April 9, 2019
Content marketing is spreading the word about the thing you sell by providing valuable information to the people who will buy it. It is currently one of the most effective and popular ways people make money online because it has a low barrier to entry, low overhead and low risk.
As the name suggests, content marketing is about information.
How does it work?
Content marketing works like this:
- You create helpful, entertaining or inspiring content.
- You publish it regularly, for free, for a specific audience.
- People find your content and begin to know, like & trust you.
- You sell something(s) to your people and get paid.
Contrast this to how old, traditional marketing works:
- A company creates a product.
- They tell as many people as possible about it and push them to buy, buy, buy.
Why is content marketing better?
Content marketing is effective because it gives you a chance to provide value to your audience before you ask them to buy your thing.
Why is this important? Because it’s less pushy.
Raise your hand if you hate email spam, texts from unknown companies, voicemail messages from salesy robots, pushy solicitors who show up at your door, telemarketers who call at dinnertime and sales flyers stuck under your windshield wiper in the Walmart parking lot.
Yeah, your customers hate those things too.
Content marketing is more helpful, relevant, friendly and palatable, and less unwanted, random, annoying and manipulative.
Wouldn’t you rather customers buy out of gratitude instead of guilt? Yes. Why? Because grateful customers leave good reviews, are more likely to be repeat customers and are also more likely to tell their friends about you.
People aren’t opposed to buying stuff. People are opposed to being badgered into buying stuff.
Who uses content marketing?
Content marketing is everywhere. It’s used by huge brands, small bloggers and everyone in between.
Do you watch YouTube, read blogs, follow influencers on social media or listen to podcasts? It’s all content marketing. You get helpful, entertaining or inspiring content. The people providing that content are getting paid.
Who pays content marketers?
Sometimes customers pay them directly. A customer buys their book, course, planner, photos, t-shirt or something else they made, joins their membership site, attends their event or hires them directly.
Sometimes a company they partner with pays them. An advertiser pays them to mention or share a picture of their product or service. An advertiser pays them when followers click on an ad in their blog’s sidebar or at the beginning of their YouTube video. A sponsor pays to have a “commercial” read during their podcast episode. A seller pays them a commission when their recommendation results in a sale.
Types of content in content marketing
There are many ways you can distribute your content. The key is that it’s free. Here are some examples:
And there are so many more.
Examples of content marketing
Example 1 (simple): Let’s say you own a company that sells African safaris. Now let’s pretend you start a blog.
In your blog posts you answer all the common questions you get about African safaris like:
- What are the best places to visit on safari?
- What should I wear on safari?
- What’s the typical cost of an African safari?
- What are the dangers of going on safari?
The more you provide helpful, trustworthy information, the more you become a go-to resource for African safaris.
Some people will enjoy your posts and leave it at that. Some will tell their safari-seeking friends about how helpful your site is. And some will want to go on an African safari themselves. Who do you think they will pay to plan it for them?
Example 2 (more robust): Let’s say you make custom dining room tables. Now let’s pretend you start a YouTube channel.
In your videos you provide all kinds of tips and tutorials about woodworking like:
- How to build a simple coffee table
- The top 3 woodworking tools
- Common mistakes beginning woodworkers make
- One trick every woodworker should know
Some people will enjoy your videos and click on your YouTube ads, generating income for you. Some will follow your instructions to build their own furniture and use your affiliate links, generating commissions for you. And some will hire you to build them a custom table, generating income for you.
But there are even more ways you could generate income…
Maybe you’ll create detailed plans which viewers can buy and download, generating income for you. Or perhaps a tool manufacturer will send you their latest tool and pay you to use it or review it one of your videos. The list goes on.
Is content marketing the same thing as income streams?
No. Content marketing is an overarching strategy. Income streams fit under it.
Content marketing is about what you provide your customers. Income streams are the ways you get paid doing it.
5 things to do to become a successful content marketer
- Become the go-to resource in your topic or niche.
- What questions do your potential customers have? Make your content the best of all answers.
- Use content marketing to draw attention to yourself and your business by informing, not selling.
- Don’t focus on your product or service. Focus on what’s important to people who would use your product or service.
- Aim to turn strangers into fans, and fans into customers, not strangers into customers.
You can be a content marketer. Use it to start an online business by following this checklist.