Lots of companies start down the path of producing a whole lot of content, thinking that they’re going to build a ton of authority, grow their list, and that without having to spend a dime on marketing, they’ll grow their business.
That’d be nice, right?
The problem is that like any other tool, there’s a way to use content marketing that’s productive and a way to use it to needlessly smash your fingers.
It’s all in how you go about it.
The systems you build.
Without the right systems in place, the content you work so hard to create is going to get you “friend-zoned” by your customers - they’ll read it, say “oh, that’s nice,” and carry on living their lives.
But when you put the pieces in place that give people the information they need to solve the problems they’re facing AND you show them what to do next, that’s when things really start to take hold.
So what do you need to do to make sure that each video, each blog post, each podcast has teeth, and can actually help you get more leads, more customers, and more money?
There are three main parts:
1. Create Sticky Content
What is "Sticky Content?"
You want your audience to keep coming back to your content. To make it hard for them to leave. To be so helpful, so for them, that you’re building relationships, not just sharing information.
When your content brings people in and keeps them with you, that’s what we call “Sticky Content.”
To make sticky content, first and foremost, your content should be helpful. It should offer a solution to some struggle that your audience is facing.
How should I create it?
Because your public content is going to reach a much wider audience than your paid offerings, you probably won’t be able to go too far into specific, tactical advice, but you should at the very least offer relevant material that people can act on.
It should be easy to consume - as a general rule, content should follow the 65/35/5 Rule. The voice you write in should be a mix of 65% your audience’s voice, 35% your voice, and 5% demonstrating authority.
Writing and speaking this way builds empathy and helps develop your brand voice in your customers’ minds.
Don't miss the chance to make a connection.
It should include links to your other material - other videos, other blog posts, and other things you’ve created that dive deeper into specific topics you mention in this post.
Most importantly, each piece of content should include an offer for a high-quality lead magnet - something your audience can choose to download or access in order to help them implement the information you’ve given them in the post.
Once they download or access that lead magnet and you’ve got permission to continue to make contact, reach out with relevant offers based on the actions they’ve taken.
That follow-up is what will ultimately make the difference between content that people love to consume and content that gets them to take action and spend money with you.
By building trust with high-quality content and then offering a way for them to use the content more effectively, you’re establishing authority. You’re showing them that you’ve got a plan for them and all they have to do is trust you to guide them.
If you never make an offer for people to work with you, you can’t expect them to move in that direction.
Make it obvious what the next step for them to take is - people move into clarity and away from confusion. Be clear.
2. Promote it on social media
Once your content has been made, it’s time to get the word out to all the people you think it might be able to help.
Choose a Platform, Make a Schedule
There’s no harm in putting your content on as many channels as possible to reach the widest possible audience. But the width of your audience only means so much.
If the people who see your content aren’t ultimately the people who are going to spend money with your business, there’s no sense in trying to sell to them.
Choose the platforms where the audience you’re trying to reach spends their time. Speak to them in the language they’re used to using on that platform.
If your content is being promoted on Instagram, it needs to be in a visually appealing video or image that’s going to catch your customer’s eye.
If it’s going on Facebook or LinkedIn, it’s conversational or professional (again, depending on your own brand voice), respectively.
To Pay or Not to Pay?
If you’ve got a budget to get your content out in front of a wider audience, paid ads can be a great way to supercharge your marketing efforts.
A good way to make sure that your paid ads are as effective as they can be is to post your content and promote it organically (that means without money) and see how it performs.
If your existing audience responds really well, throwing a few bucks at it to reach a wider audience of similar people can be a really effective tool for growing your audience.
By waiting until you know that people like it, you aren’t wasting cash on things people aren’t really that into.
Re-Use and Recycle
Finally, remember that one of the benefits of creating content is that it lives forever. Publish and promote it right away on social media, but also schedule times to use it again in the future.
The more content you create, the more effective your social strategy can ultimately be - you’ve got a bigger pool of valuable content to draw from. Create links within your own ecosystem from one piece of content to others so that you’ve got a web of resources for your customers to use.
When it’s time to publish a specific piece of content again, review and update it before posting it. This will help show search engines that your site is alive and relevant.
3. Email it to your list
As your audience grows, email is one of the most effective ways to stay top-of-mind. With each post you should be collecting more and more email addresses. By letting that ever-growing list of people know about new content you’re putting out, you’re becoming their trusted resource for whatever it is that you do.
Not every post you put out will be just what they’re looking for, but as the people on your list start to opt in to the various lead magnets you create for your content, a picture begins to emerge of what they need to solve their problems.
With that information, you can create new offers, come up with new content ideas, and continue to become a more valuable resource.
Your emails should explain why the topic you wrote about is something they should care about. They should position your content as helpful, not as sales-y.
These are people who have already trusted you with their contact information, and you’re simply being a good steward of that trust by giving them new information.
Email isn’t just a place to copy and paste what you said in the content. It’s the place to put a frame around what you created. Tell them a story so they see why it matters. Capture their attention by triggering their emotion. Make it meaningful.