Many people think that content marketing is just about setting up a blog and publishing articles in it. Sometimes they do it, but then realize that it doesn’t work that way. Content marketing has two main parts: creating interesting content and marketing it. You cannot stop with content creation and expect results.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make in content marketing is that they create content on topics that they are interested in, instead of creating content that their audience may be interested in.
If you need to catch a fish, you need to give worms as the bait. You cannot give chocolate as bait just because you like chocolates. You need to give people what they need to attract them to you.
Create Content that People Want to Read
The first step to content marketing success is to come up with topics that people may be interested in reading about. Make something people want.
You need to write what people want to read about. If you are in an industry for quite sometime you know your reader’s needs naturally.
For example, I am in the digital marketing industry and I have a pretty good idea what my audience would want to read about. Almost every article that I publish gets at least 50 shares in social media.
For me the inspiration for articles mostly comes from interacting with my audience. I check most of my emails and I observe the questions that my audience have. Even if I cannot reply to all the emails, I make note of what my audience wants.
If I see a specific kind of question being repeated then I write a comprehensive article about it. Almost every article is published because my audience has expressed a need to learn more about it. I also get inspiration for article topics from digital marketing forums and comments on my blog.
In the initial days of content marketing, it is more of a hit and miss. If you write 5 different articles and publish it on your blog, some will perform very well and some will not perform. It doesn’t matter how awesome the article is. If your audience doesn’t want to read about it, it may backfire.
Based on the feedback you should modify your content strategy and give what your audience exactly wants. If you have published an article that had no traction, analyze what went wrong and change your strategy.
Writing what your audience wants and publishing good content is just one step of the content marketing game plan.
“If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Even if you write something that your audience wants, if it doesn’t reach your audience, then the article is of no use. Marketing your content is very important, what takes us to the next part of the article.
How to Market Your Content
The second most important part of content marketing is obviously marketing it. The best way to market your content is to inform your subscribers about your new content.
Your subscribers are people who have opted-in to receive information from you. They are already sold on your capability to provide good and interesting content. That’s why they subscribed to your blog in the first place.
The channel of communication does not matter here. People can subscribe to your brand through social media by liking or following your pages, or they can subscribe to you via an email subscription channel. As of today, email is the best channel as explained in the later part of this article.
I use a combination of different channels that are available today. Email, Social media, retargeting and so on. If you are reading this article right now then you have probably reached this page because I emailed you about it or you found it on Facebook or Twitter.
When using Facebook, I just don’t post it on my page. I also boost it with a small marketing budget. The post is not boosted to people who have liked my page already, instead it is targeted towards people who have visited my website before. People who have visited my site before will be more interested in coming back to my blog, than the people who have liked my page. You can learn more about retargeting on Facebook here.
The technology may change but the basics of marketing does not change. Before the days of the internet, people used to subscribe to magazines and newspapers. They subscribed to magazines because they were looking forward to good content and their magazines reached their doorstep as a printed material.
Once you develop a good following and a subscriber base then growth happens naturally. If you are publishing good content, your existing subscriber base will share it and recommend it to other people.
Also the opposite is very true. If you do not publish good content, then you will start losing traction. People will unsubscribe and start paying less and less attention to you.
Email is Still the Best Channel
Most of my subscribers are subscribed via Email channel. Whenever I publish a new post I send the link to the post to all my subscribers. You have probably reached this article because you clicked a link from my email.
Once I send an email blast, I get hundreds of people to visit and read my article. Most of my readers have already gone through my content and I already have a good relationship with them. Since the relationship has been already formed, I get their undivided attention, because they know that I am going to provide them with quality content.
You can see the stats from one of my recent email blasts. I got 30% of them to open my email and 5% clicked on my link and came to my blog to read the content.
5% is a small percentage, but when you have 15,000+ subscribers, you get nearly a 1,000 people to come back to your blog. And that further translates to word of mouth and social sharing. Which may bring me new subscribers again!
It is important to have a significant subscriber base before you start relying only on your subscriber base to spread your brand. If you have only 100 to 1,000 subscribers then it is not enough to have a snowball effect. With a subscriber base of at least 10,000 you will have snowball effects with your content.
When you reach such a stage doing marketing activities to gain new subscribers may not be necessary anymore. Apart from your existing content being shared, if you have a good SEO optimized website, you will also get new visitors and subscribers from the search engines.
Converting Visitors into Subscribers
When people visit my blog, they read the content but they are also attracted to sign up for my free digital marketing course. I get their attention using Exit Popups from OptinMonster and through other links.
This free digital marketing course helps me capture their email ID for future communication, and the content of the course itself builds the relationship with the subscribers.
