In this episode of Sites, we revisit a classic post from Sonia Simone that lists and describes 10 content marketing goals that are worth pursuing. Which ones are you already pursuing? Which ones should you add to your mix? Listen and find out.
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- 10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing
Jerod Morris: Welcome to Sites, a podcast by the teams at StudioPress and Copyblogger. In this show, we deliver time-tested insight on the four pillars of a successful WordPress website: content, design, technology, and strategy. We want to help you get a little bit closer to reaching your online goals, one episode at a time.
I’m your host Jerod Morris.
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Welcome to Episode 8 of Sites.
Last week we talked about technology and did quite a deep dive into SEO. That means that this week we come to the conclusion of our second full cycle through our four pillars of a successful website: content, design, technology, and … strategy.
And I know what you’re thinking from looking at the title of this episode: strategy? But isn’t this about content?
It’s about strategy and content.
Just like last week, when we discussed SEO, it was really about strategy and technology (and, in some ways, content and design too).
As I mentioned when we launched this podcast, and first explained these four pillars that will guide our content, overlap is inevitable. And that is okay. The goal is simply to make sure we don’t miss anything essential. It’s certainly not going to hurt us if we double up or triple up or even quadruple our focus on these important concepts in any one episode.
Plus, as you’ll see, while some of the 10 goals we’re going to discuss in this episode deal specifically with actual blog content, others don’t — #7 especially.
And that’s why I chose to cover this topic for one of our strategy episodes.
Because if you aren’t pursuing at least one of these content marketing goals, and probably many more, you clearly don’t have a defined strategy for your website that is going to lead you in a positive direction.
Chances are, you are indeed following one or several of these goals. But might there be a new one you could add to the mix? Or might hearing these ideas spark a new one in your mind?
I sure hope so.
This week’s episode is based on an article that was originally written by Sonia Simone for Copyblogger. It is called 10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing.
Let’s get to it …
10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing
Ever wonder why content marketing works so well for some businesses — but doesn’t seem to do anything at all for others?
Curious about why some content that seems great doesn’t do anything to build a business?
“Content is king” has been an online cliché for years now, but it’s not true. It’s never been true.
Content all by itself — even terrific content — is just … content.
It may be entertaining. It may be educational. It may contain the secret to world peace and fresh, minty breath, all rolled into one.
But it has no magical powers. It won’t transform your business or get you where you need to go, until you add one thing …
Content marketing is a meaningless exercise without business goals.
So … what makes content marketing work?
To make content work, you need to understand your marketing and business goals. Then you can create content that serves those goals, instead of just giving your audience something to pass the time.
Your blog posts, email marketing, ebooks, podcasts, advertising … all of it needs to fit into a larger picture.
Now, if you blog purely for creative self-expression, go ahead and write as the spirit moves you.
But if you’re using content to market a business, you need a strategic framework so you can get the most out of your time and hard work.
Here are 10 of the business goals that drive our content marketing at Rainmaker Digital.
You might focus on just one or two, or you may use all 10. As you listen to this episode, see which of these you can apply to your own content marketing plan.
Goal #1: Build trust and rapport with your audience
This is the most obvious use of content marketing, and it’s a good one.
When you create useful, interesting, and valuable content, your audience learns they can trust you. They see that you know your topic. They get a sense of your personality and what it would be like to work with you.
Lack of trust kills conversion. An abundance of valuable content builds trust like nothing else.
But too many marketers stop there. In fact, it’s just the beginning.
Goal #2: Attract new prospects to your marketing system
We all had it drilled into our heads by Mr. Godin when we were just baby content marketers: You have to be remarkable.
Your content has to be compelling enough that it attracts links, social media sharing, and conversation.
Why? Because that’s how new people find you.
No matter how delightful your existing customers are, you need a steady stream of new prospects to keep your business healthy.
Remarkable content that gets shared around the web will find your best new prospects for you and lead them back to everything you have to offer.
Goal #3: Explore prospect pain
No, you’re not doing this to be a sadist.
The fact is, most enduring businesses thrive because they solve problems.
They solve health problems, parenting problems, money problems, business problems, technology problems, “What should I make for dinner?” problems.
When you understand your prospect’s problems, you understand how to help them — and then you have the core of your marketing message.
Strategic content dives into the problems your prospects are facing. What annoys them? What frightens them? What keeps them awake at night?
A smart content marketing program leaves room for audience questions. These might come in email replies, blog comments, or you may hold Q&A sessions or webinars specifically to solicit questions.
