Step 1: The WHAT
1) Build an audience.
(2) Create demand for a product or service within that audience.
Step 2: The WHO
Who are you trying to reach? If you say “everyone,” it will be difficult to reach anyone. Think about the ideal person you want to reach. What group of people would LOVE your product or service – if only they knew about it. That’s your WHO.
Step 3: The WHERE
Where do your ideal prospects hang out? What forums or websites do they visit? Where is there an active conversation happening that you could join?
Step 4: Make USEFUL or INTERESTING Content
You’ll need to create something “shiny” that will interest your chosen target audience. This could be literally anything they’d find useful or interesting.
For example, I have 2 free persona questionnaires that been very useful for a number of businesses I work with. These are free to anyone who wants to use them, and I personally review and email the results to anyone who fills .
Step 5: SHARE Your Useful Content with People Who’d Be Helped
For example, share your content in an answer here on Quora, just like I’m doing here. Other places to do this include forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, etc. Basically anywhere your audience hangs out online (this is why we did steps 2 & 3).
Step 6: OFFER Immediate Help
Some people are ready to buy now. Give them the opportunity to do so.
Step 7: CULTIVATE Trust with Those Who Aren’t Quite Ready
Most people won’t be ready to buy immediately, and that’s okay. The psychology of content marketing will help you build trust over time. Using your email list, continue to share valuable insight over time, and occasionally make an offer to capture people who are almost ready to buy, but just haven’t yet.
Step 8: Consider getting a MENTOR
The biggest problem I see with content marketing is action without a clear strategy. This leads to huge amounts of time and money spent on content marketing that doesn’t produce results.
In many cases, this happens because a business owner knows he or she needs SOME sort of content marketing plan, but they don’t know how to design one for their specific business.
For example, a content marketing road map for a software as a service company will be wildly different than a road map for a business coach. The software company needs (1) new users and (2) to keep utilization high (to reduce churn). The coach needs content that will attract new clients WITHOUT simply giving away all his or her knowledge for free.
Hiring someone who understands those distinctions can help the average company save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in ineffective efforts over the long run.