Making A Profit With Content
You may have heard the phrase “Content is King”. Content can bring traffic and establish your expertise… but without a plan, content may not do much for your bottom line. You’ve got to have a plan and specific goals you want to achieve with your content. This guide is going to give you exactly that, but before we begin there are a few things to cover.
Why Content is so Powerful
Content marketing is an amazingly powerful strategy and has numerous benefits. Here are just a few:
- It’s inexpensive
- It can help create fierce loyalty from your audience.
- It helps generate free word of mouth.
- It helps establish your authority and expertise
- It’s great search engine fodder
- It can bring publicity from traditional media to you
This guide is going to help you tap into those benefits.
What Your Target Market Wants: Learning to Really Listen
A lot of people say that they aren’t quite sure what kind of content they should create or what they should write about. But you know what? You have a ton of research opportunities right at your fingertips. It’s all a matter of really being aware of and taking the time to get to know your target market.
If you do this, you’ll be way ahead of most of your competitors who seem to prefer to live in a bubble and GUESS at the appropriate content for their audience.
Here are just a few ways to start understanding what your readers want to learn and the types of products they buy/want to buy.
- Ask them to submit questions. A dead simple way to find content ideas is to simply ask your readers what questions they have on a particular topic. Not only do you get great content ideas, it helps your readers feel involved in the process. Set up a simple submission form and you’re ready to roll.
- Track your links. If you send a link to content or a product in an email, track it. Do the same on your websites. Pay attention to what interests them and what type of stuff they just pass by and modify your plan accordingly.
Tip: Don’t just track product sales… gauge interest in the content you provide as well. By doing this, you’ll learn what types of information your readers are interested in (ie – articles, PDFs, videos, etc). You’ll also learn what format they like and whose information they respond to best (ie – if you’re an affiliate marketer offering content from other sources).
- Observe your audience on your own virtual property. If you have a blog, forum or some other type of interactive site, you have a lot of research opportunities right there. Pay attention to your reader comments, the questions they have and click through to their websites to see what their interests are and what problems they might need help with. Spending just a little time doing this on a regular basis can be a real eye-opener.
- Observe your audience in their natural habitat. If you don’t have a blog, forum, etc, you can go elsewhere to observe your market. Just realize that when you have your own social opportunities with people who already love to listen to you, subscribe to your newsletter and buy your products – you will get the best picture of what your particular audience wants.
The potential risks with going outside of your own network is that we all attract a particular type of person in our target market and we may get slightly different impressions by observing our intended targets elsewhere.
- Make affiliate offers. If you’re considering creating a content-based product (info product), test your idea out first by offering similar products through affiliate links. There is no sense in creating something your readers have no interest in buying. Knowing exactly what your audience will buy is priceless marketing information.
- Conduct keyword research. To generate more first-time visitors and leads, conducting keyword research will help you determine what kind of content you might create. You can do research at www.WordTracker.com and create some nice-sized keyword lists for potential content ideas. Look for highly-targeted phrases that are likely to have low competition to make it easy to rank well on search engines.
For example, “How to build your own router table” or “remove wine stains from carpet.”
- Watch your competitors. See what your competitors are doing. What types of content do they give their readers and what do their readers respond to? Again, your audience may be unique from theirs but look for competitors who share a similar style and focus to you and you’ll get some great ideas from there.
Overall, the more observant you are, the more likely you are to deliver what your readers what. At first, you might find it challenging but the more you make it a habit to observe in these ways, the more second-nature understanding your target marketing becomes.
Content Brainstorming Strategies: Beyond Simple Observation
Observation is your best source for delivering the type of content your audience really wants but we all run short on ideas now and then. If you run into trouble, here are some more surefire ways to get the content idea ball rolling again.
- Read/watch the news and current events. Pay attention to what’s happening in the news and many times you’ll find something that ties in perfectly to your audience’s interests. For example, if your target market is parents of teens and stories of online dangers or even of inspiring kids is a potential subject to share and comment on.
- Keep a notebook with ideas. Always keep a little notebook or your mobile device handy when you come across ideas. Sometimes a little story about what happened to you at a restaurant or your kid’s soccer game can become a relevant lesson to your readers.
- Product reviews. People always appreciate detailed and honest product reviews. A good review will discuss a product’s features and potential benefits. It will also clearly show who the product is suitable for and perhaps who it is not. It will also talk about any potential drawbacks to be aware of.
- Conduct case studies with your clients/customers. Case studies are perfect because they can be highly-informative, but also provide amazing testimonials for your business.
- Interview other experts/celebrities in your market. Now I don’t mean get Angelina Jolie or some other big-time celebrity. Just get people in your market that people turn to for information, guidance and even entertainment.
