Content Marketing Tips That Make Money Online
Why Content Marketing Matters
If you’re at all interested in digital marketing (also known as online marketing and Internet marketing) and in making money online, as well as a name for your brand, then it’s crucial you understand how to properly make use of content marketing. Content marketing is currently one of the biggest trends in digital marketing as a whole and is an area that many website owners and brands are investing in heavily right now thanks to the impressive returns that they are seeing.
While there is no such thing as a ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to getting your brand known and encouraging sales, content marketing is perhaps the closest thing to such a notion and can help you to drastically increase your visibility as well as your authority and trust.
But content marketing is a complex and broad term that encompasses a number of different strategies and activities. In order for it to be successful, you need to have a good understanding of what content marketing is, how it works and how you can best adapt it to work for your particular brand.
What’s more, is that you need to know where content marketing is heading in the near future and how you can ensure that the work you put in now keeps on paying dividends long into the future. For all that and more, keep reading. What you will learn is how content marketing works, why it is crucial for your business and how to harness it in a way that completely transforms your success.
Once you can fully utilize this key aspect of your marketing, you’ll find that it helps you to create something that is much bigger than a simple brand. You become a movement. And that’s how you achieve the maximum measure of success.
What is Content Marketing?
Before we dive in any further, it of course makes sense to simply ask ourselves: what is content marketing? There’s a chance you know the term already but I ask that you bear with me in case there are aspects of the definition that you have missed out.
At its most basic, content marketing is the process of using content in order to market a website.
This means that you could consider SEO to be a form of content marketing – in as much as you are creating content that Google will be able to index. This way, your content is making your site easier to find and thus it is a form of marketing.
See also: 5 Reasons To Embrace Content Marketing
Content marketing can also be seen as a crucial aspect of social media marketing. Most social media marketing strategies involve sharing posts and links on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and very often these will include content that is on the brand’s own website. Take a look at the highly popular Facebook Page IFL Science. This page mainly posts science news by sharing blog posts from its own site. This ensures that liking the page provides readers with a constant stream of interesting information and it helps to gain more likes as a result.
But the objective of content marketing goes beyond simply getting people to your website. All these uses for content demonstrate one key fact: the internet runs on content. The reason that people search for topics on Google is because they are looking for either information or something entertaining. Both of which are examples of content.
By filling your site with great posts, you are giving people a reason to like your Facebook page. What’s more, is that you are giving Google a reason to add you to its search results. Google wants to pair its visitors with the top sites and resources on the web. In doing so, that is how it is able to provide value and that is what will keep people coming back.
But if your site is filled with great content, then you are also giving people a good reason to come to your site directly. In other words, content marketing that is good enough will eventually cut out the middleman (such going to your Facebook page first, for instance). Content marketing that is good enough will also encourage visitors to bookmark your site and to visit it regularly as part of their routine in order to see what new posts you’ve uploaded and what more they can learn.
In other words, with content marketing, you are filling your site with value.
Once someone is visiting your site directly and without being encouraged to do so by an advert, by Google, or by some form of social media like Facebook, then they have evolved beyond being a simple visitor. Now they are a fan. They are actively choosing to engage with your brand, so they must really like the type of content you provide, your style of writing or the topic that you cover.
This takes your site to a whole new level and that’s not even the whole story…
Why Content Marketing is Crucial for Selling
Content marketing doesn’t only ensure greater loyalty and give you a big audience to sell to though: it also gives you more impact and authority.
Think about your favorite celebrity. Someone that you really look up to, whose work you admire or who you think has got their life together. Imagine if they recommended a certain item of clothing, or a certain health supplement. Would you be more likely to buy it?
The answer for the general population is a resounding yes. This is why the shoe that Under Armor designed with huge online influencer Dwayne Johnson was the fastest selling of 2017. The shoe: The Rock Delta, had the considerable advantage of being recommended by someone with a huge audience and a huge amount of authority and trust within that community.
The objective of content marketing is essentially to build that kind of trust and authority directly. Instead of working with an authority, you are going to become that authority.
Take a look at someone like Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn or even Tony Robbins. These are people who offer value through their blogs and their videos so that when they have something to sell, they have millions of people waiting to buy from them. Everything they release is a hit, which is because of the groundwork they put in at the start. The same goes for YouTube personality Elliott Hulse, or bodybuilding site T-Nation.com. These are sites with fans not just readers.
How Content Marketing Creates Fans and Buyers
We’ve seen the basics of how content marketing works, but now let’s dive into it in a little more detail. What is the precise process that converts a first-time visitor into a rabid fan? How does content marketing take someone from a ‘cold lead’ all the way to a ‘buyer?’
Well first, the content is what will help your new visitor to discover your site. They will search for a specific topic and your site will come up in the search results, or perhaps they will see a post from you on Facebook that a friend has liked. Either way, they’ll then click on the link and visit your site, but this alone isn’t going to be enough to turn them into a real fan.
