The credit card is out, but don’t stop there. Content marketing needs to take your target audience from curious to signed, sealed and delivered.

“Content marketing” is the phrase de jour, but does a stellar CM campaign always translate to new or repeat customers?

Everyone loves the amount of free information that’s available on the Web. Some of it comes from social sharing, some from the government or other nonprofits that aren’t looking for donations. But a great deal of content comes from organizations that are looking to earn or raise money.

That’s right, let’s not forget that all this content is designed to build credibility, visibility, loyalty, and ultimately cashola. If you’re reading this post, chances are, that’s your goal, right?

What Counts?

Content marketing goes way beyond the simple blog post. Longer articles, video, photographs and other images, audio, white papers, PDFs, full web sites and even content-rich email campaigns are all forms of content marketing.

What’s Your Point?

The content in any and all of those forms, of course, needs to send a specific message to the right target audience. Simply throwing a jumble of media files up online would be like throwing pebbles in a pond.

Creativity is great. But creating content requires a bit more strategy than abstract art. To serve its purpose, it must meet certain requirements.

Can you map out how your target audience will find your content, how they will digest it, and what steps they will take afterwards that will lead to initial patronage and repeat business?

Every link in the content marketing process leads to the final sale.


Trial, Error and Substance

You won’t necessarily get it right the very first time. Watching what others do can be somewhat of a guideline, but every organization is unique. That’s why utilizing every major avenue, following a step-by-step formula, is so important for getting your feet wet.

1. Tweet

A compelling tweet can be a great entry point. A sentence or two grabs the reader and they decide to follow you. You now have further opportunities to draw that customer in, through tweets themselves and through links within those tweets to other content.

Don’t simply tout your product or service and how awesome it is. That’s the fast way to get unfollowed. Be an expert. What you need to do is provide information that matters to the reader, that they will be interested in and grateful for. Look at what you’re saying. Is it someone everyone will want to share?

2. Blog

Once you’ve reeled them in with your Haiku-like words of wisdom, present them with something a little longer. Blog posts should consist of news or opinions on current events or circumstances. Although they can be reworked, updated and repurposed continually, they are not initially evergreen. They are the opposite – of the moment. And they integrate your own voice and personality. This generates fans who relate to and like you, not just your information.

3. Research, Delve, Write

Many people confuse blog posts with articles these days. Articles are longer, stronger, more comprehensive pieces of literature. People use them to actually research the topic they are interested in. A tweet or blog post may have brought them here, and now they’re ready for the meat.

If you’re article is unique, well written, well researched with credible sources, and authoritative, you now have this person’s full attention.

This is where you diverge from most others on the web. Many tweet, many post. Few have the substance behind those spurts.

4. Produce a White Paper

A white paper goes even further. A white paper is an extensive document filled with independent and internal facts and arguments that build the case for your product or service. They are designed to inform and persuade your ultimate target audience that the methods, materials and other elements you use are superior to others. Papers often cite car histories, research and concrete data.

5. Seal the Deal

No matter hoe wonderful your tweets, posts, articles and white papers may be, don’t assume your customer is sold until they’ve signed on the dotted line (or clicked on it).

When your almost-customer clicks through to the sales page, make sure it is crystal clear what they will be getting with their purchase. The main purchase of course, but anything else? Consultations, updates, warranties, shipping? Make it clear. Have testimonials and positive reviews on this page as well, in case there is any lingering doubt. And make sure the payment process is as quick, simple and clear as possible.


Congratulations. It worked!