The Four C’s of Beginner Content Marketing
The following beginner content marketing techniques create the foundation for our success online.
Advanced content marketing tactics and strategies are sexy, no doubt. But most marketers and business owners are not ready to build these advanced strategies (i.e. self-syndication) into their everyday content marketing efforts.
Think of your online presence as building a custom home. Before we can add fancy crown molding and granite counter-tops, we must first dig a hole and put in a foundation.
Our content marketing strategy is not different.
We must first lay the foundation of our online presence using the beginner content marketing principles outlined below.
Four C’s of Beginner Content Marketing
Here are the four C’s of beginner content marketing:
Every professional content marketing strategy is born out of the Simon Sinek, “Why,” of that organization.
The great content marketers of our era (Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Chris Brogan just to name a few) spend more time on “Why,” than the content marketing tactics they’ll use to execute.
If you need help figuring out the “Why” of your content marketing, grab a copy of my new book Content Warfare, you’ll love it.
Far too often amateur content marketers get lost in tactics.
Don’t make this mistake.
The four C’s are a content marketer’s guide.
Apply your organization’s unique “Why” to these four principles and the tactics necessary to execute will simply fall into place.
If you can harness all four, even at this very basic level, you will find success online.
You’ll find success because you’ll actually understand “Why” you’re doing all the tactics rockstar ninja guru marketers preach every day.
SEE ALSO: What is Content Marketing?
The first C is create.
We must create original content.
We must create original content on a platform we own. The blog is not dead.
There is no shortcut and no excuse that can get you out of this first principle of content marketing.
By original, I mean to your business (not that you specifically have to write the content) Hiring a copywriter or freelance content marketer is an excellent strategy if you have the resources.
Regardless of who actually creates the content, our website, blog, social media outposts and email marketing must all provide unique value through original content.
Most of us did not start our businesses to become publishers. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it’s become increasingly difficult to buy the attention our businesses needs to survive through traditional methods. We must publish. We must create original content.
This is where the idea of Content Warfare came from. We’re not curating content, we’re not echoing the ideas other thought-leaders and we’re certainly not stealing content.
With 70% of B2B marketers set to increase content creation in 2016, according to Content Marketing Institute, not creating original content is NOT an option.
Content quality matters. According to a study analyzed by Marketing Land, 69% of content online is low quality.
Coupled with the necessity to create content, (and ultimately create more and more over time), is the need for that content to be high quality.
Creating consistent high-quality content is a foundational principle of beginner content marketing.
Many businesses, (especially small businesses), stop at creating content. These businesses mistake activity for success.
Ten years ago content marketing activity could be enough to stand out. It’s not ten years ago.Click to tweet
The content we create must captivate our perfect online audience’s attention.
An incredibly simple idea, that is incredibly difficult to master.
Here is what captivating your perfect online audience does NOT look like:
…it’s not cat videos.
…it’s not political rants.
…it’s not puking out advertising messages.
The simplest way to captivate your audience is be human.
Our content must capture the authenticity, transparency, vulnerability and humility that enable true connection with your audience.
A more tactical approach to captivating your audience looks like this:
- Teach through stories,
- Share case studies,
- Answer common questions about your business or industry,
- Highlight audience members, and
- Provide “behind-the-scenes” access.
These are just a few ideas.
Adding rich media, such as video, audio and Slideshares to content marketing can help captivate your audience as well. Last year video from people and brands increased 3.6x year over year. There is a reason for this.
The definition of captivate says it all:
attract and hold the interest and attention of
Attract and hold your audience’s attention long enough and they’ll begin to trust you.
Building trust by captivating your audience with original content is a foundational principle of beginner content marketing.
Communities advance trust building with your audience.
Community building is as vital to the long-term success of your content marketing strategy as air is to your personal health. I’m serious.
According to Vanessa DiMauro in her 56 Lessons From 20 Years of Online Community Building:
People come for content and stay for community.
We can generate attention in bursts. Create a new product with some compelling sales copy and pay for ads that attract attention. Do this and you will move product. You will make sales no doubt.
But attention without trust, without a sense of community is fleeting.
It’s just a burst of attention. You get a nice run up and then… crickets.
As quickly as your perceived audience was built, it’s gone again.
Attention is quickly taken away, unless you build a community. Unless you introduce your captivated audience to one another and give them a reason and way to congregate and network.
You and your ideas are the rallying point for your audience’s success.
You’re not the success itself; you’re the facilitator, the spark. Your ideas are the gasoline and your community is the engine.
When you build a community, you’re manufacturing repeat customers and brand evangelists. You’re building your own personal marketplace for the products and services you sell.
Community is what keeps your content marketing thriving, forever.
According to a study by Crezeo, 80% of marketers indicate that building brand communities has increased traffic and 53% of Americans who are part of a social brand community are more loyal to the brand.
When audience members become community members, you build loyalty and trust.
Building a community of true fans is a foundational principle of beginner content marketing.
Once you’ve established a consistent creation process, learned how to captivate your readers and turned audience members into a community, conversion becomes the easy the part.
Conversion becomes easy because you’ve already put in the hard work.
The first three foundational principles of content marketing are labor intensive.
The trick to conversion is testing.
No one really knows what’s going to convert prospects into customers until they test the various elements of a conversion focused landing page. The tool I use for this is Leadpages Landing Pages. It’s wonderfully simple and works with any platform, not just WordPress.
You don’t have to sell your community. You don’t have to sell your audience. If you’ve put in the work, if you’ve set yourself and company to the first three C’s, then your community is going to tell you what they want.
All you need to do is provide it.
Sure there are strategies, designs and tactics that will help you maximize conversions.
This stuff is important, no doubt. If you’re looking for more resources on conversion, check out Unbounce and ConversionXL. Both are fantastic and go-to resources for me.
In order for beginner content marketing to produce results, for those schemes and designs and tactics to help in any way, we must have done the work.
It’s that simple and that hard.
According to Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL, when it comes to conversion:
Here’s the hard and fast rule: one page, one goal.”
All the hard work of content marketing seems pointless if we’re not going to eventually convert our audience into clients.
Developing a plan and process for converting your audience into paying customers is a foundational principle of beginner content marketing.
Focus on the four C’s of beginner content marketing and you’ll never have to read another post on how often to post on social media or write the perfect blog post.
These are derivatives of your ability to harness the foundational principles of content marketing listed above.
Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something.
Don’t overinvest in platforms, tools or strategies.
Submerse yourself in creation. Whatever it takes for you to consistently publish content, which captivates your perfect online audience. Do that thing. Read that book. Be in that place…
…and you won’t be a beginner for long.
Thank you and Good luck,
I am Ryan Hanley.
What say you?
image credit 1: giphy.
image credit 2: giphy.