Get OFF Your Horse

First let me ask you something, would you ride your horse into a new town-with your products, cds, your art, your books, blog posts, or programs stuffed into the backpack strapped to your shoulders-and solicit your content door to door?

No. You wouldn’t…

It would be random, borderline inappropriate, and the 1 or 2% of people that might purchase your content-wares would likely do it out of sympathy.

Despite the fact that many of us are inadvertently executing a similar strategy, there IS good news.

Just because your content marketing campaigns have failed to convert-doesn’t mean you have a bad product, a poor service, or a curse from the universe!

It most likely means that your marketing funnel has failed to forge the connection and relationship needed to make the sale, even if the product or service is impressive and valuable enough to your prospect to consider purchasing your solution.

Regardless of what your selling, in the modern world, the “know, like, and trust” factor is more relevant than ever.

Just because you’ve got a product or service nestled away on a 3rd tier page covered in mediocre copy and checkout button, doesn’t mean you have a functional marketing and sales funnel.

This is where the Content Marketing Process comes in to lend a helping hand and play it’s part in taking your audience from interested prospect to loyal customer.

Content Marketing is how brands build an audience in the modern world. It is a CORE skill for Modern Content Creators, and if you are selling content of any type or format, your content strategy and your content marketing better be solid if you want to compete in 2013 and beyond.

Understand that content marketing may sound like a new or faddish term. A trendy wave here today gone tomorrow…

Although it’s a buzz word bandwagon as of late, it is NOT a new concept, but the Modern World has leveled the playing field by providing the access and resources to accomplish what wasn’t ever humanly possible up until just recently, and it’s taken a little while for everyone to catch up to the “content as currency” concept.

However, there is a big difference between the approaches that are successful and those that are not.

Two Approaches

There are only two direct approaches to selling your content online. (art, products, services, coaching, knowledge, advice, etc)

1) Send cold traffic directly to an offer… The end.

2) Send targeted traffic to valuable content and build an engaged audience through adding more value and nurturing a relationship, and then at some point transform them into a loyal customer.

Route two is the name of the game.

That is the role of content marketing.

The 3 Shortcuts To Successful Content Marketing

Rather than point out where everyone goes wrong, I’ll instead outline the highest leverage solutions, or the biggest shortcuts that you can integrate into your projects, campaigns, and processes to make your efforts more successful.

1) Mindset- The first shortcut is to approach marketing your content with the right mindset.

The mentality you need to embrace is that of the Modern Content Creator, and all that inherently implies.

A. You are an Artist/Creator AND an Entrepreneur. You do the work that’s meaningful, aligned with your purpose, and serves your loyal audience.

B. Everything from your mission and purpose, down to each project or campaign-begins with Clarity + Focus. This is always the starting point. Roles and responsibilities are defined so that you can clarify and focus on your highest value activities, and then maximize them with the highest leverage.

C. You are story-teller AND you are a publisher. As a Modern Content Creator you are both the expert/journalist, AND you are the publisher of the magazine.

D. Content marketing is best thought of as a process. An ongoing conversation with your audience based on the creation and delivery of content that adds value to their lives.

E. Think simple yet sophisticated. He who can control and discipline his attention, will find an audience that gives them theirs.

F. The tools are only as effective as your ability to use them. I think we can sort of take for granted sometimes just how awesome the power we have at our fingertips actually is…

I often hear a lot of talk about what the next NEW “thing” is going to be…

Some super technology or social network that instantly takes the world by storm.

While continuous advancements in science and technology and the a cure for cancer are all exciting, spending time thinking about flying cars is a fruitless exercise.

It’s not MORE technology we need, it’s the need to use the tools we have BETTER.

Think in terms of mastery.

2) Message to Market Match

Content is relative, and being relevant is increasingly more difficult across our very noisy digital channels.

With the right mindset, your message to market match is the next most important thing you CAN’T get wrong.

Unfortunately, for some people it will be easier to speak your audiences language than others. But the essence of what it means to be a Modern Content Creator is the evolved understanding of being both Creator/Artist, AND Entrepreneur.

This means that you are making, creating, providing things that are meaningful to you, but also valuable to others! A lot of the further leaning creative types I work with have to be reminded of the fact that their is an entire skillset and suite of entrepreneurial responsibilities that must be integrated and well managed if you want to find that beautiful balance of endless freedom and fulfillment doing what you love.

… You need to love what you do, and you ALSO need an audience who loves what you do for them!

The inherent CREATIVE faculties for Artist/Expert and Personal Brands can and should most DEFINITELY be applied in finding this balance, but understand that an “if you build it they will come attitude is dangerous.”

Gotta provide value. Real value. Gotta know what that value is. This all requires understanding the most essential aspects of marketing, which is really just effective communication to a defined target audience or persona.