Do you feel that content marketing for your business is a waste of money? You aren’t alone. It’s so easy to understand why you probably feel that way.
Sometimes, marketing can feel like a whole lot of nothing; fluff. Especially content marketing, right? I hear you. It’s tough to believe someone when they say a blog is the key to a successful business.
And chances are you, or someone you know has done this: cranked out three or four blog posts, that did little more than provide frustration. I mean, the only people they brought to your site were family, friends. Am I right?
Blogging can feel weird, that whole, ‘talking into the void.’ And writing blog posts can take a lot of time and effort. You’re too busy taking care of other aspects of your business that generate revenue and immediate results.
So, what’s the purpose of content marketing if no one reads your blog? It can feel like an immense waste of time – and money if you’ve outsourced your blog to any old person claiming to be a writer.
But, here’s the thing. It’s 2018.
And in 2018, a static webpage just won’t cut it.
And with limits – or full out bans- on advertising financial, bitcoin, technology, fintech, and related products, businesses in the finance technology space need strong, well-written blogs more than any other industry.
The Effect of Compelling Content for your Business
Writing a compelling blog is just one aspect of content marketing. It’s one type of content that professional, certified digital marketers use to help businesses grow.
Content marketing, just like any type of good inbound marketing, won’t work like a vending machine. You can’t expect to put a few coins in the slot and see immediate results.
But instead, if you think of your business as a living, breathing environment, you’ll be better able to see the need for content marketing.
It isn’t linear. New visitors to your site don’t go in straight lines. It’s more organic. One day they see your name pop up on social media like Facebook or Twitter. A few weeks later, maybe they read a blog you wrote. A month later maybe they watch a video you created. Now they’re curious so they pop over to your site and sign up for your newsletter. And slowly, they start to visit your site on a more regular basis. They begin to see you as an authority and want to hear what you have to say about an issue important to them.
Compelling content is the glue that binds all of that together, allowing you to draw in people from all over the web and bring them to one centralized location: your website; your business’s home on the web.
So, what is the purpose of content marketing, then?
It’s actually very simple. The purpose of content marketing is to build an audience. It isn’t about increasing Twitter followers or collecting Facebook page likes.
It’s time to think about your customers as people, not addresses or number on a page. Your audience is a group of unique people who’ve turned to you because they want to know what you think; they want what you have to share. These people, your clan, admire you. They are looking to you for guidance. They want to learn from you because they trust you.
And content, regardless of its form, allows you to build a connection between you and your audience, cultivating a very real relationship with each individual person.
That is the purpose of content marketing.
In a world that has increasingly fewer and fewer connections.
By sharing content, and our stories, in compelling blog posts, articles, ebooks, videos, white papers, case studies, podcasts, tweets, facebook posts, and so on…we have the ability to connect with the very real person on the other side of the screen. And in the financial products an services industry, and any industry built on trust and authority, what could be more important?
We build trust when we display our authority and expertise. We build relationships by revealing our genuine desire to help others improve their lives through our product or service.
Of course, not every member of your audience will become a repeat customer. And that’s okay because often these are the exact people who become ambassadors for you, sharing your content, referring people to you & your business.
And while they may not become a customer or client the day they read your blog post, you might pique their interest enough to keep them coming back for another visit. They read your blog posts for 4 months and then they reach out and get in touch with you.
The real purpose of content marketing is to create a natural environment, across multiple channels, that pulls in people who resonate specifically with the message you are sharing. By creating an ideal space, where people want to be – they will choose to be there.
Understanding the Value of Content Marketing
You’ll begin to see the value of content marketing by doing so consistently, over time, in a manner that feels good for you and in a manner that people listening to what you have to say want to consume what you’re saying.
Consistency means creating content in a manner that’s predictable, reliable, and expected.
Publish a blog post every Friday morning. Produce a twenty-minute podcast once a month. Post to Facebook every weekday afternoon. Share a new video on the second Monday of the month. Send out an email or newsletter every other week.
