Starting a new business journey is always exciting, you’re full of energy, focused, and at the same time vary of many pitfalls that can come your way too.
When it comes to starting a personal project, your brand can be anything between an eCommerce shop, a blog, a services portal, or an app. What matters most is how you go about growing your business; And in this article, we’re going to focus on content marketing as a lever to grow your personal brand. First, let’s have a look at what content marketing is and how it benefits your brand:
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the practice of creating content as part of your marketing strategy. You basically market your business by creating content. The content can range from anything that a customer can consume, including blog posts, white papers, videos, podcasts, cheat sheets, and basically anything in written, audible or visual form.
The marketing part comes in from the fact that you produce this content to attract an audience and tell them about your services and products so that they may eventually become customers.
Modern content marketing is part of inbound marketing philosophy, by which you let the customers come to your rather than chasing after them. This way you have a higher chance of attracting relevant customers to your brand while also diminishing the costs you’d need to spend on traditional push marketing tactics.
Content marketing for your brand includes creating, curating, and distributing whatever content you produce. This process can help you:
- Attract your target audience
- Inform the audience about your brand
- Educate people regarding your brand
- Generate leads and sales
- Have your customers become your brand advocates
Now let’s look at how content marketing can be more beneficial than traditional marketing.
Advantages over traditional marketing
Traditional forms of marketing such as TV ads, magazine placements, and billboards interrupt customers from what they’re normally doing and they don’t provide inherent reasons for customers to pay attention to them.
Compare this with content marketing where a customer finds you themselves and so is paying their full attention, coupled with the fact that content produced is built with the dual purpose of adding value to them and also warming them up to your brand.
Now also consider that most of your customers you’re looking to attract have an online presence and spend a considerable time there, in the US alone, 26% of adults are almost always online.
so content marketing serves as the perfect channel to attract your audience.
Secondly, instead of paying for ads to get people to click on your website, you can attract 500 customers for the cost of one article. When you write engaging, valuable and strategic content, the blog posts will act as magnets to attract people to your brand. Content is written once and can direct traffic to your site for years. In the end, content becomes an asset but advertising is always an expense.
For you as a brand, imagine how you can save a lot of money by avoiding the traditional marketing route that pushes information onto people, and rather publishing content, which costs less, is creatively fulfilling, and allows customers themselves to find you.
Essentials for a content marketing strategy
So how do you get started with content marketing? You need a solid strategy. This means you have to decide what your goals from content marketing are, and how you are going to execute those goals. Even if you understand the benefits of content marketing you may not reap the fruits until you have a strategy in place. So let’s look at some tips to create a successful content marketing strategy:
- Set your missions, KPIs and goals
A mission is a brief statement of who your target audience is, what value they’ll get from your content and how you plan to reach them.
Similarly, setting business goals for content marketing will let you answer questions like, how you will increase more traffic, get more leads and increase sales with content.
KPIs (key performance indicators) are what you’ll use to measure the goals you set. They are quantitative measures your content’s impact.
So if you’re an eCommerce shop, your main KPI could be no. of store visits, or as a service provider you may be looking at no. of leads acquired.
2. Know your audience
you need to do an audience analysis for content and ask these questions:
- What age/income/sex/location does my audience fall under?
- What is their occupation, race, or level of religion?
- What channels do they use to communicate? (Twitter, Instagram, email?)
- What are the interests of my audience?
- What activities do they enjoy?
- Will they find my brand message relevant?
- What attitudes do they have towards subjects particular to my industry?
You will gather this information using:
- Market research
- Analytics tools
With a complete profile of your audience at hand, you will be able to craft content that suits the needs, and uses the tone of your target audience.
3. Decide on what kind of content you will create:
As you start your personal brand, your goal should be to attract traffic to your website. You will create content that solves problems for a larger subset of the audience. At this stage, people don’t really care about your company and the only way they will engage with your content is if you educate them regarding keywords they are searching for, or if your content offers entertainment.
Content at this stage that will come in handy includes:
- Blog posts
- How to guides
If your content offers value, it will start ranking on Google and will attract people to your website.
4. Use keyword research to create content
Keyword research is the key to success in getting your content noticed. Keywords are terms people type into search engines like google when they’re seeking information. They’re also terms that googles use to make out what your content is about. Then Google will match a user’s query with your webpage if their search term matches the content of your page, and that’s how you attract traffic.
There are three types of keywords you should add to the content you produce:
- Short keywords that cover a broad category, like “t-shirts”
- Medium length keywords, which can be 2 or 3 words but are more specific than short keywords, like “men’s T-shirts”
- Long-tail keywords that get specific phrases, like “men’s cotton long socks”
So think as a brand what are the keywords that are relevant to your business and then find out if these are keywords that people are interested in. When you find keywords that work for you, Some key places to use keywords are:
- Your page title
- The SEO title of the page (what shows up in Google results)
- The meta description for your content
- Throughout the main body of your content
- In links you add to this page on other webpages and social media channels
So following the tips in this section, you will know the right questions to ask yourself and again a direction for your research to help you hone in on your content marketing strategy.
Content marketing tactics
Now once you’ve decided on a strategy, there are certain tactics you can employ to execute your content strategy and reap the results you are after. These include:
- Guest blogging
- repurposed content
- Curating content
- Creating FOMO
- Gated content
Guest blogging is a popular content marketing method in which you write articles for other websites. This way you can add links to your own website, increasing your SEO juice, send traffic to your website, and also spread awareness about yourself by being visible on other websites.
Repurposing content means taking your existing content either updating it, republishing on different channels, or giving it a spin and adding it to a different medium: for example taking an article and turning it into a video.
Curating content is the practice of finding content from around the web, that is relevant to your audience and presenting it to them.
This can help you keep pushing out new content when it’s difficult to produce fresh stuff, and it also helps you extend the life of your content. It also helps you save time, effort and money while still keeping your audience engaged while the content works to grow your brand.
Check out this guide on how to get started with content curation:
Creating urgency with your content works plays on human psychology. Urgency wants to make us act quickly and also provokes FOMO. But be careful with this strategy, only use it to promote your content when you are certain what you’ve produced is highly valuable for your audience.
To create urgency, you can add countdown timers to display limited time offers or lead magnets.
Gating your content, i.e. only making some of it available for free, allows you to attract sign-ups through your content. You can give people a teaser of content that’s valuable for them and make the complete version after they subscribe to your blog, or sign up for your newsletter etc.
You can gate content like:
- Blog posts
- Cheet sheats
- Tips n tricks
- Digitally downloadable resources
Content gating can help you understand what matters to your audience so you can create content along those lines and also increase your subscriber list.
There you have it, now you’re armed with the knowledge of the power of content marketing. If you’ve started your personal brand, remember to first work out what goals you have for it, and then see how content marketing can help you achieve those goals. Then pick your KPIs, your content formats and your tactics that you’re going to use to get to your goals.
Are you using content marketing for your business? If so how are your results? Let us know in the comments below.