How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing isn’t just writing stuff and sending out a newsletter—it’s strategic marketing that, when you do it right, generates more revenue. Even better? It’s not that hard.

Andrew Davis, marketing expert and best-selling author, joined Ignition to share how finding your niche target, developing loyalty and building relationships can form the foundations of a solid content marketing strategy.

This week’s question was from Mark:

I run a pool servicing company and we’ve been in business for six years. We’ve been doing pretty well from traditional advertising, but I think we’ve reached the maximum return on investment from the ads. I’ve been investigating content marketing, and I’m thinking about starting up a company blog but I don’t know what we should actually be writing about. First, should I even be thinking about content marketing for my business? Second, how do I know what I should write about and how will I know that it’s going to eventually start impacting my bottom line?

In this episode, which we filmed at ICON in March, we talked to Andrew Davis, best-selling author and content and marketing expert.

Andrew suggested that Mark started by knowing exactly who his target audience is—not just people with pools, but it might be community pools or country club pools. The kinds of content you’re going to create or the advertising you’d do for these is very, very different. So you want to start with which target audience you’re going after to establish a sound content marketing strategy.

From there, Andrew likes to pick niches people don’t usually target. There are probably lots of people who just target people with pools. And so if you’re going to target a market that has some opportunity in it, like country clubs, then the kind of content you’re going to create must speak to exactly who at those country clubs should be consuming this content. So it’s not just for the country club members; obviously they don’t care about who cleans the pool. It’s maybe for the president of the organization or the facilities manager who handles vendor relationships.

Then start to get into their mindset. What are the problems they deal with every day at a country club? It’s not just the pool. They have a lot of other facilities they’re managing. And if you can help them with their day-to-day concerns and think about one piece of content you could create every week that will help country club facility managers be better at their job, then you’ll start building a relationship with them. That relationship will help build trust and that trust will help drive revenue, not even just for his pool servicing business but probably even some partners that he could partner with.

Andrew’s motto? “Content builds relationships. Relationships build trust. And trust drives revenue.” Content marketing isn’t about content.

Targeting is so important because that’s where you get the premium, high-margin, high-profit business. If you just want any business and you want everybody to call you and you want a high volume of leads, then creating any content will generate that. What you want is the high-quality leads, the leads that are going to lead the right kind of business for you.

You really have to dive deep enough to find the value for that consumer and you’ve got to really spend the time to do it. Luckily, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Go into your existing client database or your client list and look at who are your highest value customers, the ones where you get the high margin business from in the pool service business and who are the long-term relationships. That’s going to start to hone in on your target market where you just want to find more of exactly those people.

If Mark said, “No, I really want to go after the consumer pool business,” well, then maybe his top 10 client lists are physicians and lawyers. If that’s the case, think about those people’s mindset. What do the everyday? What do their experiences look like and how can you add value not just necessarily to their pool but their backyard? Do they entertain a lot? How often do you clean their pools? Start answering those questions and figure out how you can be a bigger part of their everyday experience and what you could create once a month that they would subscribe to that would add value to their backyard even.

Andrew tells this anecdote:

“I just met a guy who installs hardwood floors, and he lives in Nashville. And I said, ‘Who are your clients?’ He said, ‘Did you watch the American Country Music Awards? Well, everybody on the red carpet are my clients.’ I was like, Holy crap.’

So then I went to look at his website. He had no website. I went to look at his LinkedIn profile, no LinkedIn profile. And I asked him, “Why don’t you have any of this stuff?” He said, “Well, we value privacy for these clients. And the reason we get their business is we don’t show pictures of celebrities’ homes. We don’t even let our employees know whose house they’re working on. We’ll call it Project 30.” So they’ve embraced the simple idea that for that niche market, privacy is of the utmost concern and they provide the right kinds of content and backup for that as part of their relationship building.

So if you can start showing people you’re different instead of telling people you’re different, you’ll be much better off in the content you create and even the advertising you do.”

Andrew suggests starting with what he calls the loyalty loop. It’s the experience someone has from the moment they sign up for a service to the point which they refer that business to someone else. That creates a new set of loyalty loops and it’s basically a good referral model. So if you could imagine it as a moment of purchase and then the experience they have to a new moment of inspiration where they inspire someone to go a higher mark and start a new loyalty loop.

You could think of differentiating first the experience. What do you do differently, Mark, that for doctors or lawyers or country clubs that sets you apart and makes the experience really unique and elevate that into the content you create, the way you advertise and even your approach to the marketplace?

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