Content marketing is not as easy as the pros make it sound. Oh wait, were you expecting a blog post that was going to give you the secret to making a seven-figure income from blogging and other content creation? Sorry, this isn’t that post; but it will inform you how to build a successful content marketing platform that will contribute handsomely to your income stream.
Start with experimentation
When I started an email newsletter (for customers of my ColorMetrix business) back in 2005, I had no idea that what I was doing had a name – content marketing. When that email newsletter grew into this blog (I know that sounds backwards in retrospect), I didn’t know what SEO was and that it would eventually help me build an audience both on this site and others. When I opened a Twitter account in 2008, I had no idea that it would help grow readership and eventually find me both customers and a business partner.
All those activities I listed in the previous paragraph I approached with curiosity and an open mind. I viewed it all as marketing research and development. I feel the same way today as I look at new social platforms such as Pinterest, Vine, Google+ and even Facebook, for which I’m still searching for the value. And then there is my new favorite tool for growing audience: webinars. I say new because it’s just in the last year that I’ve figured out how to use the tool effectively to grow my audience. I have, however, been using a webinar tool, Webex, since 2003 for sales demos and technical support purposes.
Find what works and refine it
The tools and technology you choose for your unique content marketing platform are important, but not nearly as important as the topics and styles you choose to tell you stories. A couple of years ago, Shelby and I started a series of blog posts on this site that we called “She Said, He Said.” Those blog posts quickly grew into a Twitter chat and then into live speaking engagements. Eventually that led to consulting clients and the formation of a new venture She / He Media. If the story ended there, it would be an example of a successful unique content marketing platform.
But that is not the end of the story. We decided to see if we could take our unique combined voice and use it to also grow the content marketing platform for ColorMetrix. Again, it took a bit of experimentation but eventually we found someone willing to let us speak at their conference in our back-and-forth style calling on our respective backgrounds in the print production world.
We turned that speaking experience into qualifications to lead webinars with partner companies that are now helping us greatly expand the audience that ColorMetrix reaches. Each time we perform a webinar, we are reaching hundreds of folks without ever getting on an airplane or spending money for a trade show booth.
Being unique is hard work
There is a reason I don’t write for this site as much as I used to. While this is part of the content marketing platform for the brand that is me, it’s not the most effective platform I have at my disposal. I’ve found that by partnering my content creation efforts with Shelby for both She / He Media and ColorMetrix we get a better return on investment than either of us was getting separately.
Finding that unique voice that is the two of us combined did not just happen. We’ve had to work at and refine the voice that comes out when we speak together. Sure we disagree – a lot – but that is part of the voice. I’m not going to say we plan our disagreements, because we don’t. What we do work on and plan is how to temper the disagreements so that the audience can take away more value.
The other tool we’ve added to the arsenal is webinars. By presenting to audiences numbering in the hundreds each month we are able to reach far more people for far fewer dollars than any other platform we have utilized to date. Here again, presenting via webinar is not the same as standing on the stage in front of a live audience. It takes hard work and preparation to make sure the message is properly conveyed.
The secret to build a unique content marketing platform
The secret is equal parts experimentation, refinement of what works and continued hard work. The hard work comes in the form of constantly hustling for audience, creating great content and improving upon that content to make it better and better each time you deliver it.