Content Marketer, Podcast Host, and the Publisher of Lifestyle Business Magazine
No matter what business you’re in, chances are you have some competition. Maybe your product or service is superior to other options that exist in your market. Maybe it isn’t. Having the best offer doesn’t matter. Instead, concentrate on making sure your target market perceives your company's deal to be the right one for them. Until they believe, they may never buy from you.
How can you set yourself apart from all the other alternatives? Publishing content online is a great start, as long at it's high-quality material that truly helps consumers within your target market. Your published pieces should build goodwill, earn trust and position you as an authority in your industry.
Potential customers in your target market are struggling with something. Something is keeping them up at night. They want a specific result, and they're willing to pay for it. Because we live in the information age, they're likely searching for online information -- content -- that can help them find a solution.
This is exactly why every business today needs a content marketing strategy. A sound plan ensures your target market will find you when they start looking for answers.
In his book "Epic Content Marketing," Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi offers the best definition of "content" I've seen. Pulizzi describes content marketing as "the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience -- with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
Understand how content can help.
Well-researched and thoughtfully written content helps your target audience -- at no cost to them. It's crucial that you also give them a specific call to action, or CTA. Urge them to visit your website, book a free consultation or subscribe to your newsletter. Any of these tools opens the door to building a relationship and acquiring a customer.
There are as many different types of content as there are people searching for it. Blog posts, magazine articles, videos, webinars, white papers and e-books are some of the most common. The list goes on and on. The sheer possibilities leave many entrepreneurs and organizations feeling overwhelmed. Unsure of which types of content to pursue, they sit on the sidelines.
My recommendation: If you're not already engaging your target market with podcasts, prepare to launch your first piece of audio content. Here are seven ways you'll benefit right along with your customers.
1. It's convenient to consume.
Compared to text and video content, audio content is more accessible for users. They don’t have shift time away from what they're doing to focus exclusively on your content. They can listen to your podcast while they're exercising or driving, for example. Your podcast won't take them away from those activities; it will enrich them.
2. It increases your reach and grows your audience.
When you publish your podcast on platforms such as iTunes and Stitcher, you expose your content to thousands of potential listeners for free. These platforms are search engines, and people use them to find podcasts as well as hit singles. That organic exposure helps you increase your reach and grow your audience.
3. It's inexpensive and quick to produce.
Recording a podcast episode is far less time-consuming than writing an article or recording a video. To create a podcast episode, all you have to do is record yourself speaking (something you do naturally every day). Get a decent microphone and a program for recording and editing your episodes, and you'll have everything you need to produce audio content.
4. It gives you a forum to interview experts in your industry.
The popular interview format allows your audiences to learn from your guests' expertise, successes and failures. At the same time, you get to add more expert connections to your network. That's a definite win-win. Plus, if your guests decide to help promote these interviews, you'll get free exposure to their audiences, too.
5. It helps you stand out from competitors.
Podcasting picked up some serious momentum during the past few years, but there's still plenty of room for more shows. Depending on your niche or topic, you may have the advantage of facing very little competition. Hosting a podcast can help you immediately stand apart from rivals in your marketplace and position you as the go-to authority in your field.
6. It builds trust with your audience.
Audio content is very personal. When someone hears you speak, they hear your personality and your authenticity. They can detect the excitement in your voice and feel your passion for helping them while you discuss topics that are relevant to you both. This makes it easy for them to meet, like and trust you. Podcasts help your target market feel as if they already know you on an individual level.
7. It helps acquire more customers.
At the end of each podcast episode, include a CTA. Give them a clear direction, and make sure your landing page, email subscriber list or other tools are ready in advance. Make it as easy as possible for listeners to follow through and create your desired result. Thousands of people hear my CTA each month at the close of the Lifestyle Business Magazine Podcast. Each time, I see more traffic to my website, more email subscribers and more downloads of my digital magazine.