If you have subscribed to my course and if you are reading this article because I emailed you about it, then you know that this method works because it has worked on you! 🙂
If you are not in the above demographic you are probably reading this article because your friend shared this on Facebook or Twitter. Now that you are in my blog and if you have not yet subscribed to my free digital marketing course I recommend that you do so!
Letting your subscribers know about your newly published content is always the best way to market your content. That leads us to the next part of the article on how to build a subscriber base and trust them.
Building a Subscriber Base and Trust with Them
Most of the blogs have social media links and email subscription boxes. How many blogs have you subscribed to like that? In general people do not subscribe to a blog just because the content is good. People hesitate to give away their email ID because they fear that their inbox will get spammed.
People give away their email ID only when there is a good offer. In my case, I get people’s email ID in return for a free digital marketing course. It is an ethical bribe. But apart from delivering the free email course, I also send them links to interesting articles on my blog. That’s how I build traction for the content on my blog. That’s how most of the successful bloggers have done it.
In the past one year, my subscriber base has grown exponentially:
Apart from just relying on my blog to build my subscribers, I also run Facebook campaigns from time to time to build subscribers to my digital marketing course.
This is how the Facebook Ad looks. Some of you may remember clicking on it!
When people click on the ad, I do not take them to my blog. Instead I take them to separate landing page at LearnDigitalMarketing.com.
This is how it looks:
I use this landing page because it has far better conversion ratio than my blog’s subscription buttons and popups. As of now, this landing page has a 56% conversion ratio. That means out of every 100 visitors, I get 56 people to enter their name and email ID.
Most of the traffic to this page was driven from a specific Facebook Campaign. Here’s a screenshot from my FB ads account:
For each conversion (in this case, subscribers) I am spending just $0.17 or Rs.12. This is achieved by using Facebook Pixels and Conversion Optimization.
And by default, the subscribers to my course also become my blog’s subscribers. Whenever I publish a new article, it is the same email list that I use to send links to my blog content.
People can unsubscribe if my content is not great, or the articles are not relevant to them. But less than 3% of the people who subscribe to my blog unsubscribe. That’s OK, not everyone needs the content I create.
The content which is delivered via email builds a relationship with my subscribers.
The free digital marketing course has a lot of videos where my subscribers see my face and hear my voice. Because of this, they feel like they know me better. The lessons are delivered in a timely sequence. Learn more about drip marketing from this article.
So when I publish an article and email all my subscribers about it, they feel like they are hearing from their friend. My emails usually get 30-40% open rates and 5-10% click rates on the links. This is one of the highest in the industry.
Sometimes when I publish a very good article, I send an email again to the people who have not opened my previous email. People receive a lot of emails and sometimes they miss my emails, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from me or read my articles.
How to Turn Content Into Profit?
When you follow all the above methods, you will be successful in content marketing.
Success in content marketing means:
- You are publishing content that people want and they like it
- You get a lot of reach for your content and 1000s of people read it
- You get attention from your followers when you publish new content because they liked the content that you have already published.
But attention doesn’t convert into profits automatically.
You need to convert this attention into profits, else you will not be able to sustain yourself, and you will not be able to create more content that your audience wants.
Content marketing builds relationship with people. You get people’s attention and trust when you publish content that they want to read.
Content marketing is one of the best forms of marketing because other forms of marketing only spreads awareness about a brand, but content marketing builds awareness + trust with your audience. Because it is not just brand impressions but brand engagement.
I have around 19,000+ subscribers as of now, and I have a certain level of trust and relationship with them. With another piece of content, the trust goes up to the next level. It keeps adding up. But where do I go from here? I have to sell something to make revenue.
What is the most important factor in sales?
Someone needs to trust in you to take out money from their wallet and make you a payment. They need to trust you that you will provide something of a higher value than what they are paying you.
So content builds attention and trust and this trust can be leveraged to SELL SOMETHING!
Unless you sell something you are not going to make a revenue. Without revenue, there will not be any profits. Without profits, there is no motivation for you to keep creating what your audience wants.
I am able to create content for my blog consistently because I turn the trust and attention into profits from time to time. And I do it in an ethical way by providing high quality training materials are a good bargain.
(And yes, there are people who also abuse this trust. If you build a relationship and then try to misuse the trust, all that you have built comes crashing down in a minute. There is no point in doing that. It is easier to provide value for what people pay than try to deceive them).
By selling certain programs at a premium (like ebooks and courses), I am able to keep my blog running and provide value even for people who do not pay me.
Some of you may remember that I launched a course on How to Sell Real Estate via Digital Marketing a while back. Till date I have made nearly Rs.50,000 in sales from the launch of that course.
This revenue helps me keep the blog running and also pays for the free content that I create (like this article).
That’s how I make my content marketing work.
I hope this article was of inspiration to you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!