Episode 55 of Landscape Digital Show reveals how to use content marketing to sell more business by making a difference for customers.

Content Marketing: Making a Difference that Sells

For over 15 years, Seth Godin has been blogging short nuggets of information, insights, and inspiration every day of the week. His track record speaks to the power of content marketing for attracting an audience of people that you can serve.

Seth Godin says that we lay clues with our content that sparks change, thereby giving people permission to take action and acquire the things we sell.

Those products and services we make matter a lot, but first, they have to be discovered by the breadcrumbs that lead to their discovery.

This includes the conversations people hear and the experiences that are shared that casts a shadow that starts days, months, and often years prior. We’re all casting a shadow of some kind with our content marketing, but is it helping you stand out in a sea of sameness?

Content marketing is not for everyone for two reasons:

#1. You have to believe content marketing works.
#2. You must have a plan for making it work for you.

Everybody sells something. The art of content marketing is putting some meaning behind that by showing your customers and potential customers and influencers what you stand for to cast the right shadow, one that engages people.

That meaningfulness is a combination of what your customers want and how you are aligned with helping them get more of it. This may be what you sell, but it’s also what they believe in, which may include environmental stewardship, community involvement, and educating our future leaders.

Telling that story is something that I’m very passionate about, and I hope you are too because it not only helps people discover how you can make a difference for them, it adds value to what you sell.

You only need a plan for making that happen. Here’s a simplified approach that will help you to find the gaps in your approach so that you can fix them.

#1. Content Audit

The first step is the content audit. This is a compilation of all of the content you have out there on the web, where it’s located, and it’s purpose. Focus on the content that is now the most highly visible and that you have control over, which for most people will be your social media accounts and website.

My suggestion is to cut and paste that content into a folder where it can be the controlling copy. My preference is Evernote. I’ll edit that to make it a better, date it, and then set triggers to remind me to do it again a couple times per year. Then it’s a simple matter to update every version of it that’s on the web.

This may start with your LinkedIn profile, let’s say, and then carry over to your website, YouTube channel, and so on.

#2. Content Topics

Next, is choosing the topics you wish to address with your content. This goes back to what you and your customers care about besides what you sell, which again may be the environment, community, etc.

#3. Editorial Calendar

Take these topics to your editorial calendar to guide your content creation. Keep this simple. Maybe you stick to just a few themes, rotating them every month or so. If you are a commercial landscape management company, these topics may be managing project costs, safety, communication, and planning. That’s one topic per quarter.

#4. Content Distribution Channels

Which channels do you plan to use to share that content? That is, where will it be published? This can be a combination of your website, a blog if you have one, email newsletter, YouTube channel, both personal and business accounts for LinkedIn and Facebook, Pinterest, and Houzz.

Your content distribution channels are where you can and should be encouraging engagement with your communities. This is what distinguishes social from traditional marketing that gives it greater and more sustained impact.

#5. Analytics

You have to monitor and measure your results and make adjustments to your trail of breadcrumbs that lead to the discovery of the products and services your business sells. In addition to Google Analytics, you may wish to consider a business intelligence service such as Cyfe.

There are a few other steps for taking your content marketing to the next level, such as creating a style guide, but implementing these five will put you on solid footing.

Seth Godin wrote his first blog post on January 2002. He just kept going, and now he has a body of work that not only casts a long shadow, many of us find it to be an indispensable source of inspiration.

We are all going to experience shifts in our businesses, but capturing that experience with content allows you and your customers to get the most from it.

If you are an introvert or your business culture is conservative you may not be comfortable with content marketing because creates vulnerability. Depending upon your approach, that may be exactly what attracts more customers to the great products your business makes.

Call to Action

The call to action for this episode is to take this simple, 5-step, content marketing approach to cast a shadow of content that communicates the great work you do, and thereby helps to sell the products and services you make.