The idea of blogging for startup businesses used to be a mere add-on to the company profile. The idea is to create a “face” for the otherwise unknown company. However, these days this feature has become a “must have” in order to compete with the big guys. The good thing with the Internet is that it is a field where everyone has a chance to get a fair slice of the pie. In order to have that, you need to leverage the power of content marketing in your blog. The main goal of the content you’re going to produce is to attract visitors and turn them into loyal customers. Eventually, you hope for them to become your advocates.
Content Marketing as an industry practice is not new. Actually, it started in the late 1800’s. That’s the oldest timeframe that I can dig. It started with John Deere with the Furrows Magazine in 1895 wherein they published content to educate farmers about the latest technology for better harvest. Instead of buying attention like in advertising, they published significant content which captured their audience’s attention. After 100 years, they have a distribution of an approximate of 1.5 Million in 40 countries around the world, making them one of the most successful in content marketing.
The essence of content marketing is simple to understand: to create remarkable content and use the right platforms so that it will be readily available for your readers. Websites, blogs, social media and forums are examples of vehicles in the Internet which can bring the message and your brand to your target audience.
The aims of publishing well-written content are:
- to educate your target market about your service or product and other related scope in your niche;
- to become a hub of information when they need answers relevant to your niche scope; and
- to become an expert resource in your niche by adding value to your target audience.
Blogging, as mentioned, is one of the best ways to publish content today. Fortune 500 companies now leverage on blogging to keep their audience updated.
Here are few of the top Fortune 500 companies which handles their own blogs:
1. AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)
2. Agilent Technologies
3. Alcoa Recycling, CE Blog
4. Amazon Web Services Blog
5. American Express
6. AT&T Public Policy Blog
7. Coca-Cola Conversations
9. Disney Parks Blog
10. FedEx Citizenship Blog
11. eBay Developers Program Blog
12. Ford Motor Company
13. Hewlett-Packard Company
15. Xerox Corporation
Where to begin in your content creation?
Many businesses shy away from blogging because they have no idea what to write about, especially if they think that they have boring businesses. One example is the plumbing industry. The most common argument that I always hear is that no one cares about articles on pipes and tubes. I mean, who would read that, right? But I believe that if these companies or businesses identify their “buyer persona” clearly, they will be able to reach more people through content marketing.
Here are some questions you need to ask in identifying your buyer persona:
1. Put yourself in their shoes to be able to effectively reach and clearly communicate with them.
- Know how much time they usually spend online.
- Identify where they usually go to get solutions or help.
- Determine how big their professional and social network is.
- Identify their favorite social media platform.
- Identify the medium they are using on the web, like laptop, mobile phone or tablet.
2. Identify what attracts your buyer persona.
- Check what kind of websites they always visit.
- Find out what kind of interaction they are looking for.
- What kind of article attracts them most and they consider to be significant.
- Know how much time they spend reading/browsing your content.
3. Provide solutions and value to your visitors.
- Know what problems your buyer persona has that you can solve.
- Focus on their pain points.
- Identify their level of expertise in your industry to be able to best serve them.
- Know how they can benefit from your content.
4. Identify their purchase decision triggers.
- What are their considerations when making their purchase decisions? Is your product or service an impulse product or is it B2B? It’s important to know what kind of approach you have to make in your call to action to effectively convert. After all, the goal is the bottom line.
- How much time do they put on research before making a decision or a recommendation?
- Are they the decision maker? If not, what kind of deliverables do they need to recommend their product to the decision maker/s?
A Video on Mistakes to Avoid on Creating Buyer Persona from Mad Marketing TV on B2B Businesses:
Be reminded that once you already created your persona, it doesn’t stop there. Continued testing and understanding your buyer persona’s behavior is essential. If you have clearly identified your target buyer, this will act as the basis of your content strategy. It’s easier to brainstorm for concepts and topics you may want to write in your blog that really add value to your target visitors and effectively build authority and brand.
Here are some examples of content that you can create to attract your buyer persona:
1. One-page blog articles – about the most pressing issues facing your industry.
2. White papers – five- to seven-page documents analyzing industry trends and challenges.
3. Videos – two- to three-minute videos about relevant and engaging topics.
4. Webinars – live presentations you give about specific industry topics.
5. Podcasts – ten- to twenty-minute audio programs where you might have the opportunity to interview industry experts.
6. Webcasts – live video shows which can be viewed online.
7. Infographics – a graphic visual representation of information, data or knowledge.
8. eBook – a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.
9. Online Courses – It is an integrated learning program entirely accessed via a computer with an internet connection, except for proctored exams if required.
10. Presentations – an on-screen presentation of information / ideas presented on slides. A slide show enforces the ideas, comments, solution or suggestions presented in the slide.
Create content that could turn into linkable assets. Usually, these content are highly informative, unique and really add value to your visitors which in turn, other blogs or sites may link to it as an authoritative source.
If you want to have a successful Internet business, you need to think like publishers. Be half marketers and half publishers in order to generate an ongoing stream of quality content.
Marketing Your Content
- Make your presence known through guest posting in other blogs that are in your vertical niche. It will contain an attribution link back to your site and in turn, may refer relevant and targeted traffic to your site. This strategy alone can give you a compounding effect in your traffic and in your website’s authority.
- Subscribe to other influential bloggers in your niche. Comment in their blogs and leave links going back to your site. Make sure that when you leave a comment, you add value in their articles.
- Chase them through Twitter. Tweet their content or RT their Tweets. Be generous to them and build a healthy relationship with them. See what content they write about. That way, you will know what content you may want to write about so you can woo them to promote you content to their followers. Use the same principle with other social media platforms where they usually hang out.
What’s in it for you?
Continuous content marketing will establish your foothold as a thought leader in your niche or industry. Thought leadership is considered to be one of the most precious currency in the Internet. Businesses, large and small, are eager to get this notoriety in the market. Here are some tips for you:
- Learn as much as you can in your niche or industry. Be an expert in your niche to become an authority. Provide useful information. Be an expert before you can be a thought leader.
- Publish regularly your awesome ideas. It can be information, speculation or the latest controversy in your industry. Always populate your blog with that awesome hot content!
- Always interact with your visitors. People don’t like static pages, they want dynamic websites. Be a proactive publisher and build a lot of interaction as possible.
- Don’t be afraid to be controversial at times. If you see some content that you don’t agree with and you know you can contribute a better idea then do it.
Lastly, be patient. As they say, Rome was not built in one day. Keep working as you build your momentum. Always observe what your competitors are doing and take note of what works for them (but don’t exactly follow them). Always keep in mind your unique selling proposition and find ways how you can attract your buyer persona or target market. It will not be an instant hit but if you will just be consistent, awesome things will happen. People will soon start to notice your content in the end and gain much traction.