Whether you know it or not, you’re likely participating in content marketing every day by posting on Facebook, writing blog posts, participating in LinkedIn Groups, or sending emails to your clients.
If you’re doing content marketing, you might as well be doing it right. But how do you do it right? How do you create effective content marketing day in and day out?
My team and I have created what we lovingly refer to as the six P’s of content marketing to help us with this very question. Armed with the 6 P’s, we know that all of our content marketing is as effective as possible. Follow the 6 P’s to create effective content marketing for your business.
We created the 6 P’s to be an easily digestible version of Content Marketing Institute’s definition of content marketing. They do a fantastic job of summing up exactly what makes effective content marketing, but with such a meaty definition, it’s easier for us to think of it in single words (with P’s!).
It says: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
So, armed with this definition, let’s get into the 6 P’s of effective content marketing.
The first part of the definition says “content marketing is a strategic marketing approach.” To us, this means that content marketing has a plan.
You Can’t Win Without a Plan
Imagine a football coach going into a game with no plan or playbook and then wondering why his team lost. It would seem absurd. Yet that’s exactly what you’re doing if you don’t have a plan for your content marketing. Don’t be afraid of plans. They guide you. They answer questions. They keep you from overthinking. They keep you from asking “what are we doing?” week after week.
A content marketing plan outlines where you’ll post, when you’ll post, how you’ll post, who you’ll post for, and why you’re posting. The cool thing is that the items that make up a good content marketing plan are simply a collection of the rest of the P’s below. So, instead of spoiling the surprise, let’s move on to the next P!
The next part of the definition says, “focused on creating and distributing.” To us, this means successful content marketing has a process.
Effective Content Marketing Has a Process
Content marketing is about more than just sitting down, writing a blog post, and then throwing it on Facebook. You must have a process for how you’re going to create and distribute your content. Each time we create a piece of content—a blog post, in this example—we go through a set process that looks something like this:
- Research ideas or pull one from our list
- Find the best keywords to optimize for SEO
- Write a brief (then more detailed) outline
- Write the post
- Research and insert supporting information
- Send to editor for review
- Design featured image, social media image, and post graphics
- Download and format additional supporting images
- Schedule post in WordPress
- Share on social media and schedule in Buffer
- Schedule email newsletter
- Check analytics weeks/months after
Processes Can Be Measured and Adjusted
With a detailed process in place, we know exactly what’s working and what’s not and can refine accordingly. This process also makes it very easy to replicate successes we have with one campaign or client.
The next part of the definition says, “valuable, relevant, and consistent content.” To us, this means effective content marketing has purpose.
Great Content is Valuable
I think this is the core of effective content marketing—and the crux of marketing that sucks. Your content has to be VALUABLE. This means that it helps, informs, or otherwise entertains the person whom it’s meant for. If your content adds no value to someone’s life, it has failed. Plain and simple. Purposeful content is powerful.
Great Content is Relevant
It’s just as important for content to be relevant. You can create can be the most informative and amazing piece of content in the world, but if it’s not relevant to your audience, it doesn’t matter.
Despite what my football reference above may lead you to believe, I have no interest in football. So someone could make the most valuable football player ranking scorecard in the entire world, but if I have no purpose for it, then it failed.
Great Content is Consistent
Content with purpose is also about more than just being valuable and relevant. It’s highly consistent. When your content is consistent, you can see what works. When you know what works, you know exactly why you’re doing it.
You’re never going to close many clients if you randomly send an email here and there. Haphazardly posting a few Instagram photos isn’t going to help you much, either. Ditto with one blog post in February and then two in July. This isn’t great content.
If you’re not consistent, how will you ever know what gets you results and why you’re doing it? The answer is that you can’t. But when you’re consistently doing something that’s working, it’s easy to see what its purpose is. If you know that posting on Facebook consistently brings in 25% of your website’s traffic—which brings in more leads—you know that Facebook posting has a purpose. And then you just keep doing it.
The next part of the definition says, “to attract and retain.” To us, this means that successful content marketing follows a path.
Understand The Client’s Journey
Effective content marketing understands the path, or journey, your clients take when they purchase from you. Once you understand this journey and each of its stages, you can create content marketing that follows this journey and helps move people from one stage to the next.
Each Stage Has Different Marketing Needs
Here’s an example of the typical journey a client will go through when they work with a business:
- Every closed client starts out as a stranger.
- At some point, they hear about your business through word of mouth or some form of content marketing. They know about you, but you don’t yet know about them. They’re studying up on you and deciding whether or not to reach out.
- We call these people prospects.
- Then, something—a friend’s recommendation, good Yelp! reviews, a helpful article—causes them to identify themselves to you. They may call you, email you, fill out a form, or download an e-book on your website.
- Once they’ve done this, they become a lead.
- Now, leads are awesome because you know who they are—you have their contact info—so you can stay in touch with them, or nurture them, until they’re ready to become a client. Some leads need to be nurtured for all of 10 minutes. But others (most of them) aren’t ready to buy, sell, or borrow quite yet. They need time. So you continue to nurture them until they’re ready to transact.
- Once they’re ready, they become a client and enter your sales funnel.
- You help them get pre-approved or find a house. You help them through their inspections, appraisal, and underwriting. This all (hopefully) culminates in a closing.
- You now have a closed client!
- They are now part of a growing group of people who will refer you and use you again—a group you’re going to continue to stay in touch with FOR. EV. ER.
Effective Content Marketing Moves People
As you can see, effective content marketing delivers content at each stage of your client’s path. And not just any content—great content moves people from one stage to the next. Knowing and following this path helps you not only attract and convert but also retain your clients throughout your career.
The next part of the definition says, “a clearly-defined audience.” To us, this means effective content marketing is about people. It’s not about you.
Write with a Specific Person in Mind
You write with the hope that someone will read what you’ve written. And effective content marketing writes not for a general someone but for a specific someone. When you write with a specific person in mind, your tone, your words, your conversation is much more tailored and friendly.
You want your content to succeed? Then write it for a clearly-defined person. Write it for Jane Buyer who is 43, married, has 2 kids in high school, whose husband is moving for a new job, who doesn’t know the area very well, who needs guidance on good high schools and safe neighborhoods, who loves cooking in her kitchen, and who loves saving design ideas out of Country Living magazine. Imagine what your writing will be like when you write for her and not for for some figment of a client.
Create your content marketing for a clearly-defined audience. Create it for Jane Buyer.
It’s About Them, Not You
Remember, people want to know, “What’s in it for me?” If you make your content all about you, you never answer this question and you’ll never create the relationship that results in a lifelong client.
Focus on providing the most value you can. The rest will take care of itself.
The last part of the definition says, “and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” To us, this means successful content marketing creates profit . . . over time.
Content Marketing is an Investment in Your Business
Let’s get real. The whole reason you’re doing all of this is to fund your life and the lives of those you support. So you want to make sure the time and money you’re putting into your marketing creates a return.
The great news for you is that content marketing is highly effective and profitable. But it is a long play. It takes time to build up the momentum needed to see the results. And the length of a real estate sales cycle doesn’t make it any easier.
Content marketing is an investment in your business, in your future. I’ve written before about having an owner’s mindset. One of the main reasons why this is so important is that you can’t be afraid to take the long play with your business. Do the things that take time to pay off but that pay off big.
So there you have it—the 6 P’s of effective content marketing. Plan, Process, Purpose, Path, People, Profit. Missing any one of these 6 puts your content at a disadvantage. But when your content marketing follows these 6 P’s, it’ll be unstoppable.