally, they might not have helped your business at all.
It’s incredibly hard to track and measure the goodwill and brand equity that your great content creates. All I know for sure, is that producing good content that helps and entertains your prospective clients on a regular basis, works.
I see it time and again, with this blog whenever I post regularly, and with clients whenever they curate or create great content.
By building goodwill and demonstrating expertise regularly, your audience cannot help but want more. It’s almost as if you’ve trained them to want more by regularly giving them useful stuff.
If you can give them more of what they want as part of one of your paid services or products, then everyone wins.
Only a small proportion of your readers or viewers will ever buy from you, but if you build a well targeted audience in a market that has plenty of desire and build yourself up as an expert via your content, then a small proportion of buyers is all you need to be very successful.
Your job is to make sure that you’re giving them what they want on a regular basis. Engage them, help them and only after you’ve done so consistently, ask for the sale.
So, have you enjoyed this series on content marketing? Is there another series you’d like to see? Or did you hate it and prefer my shorter posts on key topics? Leave a comment below and let me know and I’ll reply to your comment asap.