Imagine you walk into a large hall, with 5,000 chairs and a platform. But there is no one there. Just you and your conscience.
You get on the platform and start addressing the empty hall. You go on and on, believing that people passing by will hear your mountain-moving gospel, fall in love with your angelic voice and fill up the room before you could say ‘let us pray’.
You’ll agree with me that it’ll take some sort of supernatural powers or a few lonely years to pull such stunt.
In the real world, if you want to talk with real people and not an empty room, you’ll first look for a room with a sizable and active audience. Then you’ll work your way to address that audience.
If you deliver a good speech, you can invite them to dine with you.
Good enough, right?
But do you know what many people do when they want to market online with content?
They address an empty room.
All that effort and energy to produce and deliver content, wasted on an empty room.
If you are struggling to attract business prospects online, here is a 7-step content marketing checklist to start filling up those empty seats with a lively audience that will eventually help build your business.
- Get set on the right Digital Platform
To hold memorable events, your auditorium must be well equipped and robust to hold your audience when they start showing up.
The question is;
On what technology are you building your digital platform?
Is it a 5-page static website built on Dreamweaver, a free blog or site-builder or a Content Management System?
The better option may seem obvious. But majority of businesses start building their online presence on a faulty foundation.
Questions you should ask when choosing a platform building tool;
- Does it offer the ease and flexibility for a non-techie to manage contents – text, image, audio and video?
- Is it search engine optimized?
- Can it integrate social media with ease?
- Will it offer 100% control of your online presence?
- Is it mobile friendly?
- Does it have a large supportive community?
Whether for a corporate or organisation website, a personal or company blog, 9 times out of 10, self-hosted WordPress (CMS) is the best software to build your platform. Not because I use WordPress for my personal blog, youth online magazine and company website. Or because it’s what we use to build our clients platform. But because it takes away the hassle of building a web platform from the end user (You). You can concentrate on the more productive part of building an audience that will grow your business.
- Produce Pillar Content
If you get your platform right, you need to engage your audience when they click to your blog or website.
Pillar content has two major objectives:
- to attract and hold attention
- to demonstrate and establish authority
In most cases, what you have to say has been said before. It’s how you say it that makes your content stand out.
Pillar contents are detailed, engaging and well-researched content. You create it to boost your credibility and authority in your niche.
They are not like everyday blog entries. You put in more work and effort to create them. And they work for you long-term like devoted employees.
- They are longer and more detailed than your usual content.
- They can be in a combination of formats; text, image, infographics, audio and/or video
- They are original and unique
- They are targeted to solve a specific audience problem
- They demonstrate your all roundedness in a specific topic
- They have the potential to attract a rush of new readers. And will continue to bring in more readers over time as you and other people refer to it.
- Eventually it will bring in consistent traffic from search engines (if published publicly).
- They are timeless. In twelve months’ time and beyond they will still be relevant and useful.
People take action on pillar contents. They share with their network, subscribe to your newsletter, leave comment, contact you, learn more and tell others about you.
Here is a detailed article by Yaro Starak, on how to write great pillar blog content.
- Don’t Give Your Great Content an Ugly Platform
How many times have you had to click the back button after landing on a page because the site does not look professional or user-friendly?
They say “clothes make the man,” and that’s because human psychology favours and trusts pleasing packaging. The same applies to the way you dress up your content with site design.
Your content might be so brilliant that it makes the reader turn from their wicked ways. If you put them on an ugly, amateurish, or cluttered design, visitors may not be patient enough to read.
You don’t want to gamble it. Invest in a custom premium theme or hire a professional web designer.
- Build an Email List
Think of your email list as those empty seats in your auditorium that need to be filled up. You don’t keep your audience standing from afar. They’ll walk away and never return.
You draw them closer, have them take a seat and listen intently to you. So when you have something to share, you won’t be talking to an empty room.
Content on a public platform is fantastic for grabbing attention — but to deepen the relationship, nothing works like email marketing. It worked in the past. It works today if you do it right.
You have a target group of people with similar worldview give you permission to reach them via their most private online account - email. What better way to fill up your auditorium?
Set up you email opt-in form and have your pillar content ready to entice them.
These interesting articles will help you build your email list:
- Get on a larger stage.
Now you have your auditorium (your blog platform) set. It’s still empty or scanty.
The next step is to look for related auditoria with established audiences. And start delivering free lectures.
This can be guest blogging on popular blogs, blogging on LinkedIn or interacting on social media groups or forums.
Your goal is to freely contribute content that add value to the platform, interact with the audience and establish you or your business as knowledgeable in the field.
You then direct interested readers to your platform to consume your pillar content. Don’t send them to your sales pitch just yet.
Send your new readers to that high-quality content built on a site you control. The smartest guest bloggers build landing pages just for these new audiences, to give fresh readers a great first experience with their platform.
- Write Content worth Reading
Don’t be tempted to produce mediocre content, simply because you are publishing on a platform you don’t own.
Imagine you are building your career as a Stand-Up Comedian and you get the chance to perform before a large audience. How much effort will you put in your performance?
You won’t want to ruin that first impression with a poor performance. You’ll give it your best.
How can you tell if your content is worth reading?
Content is worth reading if people read it. You don’t decide. Readers decide.
Content worth reading usually:
- Appear under a headline that attracts and pulls in the audience
- Is genuinely useful, focusing on what readers actually care about
- Is formatted to engage and hold attention, and
- Is at least moderately pleasurable.
Watch what gets the most traffic, links, social shares, or comments on the platform you want to publish on. Give readers something in that direction.
- Give Your Content Wings with Social Media
Creating exceptional content is great. But great content alone is like turkey. Turkeys don’t fly. Social media is the wing that makes your content fly.
To fill up those empty seats faster, make it easy for your listeners to invite their network to your content.
Our impulse to create and our desire to remark on skilful creations haven’t changed much since we stopped walking naked. If we can sing a remarkable song, others will gather to hear it.
If you create content that is worthy of attention, and give it that initial push, people will show up and talk about it.
Our job is to produce something amazing, then use the social network intelligently to find the people who will love and appreciate it. A percentage of them will take their seat and listen more closely to what you have to say.
These people will become leads and then customers/clients who will grow your business.
How has content marketing worked for your business? How do you plan to make it work better? Let’s hear your thoughts on comment.