Content marketing is the phrase on everyone’s mouth lately; basically it means promoting the content you create in order to get closer to your target audience, to get them to know your brand and, if you’re really good at it, to make them fall in love with your brand so that the next time they want to, say, buy shoes, they would first go and check your website. That’s the theory, and it’s good – no direct selling but subtle approach instead.
In order for it to work, content marketing requires a few things: great content, promotion of that content and a base of customers or fans (potential customers) to market the content to. And that’s where it gets tricky: if we suppose that you’ve managed to create “great content”, how do you get that content (whatever it is: article, video, image) in front of the eyes of the people who could be interested in it? Social media sites are THE channel of today, along with email marketing (yes, it still works), but there are so many of them, and even when you pick the most populated few: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Tumblr, you still have to deal with the rules for proper promotion on each of them; and you can easily mess it up.
Too many things at once
Especially if you’re running a small business, dealing with all of this at once can quickly get you in trouble, because you have to:
– Create content, which has to be at least very good if you want it to have an impact on your target audience. Once your latter marketing efforts bring the visitors to that content, it has to meet their expectations if you want them to take whatever action (buy, subscribe, share – even if you just want them to read the article all the way)
– Promote the content
– To the right audience
– The right way.
Promote the content. To the right audience. The right way.
It’s really easy to give the general advice like: share your content on Facebook, or post it on Pinterest. It does work very well for those who have large numbers of engaged followers (strong fan base) – but if your Facebook page has only a handful of “likes”, and from people who have forgotten that they are your “fans”, what good will it really do? Not much, right, and it can even hurt your promotion – people mostly follow what other people do, and if you throw your great content in front of the eyes that don’t see other people liking/commenting/sharing it, they probably won’t click through, because they won’t see anyone else who has done it. Some of them will probably even unlike your page and leave.
Also, if you have had a successful promotion on Facebook and if you think that the same content will do great on Twitter with the same tagline, you will (in most cases) be very wrong. Twitter has a different set of rules, and promotion on Twitter requires a different approach. And this is true for any other platform.
That’s why you don’t want to promote your content where there aren’t people to see it. And the truth is, you probably don’t even need to use every marketing platform out there – you just need to carefully find out which one (or two) will deliver the best results, and to go with them.
Enough with the donts – here go the dos:
Pinterest is hot right now; but if you’re a mold removal company, your business probably doesn’t have a very strong visual aspect, so you will fail there. But you probably can engage your Facebook fans to share their success stories in fighting mold, and there are dozens of local forums where people who have that problem gather and ask for advice. That’s where you want to be – and that’s from where you can start building and growing your fan base. The same goes for any business whose target audience wouldn’t want to expose themselves in public, or that just isn’t that “cheerful”. Forums and emails will help them keep a low profile, and you and your message will still be able to reach them. You know, some forum members are rock stars in their communities, so don’t disregard the power of this kind of promotion.
Forums and emails are also perfect for those whose businesses don’t have “visual aspect” problem, but are just starting out. They are the resource to go to when you want to create your fan base from scratch. If you have done your homework and found the communities of people who are genuinely interested in your product/service/blog, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them to follow you on social networks – but again, only if it’s appropriate to create a public community.
So, instead of losing countless hours trying to figure out how to attract followers on Twitter, and how to engage your Pinterest community, take a deep breath and think about what is one best platform for you and your business and then go for it. It will take you much less time and effort to accomplish much more.