"Whether you want to believe it or not, content is the secret weapon to all your marketing efforts." -- William Ballard
By William Ballard
Here you are… you’ve just finished slaving over a month’s worth of content for your business… now what do you do?
The fact of the matter is this: Good content not only helps to increase brand awareness, but it also proves to your customers that you have their best interest at heart.
However, the value of each content piece you create really determines what you do after you post it.
In short, content marketing is really more about consulting than it is about selling. Gone are the days when consumers would come into a store and ask a salesclerk for information about a product or service.
Instead, consumers educate themselves about a product or service by reading up on it online before ever going in-store. And the only purpose they have for walking into a store, and talking with a salesclerk, is to make the financial exchange and walk out with the product.
Therefore, the sell is being made in-store, but the consulting, the education, the information gathering is being done through content.
When you understand this truth about content marketing, how you leverage your published content is what will really make or break your marketing efforts.
Here are five ways to put your published content to work:
1. Collaborate With Other Influencers
At William Ballard Enterprise, LLC we publish a few guest contributions to our site on a monthly basis in order to give our growing community the chance to engage with external insights and perspectives. This is the simplest way to increase the exposure of other influencers and thought-leaders in your field, while at the same time establishing you and your brand as a truthful and reliable source.
If there was any invaluable advice I could give about leveraging your content and increasing your social media influence, I would have to quote Grant Cardone who said, “Do for others as you would want them to do for you”, when referring to how to increase one’s social media footprint. This is, of course, an extension of the Biblical principle known as the Golden Rule: "Do unto other as you would have them do unto you."
In other words, as you share other influencer’s content within your own, this kind of activity gets the attention of other influencers and thought-leaders and persuades them to do the same for you.
And it also helps to engage your audience, and essentially create “Circular Viralocity."
(Side Note: Don’t forget to link back to published articles of your own as well. Plus, be careful not to be penalized by search engines by not tagging your re-purposed content correctly with redirected "canonical" tags.)
2. Create Content That Speaks to the Exact Concerns/Questions Your Leads or Prospects Have
If you're already talking to someone who’s interested in what you have to offer, I suggest sending him/her links to your published content that are related to the questions or concerns they may be having about your product or service.
This kind of “consulting” service demonstrates your company’s credibility and authority in a natural way.
With that said, when it comes to determining what type of content to create for your target market, consider the areas that are important to your leads and prospects.
Ask yourself: “What are their objections?”, “What are their needs?” and so forth. These types of questions can act like a probing agent that will help guide you as you create and develop future content.
3. Use Your BEST Content in Your Email Campaigns
A newsletter is a great way to share published content (whether it's your own or another influencers) with subscribers, but be careful to offer something your leads, prospects, or customers really want.
Well-done email campaigns are powerful tools, but no reader or customer wants to be flooded with boring irrelevant content that does not speak to their specific needs, wants, or desires.
In other words, create individualized email content for leads or customers who are at different stages of the buying process (which also includes the stage of information gathering) and who may have different values.
One final piece of advice for when it comes to composing material for email content, regularly include links to guest post contributions that you have published on other sites (sites other than your own) like Forbes, Entrepreneur, LinkedIn, Huffington Post; as well as to your other social media post on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
These articles and social media posts should be engaging and relevant, that way they naturally affirm your expertise.
4. Re-purposing Your Content Stretches Out Your Audience and Expands Your Overall Reach
Although we here at William Ballard Enterprise, LLC specialize in creating in-depth articles and long style copy, we also understand that some people prefer to consume their information through other means, such as infographics, videos, podcast, or even PowerPoint slide shows.
With that said, I suggest re-purposing the great ideas, insights, and actionable steps that you have published from your current content in order to reach a wider audience. In short, it’s better to deliver a single high-quality, consistent message throughout a handful of different content sources than through three or four disconnected, low-quality articles.
In fact, HubSpot does a great job at accomplishing this content marketing strategy. Its YouTube channel and infographics are full of insightful tips using re-purposed content. This particular content marketing style is a way to be consistent, remain interesting, and truly provide real value to your entire audience -- not just readers, but listeners, and viewers as well.
5. Share it and Establish Social Proof
Anyone who’s following you on social media is already interested in you and what you have to offer, so don't hesitate to link back to your content.
However, it is important to understand that people do business with people, not companies or brands. To that end, it is important that you engage directly with your audience.
Plus, (going back to our first point above) if you're engaged with other thought-leaders and major influencers in your space, and consistently sharing their content with your audience (“Doing for others what you would want them to do for you”), they’ll be more likely to reciprocate and share your content with their audience as well.
However, it is important to also bear in mind that in order to leverage these kinds of collaboration relationships, it requires a personal touch as well. In other words, not only do you need to get their attention by tagging them in your post or linking back to their hashtags whenever possible, you need to also reach out to them and establish some kind of dialogue that opens up the line of communication and relationship building process.
(Side Note: When it comes to collaborating with major influencers and thought-leaders, always remember that it is not about what they can offer you, but rather, what you can offer them.)
Now, with all that said, it is important to bear in mind that people don’t come to social media networks to be sold things. They are there to "socialize."
Therefore, here are six things I would recommend you do in order to increase social engagement with your content marketing efforts:
(Footnote: I will be writing an article about these six social media engagement strategies within the near future -- you won't want to miss it!)