One of the biggest complaints I hear from entrepreneurs growing their creative, coaching, and online businesses is, “I’m not getting clients consistently enough.”
Which is scary because then there’s no financial stability.
And instability leads to anxiety.
And anxiety...well, isn’t that what you were hoping to avoid on Sunday nights when you were dreaming of leaving your job to start your biz?
If you’re not experiencing consistency, it may be a problem with your marketing strategy.
If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend, then the core of your marketing strategy should be content marketing. (Frankly, even if you are blowing your nose with Franklins, you should have a content marketing strategy.)
To get started, be sure to watch this week’s video where I explain the 4 Types of Content you should be using in your overall content marketing strategy.
You need to have a content marketing strategy so that you can more easily connect with your ideal customers and clients. Content marketing is one of the most effective free ways of your marketing your business creative, coaching, or online business. Your overall marketing strategy should include not only using various mediums for publishing your content, but also the four primary types of content to build a relationship with your audience so that they become clients and customers.
Using each of the four types of content marketing allow you to create a complete and well-rounded content plan — not only because there’s variety, but also because the different types perform well on different platforms. The four types of content are:
For most businesses, teaching content is the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. Teaching content is the foundational piece of your strategy that will allow you to accomplish three other objectives:
Grow your following
Give your followers value
Establish yourself as an authority
1 | Grow Your Following
One of the best things about teaching content is that it serves your current audience and is most likely to help you grow your audience because people are searching for knowledge.
The three largest search engines: Google, YouTube, and Pinterest cater to people looking for answers to specific inquiries. Some of the most frequently searched for information is “how-to.”
If you are frequently found in search results answering a questions that your ideal customers and clients are asking, that will allow you grow your following quickly beyond the people who are already familiar with you.
Here’s a tip: one of the most popular types of how-to content includes listicles. These are the things you see on Buzzfeed. You know, 7 Ways to Make Your Cake Fluffier, 5 Things You Never Knew About Bird Feeders. This type of content is very attractive and shareable and also does well in the form of an infographic.
Like this ↓
Beware of the pitfall of this content which is that it can be a little fluffy. Do your best to ensure that you consistently provide valuable content.
Tip: if you think some of your content is basic or fluffy, do some research. It will add credibility to your content, and could give your readers another valuable perspective.
2 | Give Your Followers Value
Teaching gives your prospects a ton of value for free. Before someone is going to be inclined to pay money to work with you, you’re going to want to build up the “know, like, and trust factor.”
Creating valuable content that teaches something is a quick and highly effective way of doing this.
In fact, the more you can give away for free the better. You’re showing your prospects that you have the information that they’re seeking. And that you’re generous with your knowledge and time.
One of the most common concerns people express about this is, “if I give away everything for free, then I won’t have anything to sell.”
This is a myth that needs to be busted right now!
You absolutely could put everything in your paid programs onto the internet for free, but people will still buy a paid offering.
Because people wants complete systems and A-Z Blueprints. Not all, but many people are willing to pay a premium to receive not just the information, but the information in a clear and easy to follow way so that they can properly implement it and get the best results.
‘Cause it saves time.
Here’s something to keep in mind: our two most valuable resources are time and money.
What’s great about money is that it replenishes. It comes in and goes out. Just like oxygen. You get money, you spend it on things, and then you get more and so it continues.
Time is not the same way. It does not replenish.
Therefore, many people are willing to spend money — a replenishable resource — if it will save time. It will serve you well to remember this incredible important principle and keep you from worrying about giving away too much for free.
3 | Teaching Content Establishes You As An Authority
As a teacher, you’re setting yourself up as an authority.
For some people authority sounds like an intense term only established by people with 7- figure businesses or multiple degrees and advanced training. But if you create valuable content that teaches your ideal clients and customers the information they want to know. You’ve taken a shortcut to establish yourself as an authority.
And that’s a big deal because authority is powerful. In 1963 Stanley Milgram conducted a study at Yale University that demonstrated how deep people’s duty to authority is.
In the experiment, two participants met and were placed in separate rooms. One participant was a “student” and the other was the “teacher.” Unbeknownst to the teacher, the student was an actor.
The teacher was instructed to ask the student a question. If the student got the question wrong, the teacher was directed to give the student an electric shock.
Here’s the scary part: when a “researcher” wearing a lab coat told the teacher to keep shocking the student, even if the student was screaming, kicking, and begging for mercy, the teacher would continue to deliver shocks 65% of the time. All the way up to 450 volts of electricity.
On the other hand, when there was not encouragement from the researcher, the teacher would quit delivering shocks early on.
These were just regular people. This is a clear demonstration of how big the influence that authority has on us.
N.B.: Don’t worry! No shocks were actually given, but the teacher didn’t know that.
Yep, authority is powerful.
Another way to look at authority is like the distinction you learned in English class of showing vs. telling: authority is being recognized by others as someone with valuable information. If you spend time creating content that teaches your audience something they don’t know, you can quickly and easily set yourself up as an authority. It’s the difference between telling people, “I’m great at what I do” and showing people, “I have all this information that I want to give to you,” and then them saying, “wow, you’re great at what you do.”
