The game-changing book of the month – Winning at content marketing

How content marketing can be your secret weapon. A guest blog by Tommy Lee-Zmuda

Why are you trying to get noticed online?
What is the point of social media? Why are you investing so much money into that website?

If you are a small business owner and feel that the time & money invested in certain marketing activities has been a complete waste of resource, you may want to question if the experts know how best to invest your hard earned marketing budget. Before advising you how to spend your money with them, have any of the marketing experts ever asked you what your marketing or content strategy is?

“Before reading the next paragraph, stop, re-read and think about that last question, for a moment.”

The building industry is well known for cowboys, but at least the majority of building firms would not take on a project without the architect’s plans and drawings. So why is it, that the same rules do not apply when it comes to the marketing industry? The experts, line up to tell you that their service is the secret pill that will solve everything and get you sun-bathing on a tropical beach this time next year. Sound familiar?

Following on from last months book of the month “The Pumpkin Plan” which focused on the overall marketing strategy and choosing which customers to grow, this months book of the month will cover a defined area of marketing strategy. Content Marketing – how you will communicate with your customers?

“Content marketing will help you become an authority, position your brand and talk the right language to the right people, at the right time! It will help you build an audience of potential customers for your brand so when they are ready to buy, you will be top of mind”

content marketing books

Have you heard the marketing expression Content is king?
When you stop, study and think long enough about the subject, content is not just the King; it is the entire back line of the chess board. Your social media profiles are just helpless pawns, utterly useless without the content that your customers find valuable. In a game of Chess, pawns can only move in one direction very slowly, whereas, other pieces, if moved in the correct order, can win you the game without much fuss and sacrifice. It’s about, knowing which chess piece can unlock the opposition, the fastest way. Yes, I like playing chess, if you are wondering.

The ability to plan and be patient in achieving my goals has always been part of my personality.
So, having had my hands burned for £13’000 on marketing expenditure in 2015 and £11’000 the following year, I decided to halt my plan for world domination and study marketing tactics within my industry. In the early days when spending more than I should have, it seemed, that to get more work I had to spend more money, renting other people’s space.

Online sponsored listing here, supermarket display there. And that, very expensive advertisement overlooking 30’000 people at the local football ground. Surely, there had to be a more manageable and cost-effective way to find new customers to build the business.

Reading book after book in early 2016, I found an area of marketing, that is in my opinion not discussed enough. This area of marketing is called inbound or content marketing (see also, the search engine benefits of content marketing) depending on which side of the Atlantic you are.

Outbound Vs. Inbound or Content Marketing

To help explain what all the fuss is about, I will discuss the opposite first. Outbound marketing, is the oldskool, in your face advert in Advertising.

The papers, radio, and TV. Roadside display advertising, football grounds and those silly adverts on your pump nozzle when you fill up on fuel. It is anything that is designed to interrupt a possible customer and make them aware of your business. The problem with this kind of advertising is you nearly always will be renting somebody else’s space. When the contract comes to an end after a month or year, your advert is replaced, by the next advert.

Inbound or Content marketing is entirely different. The idea is to create valuable content for your chosen customer and place it where this customer group hangs out in high numbers. When your target customer finds and likes the content, they come looking for more value.
They come “in” to the space that you own looking for more “content.” Opposite, to renting somebody’s space to place adverts, the content you have created is yours and will remain in your space until you decide otherwise. This “content” can be shared over and over again, and re-modeled, for other uses when required. Marketing geeks call this evergreen content.

Book of the month: Why are there 2 Books of the month?

This month I will put forward two Content marketing books for you to consider.
Why? They are both excellent read / listens but requiring different levels of commitment. As this subject is so important, I did not want to scare people off by jumping in with the big read, so have offered a quicker option for those that would prefer.

Content Machine – Use content to build a business with Zero advertising

The subtitle – Use content to build a business with Zero advertising is what hooked me. Updated and released September 2017, this is the newest book on the subject that I have read. Other than the obvious big hitting Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the book also covers all the new breed of social media platforms such as Reddit, Snapchat & Vimeo. Content Machine is narrated by the author Dan Norris.
Be-warned, there is no time for making notes during this book. Although, its only 3 hours and 22 minutes, the fast-paced speed of delivery could have been slowed down a little. Don’t let this put you off. Look at this book as the quick route to understanding the subject, and how it will apply to your business and customers. I have now asked my staff to listen to this book as this is the direction we will be moving the business in 2018.

Here’s the link to the audible website.

Epic Content MarketingHow to tell a different story, break through the clutter & win more business
This book is a monster! Weighing in with 8.5 hours of audio. Available from Audible.co.uk and written by Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute. Epic Content, was the second book I listened to on the subject of Content Marketing. If you are the type of person that can fit 8.5 hours of listening into your busy life in a short length of time, I have no hesitation in saying this is a perfect book on the subject. However, as they are many side stories within the book, it is not a book for those that can only listen to 20-30 minutes here and there. If you struggle with longer books perhaps, save this book for your next holiday, and listen to Content Machine first.

Heres the link for Epic Content on the audible website.

The conclusion
For those new to the idea, hopefully, you will have understood the message. Before moving onto building a new website & investing time into social media, you really should have a plan on what your business message is for your customers. You have to plan & create your “Content”. If you do this first, the website build will be quicker, and more likely to get the desired results from your social media activities.

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you like the post please like, comment & share as only through your feedback can I learn what information people would like me to write about in my future posts?

Tommy Lee-Zmuda 
AKA the thinker man behind Hallamshire Energy Services
The regions number one reviewed Boiler Installation Company
Family man & friendly chap

Toodle Pip!

 

Do you need help with your marketing? If you are a Sheffield City Region Small Business, we can help you! There are some incredible opportunities for your business to grow massively and create a huge competitive advantage. Don’t let marketing be a dirty word! Contact us today, we are here to help you grow your business. 

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