It’s no secret that effectively producing content is a key aspect of marketing your business. Not many people are going to start patronizing your establishment simply because they heard or saw a commercial, or banner ad for it. Today, if you want to reach consumers where they really live, you have to meet them online.
Here’s the thing, though – putting content out there is only an effective strategy if you’re actually able to get people to see it. A tree falling in an empty forest might make a sound, but you’d really prefer if an audience were around to hear it. The goal is to engage with people, make connections and eventually land a few paying customers. You can’t do that if no one sees the blog posts, social media updates and multimedia content you are creating.
“The great challenge of content marketing is that when you first get started, you have nothing.”
So how can you do it? How do you, if you’ll forgive the cliché – market your marketing? Figuring this step out is a key aspect of becoming successful in business. Once you have an engaged audience for your marketing material, you can begin to move people further down the sales funnel. A great side benefit….? If you do this right, they’ll bring others
A great side benefit….? If you do this right, they’ll bring others.
Starting from the bottom
The great challenge of content marketing is that when you first get started, you have nothing. If no one is visiting your website and no one cares about the content you’re producing, it can be a daunting proposition. Where do you even begin?
A field of dreams content strategy simply doesn’t work. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean the masses will be beat a path to your website.
According to Forbes, the “tree falls in the forest” problem is an all-too-common one for numerous entrepreneurs. Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of Seattle-based marketing agency AudienceBloom, explained that you’re going to need to start from the bottom. Creating content is relatively easy, but generating awareness is often the hard part.
“If you’re a savvy marketer, you’re already actively engaging in content marketing,” DeMers noted. “Unfortunately, many business owners are so focused on the creation of their content that they’re forgetting the marketing component of the equation. After all, what good is amazing content if nobody knows about it?”
Your strategy for “marketing your marketing” is going to depend on a few factors. For example, how much money do you have to spend? And do you have any connections in the business world that can help you? Once you’ve assessed what kind of resources you have to work with, you can begin to put together a road map.
Working with owned media
Obviously, the easiest resource to use for marketing is one that you control by yourself. This is what’s known as “owned media.” You have your own site, your own social media profiles, your own web and mobile applications and so on. The beauty of these platforms is that you have complete autonomy to control what they say and how they say it.
Another big plus… YOU own the relationship. Your relationship with the audience you’ve built is not dependent upon someone else’s platform or algorithm.
Of course, there’s an obvious drawback there. Owned media may be the easiest to use, but it’s also the hardest to get any real impact from. Why would anyone visit your blog if they’re not aware of the content there? Owned resources, therefore, are only going to be effective if you use them in conjunction with other strategies.
One thing you can do is focus on search engine optimization (SEO) – if your site is loaded with keywords and subject matter that will draw the attention of Google searchers, that is definitely a huge plus. Another viable strategy is to use platforms that are already successful – maybe you have a strong email newsletter, mobile app, twitter following or direct mail campaign. Use it to create awareness of your other owned media channels. Eventually, awareness will spread.
Reaching out in new directions
It’s very difficult to get where you want to go using owned media alone. There’s another avenue that can be more effective, but it’s a more difficult challenge – it’s called branching out to “earned distribution channels.” An example of this strategy is publishing a guest blog on another site that’s more prominent, or getting favorable coverage for your business in the press.
This can be hugely effective. If you’re able to land exposure for your enterprise from a major outlet that will bring eyeballs to your site, that’s great – but it won’t happen overnight. Getting to this point requires that you make connections in the business and leverage them at opportune times.
Ultimately, one of your goals should be to establish a position for yourself as a thought leader. If people in the business respect your opinions and want to hear from you more, you should be able to turn that reputation into big marketing opportunities. If you’re well-respected, you won’t have to beg people for a guest blog or a PR spotlight – they’ll come to you and ask first. Getting to that level, though, is a gradual process.
One great place to start is HARO . From The New York Times, to ABC News, to HuffingtonPost.com and everyone in between, HARO, boasts of nearly 30,000 members of the media having been quoted as sources in their stories. As their site says, “Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for”.
Investing in key markets
The third level of marketing for your marketing is the use of “paid distribution channels.” If you’re willing and able to set aside a few dollars in the budget for promoting the content you produce, then such an initiative can go a long way.
With some types of traditional media, like radio, when you bought advertising, thing were a little uncertain. You had no idea how many people would hear the ad, or how many would care. You had some idea of the reach but little was certain. But now, with digital media, you can pay a fixed rate for a sponsored Facebook post and guarantee that, say, 1,000 people will see it? That is value that’s guaranteed and predictable.
Note that investing in paid distribution today is far different than the example of paying for radio commercials mentioned above. In the modern technology landscape, you have the potential to study your target markets more closely and zoom in on specific areas where you can make improvements. For example, what demographics are you interested in selling to more? Through the use of Facebook and Twitter sponsored content, and search engine boosters like Google AdWords, you can invest in specific areas that matter to you.
Whether you’re trying to reach restaurant owners across the country, IT decision makers in a single zip code or anyone in between yopu can qith the robust advertising platforms of many of today’s leading social destinations and search engines.
In short, you want to maximize your resources and invest in real marketing power. That means not just producing content, but also promoting it and making sure it’s seen. Remember, if you build it AND promote it, they will come.
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