Start your content marketing with a power website and blog. To be ready for a high-growth trajectory you need to make some wise initial choices. You won’t be making such choices everyday – and once you do, you have to live with the decisions you take. So read the advice below carefully, do your own research to validate what’s written here, and then make up your mind once and for all.
When it comes to building websites and blogs nowadays, you don’t really need to do much manual work at all. Neither do you need pricey coders and designers. To get started with Content Branding & Design you have many ready-to-go and do-it-yourself building blocks and solutions out there, that make life for solopreneurs utterly easy. But unless you know the basics for making good choices of all these foundational elements, you may get trapped into buying solutions that won’t scale, or won’t flexibly adapt as technology and your market changes.
Why choose blogging as your content format and WordPress as your blogging platform?
If you’re like almost 85% of all content marketers, you too should look to start content marketing with blogging as your principle content creation platform. Further, if you’re like 74,652,825 sites out there, you too should look to blog using good ol’ WordPress! Let’s look at these two choices (and the “why’s” behind them) in a bit more detail …
Blogging as your content format of first choice. The reason most solopreneurs begin content marketing with blogging as the main platform, is because most of us believe we can write easily.
Many of us don’t feel as confident about podcasting, or creating videos, or artistically designing infographics. Blogging instils in us the disciplines of good, strong writing – and it’s the ideal place to start your content marketing, simply because writing is also the basis of every other kind of content as well.
Remember, to make a video or a podcast or an infographic, you still need to create a script or outline – and that’s writing too! So writing is basic building block of a lot of different types of content. If you start by blogging, you will learn how to create a lot of quantity and quality in your writing in a sustained fashion., You can later “repurpose” your blog content for creating other forms of content as well.
WordPress as your blogging platform of first choice. Regarding blogging platforms, you have two choices – to go onto a platform where a number of other sites are aggregated, or to go to a webhosting service and hire your own server space and self-host your site. Naturally, having a self-hosted site is eventually less of a hassle – your site won’t be at the whims and fancies of the platform owner if he changes the platform rules.
WordPress as a blogging platform also offers these two choices – you can be on WordPress.com (an aggregator platform, where anyone can start a new site), or you can install WordPress on your self-hosted site. I would strongly recommend that you should choose self-hosted WordPress.
The reason most solopreneurs begin blogging on WordPress, is because it’s a free-to-use content management system, unparalleled in its ease of use and flexibility. It can incorporate a host of website/blog features and functionalities (via add-on plugins, mostly free of cost). WordPress is actually powering 26.4% of the Web, and it’s on the rise. It is still by far the most used blogging platform, with 59.4% market share. Also, interestingly, on a daily basis there are over 500 sites being created on WordPress.
Your core starter content marketing system and its four main components
Your ideal starter system for content marketing should include these four components – your website, your blog, an email marketing system and social media.
The relationship between these four components, and how they need to be used in tandem, is explained below.
Your website and your blog. A business website and its accompanying blog need to be viewed as a “brochure-cum-magazine” combination.
The predominant difference between a brochure and a magazine is that a brochure never changes its content unless we go for fresh updates and reprints. A magazine is fresh from issue to issue.
While our website should generally include our predominantly static or slow-changing content (e.g. About Us Page, Our Products and Services Pages, Contact Page etc.), the blog has to be viewed more like a magazine full of category-segregated articles. New articles need to be regularly written and published on our chosen niche area.
The idea here is that readers would become easily bored and not be interested in frequent visits to our website if the business information does not change often (as it won’t).
On the other hand, the ever-fresh magazine style blog provides reason for people to return frequently to the website. Frequent returning readers ultimately can become trusting loyal customers.
It is a tested proposition in marketing that potential clients need several “touches” to evaluate a vendor before deciding on one. The blog thus acts as a beckoning mechanism creating ever-fresh reasons for potential clients to touch and evaluate us before deciding if our services or products are a right fit for them.
Another subtle difference also needs to be understood between a website and a blog. While the website should contain strictly information about your business, the blog has to contain articles on your niche topic.
The social media. Your social media channels could include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Pinterest and Instagram, for starters. There are many more you can add later. The social channels are to be viewed as traffic generators for the website and blog. When a blog post is written, you should simultaneously post short excepts of the post to the social media (called social updates) with hyperlinks leading back to the blog – so that the social traffic is led back to where you can present yourself as you want to.
In addition to thus promoting your own blog posts on the social media via “updates”, most content marketers also “curate updates” and post them on the social channels. With curated updates, the idea is to promote and share social updates which excerpt the blog posts of other good authors on your niche topic (other than yourself).