In fact, they’ll likely just leave your site and not come back! They will probably scroll down the page so fast they don’t even see your logo and then they’ll just navigate away as soon as they’re done.
Days, weeks or months will pass and the same thing will happen a couple more times. By coincidence, they will end up on your site. It’s at this point they’ll start to recognize some of your branding and they’ll note that you are running a pretty decent gig here. They’ll make a note of the name of your brand and the next time they search on Google they’ll look for your site’s name in the search results.
If they continue to be impressed, then they’ll eventually consider actually bookmarking your page or just occasionally checking the homepage to see what’s new. It’s at this point that they might subscribe or that they might follow you on Facebook or Twitter.
And it’s at this point that you just took your visitor from being a cold lead to being a very warm lead.
And now, when you come to sell something, they will be highly likely to be interested. Not only will they be the first to hear about it, because they’re reading your content regularly; now they’ll also know who you are, they’ll trust you to be able to deliver high quality content and they’ll know that you know your stuff.
Here’s an Example
Imagine if you read the website of a photographer every week and the photographer shared tips about how they create the perfect photos, what tools they use and how every job is important to them.
If you read this often enough, you’ll likely come to respect that photographer’s point of view and you’ll know at least that they have a deep understanding of their craft and they take it seriously.
Now imagine that you need someone to take some photos for your website, your wedding or another event. Who would you consider asking first? (Assuming they were local)
This is the power of content marketing and it’s something that you can see used effectively in countless sales funnels and by many other marketer.s
Think of it this way: if you landed on a website and the very first thing it did was to try and sell you something, what would you do? You’d probably leave! You never asked to buy something and more to the point, you have no reason to trust the person selling. It looks like spam and you leave.
This is considerably different from being a long-time reader of a blog and then learning that the writer also has a book out. This is a much less invasive way of discovering a product and more to the point, you know something about that blogger, you know that they know their stuff and you can trust them. They have built a brand through their content marketing and that means you’ll feel much more comfortable handing over your cash.
I like to think of this in terms of dating. Trying to sell to someone without first establishing trust and authority is just like approaching a stranger in the street and asking if they’ll come home with you! They don’t know you, they don’t trust you and they’d be annoyed at the interruption to their day.
But if you have done the groundwork by chatting, dating and demonstrating you’re a nice person, then you’ll earn the right to ask them home. Get it?
Another Example: Thai Lopez
Thai is a controversial digital marketer and a house-hold name thanks to his series of adverts that show on YouTube before other videos. He is responsible for the ‘hear in my garage’ meme that has been doing the rounds online and if you’ve spent any time online, chances are you will have encountered him.
While you might find Thai’s in-your-face marketing strategies to be irritating (like most people do), the reality is that they work. We know they work, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to make so many expensive videos!
The success partly comes from how annoying the videos are. Thai is bragging about his sports cars and books and his attempts at authenticity are so thinly veiled that you can almost feel the slime. This is all part of his strategy of course – as Trump showed us, no publicity is bad publicity. Being irritating and controversial gets people talking and that is great for business.
But what you can also learn from Thai is a pretty immaculate example of content marketing.
Content marketing does not just mean blog posts. It also means video, pictures and really anything that can be considered content.
The first video from Thai then is an example of content. This is the point at which the viewer is a cold lead. They didn’t ask to be watching this and they have no reason to want to stay tuned. The first thing Thai does then is to establish authority. He does this by showing off his cars, by referencing the fact that he gave a TED talk and by talking about money a fair amount. Now the audience knows he knows his stuff. He shares some of his personal back-story too in order to establish trust.
The next thing he does though is to talk about another video: a free video that lasts over 50 minutes. This is important because the video is not only apparently great value (50 minutes for free!) but is also an opportunity for him to build more trust and authority.
If Thai were to tell you to buy from him as soon as you watched the YouTube video, you probably wouldn’t. You’d ignore the video and carry on with your life. At this point, he hasn’t done enough to prove himself to encourage you to buy from him.
But now imagine that you’ve just watched 50 minutes of content on top of that advert. Now you know just what value (I guess…) Thai is able to provide. You like what he has to say, you trust him and you’ve been given more reason to consider him an authority in his field.
It’s only at this point that Thai will now begin to try and sell to his audience. By doing this, he has now earned the right to sell and the audience is more interested in buying from him. They’re hopefully now convinced that he is a money-making guru and if they want to achieve some of his success, they might consider investing in one of his books!
This is a typical ‘sales funnel’, which in turn is any system that is designed to take someone from their first encounter with a brand all the way to wanting to buy from the creator. A funnel will almost always start with something free – a free taster – and then encourage more and more engagement right up until the point where it tries to make a sale.
But this sales funnel – like all sales funnels – also relies heavily on content, making it an example of content marketing as well. If you want to build trust and generate sales from your own website or blog, then you need to mimic this process. And it starts with amazing content.