My (at times) rather evangelical approach to highlighting the benefits of developing a strategic content marketing strategy, combining the powers of blogging, email marketing and social media, sometimes elicits a rather cynical response.
At a recent training seminar, a confused and skeptical voice at the back of the room asked: “Can you really make money with content marketing?”
There is a short and long answer to this question.
The short answer is: Yes!
But I’m guessing that you want more detail, so here goes:
The Long Answer
Great content marketers use content (distributed via a wide range of digital mechanisms) to perform a number of tasks. These include:
- Building community
- Raising profile
- Highlighting best practices
- Demonstrating thought leadership
- Encouraging debate
- Solving problems
- Building trust
These tasks alone might not generate any income, but that’s the beauty of content marketing.
No Selling Zone
Great content marketers don’t actively sell. Yes — they will include a simple call-to-action alongside every piece of content they publish, but revenue generation is not the primary objective. I prefer to think of the revenue content marketing generates as a happy by-product.
I use my blogging, social media activities and regular email marketing newsletters to share useful and engaging information with my community of online entrepreneurs.
I always strive to share industry best practices, inspirational advice and actionable tips. I do this because I want the people who I engage with to build a more cohesive and engaging strategy. As I do this, I build trust and present multiple opportunities for new customers to engage with my business services (content marketing production and training). It’s not rocket science — I just believe the more engaging and useful I am, the more opportunities potential clients and existing customers will find in my service.
This approach can be rolled out to suit the needs of any business.
- A hotel may wish to highlight festivals, sporting or theatrical events, or business conferences in the town or city they are based. By demonstrating their “local” knowledge, they differentiate themselves from other hotels with similar facilities that market themselves on price alone.
- A specialist food retailer might want to share recipes, promoting food that is in season and perhaps persuading a customer to try something new and exciting. Once you show people how easy it is to do something different by providing the tools for them, they’ll keep coming back to you and tell their friends.
- An accountant could highlight important dates in the financial calendar and share insight into how a client might save money on their taxes. Yes — some people may use this information to do the job themselves, but they probably would never become clients anyway. It’s the “cash rich, time poor” audience (the best kind of client) who appreciate openness and expertise and who will ultimately buy the accountant’s services.
So yes, you really can make money out of content marketing — if you focus your efforts on engaging your audience with authority and creating value in your marketing output.
By the way, if you’re looking for the call-to-action — it’s right here.
This abridged post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.