ChkLines - Content Marketing
Creating unique content is the foundation of Internet marketing for any individual wanting to create an authority site in any niche.
Why is it so often ignored? It’s hard.
Here is a walk down a content marketing path. You don’t need to go in order. Take advantage of areas where you need help or review.
Standing out from the crowd is harder and more complicated than ever before. Millions of blogs have been created, but most of them have not had fresh content in the past year.
You can either spend tons of money to brand your site and get your products in
front of your target audience, or you can start a solid content marketing
plan absolutely free or for a nominal cost.
For Walkabout Solopreneurs, you will have to invest time instead of money. It’s one or the other, but I expect that most people reading this are writers anyway who want to learn to repurpose and monetize their work before that monster book deal comes in.
Your online content will build your brand and establish trust with your readers. Chances are you will be creating gobs of unique content for free which can create a list of potential buyers for your major works.
With content marketing, you can inject your personality into your content and make it unique solely to your brand. If your niche is narrow, you can become the world’s go to expert. Without that trust, selling is tough.
Once you build that trust, you can go to your fans and find out what they actually want from you. Many a time, your readers can guide you on the path to a full time income.
- Define your purpose. Your site could be as simple as a review site for marketing affiliate products to getting leads for your brick and mortar business to an authority site for publishing your major works.
- Research your audience. Who are your readers? What is the profile of your ideal customer? What problems and pains do they have that you can relieve?
- Who is your buyer? Create a persona of your target audience. What is the age, gender, and income level? What would be your elevator speech to this person?
- Article ideas. I like brainstorming (although it’s often more storming than brain) a list of article ideas for my new site. Some people now go for quality over quantity, but you need both in the beginning.
- Valuable content. Competition with millions of other blogs requires that your articles and posts stand out. Given that most content is either highly authoritative (Mayo Clinic, CNN) or total garbage, you can seize the middle ground and ease your customer’s pain.
- Check what’s popular and trending. Find a way to connect your niche to the recent events. There may be new techniques you can get in front of.
- Use content idea generators. You can just use Google if you wish. Notice how Google puts search suggestions on the results page. Some like “solopreneur vs entrepreneur” or “solopreneur vs freelance” are custom made for articles, and Google already thinks they are valuable searches.
- Keyword Research. Millions of words have been written on this subject. It’s getting harder and harder to find the right free tools. Long tail keyword phrases are harder than ever to rank for, and Google does not even consider the keyword meta tag in its search algorithm.
You can try Keywords Everywhere or:
- Content Titles and Outlines. As much as possible, you want keywords in your content’s headers and subheaders to make some SEO points this way. Always use keyword phrases as part of a title.
- Content calendar. This is an old magazine strategy of mapping out a timeline for creating your content. Consistency and organization are important aspects of your content marketing strategy. Without a calendar, your strategy may end up in complete chaos. You may find yourself procrastinating and distracted from your content marketing goals.
- Using Google Calendar:
- in the cloud, so you can open in multiple devices
- simple and clean
- can use multiple calendars and multiple colors
- works with a team
- Create your website. For most people, this means a self-hosted Wordpress blog. You can find any number of free websites and blogs online, but you don’t own the content that you put on them. Find a reliable web host and control your content.
- Wordpress. Wordpress is the go to CMS available free. There is no need for a solopreneur to use anything else.
- all major web hosting companies have a one-click install of Wordpress
- look to YouTube for instructions - thousands of videos available for every detail
- thousands of free and paid themes and plugins allow unlimited customization
- Suggested Wordpress plugins:
- Set up your mailing list. To begin, you can set up a free account with MailChimp. It has some limits. If you want, you can choose among many paid autoresponders.
- Start writing your articles and posts.
- write when you are most productive (for me, early morning when everyone else is asleep)
- close all non-productive tabs in your browser
- can use speed writing techniques for your posts if you wish
- work in 25 minute bursts with 5 minute breaks
- write first, research later - verify your facts - add links
- aim for 1-3 articles a day of about 800 to 1200 words each
- write fast, edit after posting to your blog
- spend time tweaking the title
- edit your opening and closing sentences with an eye toward social bookmarking
- proofread your articles - spellcheckers make it easy to miss mistakes
- add images and videos to your articles
- Set up your social media accounts. There are hundreds to choose from, but you want to begin with the heavy hitters. With social media, you can quickly get the word out about your brand or business. Social media can also build quality backlinks to your blog.