This content does best as…
Teaching content does very well as long form blog posts and videos for YouTube. Regardless of the form you’re creating, consider creating graphics so that you can share on Pinterest as well.
Inspirational content is, as it sounds, meant to inspire.
Inspirational content is…
... the rags-to-riches story
...the single-to-in-love story
...the overweight to fit story.
...the overworked and overwhelmed to organized and calm story.
Depending on your industry, this type of content can be a little bit controversial because people know it.
They recognize it right away, and if not properly contextualized, it can seem stale and trite.
Does this mean you shouldn’t do it?
Absolutely not. It’s still powerful because everyone wants to be better. We all want to improve.
Indeed, there’s a marketing quote that says we’re all selling the same thing because people are always buying the same thing: a better version of themselves.
Whenever we buy something it’s because we think we will feel or be better in the having of it. People say yes based on the emotion they feel when they think of the outcome of the purchase. That’s why terminology that’s clear, direct, and loud still works to sell, even if as the person selling, it feels “spammy.”
People buy from the hart. We make our buying decisions based on our emotions and then we justify it using our logic and reason.
This content does best as…
Social media. Inspirational content can be done genuinely on social media such as Facebook posts and Instagram. Because they’re social media platform, people expect a mix of content. Some will be from family and friends and some is from the brands and businesses they follow. It seems only natural that entrepreneurs would share the stories of their own transformations and those they’ve provided their clients on social media.
Connection content is about is about connecting with your readers at a deeper level. In some ways its similar to inspirational content, because it may also inspire and motivate. However, it may be a bit more messy and vulnerable.
People are drawn to other people.
We want to buy from people.
We want to see the faces of other people.
As a content creator and business owner, when people feel like they can connect with you on a human level, that is compelling.
Yes, they want to see you’re an authority.
Yes, they want to be inspired.
But if they feel they can’t connect — like you’re too far out of reach.
Too special, it’s less relatable.
They may not think or believe that they can actually have what you have.
Connection content is about sharing some more personal information about yourself, but also your values and beliefs. When you take a stand for something, it creates space for your audience to align with you.
Of course, there’s a risk to this: some people won’t agree with you and will be repelled.
That is ok. ‘Cause as you already know — if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.
If you’re willing to open up and take a stand, you’ll find yourself with a more devoted following.
Here’s where you might get stuck: we worry about what people will think about us. It can be scary to put your truth out there on the internet for anyone to stumble across.
The antidote: build up your confidence. Know that you have a message and your people are waiting to hear from you.
Connection content does best as...
Social media and email marketing. The people who are already following you have a rapport with you that someone who stumbles across your content on Google or YouTube. You’re showing up in a feed that they’re scrolling right alongside the posts of friends and family. You’re fitting in with the other people in their life and it’s a great opportunity to connect.
If you have a huge and devoted following, then these types of content can do well on other mediums because people may already be interested in you, but it would be much harder to grow your YouTube channel, for example, solely off this type of content. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules. Maybe you’re a fascinating person or are able to discuss your life in a fascinating way. In which case maybe you could establish your following just with connection content. If you do, tell me about it, I’d love to use you as an example!
Connection content also does well in email marketing. If someone is on your email list they’ve already decided they like you enough to allow you into their inbox.. This is a great place to establish a deeper and more authentic connection by sharing more vulnerable stories or taking a stand.
If you’re running a business and want to make money from your content, then sales content is an integral part of your strategy. Seems too simple to be said, but if you’re not selling then you’re not making money. And if you’re not making money then you’ve got a hobby rather than a business.
There are no hard and fast rules that someone absolutely MUST stick to in order to create successful sales content.
There are some entrepreneurs out there who are always selling something and they do incredibly well because of it. However, this works best for people who have already established a following of people who know they provide great value. If you’re still building your audience, then constantly selling without providing other content, may not work for you. You may fatigue your audience before you have the time to gain their loyalty and to establish the know, like, and trust factor that would compel them to buy from you.
If you’re not yet at the point where you have a cult following then here’s a general rule for you to follow: 3:1. For every three non-sales piece of content you put out, create one piece of sales content.
For some people this may look like every month they’re making one offer after three weeks of non-sales content. For most people, it’s not going to look like that because they’re going to be sending out a series of promotional emails to sell, not just one.
For example, if you have a sales funnel that has 6 emails, then you would have wanted to send out 18 non-sales emails before starting the sales emails. This isn’t a set-in-stone rule, but if you want a guideline to follow, this is a great one.
The whole point with sales is getting your audience to take a particular action -- namely buying your product or service. Start by having them take smaller actions first
- Comment on a post
- Share a post
- Participate in a poll or survey
- Download a freebie
- Follow you on social media
Get people used to taking your advice and following your instructions so that when you’re ready to sell, they’re ready to buy.
If you follow this content marketing strategy you’ll not only have a loyal audience, but an audience of people ready to buy from you.
Want help putting your content strategy together?
Be sure to get the content strategy planning template.