I was recently a guest on the podcast, B2B Nation: Smarketing Edition. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice, is a podcast for B2B sales and marketers with expert opinions & advice on the most important topics in B2B sales and marketing today to help you evolve and push your strategy forward.
In this episode, we discuss growth hacking, some of the biggest trends in content marketing, and the importance of building your personal brand.
Below are my five key takeaways from this conversation.
1. Content marketing has constantly evolved.
When you think about it, content marketing was only called “content marketing” a few years ago. Then it became inbound marketing. And it was just blogging before that.
That term is shifting and changing as we start to focus on quality rather than quantity. There’s a new focus on building an audience and trust rather than simply going after leads or creating content for SEO purposes.
2. Most people mistake content marketing for creating content.
If you’re creating content and you’re not actually doing a big push around promotion of the content, and getting the word out, then you’re just writing copy.
That’s a common misconception with content marketing.
It’s wrong to think, “I will create this piece and I’ll magically get my audience or build a new audience.”
3. One of the most important aspects of content marketing is to find your audience.
Find your audience and where they hang out.
Let’s my audience is content marketers, bloggers, writers, and other internet marketers.
Are they in LinkedIn groups, chatting on Twitter, or sharing their story on Medium?
Another key question: How are they using their platforms of choice?
If you want to connect with your audience, you should definitely build a personal site.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be anything fancy or as comprehensive as a blog. You can create a simple about page and that alone could be all you need.
4. Once you identify your audience and where they hang out, go to those places and be everywhere.
Instead of writing content on your site where you have to work to build an audience, you should write on other sites where your raving fans already exist.
Then they’ll to come to your site.
All of those sites actually were responsible for most of my ROI, not my personal site.
Those drove traffic to my personal site.
You don’t have to earn your audience. Instead, you can funnel it in from another audience so you don’t have to start from scratch.
5. Reach out to people you’re fond of.
Maybe you read an article and you liked it.
You let the author know through email or a comment on their blog. Now what do you do?
First, you can engage with that person, don’t ask for anything, and add value to their lives.
If you want to ask for something, be very, very specific.
You never want to reach out to an influencer and say, “How do I market my startup?”
Instead, try something like this: “Hey, I’m trying to do [this one thing]. Any recommendations on how to get from a 100 customers to a 1,000 customers? I’m doing [all this] and not getting the results I was hoping for.”
At the end of the day, the gold is unearthed by reaching out to the right people and building key relationships through email, Twitter, or even LinkedIn.
Giving a compliment in an honest, genuine manner goes a long way.
Don’t take this advice and go try to do this for a thousand people. Be genuine. Relationships are a two-way street.
I found the best way to start the relationship, again, is giving a genuine compliment, being specific, and not being afraid of not getting a response.
The worst thing that can happen is they don’t respond. Whatever. They would also not respond to you if you had not tried to get a hold of them either.
Now it’s time to get out there and start doing content marketing the smart way.