Listen to the problems your market asks you about, and use those as a compass to guide your future content.
Goal #4: Illustrate benefits
Obviously, we don’t dig up prospect problems and leave it at that.
We talk about solutions.
We talk about what fixes those annoying problems. Techniques, tips, tricks, methods, approaches.
If you have a viable business, you have a particular take on solving your market’s problems. Your individual approach is the flesh and blood of your content marketing.
Your “10 Ways to Solve Problem X” post shows the benefits of your approach. It illustrates how you solve problems and shows customers what they get out of working with you.
Strategic content doesn’t just tell a prospect “My product is a good way to solve your problem.” It shows them. And that’s a cornerstone persuasion technique.
Goal #5: Overcome objections
Your prospect is looking for ways to solve his problem, but he’s also keeping an eye out for potential problems.
Strategic content can be a superb way to address prospect objections — the reasons they don’t buy.
Is price a pain point? Write content that demonstrates how implementing your solutions saves money in the long run.
Do your customers think your product will be too complicated to use? Write content that shows customers going from zero to sixty … painlessly.
Understand the objections that keep customers from buying, and then think about creative ways to resolve those objections in content — often before the buyer ever gets to that sales page.
Goal #6: Paint the picture of life with your product
Ad-man Joe Sugarman was one of the great early practitioners of content marketing. He was a master of long-copy magazine ads for his company JS&A (a consumer gadget company) — ads that were often as interesting and compelling as the magazine articles they appeared next to.
In his Copywriting Handbook, he described how he might approach writing an ad for a Corvette.
Feel the breeze blowing through your hair as you drive through the warm evening. Watch heads turn. Punch the accelerator to the floor and feel the burst of power that pins you into the back of your contour seat. Look at the beautiful display of electronic technology right on your dashboard. Feel the power and excitement of America’s super sports car.
Sugarman isn’t describing the car. He’s describing the experience of the driver.
Sugarman was a master at mentally putting the customer into the experience of owning the product … whether that product was a pocket calculator, a private jet, or a multi-million dollar mansion.
It works very nicely in an ad. It works even better in your content.
Storytelling is one of the best content marketing strategies, and it’s a superb way to let customers mentally “try out” your offer before they ever experience it for themselves. Use content to show what it’s like to own your product or use your service.
Case studies are terrific for this, as are any stories that show how your approach to problem-solving works. Pick up Sugarman’s book for lots of ideas about how to create fascinating content for products that might not immediately suggest a fascinating story.
Goal #7: Attract strategic partners
Once upon a time, Copyblogger was one writer.
No software business. No marketing education business. No Authority, no Rainmaker Platform, no premium WordPress themes from StudioPress, no super-fast and secure WordPress hosting with StudioPress Sites, no Digital Commerce Institute, no Rainmaker.FM … you get the idea.
From very early days, the quality of the content posted here has attracted strategic partners — the partners Brian Clark worked with to create every line of revenue-generating business we have today.
Eventually, that evolved into the creation of a new company — Rainmaker Digital (formerly Copyblogger Media). The partnership brings together a great complement of skills, and together we can go farther and faster than Brian could have on his own.
Whatever your business goals are, partnerships are often the smartest way to get there. When you’re passionate about creating excellent content, you’ll find that potential partners are attracted to that passion.
Goal #8: Deepen loyalty with existing customers
This one is probably my favorite.
Every company needs to attract new customers. But the biggest growth potential in most businesses comes from building a tighter relationship with your existing customers.
A solid base of referral and repeat business is the hallmark of a great business. Even if you never did any content marketing to anyone other than your customers, you could radically improve your business by improving the communication you have with your customers today.
Create a richer experience for the people who have already bought from you. Make your products and services work better by pairing them with useful, user-friendly content.
Don’t treat the waitress better than you do your date. Give great stuff to the people who have already bought from you, and they’ll reward you for it.
Goal #9: Develop new business ideas
Your content stream is a fantastic place to try out new ideas.
Thinking about repositioning your key product? Trying to better define your unique selling proposition? See a new problem on the horizon that your customers might want you to solve?
Get those ideas into your content, and see how people react. You can watch what excites people and what fizzles out.
Business writer Jim Collins talks about firing bullets, then cannonballs. In other words, when you get a new idea for your business, fire off something low-risk to test the waters.
Don’t start firing your big ammunition until you’re sure you can actually hit the target. (And that there’s a target there to hit.)
Content is an amazing low-risk way to try out your ideas while risking very little. Your audience will let you know with their reactions which ideas fire them up and which ones leave them cold.