This makes you look good online as a “thought-leader” – one who brings to his target audiences a good collection of material to read on his niche, other than just his own work. Your social sharing of others’ good work thus puts your brand in good light. You get seen as a person who applauds good writing anywhere, and has the audience interest at heart, without just being self-preoccupied. People will see who you are, and via your profile links on the social channel, will make their way to your website/blog to check you out.
Email marketing. This is another inseparable part of blogging and content marketing. Why is it important to the whole scheme of things? Think what a waste of effort it would be if you posted on social media and brought lots of people to your blog and website, but had no way of then staying in touch with them to bring back, again and again, to your site? This is where email marketing becomes an invaluable add-on …
To be able to create a mailing list of people who have been visitors of your site, is the whole purpose behind the email marketing game. On the website, and working along with the blog, we need to include an “optin form” that asks people to supply their email addresses if they wish to get regular updates from your site and blog.
Most people won’t give you their email addresses unless they are truly, deeply and immediately interested in your services – but our objective is to somehow get the email addresses so we can write to them to encourage them to make more touches with our site.
So the ploy normally used to elicit email addresses from blog visitors is to offer a “lead magnet” … a free downloadable ebook or any other truly enticing downloadable that people would crave – and give us their email addresses to be able to receive the object.
The lead magnet has to be very carefully strategized because it is at the heart of all content marketing.
If we cannot convert visitors and traffic on our site to our mailing list – and if we cannot find this way to keep in touch with them, instead of hoping and praying they will drop by often – we would lay waste to all other expenses we make on content marketing and outreach.
Once people are on our mailing list, we have to keep an email campaign going (at an optimum frequency) so that they are reminded of us and our site, but don’t feel badgered to buy our services straightaway.
Putting the implementation plan together – your summary of basic activities
In summary, the cycle of content marketing, attracting traffic, and effecting conversions of traffic into subscribers, would therefore be something like this:
- You blog regularly – thinking of your blog as a special-interest magazine that publishes a high volume of quality articles on your area of expertise (your chosen niche). You, as a content marketer, see yourself less as a businessperson, and more as a “publisher” of great content that your readers will grow to like a lot.
- You post excerpts of your blog posts on social media with links back to your blog – and thus attract traffic (your targeted audiences) to your blog. You also publish curated posts excerpting other great articles in your niche by other authors – so that you come across as a value-scouting, high-minded authority in your niche.
- On your website you also have a “lead-magnet” (a great free ebook or a free email course) and an “optin form” to capture email addresses of visitors.
- You then regularly email your subscribers on your mailing list to keep touching – but not pushing – them to revisit your site often to read your latest blog posts and learn to trust you more and more. You gradually thus get them interested in doing business with you, by buying your products and services.
With WP Engine, Genesis Studiopress Themes and Mailchimp, everything falls into place at a snap!
Imagine what it would be like if you had to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to get started on your content marketing – building your site from scratch, creating the blog, and hooking on the emailing system! You’d have to run after a webhost with high speed and top-notch service and maintenance. You’d have to find a really powerful design theme for your site. You’d have get a designer to customize the look of your site. You’d have to run from pillar to post to get your WordPress site licked into shape, with all the needed plugins. To get your site ready to go, you’d have to stand by and monitor some five different vendors to get it all bolted together.
Instead of all this, there’s just one easy step you need to take after you’ve got your domain for your site. Just sign up to WP Engine hosting with Studiopress Themes … and you’ll be ready to run in no time at all, mistake-proof, at an affordable, price.
WP-Engine Hosting and Genesis’ Studiopress Themes come together as a “one-stop-Wordpress-website-cum-blog-cum-hosting-cum-design-solution” who own the world’s most awesomely high-performance hosting servers. They also are the creators of the renowned Studiopress Themes (site designs) based on their multi-device-responsive Genesis framework for WordPress.
What all this jargon means is you can have a WordPress-driven b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l looking and behaving website/blog built on a high-speed, robustly coded underbelly. You can therefore be up and running in no time at all. The customer-service and support is outstanding too!
In addition to the hosting and the theme, you’ll need to sign up for the free Mailchimp Autoresponder service that can handle your subscriber emailing list. That’s about what you’ll need to be ready to go. So don’t waste any more time wondering when’s a good date to start. It’s right now!
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Branding & Design”:
- Designing A Knockout Brand Identity For Your Solopreneur Business!
- Designing A Solopreneur Website To Look Like A Million Bucks!
- What’s In A Brand Name? For Your Solopreneur Business, It’s Everything!
- The Right Brand Strategy Can Help Your Content Marketing Nail It!
- 8 Huge Benefits Of Branding For Businesses Doing Content Marketing!
- Your Maverick Factor Must Underpin Your Solopreneur Brand Strategy!