- Have someone interview you. This is an ultra-easy way to create content simply by answering questions. You can even have your own readers submit questions for the interview.
- Look at previous content and expand on it. If you previously created some popular content, see where you can expand it or possibly target a certain aspect of it in finer detail.
- Create a “Top 10” list. If writing isn’t your bag, this is an easy way to come up with plenty of ideas in point-form. For example, “Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Groceries”.
- Entertain. People use the Internet for information but also for entertainment. You don’t always have to come up with earth-shattering information to impress your audience. Have fun, inspire them or make them laugh.
Content Isn’t Just About Articles: Formats for Your Content
People in the online business world seem to spend a lot of time talking about article marketing. But limit yourself to only writing and distributing articles and you miss a lot of opportunities. Here are just some ideas for content format.
Digital: Content ideas for downloadable content. These can be items you give away freely, as an incentive to sign up for your list or even offer for sale.
- Blog Posts
- PDF Reports
- Pre-recorded audios
- Streaming video
- Screen capture video
- Audio/video transcripts
- Email broadcasts
- Pre-schedule autoresponder emails
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Coloring Sheets
Tangible: Content doesn’t all have to be downloadable. You can create physical content that you give away for free (based on a profit plan) or sell it.
- Laminated sheets
- Wallet cards
Creating Your Content or Having it Created for You
Creating your content empire doesn’t mean that you have to do all the hard work. There are plenty of ways to create content.
Of course, there are the most obvious:
- Write it yourself
- Say it yourself (for an audio recording)
- Video yourself (screen capture or live person video)
But you can also:
- Use private label rights (PLR) content. There are many services that provide pre-written content that you can publish as-is, chop it up, edit or use it as you see fit. This saves you time conducting research and writing. It is also an inexpensive alternative to hiring a ghostwriter for all your writing needs. Try AllPrivateLabelContent.com for your PLR needs.
- Use reprint articles with a byline and link to the author. This means finding articles at places like EzineArticles.com where you can pick up articles that include an author’s byline plus a link back to their website. This is a great way to find content as the quality is sometimes hard to find and it leaks traffic to other websites. But if you find something you really think is worthwhile… go for it.
- Use reprint articles provided by affiliate programs. Here’s a better alternative to using simple reprint articles described above. Many affiliate programs will provide content and instead of linking directly to another website, you get to use your affiliate link so you get credit for sales generated by your publishing the articles.
- Grab some video code from YouTube.com. Want to share a video but aren’t ready to make one for yourself? Just get the copy-and-paste code from YouTube.
- Hire a ghostwriter. You can hire someone who will create content for you anonymously so you can put your personal website or company name on it. They will create specifically what you request but this is one of the more expensive (yet worthwhile) ways to get your content created. You can work with someone like AllCustomContent.com
- Hire someone to create your videos. There are professionals who can create videos for you, whether they’re live person or screen capture. You can ask your online colleagues for some suggestions or find someone locally to help you.
- Interview someone or hire someone to interview your interviewee. Interviewing someone else takes all the pressure off you. Some people you interview may even create the questions for you so all you have to do is read them. If you really want a truly hands off experience, you can hire someone to ask the questions of the interviewee.
- Create a group project. Get together with others who create content for your target market. You can each contribute a chapter to an ebook, a recording for an audio series, etc. The added bonus is that you can all promote the content when it’s completed, increasing everyone’s exposure.
- User-generated content. One of the coolest ways to get content is by having your very own readers/users make it for you. Encourage them to leave comments, post on your forums, submit stories, photos, videos, etc.
Creating Your Content Profit Plan
Sometimes you’ll give content for the sake of giving out something useful, but usually you’ll want to create a plan for your content so that you can profit from it. Sometimes the profit will come directly through a product promotion, other times you might use content to build a mailing list for future profits. The point is, most of the content you publish should have a very specific purpose.
In other words – every article or piece of content should have some type of “call-to-action”. You’ve probably heard that phrase before but if not, it simply means telling your reader what you want them to do. (ie – sign up for free, join now, reader further, download something).
Whatever you want them to do need to be stated clearly. If you don’t tell your readers about your list, product or whatever it is, how do you expect them to do what you want?
Plan Your Content to Educate Your Audience So They’ll Buy
Yes, it’s true, we online business owners have ulterior motives when we create and distribute content. But hey, that’s the nature of marketing and something we all have to get used to even if we’re not immediately comfortable with it. Here is how to use content to educate your audience into buying:
During a Product Launch:
- When you’re getting ready to launch a product, plan related content well in advance. That way, you can release a little bit every few days or each week to really build excitement for the product.
- As you release your content, invite your readers to sign up for a notification list so they can get more content and get advanced notice of the new product.