Goal #10: Build your reputation with search engines
Lots of content creators think this is reason #1 to create content — but if you put this goal in the wrong place, you’ll probably struggle with SEO.
That’s because search engines find you valuable when readers find you valuable.
Search engines are looking for content that’s valuable to their users. If you create that type of content, your SEO battle is 9/10 done.
So put the first nine content marketing goals first, and the 10th becomes a matter of relatively simple SEO optimization.
Stick around … this week’s hyper-specific call to action is coming up.
Again, that was a reading of Sonia Simone’s blog post 10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing, originally published at Copyblogger.com. You can find a link to the original article in the show notes at studiopress.blog/sites08.
Now to this week’s hyper-specific call to action …
Call to action
Answer this simple question:
What’s the main thing you’re looking to get out of content marketing? What is your goal?
To be more specific, what is your business goal?
Because as Sonia said in her post, “Content marketing is a meaningless exercise without business goals.”
And, as with all these goals, don’t just think about it. Write it down. In your journal, on a piece of paper, in Evernote, in an email to yourself — that’s actually what I usually do when I’m listening to a podcast and think of something important. I shoot off a quick email to myself so that I’m forced to see the idea again when I process that email. That works for me, it may not work for you, but just an idea.
The point is: think about this question, experience your answer through the act of recording it, and then actually take some action on it.
So if your goal is #6 from Sonia’s post, paint the picture of life without your product, then really work on getting into the shoes of your audience and then telling a compelling story that will help them experience what life will be like with you or without you, depending on the context. Actually write that blog post.
Or if your goal is #2, to attract new prospects to your marketing system, then get content out there that will do that … and, of course, have a marketing system for them to opt into. Get your email list going, have an autoresponder, make offers, etc.
You get the idea.
Again, this week’s question: What’s the main thing you’re looking to get out of content marketing? What is your goal?
Write it down.
And you know what? Do something else with it. Tweet it to me. @JerodMorris. J-E-R-O-D-M-O-R-R-I-S. I want to know. And if you have a goal that we didn’t discuss in this episode, all the better! Send that to me too.
We’re now 8 episodes into this podcast. Let’s start to get to know each other a bit, shall we? Send me a tweet. Let me know your answer to this week’s CTA. I want to know.
Coming next week, we go back to the beginning. After two complete cycles through our four pillars of content, design, technology, and strategy, we’re back at content. And that means we take the next step in our series on content marketing strategy that Brian Clark outlined.
We’ll be exploring how to know exactly WHAT content to deliver to convert more prospects. It dovetails nicely with this week’s episode, because who among us doesn’t list among our content marketing goals: convert more prospects? Hopefully we all do!
That will be a great discussion. Don’t miss it.
That’s next week, on Sites.
Finally, before I go, here are two more quick calls to action for you to consider:
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And finally, if you enjoy the Sites podcast, please subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes), and consider giving us a rating or a review over there as well.
One quick tip on that: to make the best use of your review, let me know something in particular you like about the show. That feedback is really important.
For example, here is a recent review we received, from gembrechts: “This show came in the exact moment I needed it. Although I have owned and operated a few businesses, this is my first dip into content marketing. So everything they are converting is the information I need to take in and internalize. Funny, I just love the music on this site. It is very uplifting.”
Thank you gembrechts. First off, it’s great to know that you find this show at a time when it can make a huge impact for you. That’s the reason we started it. And secondly, can I just tell you how much I appreciate the kind words about the music? I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to identify the perfect songs for every podcast I host. I actually really enjoy the process. And I’ve never felt more enthusiastic about the intro and outro music for a show than for this one. So I’m so glad you like it!
By the way, I found the music at Premium Beat. It’s a good resource if you’re looking for podcast music and willing to pay a little bit for it.
Anyway — to find us in Apple Podcasts, search for StudioPress Sites and look for the striking purple logo that was designed by Rafal Tomal. You can also go to the URL sites.fm/apple and it will redirect you to our Apple Podcasts page.
And with that, we come to the close of another episode. Thank you for listening to this episode of Sites. I appreciate you being here.
Join me next week, and let’s keep building powerful, successful websites together.
This episode of sites was brought to you by StudioPress Sites, which was awarded “Fastest WordPress Hosting” of 2017 in an independent speed test. If you want to make WordPress fast, secure, and easy — and, I mean, why wouldn’t you — visit studiopress.com/sites today and see which plan fits your needs. That’s studiopress.com/sites.