Dallas Startup Week kicked off on Monday with Craig Hall, discussing Democratizing Entrepreneurship. Hall, an entrepreneur who at 18 and with $4,000, built a multi-billion dollar real estate, winery, computer software, and banking conglomerate that is the HALL Group.
Hall gave a master class on content marketing that leveraged public speaking and social media, and concluded with the release of his latest book. Each piece of his content highlighted his passion for entrepreneurship, a career path that he feels should be made accessible to everyone. Morgan Stanley recently shared through their investor survey and analysis, The Trillion-Dollar Blind Spot, that the majority of investors perceived the funding landscape as balanced and neutral as it related to gender and race. Moreover, Morgan Stanley’s findings revealed that actual investor capital in multicultural and women-owned businesses were less than 80% when compared to all businesses.
Hall’s message of Democratizing Entrepreneurship was inspiring and timely. Aside from his wake-up call, let’s look at how we can apply his content marketing strategy for driving social and economic change, to your situation, and to grow your business. We will start with a definition of Content Marketing and then outline five steps to implementing a successful content marketing campaign.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is information that you create and share with audiences. Ideally, it accomplishes a few things:
Solves a problem that your target audience or clients have
Drives organic online traffic to your site
Converts visitors into new customers or clients
You may wonder why content marketing is needed in addition to paid advertising channels like Search Engine Marketing (SEM) with Google Ads and Bing Ads or paid social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Apart from your investment to create the content, this content should continue to produce leads for you indefinitely and does not require an ongoing cost like the paid channels.
5 Keys to Content Marketing
Creating a content marketing strategy helps to ensure your success. Your strategy should accomplish the following:
1) Identify who you are trying to reach.
Unless you are a new enterprise or are introducing a new product or service offering, you should have a good understanding who your target audience is. If you are introducing innovation and the target has not been well defined, you can segment the entire market and test how well your content leads to conversion, for example. Then, you can further refine your marketing message to increase engagement.
2) Explain how your content will help them.
With your audience defined, craft your content to address a specific need or pain point for your audience. Your content should be able to help them solve a problem. This exercise excludes any mention of your particular innovation, though. Ideally, you are able to provide your audience a solution to their problem that does not rely on your service. This will build trust with your audience that you are not only trying to sell them.
3) Select your medium.
Depending on your target audience and where your expertise rests with writing, video production, graphic design, or public speaking, choose a format that will resonate with your target audience. In some cases, this could be a combination of different mediums that can be used to generate content.
4) Outline the channels.
After selecting your format, distribute your content on a channel that allows you to reach your audience. Channels can include, but are not limited to:
Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat, and Pinterest) that you will use to reach your audience
Public speaking engagements
5) Define metrics that support your goal.
Whatever medium you use for sharing your content, define and measure the content performance. For example, one way to see if your blog content is driving your audience to make a purchase or complete a sign-up form, is to track from a tool like Google Analytics. If Google Analytics is set up and configured properly, you can monitor how many referrals to your “Thank You” page (after a sale or sign-up, e.g.) came directly from a specific blog post.
Starting a content marketing campaign can be a daunting task. Having a strategy and plan, though, in the beginning can make this an easier proposition. Focusing on your audience and developing content that solves their problem, will result in new and satisfied customers for you.