I receive The Book Marketing Expert newsletter and I have to say it is filled with helpful and useful information. The article I am reprinting, with permission, deals with strategies to create marketing content and drive sales to your site.
Creating Marketing Content That Will Drive Sales to Your Site
You've heard before that content pushed online can result in traffic and sales to your web site, right? Yes, it's always a good idea to push content out onto the Internet, but what that content is and how you "push" it are two very different things. First off, why you need to push content online is very simple: content brings in customers/readers, so the more you can get out there, the more traffic you'll pull into your site. How much is too much? I don't know if anything is ever "too much" really. I have 45 live articles online and more going live each week. These articles are placed in article sites like iSnare and EzineArticles.com and are then picked up by sites and blogs all over the 'Net. In fact, one article can see upwards of 100 placements. Not bad when you figure that it takes me on average 20 minutes to write something (unless there is extensive research, then obviously it takes longer).
But the benefits of pushing content online can't be overstated. First though, you have to figure out what you'll push. It's not always easy to be in creation-mode all the time - and if you're working full time and writing and promoting it can be downright daunting - but we'll get to some marketing shortcuts in a minute, for now let's look at why content online works so well. First off, buyers are tired of being sold, they want to be informed and then, armed with this information, make up their minds accordingly.
To get started, determine the type of information your reader is looking for and then write to that market. What I mean by this is that if you can provide answers to questions your reader has, then you can address that in an article. Just like the piece you're reading, speaking to the issue of content creation also speaks to a question you might have had surrounding this topic. It's my goal that this article answer all of that and then some. So understanding your reader, what motivates them, what problems they are trying to solve and how you can help them will go a long way to creating marketable content.
Leave your promotional hat at the door. I know this statement probably sounds odd when we're talking about marketing, but there is one golden rule when marketing online: be helpful or be gone. So make your content 95% helpful and 5% promotional and you'll find buyers beating a path to your virtual door.
Determine what you want your reader to do. In other words, figure out the action you want your reader to take and then make sure you're marketing to that action. Most of us never stop to consider this. Has anyone ever asked you what your web site is for? If not, maybe you should ask yourself that right now. Why? Because your goal of content creation should be the same as the goal of your site. For example, if your site is designed to drive more business to your business then what is the core problem you solve? That's what you want to speak to and that's the piece you use to drive readers to your site: solve whatever problem they have, even if they just want to be entertained.
Plan your content: if you're going to do this it's important to prepare this on a regular basis, otherwise your efforts will look spotty and fragmented. Give yourself some goals and time frames and make sure you don't waiver on them. Keep cranking out the content and keep pushing it out online (don't worry about the time factor, we'll look at shortcuts in a minute).
Find your reader and market there. If you're syndicating your articles to the syndication sites I mentioned earlier, the "where" your content winds up is a bit tricky, but often you'll have control over where your content ends up. For example, if you're marketing yourself to blogs or commenting on blogs, obviously you're going to pick blogs that are in your market. Don't go after blogs (like the Huffington Post) just because they have great traffic and you like to read them.
Be consistent: it's important for you to be reliable. Once you find the target market, problem or solution you're bringing to the table don't change course (unless you switch businesses). Consistency in message is important. Remember the old marketing rule: it takes seven impressions to your book, message, or product to get a buy in, so the more consistent you can be in your message, the better you'll be.
If you love something, set it free. When you send content out online it can and will wind up anywhere, even in sites that you think "Huh? What's it doing there?" Once you free your content you have no control over where it winds up. In 90% of the cases it'll end up where it should, sometimes it won't. That's ok. Set it free, anyway.
Where will you get all of this stuff? Now that you are ready to start, where on earth will you get all of this content? Are you going to have to write it all? Well, yes, some of it you will, but some of it can come from other sources. Here are a few examples:
1) Do you do teleclasses or workshops? If you do, plan on recording them and having them transcribed - this is great marketable content and could give you two or three new articles. You can also sell the transcription of the workshop (in its entirety) on your site. Yes, people will pay for the full eBook/transcription of your teleclass or workshop even if it's syndicated in pieces online. They'd have to be pretty determined (and have a boatload of free time) to go digging online for your entire session.
2) Can you break your book into sections? Perhaps syndicate various chapters online. Worried about losing book sales because of this? See #1
3) Your blog: this is another form of content creation, so blog as often as you can. Twice a week at a minimum.
4) Press releases syndicated online is another form of content.
How will you find the time to do all of this? Well, here's the secret time-saving tool I promised you. It's called content recycling, and here's how I do it. First off, the article that you're reading in the newsletter is content for our ezine, then this will also get syndicated online and be published on our blog. I will also Twitter on this (through the micro-blogging site Twitter.com) in short mini-messages. As you can see, one article feeds a lot of content funnels. The same is true for audio that's transcribed. It's used in class form, then broken up for articles, then blogged on and so forth. Don't reinvent the wheel unless you have to, and keep it simple. The simpler you can keep it, the more likely you will be able to keep this up.
You are welcome to reprint any items from "The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter." However, please credit us as a source with the following paragraph:
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com