Content marketing is one of the strongest drivers of online and offline marketing alike. If you want to capture the millions of dollars that are in front of you, content marketing is one of the biggest keys to doing just that!
Think about these marketing models and see if you can recognize them in the media world around you:
- A business starts a print magazine and sponsors content for their industry
- A coach starts a blog and shares useful information in order to become a recognized authority in his/her industry
- A service based company creates an email course to educate new customers on how they can fully utilize the products and services provided
When content marketing is executed effectively and consistently, you have the capability to achieve an extremely important goal – being noisier than your competitors. Fresh, relevant content is what drives any successful content marketing campaign. Today I’m going to show you how to create a solid content marketing campaign.
1. Start By Solving Real Problems and Answering Important Questions
When you are starting out with your campaign planning, write out a list of questions and problems that your clients and prospects come to you with. As an example I’ll share some of the questions and problems that clients come to me with in regards to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing.
- How can I get my business to the top of the search engines?
- What do I need to do to start out my SEO campaign?
- What is a “keyword”?
- How many keywords should I try to rank for at once?
- Should I focus on local keywords or national keywords?
- How can I generate more sales from search engine traffic?
These are just a few of the questions that I get asked when I am talking to a prospective client. You should use past experience to answer questions that your audience already has in your content marketing campaign. You should also be focused on giving reasons as to why they should engage with your products, services and plans. Write a list of “why” statements as well:
- Why local SEO services are the most important part of your marketing campaign
- Why SEO must be included in your new marketing plan
- Why you must be conscious of your local SEO plan
- Why we started providing local SEO services to our clients
- Why your competitors are starting to pay more attention to local SEO
Now that you have 10+ titles for your content marketing campaign, you can create content around this. Don’t be afraid of reusing the same concepts over and over. Remember that only a small fraction of your audience will see any one of these concepts, so you can reformat them in 4-5 different ways and use them over and over again.
2. Write a Strong Set of Headlines
Now that you have a set of topics, you can take some time to write stronger headlines for these topics. We already started touching on two strong openers for titles, but here we’ll explore it more. These articles can be used in email marketing, blog posts and even old fashioned mailers you send through the post office. Remember, the goal is for you to educate your prospects until the point where they actually become customers.
You will be setting yourself up as the authority in your industry. While someone in your wide audience may not be immediately in need of your services or products, they will be eventually. Be faithful and consistently give great value through your content.
Now let’s get to those headlines:
- “How to” posts outrank any other title. Use this approach whenever you can to create a strong title. Check out How to Win at YouTube Marketing as an example
- “Why” posts are also a strong second to ‘how to’ post titles. Here’s an example for you: Lead Generation 101: Why Frequency Matters More Than Reach
- Number posts like “5 Ways to” to give your audience the appearance of ease of reading and use. Here I used a “why” post and a number post: 5 Reasons Why SEO is Important for Small Businesses
- Guide posts like The Entrepreneurs Ultimate Hiring Guide (How to Build a Great Team) help you stand out as an authority in your field
- Celebrity jacking posts use a celebrity’s name to draw attention and traffic before you illustrate your point – just like this post that I wrote about Jay-Z: What Jay-Z Can Teach You About Great Marketing
- Teaser preview headlines also work well. In this title you get a tease that makes you want to open just to look at #4: 5 Cool Creatures Living in Geauga County (#4 is pretty weird!)…
Just like your topic list idea, your headline list can help fuel topics and the creation of strong, engaging headlines that will help your audience click through and engage in your topic. It’s very important that you are creative, follow other great marketers in your space and that you test everything! If you test carefully, you can identify and replicate headline tactics that work.
As you dig deeper into content marketing, you’ll want to keep something handy to write down headline ideas as you think of them. Record them in your phone or jot them down in a notebook. Either way, you can collect headline ideas and then enlist them as you put together your content marketing campaign.
3. Use a Writing Framework
When it comes time to write your actual post content for the email newsletter, blog or sales letters, you need a consistent framework from which to work. Here’s how I like to approach every piece of content that I write or that I have one of my writers write for me.
Make Tasty Content Sandwich:
The Top Slice Bread:
Open up with something that will catch my attention. This is the top slice of the sandwich. If you can’t get someone’s attention in the first line or two then you’re not going to engage them any further than that. Even if you’re not going to be doing all of the writing, you can outline this for your copywriter.
The Meat of the Topic:
Next, fill in the meat of the post. In the middle, cover the ‘how to’ information,write the guide or give the three reasons why they should be doing something or engaging with you. The meat of the post needs to be valuable, filling and helpful. Remember, this is where you’re giving the most nourishment to your reader.
The Bottom Slice of Bread:
Finally, close up the post with that bottom slice of bread. Hold your logic together and give your readers some call to action at the end of the post.
If you’ve never thought about your content like this before, then hopefully this will stick in your mind and help you create the content that will truly feed your audience. Remember that content marketing is first the process of providing value to your audience. After you do that consistently, you’ll begin to reap the rewards of marketing to them. So, roll up your sleeves and make a lot of great sandwiches!
