But your business is not like other business! It’s unicorn-level unique!
And you want to know…
‘How well will content marketing really work for ME?’
Sadly, I don’t have a crystal ball to be able to check in on the #InfluencerStatus of your future self.
But I have noticed a handful of decisions I see business owners making early on that seem to have a direct effect on just how far content marketing can take them!
So if you’re wondering how to make the most of your decision to make content marketing your client-finding strategy, here are 5 things you’ll want to consider!
Might as well start with the big one, so that if you only make it through part of this post, you won’t miss the most important decision you can make as a newly committed content creator!
That’s right, niching down what you sell or who you serve isn’t enough!
So say you are a real estate agent and you start a blog to hopefully drum up some clients in your area.
You’ve heard you should be publishing content weekly, so you sit down and muse about random things you think someone who matches your ideal client might enjoy reading…
Your 6 go-to holiday recipes, your annual trip to the San Juan Islands, an inspiring epiphany you had over breakfast that morning, and your own version of ‘Oprah’s favorite things’.
And these are all lovely topics, some of which would no doubt bring a smile to your current client’s face!
But for the person who doesn’t already know you personally, or hasn’t already interacted with your business in some way before stumbling upon your content, they will have exactly zero idea what it is you do.
And even if they legitimately need a real estate agent, you will not necessarily be the first to come to mind.
“10 ways to make sure your offer is accepted when you finally find your dream home…”
Or “First time home buyer? Here’s everything you need to know”…
Or “5 up and coming neighborhoods in Trent, Michigan”…
You’ve made it pretty clear:
A) What you offer
B) You seem to know a lot about your industry
C) You are using your content to answer the exact questions someone in need of a real estate agent might actually be asking
Which is the whole purpose of spending time creating content in the first place!
A common thing I see with new businesses is that they will design their website, add a blog, stick up 5 pieces of content to serve as a sort of FAQ or resource library, then launch the site, never to post again, or at best a couple times a year when they feel they have something to say.
But here’s the thing…
Whereas the promise of fresh, regularly published content keeps interested people coming back again and again while they’re still working out whether or not they need what you’re selling.
With a consistent publishing schedule, your audience comes to expect that you are the type of person who shows up when you said you would, making it much easier for them to start to view you as their ‘go-to’ person for your industry.
Have you ever been searching for answers to something on the internet, and seen a title pop up that makes you think “Ugh! Yes! It’s like they were reading my mind!”
So you click this super promising title, excited that you finally found the answer to this thing you’ve been wondering…
But when you get there, the post turns out to be a 3 paragraph summary of why this topic is important (which you already knew or you wouldn’t have bothered clicking it), then telling you: “for more information, book a consult, buy my thing, or sign up for my freebie or masterclass…”
That’s not content. That, my friend, is a landing page.
(Which has its place…just not here, before you’ve actually shared anything of value.)
But they do have a choice…a whole wide web full of choices, in fact!
And 10/10 times they are going to go with someone who was willing to help them before there was ever money on the table.
You may only get one chance at getting that person to interact with your business, and playing VIP ‘bouncer’ to your best advice is not making for a very warm welcome.
If they only ever consume ONE piece of your content…just ONE blog post or ONE video, it better be the most helpful thing they’ve ever seen for free on the internet.
…rather than them end up feeling wildly underwhelmed and a tad misled when your content doesn’t answer the question your title said it would.
This doesn’t mean every piece of content needs to be the definitive guide to your thing! Just make sure there is an actual takeaway to be had right there in your post, no strings attached.
THEN, after you’ve provided genuine value, go ahead and link a related ‘next step’ like a freebie, or CTA/call-to-action to work with you.
They’ll think “wow! If her free stuff is this helpful, imagine what her paid stuff must be like” and there will be no forcing anyone to do anything!
You’ve invested a ton of time creating valuable free content, so finding additional ways to monetize all that hard work may feel like a super savvy business move.
But, if you started your blog, channel, or podcast with the purpose of marketing your own products or services, you really don’t want to go watering down your brand with a bunch of random ads or paid link insertions leading visitors away from your site.
There are two types of content creators:
Content Creator Type #1: Creates their own revenue stream first > then creates a bunch of free content to market it
Content Creator Type #2: Creates a bunch of free content first > then uses that content to attract new revenue streams
So when you are first getting started, you have to decide whether you will use your content to lead into your own sales funnels OR whether you become a billboard for other businesses.
Now, if there’s a third-party product or service you personally use and love and want to be recommending because you know it will help the exact person you are trying to attract to your business, then by all means, find a way to become an affiliate of that thing!
But for the most part, you want all the precious CTA space on your site and in your content to be reserved for you!
Not sure how to self-monetize your content?
Now obviously the platform you choose to host your content on is important. The method of delivery (blog, video, audio) has to make sense for the topic you’re sharing!
ie. You wouldn’t try to share a complicated tech tutorial via podcast, because very few people would be able to follow along with the steps!
But just as important as where you host your free content is how you choose to shout out about it once it’s created!
Social media might feel the easiest, and maybe that’s where you currently have the most followers and engagement going on…
As Russel Brunson put it, “People who read blogs, read blogs.”
Meaning, people who are scrolling social media aren’t there to read blogs, they are there to scroll social media.
And if a piece of your content does pique their interest, the likelihood of them leaving their favorite platform to head over to your site is slim, not to mention there are quite a few steps they need to follow through with to make that happen.
Here’s what my team and I find when we try to use Instagram to send people over to the blog:
Someone sees my Instagram post
20% take the time to read my caption, 80% keep scrolling out of habit
Of those 20% who did read my caption, only maybe 3% actually go looking for the link in my bio like I asked
Then half of that 3% is distracted by a new highlight bubble on my profile before they can click the link to go read my blog post…
So of the 2,215 people who saw that post, 442 people read my caption, 12 people visited my profile, and 6 people actually clicked the link to read the post.
That’s just 6 people benefitting from that post I spent hours creating.
Absolutely! I’ve seen tonnes of business owners making it work for them beautifully! (Like talented past student Ayesha using Instagram to book out her web design business!)
But just like we talked about in point 3 above, if you don’t provide actual takeaways and value right there where that person is currently engaging with you, they aren’t likely to want to follow you to another area of your business.
So I’ve found that if you’re going to share content on Instagram, you have to actually share the answers right there in the post.
❌ There’s no digging around for links in bios
❌ There’s no algorithm deciding who from my audience it will actually show that email to
❌ My email doesn’t go away until they’ve taken some sort of action on it (ie. read it or deleted it).
They have a clear, clickable call-to-action directly to my blog post, and the fact that they are on my list means they are probably a whole lot more invested than someone who didn’t have to give up their super-secret contact deets in order to follow me.
These higher intent people tend to be more invested in their journey than the passive scroller, and are therefore more likely to take action and actually benefit from my free advice!
So how do you build a list of highly engaged email followers?
See step #3!
(Deciding how much you’ll give away for free!)