For the last couple weeks, I have been planning an amazing birthday party for my daughter. She’s having a “photo shoot” party at a local photography studio and the girls are going to be models for the evening.
Needless to say, the party requires an RSVP, which has been a challenge. The RSVPs are sprinkling in, some by phone, one by email, one in person while we’re picking the kids up from school, one by text, one by Facebook message (which I never check and hate), and some by word of mouth from their daughter to my daughter to me.
It’s frustrating, but just because I need an RSVP and I requested a phone call, doesn’t mean others will take action right away, in the way I want them to. I have to accept that they will get back to me when it’s convenient for them, and how it’s convenient for them.
Content Marketing Works The Same Way
Consumers don’t take action when you want them to take action, they take action when they are ready. They don’t buy when you want them to buy, they buy when they are ready to buy. And they certainly don’t read your newest article just because you published it — it has to be the right person, and the right content, at the right time.
As a content marketer, your job is to make sure that your content gets in front of the right audience at the right time — when they are ready.
Find The Right Audience
Recently a client shared some exciting news with us. A short time after launching her new site, she was invited to be a guest on two very popular podcasts. She was excited to get her brand and content out in front of large new audiences, and created a special opt-in gift for each interview.
A couple weeks later, I checked in with her only to find disappointment. She received very few opt-ins and very little traffic. She was frustrated. She began doubting herself and her skills, and was second guessing her business plan.
What she didn’t realize is that the problem wasn’t her, her content, her offer, or her business plan! It was the audience. While the podcasts both had big followings, and she provided great information, the audience wasn’t a good fit for her business model and services.
Publishing remarkable content and marketing it to consumers who aren’t a good fit isn’t going to produce remarkable results no matter how hard you try.
They key is to identify who your audience is — who your ideal reader, listener, viewer, prospect, or client is — before you begin creating your content.
Creating a detailed profile of your core audience segments, including what they struggle with, what gets them excited, what keeps them up a night, and what they care about most, will help you tailor your content to their specific wants and needs. It will also help you evaluate whether a joint venture, speaking, or marketing opportunity is right for your business.
Create The Right Content
A few years ago friend of mine launched a new business to help employees escape their 9-5 job and start freelancing. She decided that a radio show would be her medium of communication and used her blog to promote it.
She worked tirelessly to launch the business and create weeks of radio show content in advance, but when she threw open the doors to the public, she heard crickets. She looked at her analytics and people were coming to her site and visiting the blog posts about her radio shows… but they weren’t listening to the show.
After a few months, she sent a survey out to her subscribed and learned an amazing fact: Most of the people visiting her site were doing so during the day while at their 9-5, and while they could read content, they couldn’t listen to a radio show!
She had created amazing content, but it was the wrong content for her audience.
By survey, social media, email, or even by phone, you need to learn the types of content your audience likes best:
- Do they prefer to read, watch, or listen?
- Do they prefer more visual content or written content?
- Do they like to watch a video and download the transcript to take notes?
- Will they make time for a live teleseminar or webinar, or do they prefer an audio MP3 they can listen to at any time?
- Are they mainly using their phone, a tablet, or desktop computer?
Provide Convenient Access
One of the business owners in my mastermind group was complaining the other day about how little traffic he gets to his website. He writes really interesting articles and shares delicious recipes and was especially frustrated because a competitor whose content isn’t as good is enjoying much more traction and becoming well known.
We dug in to help him out and discovered why his competitor was experiencing more success.
She was marketing her content in several different ways in several different places, while he was merely publishing his posts and crossing his fingers.
He learned that just because you have a blog, it doesn’t mean people will remember that it’s there or seek it out. You have to provide multiple opportunities for others to find and access your content, and you have to make it convenient and easy.
Once you know who you are marketing to and how they consume content, you must learn where they spend their time:
- Do they subscribe to blogs, or do they prefer email newsletters, or both?
- Do they like to read or listen to an audio?
- Do they watch YouTube videos?
- Are they on Twitter all day or only sporadically?
- Are they active on LinkedIn or do they only use it for research?
- Do they prefer Facebook?
- Do they pay attention to and check out slide decks on Slide Share?
By discovering where your audience spends their time, where they go for information and content, and how they prefer to consume it, you can create a smart plan to get your content in front of them.
Build Roads Back To Your Site
Marketing your content on social media and content sharing sites is a great way to increase visibility for your brand. Just don’t forget to ensure that your marketing efforts must drive new viewers back to your website and the original content.
For example, let’s say you write a new article titled “10 Ways To Get 10 New Clients In 30 Days”, and that the article is epic, amazing — it’s one of the best you’ve ever written. You know your ideal clients will love it because figuring out how to get new clients is the core problem that keeps them up at night.
You really want to make sure you market this well and that it works hard for you to drive traffic back to your site, as well as generate new opt-ins and new leads.
From your research, you know:
- The majority of your audience like to read articles, and some like to listen to audios in the car or at the gym
- They don’t use Google+ much, and instead most of their time on Facebook, and a little time on Twitter
- They are too busy to browse YouTube, but they do watch videos on Facebook or watch videos they find in search results when searching online
- They use LinkedIn to research service providers, but they aren’t active on the platform
This gives you smart, data-driven knowledge so you can create a marketing plan for your article.
Here’s an example of what it may look like:
- Publish the article to your blog.
- Use a plugin like CoSchedule to schedule social media shares.
- Create a presentation slide deck to publish on SlideShare that lists each of the 10 strategies you cover in the article. The presentation links back to the post on your website so viewers can learn each strategy. You add the deck to your LinkedIn profile, and share it on Facebook and Twitter.
- Record an audio version of the article with a promo for your website and include it in the blog post so visitors can listen or download the MP3. Link your audios with iTunes and/or a podcasting network.
- Pull three or four quotes from your article and create visual images of the quotes to share on Facebook and Twitter at various times of day throughout the week with a link back to your post. Each person will resonate with something different, so this creates more visual stimulation and attention for your article.
- Use the slide deck created for SlideShare to record a screencast video promoting the 10 strategies and inviting viewers back to your site to learn more and get the details. Publish the video to YouTube and share it on Facebook.
Reap The Rewards of Convenient, Accessible Content That Reaches The Right People At The Right Time
As you can see from the example above, the same content created in the original article is repurposed multiple times in multiple ways.
By taking an active approach to content marketing, you’re ensuring that your content is ready to meet your ideal clients and prospects where they are — be it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or even a search engine. This way they can discover it at the time that is best for them … when they are ready to take action.