- Try to provide content in a variety of formats through the process. We’re talking PDFs, blog posts, audio, worksheets, video, etc. This will help you reach a wider audience and increase the perceived value of the content when your audience sees you releasing all this great and varied stuff.
- Ask for feedback/questions through the content process. This allows you to overcome any objections to purchasing the product. Publish the answers to questions publicly so others can benefit from the answers too. It will also get more people interested in your product.
Profits from Everyday Content:
- Every article should recommended related products or invite people to sign up for your mailing list.
- Videos should have your website or some type of offer at the end.
- Reports and ebooks should include a promotion of your business
- Audios should always include product, website and/or mailing list information.
In short, always give your readers the opportunity to get more information that they are seeking or buy a product to further help them solve their problem. Think about it – when you do that, you’re doing your audience a favor… and you build your business at the same time. You both deserve it!
Distributing Your Content for Maximum Exposure
There are endless ways to get your content out there to be ready and acted upon by your target audience. Here are just a handful of ideas:
- Announce your new content on social media. A great way to get the word out about your new content is to announce it on social media via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. Be sure to include a link back to your site to build traffic and readers.
- Give content to your affiliates to rebrand and add their affiliate links. Webmasters love great content and when they stand to profit from it, they are more than willing to share your content. Allow and encourage your affiliates to publish your articles, reports and more.
- Post your videos to sites like YouTube. These busy sites will show your videos, plus they provide their users the copy-and-paste code so they can put your videos on their websites too.
- Announce your new content on your blog. This is a no-brainer way to create a new blog post and also alerts your regular readers to new content.
- Submit content to offline publications like magazines, community organizations, etc. It’s not just websites that are in need of content. Larger magazines and publications might want more exclusive or first-rights (they publish it before it appears anywhere else) to your content, but smaller local publications might just be happy for the extra content.
- Contact targeted website owners directly to publish your content. Submitting to directories can be effective, but if you want targeted publishers to publish your content, contact them directly. Once they’ve agreed to publish some, be sure to notify them when you have new relevant stuff to share. IF they like your stuff, they’ll keep publishing.
- Make it a press release. Turn your informative content to a more formal press release and submit it to the media.
- Submit your podcasts where appropriate. Add your podcasts to Itunes.com and other audio-related sites.
- Use an RSS feed not only for your blog but for your regular website content, forum, etc. A lot of content-management systems come with RSS feeds built-in. Use this method of content distribute to its fullest.
- Email your list. Keep your mailing list up-to-date on all your great content… always.
Be a Content Environmentalist: Reuse Your Content
Okay, it’s not really going to have an effect on the environment, bit it is going to save you plenty of time and money. Content is not a send-it-out-once-and-forget- about-it thing. Content can be used over and over, reworked and repurposed.
When you’re getting ready to create a new report, conduct a teleseminar or create any type of content, always think, about what previous content could help in this particular project. You might want to take snippets here and there, put the content into a new format or simply reuse the content again. There’s no sense in doing the work all over again when a lot of it might already be done.
How you reuse your content will depend on the content available and what type of projects you’re working on. Here are some ideas to help you start thinking more efficiently when it comes to creating new stuff.
- Add previously published content into an autoresponder series
- Turn a content piece you broadcasted to your mailing list into a permanent article on your website.
- Give previously shared content to affiliates to redistribute.
- Turn your audio transcriptions from blah to a nicely organized and informative ebook or report
- Package a few related articles into a report
- Take a glossary you created as part of an ebook and turn it into a searchable and freely available online dictionary.
- Take the content from an instructional piece and make a workbook to help your readers put the content to use
- Make a detailed blog posts into a more formal article and distribute it to publishers.
- Make an easy-to-follow checklist from a tutorial you previously created
- Make a printable pattern for a craft project you included in your newsletter.
- Refer and link to previous articles when making new content.
- Offer your podcast for purchase on CD
- Put a checklist onto a laminated wallet card that your readers can carry around with them.
- Put a live teleseminar series into CD format with a workbook and sell it as a home study course.
… you get the picture. Always think of how you can do MORE with the content you already have.
This guide includes a ton of different ideas on content creation. Some of it you may already be doing and some may be new to you. Or perhaps you are just at the beginning of your content creation journey. The important thing is to take it one step at a time. If you didn’t take notes the first read through, I encourage you to read through it again and start writing down some action steps to take… because without action, unfortunately, nothing happens.
The first thing to do is really start spending more time getting to know your audience. An intimate understanding of the people you sell to is going to help you guide all your other decisions in the content creation process. But remember, the learning process is never done and your market will change and mature. It is up to you to know exactly what they want, deliver it and keep the profits rolling at the same time. And with the help of this guide, it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds.
All the best to you on the road to unleashing the true marketing power of content.