Get the idea? And don’t worry, you don’t need to do all of those things!
Consistency isn’t just about when you share – it also applies to what you share. If you talk to the ways that people can improve their lives with your services or products, you’ll shatter that consistency if you suddenly publish a blog post about how to train your cat to fetch a ball.
Choose what is important to share. What type of value do you want to provide? What ideas, values, philosophies, and approaches to living the best life with your products and services can you offer to others?
By staying consistent over time, people will start waiting for you to show up and share your unique content. And that’s when you begin to build an audience.
Your audience is excited to open your email or read your brand new blog post. They want to see the content you share on Twitter or Facebook. They tune in to hear your latest podcast.
Over time means it’s not enough to simply share content for a few months and then do nothing. Content marketing is a long-term commitment. You’re building a relationship with your audience, and building relationships take time. The relationships that last, need time and care to cultivate.
Could you imagine proposing on your first date with someone? It’s the same thing here.
If you provide a few pieces of content and ask them to buy from you, you’ll be disappointed. They won’t buy from you because there’s no relationship; no trust. That takes time, effort, dedication, and most of all, commitment to the process.
So, how long do you need to do this?
Most small businesses being to see results within one year of consistently producing compelling content that resonates with the exact people you want to reach.
But the good news is, it doesn’t have to take that long, especially in the finance, technology, fintech space. And if you’re starting from absolute scratch, you might see results sooner.
While every business is unique and there is an assortment of variables that can impact how long it will take to see traction with your content marketing, as a general rule a year is a good general timeline.
In a Manner That Feels Good for You
In other words, if you hate writing, don’t try to blog twice a week. If you hate the sound of your voice, podcasts probably won’t be the best option for you. Camera shy? Time to reconsider starting up a YouTube channel.
And here’s a secret. Creating content that you don’t enjoy creating will never be compelling. Readers are savvy, they can sense when your heart’s not in it. Authenticity is important. If you’re forcing yourself to create content chances are it will come across as stilted and awkward. Or worse.
You may not ‘enjoy creating’ every step of the process but hopefully, overall, you’ll feel good about it. Maybe you love the feeling of seeing a page full of your words but hate the blank page that faces you at the beginning. That blank page isn’t enjoyable, but it’s a necessary part of the process.
In a Way That People Listening to What You Have to Say Want to Consume What You’re Saying
This is so simple. So important. And so often, overlooked.
It’s vital to remember that the stars of the process here are your audience; the people you’re creating all this content for.
If you know that your ideal audience isn’t the type to sit down and read a super long blog post, don’t write a super long blog post. It doesn’t matter why they don’t want to read a ton of words – maybe they’re interested but too busy, or maybe they aren’t feeling well due to illness – you might want to consider shorter forms of content like marketing guru Seth Godin’s bite-sized blog. Or maybe podcasts will work better for your ideal customer and client? Think about the amount of time your audience will have to consume your content. Would a thirty-minute show be something they would enjoy listening to while they commute to work? Or should it really be much shorter, say a fifteen-minute segment.
Instead of wasting money on conventional advertising that interrupts people doing something they enjoy – if you’re lucky enough to be in an area where’s that’s allowed – you can create compelling content that speaks to a targeted group of people.
Over time, that group of people begins to grow. You’re building your audience. People are showing up to hear your podcast or read your blog, instead of you reaching out to them. You’re attracting the people who want to learn from you; they want to hear your message. You’re not jumping around flailing, trying to catch their attention – they are choosing to give it to you.
If you respect your clan by providing them with valuable, usable, killer content that they love you’re going to turn these people who are interested in hearing what you have to say, to people interested in buying what you have to sell, and staying with you remaining loyal to you and your business for the long run.
And that’s the whole purpose of content marketing.
About the author:
Freedom Ahn is an expert business writer & former journalist providing blogging, ghostwriting, and content marketing services. She specializes in finance, technology, marketing, and their intersection (FinTec, MarTech).