A simple definition of content marketing is: the practice of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content in an effort to generate leads...eventually nurturing those leads into sales. This is typically done through downloadable content in which the prospect provides their email address in return for being able to consume the relevant and valuable content. For it to be effective, the marketer must actually supply a piece of marketing that is worth the prospect providing their email address for.
Content marketing sounds great to small businesses when they talk about it. It sounds great because they can relate their own personal online experiences to it. They think back to a time when they provided their email address for something in return and then imagine their business generating leads the same way. As we all know, things that sound great when talking about them don't always get done in real life.
When it comes down to it, content marketing does take some effort to actually get the content marketing pieces created. Although it takes effort, that effort will be paid back exponentially through new leads coming through the door. With that understanding most of you are probably still asking, "yeah...but what's the easiest types of content marketing I can create?".
Here are the 3 Easiest Types Content Marketing Pieces for a Small Businesses
1. An Ebook
Ebooks are easier than you think to create. Think about a topic related to your industry that interests your prospects the most. This should be something that people would want to know more about, which would urge them to actually download it. This ebook must be RELEVANT to the people you are trying to reach and it must be worthwhile for them to supply their email address. After you have your topic, plan out the ebook before starting to write. What areas will you address, where will you pull information from, etc. The easiest way to pull together an ebook is to take a series of blog posts you've already done that are related to each other and compile them into one easy to read document. This might take some tweaking, but you'll already have the biggest chunk of content available. Provide information about the topic only, don't try to sell. Your final ebook should look nice, be easily able to read in electronic format and shouldn't be the length of a novel...short and to the point.
2. A Webinar
This might sound harder than it actually is, but I assure you it's not. A webinar will allow you to share information that you are already likely sharing with people in person but from the comfort of your own office. Again, these webinars aren't meant to be virtual sales calls. These are for the purposes of educating prospects. Think of a topic related to your industry that interests your audience, create a basic presentation if needed, and start marketing it. If you have scheduled webinars you'll be able to gather a bigger audience that you can talk to all at once vs. several one-on-one conversations. To host your webinar you can use things like Google Hangouts, AnyMeeting, or GoToMeeting.
3. A Checklist
Not all checklists will be worthy of providing an email address. It must be relevant and useful. Try and think about how you can make something easier for them to do that is related to your industry. This should NOT be a checklist on how to use your product...heck, your product shouldn't even be mentioned in the checklist. This should be something that interests YOUR AUDIENCE even if it is only indirectly related to what you are hoping to sell them down the road. Thinking of the topic will be the hardest part.
Stop Just Talking About It, Start Doing It
See...it isn't that hard to create a piece of content marketing. I'm not going to lie and tell you that's all you'll need to be successful, because that's not true. You'll still need an overall inbound strategy, SEO, email marketing, etc., but creating content is an obstacle that can easily be overcome, allowing you to meet your long term goals and objectives.