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Content Marketing: An Introduction For Your Service-Based Business

Hey there! Are you ready for an introduction to content marketing?

Do you know what it is? Have you been wondering what it can do for your business? Or does it just confuse the hell out of you?

Content marketing is a popular long term marketing strategy for businesses of all shapes and sizes, but it particularly works well for service-based businesses.

Why? Because when you’re selling your service, you’re selling you and a great way to turn prospects into your clients is by using content that establishes connections, builds rapport & trust, and helps make your ideal client’s life better.

In this intro to content marketing you’ll learn:

  • What content marketing is
  • The benefits of content market
  • The four types of content marketing your business needs

What is content marketing?

One mistake that business owners make is thinking that ‘content marketing’ is only relevant to the format you’re using, like whether it’s a social media post, a blog post, or even a video.

It’s so much more than that.

Copyblogger defines content marketing as:

Creating and sharing valuable content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.

I particularly love this definition because it highlights the importance of trust.

Content marketing isn’t about growing your subscriber list or about pitching your services in an over the top salesy way (no one likes that, right?).

Effective content marketing is about providing truly useful and relevant content that makes a difference in the lives of your readers and your clients.

Content marketing helps you, help your ideal client.

What are the benefits of content marketing?

There’s no doubt that content marketing is a valuable strategy for all businesses, big or small. Here are a few of the benefits that it could bring to your business:

Increase your visibility and boosts your brand awareness

Content marketing is an effective way to be seen and heard by your ideal client. When you’re consistently delivering engaging, interesting and valuable content, you’re also increasing your brand awareness by becoming recognisable and trustworthy.

Remember, brand awareness is more than just having a recognisable logo. Want to know more? Check out these 6 steps to creating a business-boosting brand strategy.

Create trust and inspire loyalty with current and future clients

There’s that trust word again. So much of what you do in your business comes down to building trust. I mean, would you do business with someone you didn’t trust?

If you’re consistently delivering content that is interesting,  educational, actionable and solves a problem your ideal client has, you’re well on your way to being considered trustworthy.

Sharing content that isn’t salesly and has no strings attached means you’re much more likely to turn new relationships into future clients of your business.

Establish your credibility and build authority

The quality of your content marketing can make or break your credibility and impact the success of your brand.

As a service-based business, you know that so much hinders on demonstrating your expertise and communicating it effectively to your ideal client. When you deliver high-quality content that positions you as an authority in your field and answers the questions your ideal client has, you’re boosting your credibility. Plus, potential clients are more likely to trust you (there it is again) if they view you as an industry expert.

Example: Many of my clients tell me how much they’ve struggled to write their ‘About’ page. I get it, it’s hard! But as a copywriter, I know a thing or two about writing them, so I created a post that helps you write your own ‘About’ Page. I’m even creating a checklist that you can use.

An introduction to content marketing

Increase engagement and start conversations

Promoting your content across different media platforms is perfect for engaging with your ideal client and gives them the ability to start a conversation with you – especially on social media.

By answering questions on your post, or providing useful suggestions, you’re well on the way to positioning yourself as trustworthy (and again) helpful and the go-to service provider for your industry.

Increase traffic to your website and generate leads

There are two key ways that content marketing can increase traffic to your website. The first is through social sharing and ensuring that you’re directing readers back to your website. This is done by hosting the content on your site (e.g. a blog post, downloadable e-book or checklist) and using a call to action and button that take the reader there to consume it.

The second is by optimising the shiz out of your content. You need search engines to find it when a user goes searching for a solution to their problem. A problem your content can solve.

TIP: Always write for humans first and search engines second. No one likes a keyword-stuffed article that’s difficult to read. It will have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve. Psst….want tips on how to optimise your blog post? Check out How to Search Engine Optimise Your Blog Content.

The four essential types of content marketing

Now that you know how content marketing can help grow your business let’s take a quick squiz at the different types (not forms, remember?) of content every strategy should include.

The first step is to dig deep into your ideal client. Get inside their head and discover what motivates them, what drives them crazy (i.e. pain points) and what problems they have, that you can solve. When you’re armed with useful information like this, it makes it easier for you to reach and connect with your ideal client

Tip: check out this super cool tool for creating your buyer persona.

According to Copyblogger, there are four types of content marketing:

Attraction:

Helps you reach new people. It’s about getting your message heard by your ideal client. 

Example: Content that entertains, educates and is interesting. It could be a list type of blog post (i.e. 30 quick copy tips every small business owner needs), infographics, downloadable checklists, polls on social media etc. My example of attraction content is 9 small business website tips you can’t ignore.

Authority:

Helps convince people that you’re trustworthy, by showing them that you’re an expert at what you do.

Example: Content that doesn’t ‘tell’ your audience how good you are, it shows them. Consider e-books, guides, educational videos or deep dive on a few main topics and turn them into a series of valuable blog posts.

Affinity:

This is about growing your community by spreading your message with people who have similar values and beliefs to you. It’s how you distinguish yourself from your competition.

Example: Content that helps your reader connect with you. For affinity content to be effective, you need to get personal and share how you feel about particular topics. Share your thoughts on a social media post, blog post or in an email to your subscribers.  

Content marketing has four types of essential content.

Action:

This content is designed to get somebody to take action. We’re talking about converting your community, your followers, your fans into…clients!

Example: Action content is basically promotional content. Think landing pages, sales copy for a course or even social media advertising. It’s content that convinces the reader that you can solve their problem and then asks them to take action (like subscribing, calling you or booking in a consultation).

These types of content aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, you can (and should) combine them. If you can weave your magic and use all four types, you’ve crafted a compelling, connection-building piece to attract and convert your readers. My post on whether hiring a copywriter is worth the investment is an example of how to mix different types of content marketing.

TIP: Plan out 12 months of content and be sure to include a good mix/combination of the different types of content marketing.

 Make a plan and get crackin’

Like most things in business, not having a plan is planning to fail.

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve been pretty adhoc with my content. I’ve made sure that it’s relevant, interesting and useful. Ok, maybe not with my socials all the time – but I’m working on it. Let’s just say that I’ve not really invested much time into planning my content or using it to my advantage. There’s definitely room for improvement, and that’s what sparked the idea for this post.

I wanted to learn more about how can I use content marketing to grow my business? Naturally, I wanted to share my learnings with you.  

In terms of planning, I’m using Trello, a fabulously fancy and free project management tool to plan out the topics and the schedule for my blog content, my socials and a few other tidbits that I’ll release throughout the year. The best part is you can do it too!

Refer back to this post when you’re in planning mode and make sure you’ve got a great mix of attraction, authority, affinity and action types of content.

Good luck!

P.S. Got questions or want help with your content marketing? Get in touch and let’s chat.

P.P.S Looking for an in-depth article that covers EVERYTHING you need to know about content marketing? Try this ‘What is Content Marketing’ article – I think you’ll love it!

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