How to Use Content Marketing to Boost Your Business 77

How to Use Content Marketing to Boost Your Business 6 Marketing Influencers You Must Follow

This is a guest post by Dina Indelicato, a blogger enthusiast and freelance writer.

Marketing is expensive. There’s just no way around that.

Most companies spend something like five to ten percent of their budget on marketing. With it going towards the low end if they just want to maintain their position. While they want to be closer to the high end if they want to grow.

Now, if you’re a small business that’s a lot of money. What’s more, it often isn’t spent that effectively. Things like traditional marketing are becoming less and less effective. That’s because readers and viewers online are becoming ever more skeptical of what companies have to say through such traditional channels.

One area that’s still effective, however, is content marketing. That’s because most people aren’t yet aware that it’s marketing at all. And that means it can often fly in under people’s radars, build up your brand and market your product.

Of course, for that to be effective you do need to know how to use it correctly. So how do you do that?

Content marketing is a long-term strategy.

The first thing you need to understand is that content marketing isn’t something you start and where you then expect immediate results. That’s not how it works. If you try to treat it in that way, you’ll find that the whole concept doesn’t work for you at all.

You see, content marketing isn’t about marketing your products. When you do that, you’re just engaging in traditional marketing with more text. Which isn’t all that effective as people don’t have the interest or the time to read long texts about how much better your product is than everybody else’s.  

Instead, it’s about building up your brand by associating it with high-quality information. Creating the idea in your reader’s mind that you’re a trustworthy source of information and ideas. This then, in turn, makes them trust your brand and by extension your products more.

Yes, that is a long process. If you decide to jump ahead in the game, however, by for example pushing your products too hard, then you’re going to short circuit the entire process. Your readers will immediately know your content marketing for what it is – an attempt to sneak in under their radar and sell them to them. As you can probably guess, that will immediately get their backs back up.

So does that mean you can’t mention your products?

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Yes of course you can. If you can never mention your products then that’s obviously counter-productive. Instead, what I’m saying is that they shouldn’t be the main focus of your article. For example, you might mention them as a solution to a problem, but avoid mentioning them as the only solution.

By downplaying your product in this way and offering them information first, counterintuitively you’ll actually raise the chance that your readers will decide they can trust you about your product.

Even better, if the information is really good then you might activate the norm of reciprocity. This is where when people give you something for free and with no strings attached, you often feel morally obliged to do something back for them. What better thing can you do on a website than buy their product?

It’s a fine line, but you’ll learn to walk it over time. Just make sure that you stay on the right side of it. As ultimately that will be far more effective over the long run.

Content marketing is made up of two words.

The truth is they’re equally important. If you’re great at creating content but you don’t put in the work to market it, you’ll find that nobody ends up reading what you’ve got to say.

If, on the other hand, you’re great at marketing but your content leaves a lot to be desired, then people might click through and read what you’ve got to say. But they won’t stick around to actually spread the word about what you’re doing or buy your product.

In both cases, your strategy won’t work.

Now, obviously if you’re good at both – as in you can market well and you can write great content, then that’s fantastic. If, however, you’re like the rest of us mortals and you’re better at the one than the other, don’t be afraid to get somebody else involved for the bit you’re worse at.

A great marketer, for example, will know how to market your content not just to different groups but also in different languages by using the good translation service. Thus getting your brand in front of people who otherwise might never have heard of it.

Sure, this will cost you money. But then, marketing always does and content marketing is no different in that way. Besides, your time is also expensive. So if you find that somebody else can do what you’re doing better and for less money, then you need to take that option.

After all, you have to spend money to make money.

Content marketing and SEO

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There is one aspect of content marketing that’s often not mentioned in guides like this. That’s how useful it is to position yourself well for Search Engine Optimization. This is down to the fact that content marketing is constantly creating a stream of articles about areas that are very close to what you’re trying to draw people to your website for.

Google cares a great deal about active websites that are offering relevant and up to date content, so that matters.

For that reason, make sure that you do the right keyword research for your articles. Make sure they’re correctly positioned for your customers as well as your readers.

Do note, not every article needs to be laden with keywords related to what you’re trying to do. High-quality content is just as important. It’s the kind of stuff that gets shared. Because that is important to your ranking in search engines, you don’t want to neglect it.  