- Repurposing content. You want to make multiple use of your content. Short posts can be turned into animated videos. You can also create podcasts or your own talking head videos if you are comfortable. Short blurbs can be spun that link to your main articles.
- Publish only high quality content on your site. I use repurposed content on Web 2.0 sites (usually free) that provide some SEO juice back to my blog - not on my main site.
- Lumen 5. With this program (free or paid), you can turn your blog posts into videos.
- Video Sharing. While the number of sites tends to go down, video sharing is a great way to brand your site and obtain backlinks.
- Social media graphics. Many programs exist to assist you in creating your own graphics. When posting a comment to Facebook and other social media, unique images are a scene stealer, and easier than ever to create.
- Podcasting. Podcasts are more popular than ever. You don’t need to be tied to your computer to listen to podcasts. Instead of TV in the background, I will often load a podcast in a different tab to listen while checking email or doing some small task. You can also stream or download episodes on your phone and then listen to it while you’re on the go.
- Infographics. Infographics done right can attract a significant number of high quality backlinks from established websites. Let’s face it, infographics give you a ton of info in a small, graphic package. Brands can pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a professional graphic designer to create their infographics. Google loves them, and they often rank high in the SERPs.
- Creating your own ebooks. Free ebooks have long been the bait to entice visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or to join your email list. You want to pack your eBook with value so people will feel compelled to sign up for your list in order to download your eBook.
- Set up Google Analytics. Tracking your content marketing efforts is critical. You must know which of your marketing tactics attract visitors, and which are a waste of time.
- Google Analytics is 100% free
- you can access your statistics from anywhere
- if you choose, you can download a GA app for your smartphone
- data and insights about your site
- find out how visitors access your information
- Publish your content. You have no doubt been doing this already. Using Wordpress and the Yoast plugin, optimize your articles and posts for SEO. Add images and videos. Make it look good, and professional.
- Page builders abound on the Internet. The editor built into Wordpress works for me, but decide for yourself. Decide if you are a writer or a designer.
- Publish content on Social Media. You can publish content directly, but I like posting a sentence or two and linking to the full article on my blog. This can be automated with a plugin like Add-to-Any. The plugin adds a share button that anyone visiting your site can use to share or bookmark your content.
- keep social media social
- this is not the place to pound friends with affiliate links
- try to get visitors to click thru to your blog
- keep it short and sassy
- funny works
- videos attract the most attention
- ideal way to build an organic fan following
- you can use paid ads on some sites like Facebook, but start free
- publish comments on other social media profiles
- Guest post on other authority sites. Guest posting simply means writing on someone else’s blog (preferably a more established brand with a good number of followers) or submitting an article to the blogger for the site to publish. It’s great for increasing your brand’s exposure and building relationships with big dog influencers in your niche.
- look for closely related sites
- make sure your proposed guest post is highest quality and demonstrates your expertise
- you get a quality backlink to your site
- usually easy to contact blog owners via social media
- you can become known to the owners by posting comments before requesting to guest post
- Work the social influencers. Not every niche has a Kim Kardashian, but many do. Social influencers are basically brands with a considerable following on social media. Influencers exist on all kinds of social platforms. Big influencers may want money or special deals to help you. Make sure it’s worth your while.
- if the person is not well known to you, use caution
- Google them to make sure they are real
- send samples of any product you sell to the influencer
- if you have affiliates selling your products, give the influencer a sweetheart deal
- make sure the influencers followers are real - many people inflate or fake their following
- make sure the community is active
- Blog Commenting. Commenting on blog and forum posts is not as popular as it once was, but done well, it’s a good way to get visitors to your site. Forums have largely been replaced by Facebook and LinkedIn groups, but Google still ranks their comments high in the SERPs.
- make sure your comments add value
- don’t make spammy comments like “nice post” or “awesome”
- make sure your comments are in line with the original content
- most comments will give you a backlink to your site
- comments on popular sites can get buried, so subscribe to their RSS feed to be notified of new posts
- use your full name in comments - credibility and branding
- Reach out to other websites and ask them to feature your content. I prefer to do this once some relationship has already been established.
- Broken Link Method. If you find a broken or dead link in an otherwise decent article, email the blogger and suggest an alternative link. Preferably a link to something on your site. Replacing a dead link helps them improve their site.
Content marketing is all about developing a system that fits what works today and what you will actually do.
It doesn’t help if you try to do things that you hate doing. You might hate creating a list and email bombing subscribers with an autoresponder. Then don’t do it. Create a Facebook group or fan page and be a trusted friend.
You can still make money recommending products to visitors or selling your own ebooks.