4. Get the Content Written
One of the toughest parts of content marketing is actually writing the content! It’s why we started Copywriter Today. Even if you’re not ready to pay for a writing service, you can still create content for yourself.
Start by setting aside 30 minutes a day to write, and stick to it! If you sit down and write for 30 minutes each and every day, you’ll be creating a body of work overtime that will serve you faithfully over and over. I think that people, most often, fall into one of two categories when it comes to writing:
- They don’t have the time to write
- They don’t enjoy writing
The good news about these two problems is that they are both 100% solvable! If you don’t have time, that means that you are letting other things take precedence over your writing time. That’s ok! You can hire a freelance copywriter, or you can just focus more on setting aside time each day to write.
Not having enough time is just an excuse for poor time management. I hate to break it to you, but each and every one of us has 168 hours to work with. If you just start by setting aside time to write, you’ll be successful on this front.
If you don’t enjoy writing, you don’t have to worry either. You can still hire a writer. If your budget doesn’t allow for that, I want to remind you of a great quote from Neil Hoffman who is the founder of LinkedIn:
“If You’re Not Embarrassed by your First Launch, You’ve Launched Too Late”
I like to remember that quote when I am creating something new or doing something that I am not very good at yet. I remind myself that if I launch early and often that I will have the potential for success. Do you think you’re a bad writer? Maybe you are, but I can tell that, by not writing, you are reaching zero people. By writing, even if it’s rough and needs work, you’ll reach more people then than you are now by not writing! Pretty simple concept, right?
Take the time to write content every single day, or work with a copywriter to get it written consistently. In order to be noisier than your competitors, you have to get a lot of written content out there!
5. Share Your Content Everywhere
When you create awesome and valuable content it’s easy to forget that this content can be shared on multiple platforms. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your content. Don’t let all that effort be wasted in a single place. Multiply it by sharing your content on:
- Your social media pages
- Send the article link directly to your LinkedIn contacts
- Print off the content and hand it directly to a customer
- Submit it to StumbleUpon and Pinterest
- Read it out loud and record an audio post or podcast
- Send it out in an email newsletter
- Ask your whole team to share the content with their networks as well
Those are just a few simple ideas for re-distributing your content, but I’m sure you can think of more. The point is that you need to maximize the effort, time and money you’ve invested into the content creation process.
6. Outlast the Competition
Russell Simmons is one of my all-time favorite entrepreneurs to listen to. He talks a lot about what it takes to be successful. I love the coverage that Inc.com gives him. In one video interview on Inc.com, Russell talked about how he has achieved success simply by outlasting the competition. I think that this is extremely important advice for any entrepreneur, but especially for those looking to create a content marketing campaign.
If you truly want to be successful in this content marketing campaign you’re planning, you must set your mind on the long term. One post, one campaign or even one month will not yield results worth talking about. Success in content marketing is found by those who repeatedly and doggedly put out great content.
Today you might be tired, burnt out or discouraged with your results, but I want you to stand up tall and look at yourself in the mirror. You are the only reason and the only barrier to why you haven’t reached success yet. Conquering yourself is the ultimate achievement. You have to outlast your competitors and push yourself past the limits that you think exist.
7. Study the Masters (and the hacks!)
Some of the best advice I can give you comes from someone I follow, Russell Brunson. In one of the video training courses I purchased from Russell, he talked about how he got started as a marketer. As a young kid he worked all summer to save up for a mail order “business in a box” concept that he had seen on TV as a kid. After getting the product he ordered, something clicked inside him. He realized that he could research all current marketing campaigns just by signing up and requesting free information.
I want you to do the same thing today. Go out and subscribe to every single marketing newsletter you can find in your industry. If you study the content that others are creating, you’ll find tips, tricks and ideas that will help your business grow. Rather than be annoyed with the junk mail you receive in your physical and digital mailbox, study it, absorb it and apply what you’re learning to your own content marketing campaigns.
Sit back and study the internet, television and radio ads that you hear. There are so many great techniques that multimillion dollar companies are using to attract attention. If you’re wise, you can piggyback on their research simply by observing.
Another great place to get content marketing ideas is the bookstore. Go to the bookstore, find the magazine rack and pull out every single magazine from your industry. Get your notepad out and write down all the topics, headlines and ideas you see on the covers and inside pages of those magazines. If you do that you’ll find ideas that will keep you moving for months to come. When you run out, just take another trip to the bookstore.
Was this post helpful? Show me some love and share it:
What Do You Think?
Have I provided you with some outstanding marketing campaign ideas and a framework with which to get started? I hope so. If you’d like to grab our simple worksheet for creating your marketing guide, you can do so here:
I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this guide and on content marketing in general, so share them in the comments below. Maybe you have a better technique that I didn’t mention. I’d love to share it with my audience!