The presence of the internet broke down all the old rules, regulations and expectations when it came to controlling information, and now it’s a free-for-all when in comes to publishing, ie. the “production and delivery of content.”
No gate-keeper can stand against the transmission speed of the internet, and the sheer numbers of people who want to share their messages on it.
Of course, on-line you can still find the big publishing houses like HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Random House. You got the film companies: Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox websites.
You’ve got production companies, music artists, and all sorts of creative minds sharing their labors and their work on-line.
You also have millions of smaller content-creators on blogs, channels, websites, and various other media-sharing hubs (for example, DeviantArt and ConceptArt.org).
What are the new rules to thriving in this world-wide network? How do you navigate the possibilities and get noticed in your field, market or niche?
If you want to be recognized at what you do, there are certain elements you should have.
- You need content that gets attention and turns casual visitors and lurkers into customers, followers, fans and supporters.
- You need to present your content in such as way that it helps you connect to your target audience, and keep you connected.
Yes, the most used words for this are optimization, leverage, and maximizing, and if they’ve put you off because they’ve been used so much, here’s a more relatable scenario:
- Put good content (and marketing it) in the context of having a wonderful conversation with a trusted friend, a talk that leaves you feeling better, or more enlightened, or more informed afterwards, and then being able to go back to that person time and time again. You know that friend is good for you, you trust your friend to tell you the truth and give reliable information, and you know how to get in touch with that friend when you need to. That’s basically it.
- Put it another way: who would have thought that an entire movie that’s basically hours’ worth of a rambling conversation would be so popular, much less succeed to make 2 sequels? (The trilogy in question: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight.) People got engaged. They could relate, they could see themselves in those roles. Content marketing is sustaining a conversation. We all have something to say, and there are ways to present our messages that ensure that they are listened to, and that people would want to respond. Content is aimed towards a target audience, optimized for search engines, and aimed towards building connections, a network, a community.
With the current world economy being what it is, it’s only standard business practice to leverage your content for everything it’s worth. Doing so makes the most out of your time, labor and money.
You need to develop a strategy, put it into play and have systems in place to measure the response and improve the results. A business isn’t a business if it doesn’t make money, and content marketing is an inevitable part of running a successful business.
Content marketing requires you to come up with the following:
- High-value content – relevant, timely, reliable, and helpful. Information that drives customers to action.
- Optimized presentation — using a comprehensive strategy and multiple tactics to get your market to act.
Here are a few questions to get your creativity humming:
- What’s your plan composed of? What are its phases, compositions, resources and weak links?
- How is your production schedule and support slotted out? Who is in charge of content creation, directing the themes or thrust of the content, and then orchestrating its dissemination?
- How will you promote your content, and through what channels? Ex. authors usually have book signing, radios often have companies sponsor contests, etc. Media events and shop openings, newsletters, promos, and special announcements on Facebook are other examples.
- Subsequently, what tactics will you integrate with your plan? Will you focus more on on-line than offline efforts: social media, ad campaigns, blurbs, tweets, etc.
- How will you measure the results of your marketing plans? There has to be positive impact for your customers and your business — where do you go for the that data, and what do you need to measure its impact?
It’s a constantly moving puzzle piece linking advertising, social media, promotions, sales…using them in conjunction will help you cast a strong net(work) to gather attention and customers.
Content marketing also crosses over and links virtual and brick-and-mortar entities. For example, think visitors. Online and physical stores have them.
Think about this if you’re a specialty store. Think of tourists — even if you’re only one store in one city, online store removes geographic boundaries. You just use UPS or FedEx for deliveries.
A compelling online presence is how people will know you’re there and selling great stuff. You can get visitors from out of town, who’ll also be able to spread the word and recommend your shop. When you make yourself available over the internet with searchable, great content, you can sell online and in-store. Using your digital presence as a a highway to advertising and media relations lets people find you and get you in touch with your market.
It’s the basic information that you have to pick — what kind of content would satisfies your market’s need? Put it on your website, whether it’s video, sign-ups for newsletters and e-zines, regular content via blog-posts, and accessibility through social media networks… these are digital channels. With potential to access a worldwide audience, you can be your own publisher, marketer, promoter, and advertiser.
As over-used as the phrase is, “adding value” is not a joke– building trust and reliability leads to building your own recognizable voice and identity online — a brand. Your brand.
It’s the image that comes to you when you think of names like Coca-Cola, Disney, Apple, McDonald’s, etc. Successful content marketing comes from answering to your markets need reliably over time, that makes you a believable authority and resource, the “go-to guy”, the accessible point of help.
Content marketing is easier now with all the low-cost and no-cost online tools — free blogging accounts, YouTube accounts, free social media accounts, low-cost web-site hosting deals, etc. The fact that there are hardly any barriers to posting what you want online just opens he playing field to millions — so you need to have a plan to help you compete and come on top.
You have to define your ultimate goal. Authors need to tell stories, businesses to sell services and products, musicians to make music and live off it. Whatever your chosen livelihood, a solid content marketing plan helps you focus on what to do to guarantee you the highest probability of success and how best to go about seeing it done.
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