Last words

Content marketing is an incredibly effective way to build up brand awareness and to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. For that reason, make sure you actually spend some time on it.

My advice? Use it as part of a two-pronged strategy where you use it together with more traditional marketing strategies to get your brand and your content out there in front of the people who will buy what you’ve got to sell.

The great thing about doing this is that you’re creating something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. With the marketing helping spread your content, and your content in turn helping create positive brand awareness.

In this way, you’ll create a lasting impression that will take your company further and help your brand grow.

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One Guy’s Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute 7

One Guy's Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute

This is an interview-style post with Mahesh Kumar.

Hey Mahesh. What do you do?

I’m the Spokesperson of the Transcription Certification Institute, an Ellensburg-WA based educational institution that provides an in-depth online transcription training and certification course.

The online course, which is created by industry leaders, enables transcriptionists to gain a well-rounded understanding of the field and become a professional transcriptionist for better job prospects and higher wages.

How did you start your career?

I’ve started my career as a home-based transcriptionist and have experience of 8+ years in transcription industry. I’m currently on a mission to help work from home moms and make them aware of one of the straightforward and lucrative way of earning money from home, i.e., transcription.

I love writing and so I regularly share my words through my blog. At present, I am working as the spokesperson of Transcription Certification Institute.

What inspired your journey?

I was not cut out for regular jobs because of health and family issues. But, I wanted to earn decent money.

Most work from jobs required me to be online during fixed hours. That did not work for me.

A friend referred me to a copywriter who needed transcription services in an extended time frame. This was my first assignment and exposure to the industry. I had issues with grammar and lots of difficulty in understanding accents. My transcriptionist friend gave me the very first lesson in punctuation. It was a great lesson.

That was the aha moment!

I wanted to share it online with all other new transcriptionists. My expertise in transcription was still limited but my interaction with other transcriptionists. And other work from home professionals found that there was no organized information in this industry.

That’s when with the help of the team we created an ebook as would serve as a handbook to transcriptionists. It was called Everything You Need To Know About Work From Home: General Transcription Business Opportunities.’ It’s available on our website for free.

What is the transcription business about?

It’s a dream that allows parents, caregivers and those with disabilities to stay at home and earn.

We call ourselves Team TCI. None of us has complete skills but together we have made a dream into a business that is sustainable, profitable and manages to help others earn more.

We like to think of ourselves as not just one single successful business owner but a team of accomplished transcriptionists and hedonists who have come together to share their expertise on a platform that is globally accessible to all.

Our objective is to make you a better transcriber so that you can earn more at the same time. 

Through our internship program, we ensure that new wannabe transcribers get a foothold in the industry. Our job board aims to bring transcribers and employers together on one platform to make hiring and finding jobs easier.

We are 9+ years old but the journey has only just begun.

What were your biggest challenges when setting up the institute?

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Together, we had 2,459 dollars to spare!  This was just enough to put up a website and host it for a year.

We had no budget, no marketing plan and no strategy.

More than money we invested our skills, time and above all intent. When we launched, making money was not the objective. The objective was to share information, educate and in the process recover the costs.

We were totally bootstrapped. In fact, we all transcribed extra hours to generate money.

Each year we invested the money earned in the course, it’s upgrade, website upgrade and more. All exams are manually graded and that is expensive.

What do you offer on the website and who can benefit from it?

We offer a course in general transcription.

Our course is for anyone who wants to work from the comfort of their home, enjoy flexible timings and the ability to choose workload. The course is very popular with parents of young children who want to be around when they grow up, ex-serviceman with disabilities, single moms and others who want to work from home.

Some would say that there is nothing to be learned in general transcription but that would not be true. I did start out without training and if it not had been for the help I received my career would not have been successful.

In fact, as the popularity of transcription as a career option grows getting a foothold in the industry is becoming tough. That is why we came up with an internship program that gives hand on experience to new transcriptionists and exposure to the industry.

The job board benefits them by bringing employers and transcriptionists on the same platform.

What’s one thing you do to unwind?

We were introduced to meditation a few years back and to unwind we like to meditate.

What’s your favorite book?

It keeps on changing but time and again for inspiration, I find myself reaching out to The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Never stop dreaming! Give context to your dreams!

Check out the story of how one guy went from a work at home transcriptionist to setting up a transcription institute and help others start working from home.