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9 Creative Ways You Can Profit From Content Marketing

This is an installment in the Content Marketing 101 series.

Maybe you think “content marketing” means having a blog that makes money. Or that it’s about producing content for sites like ezinearticles and Squidoo. Or having an email autoresponder.

Content marketing is bigger than that.

The whole idea behind content marketing is that you can use your creativity and know-how to make something cool, then take that cool thing and use it to market a product. It’s often associated with Seth Godin’s notion of permission marketing, but content marketing can be a part of any promotion or selling you might do.

To jog your creativity, I’ve come up with 49 content marketing tactics you can start using right away. Some of these are ideas about making any form of content more interesting, some are attention-getting strategies, some will be useful for lead generation, some for prospect conversion.

1. “Content” isn’t just about being online. I had a conversation with Bill Glazer recently (he’s Dan Kennedy’s business partner), and he believes passionately that every business needs to send apaper newsletter to existing customers, to build loyalty and better repeat business.

I don’t know about “every,” but I think he’s on to something for many businesses. Incidentally, businesses usually find that customer newsletters work better when they don’t get too fancy in their format or printing. Four-color printing on glossy paper looks like an ad. A simple photocopy on plain paper looks like valuable inside information.

2. You’d be surprised at some of the well-known internet marketing gurus who are experimenting with direct mail, especially as pay-per-click gets more and more expensive. The same techniques that make your online content marketing work will do beautifully offline.

3. Write a special report or white paper that addresses a thorny problem in an interesting way.

4. Create a free course delivered by email autoresponder. I’ve used this quite a bit in my own business and for clients, and it’s a great way to build trust and rapport. (In fact, here’s a free e-course on how to do it.)

5. Write an educational series of blog posts designed to attract traffic for a competitive keyword phrase. (Like this one on the fundamentals of copywriting, for example.)

6. Offer a free teleclass to build interest in your business. You can do all the talking yourself, or work with a partner in an interview format. Remember to record the class—the recording will also be valuable content that you can use in future marketing.

7. Offer a paid teleclass that takes your content further and provides additional value. Again, the call can be recorded and sold as a product for as long as the content remains relevant.

8. Build a membership web site that is a profitable business in and of itself.

9. Put together one or more Squidoo lenses to attract and focus Google traffic.

10. Create a wiki on a free site like WetPaint to allow your audience to collaborate and contribute to your vision.

11. Build a Facebook page (separate from your personal profile) that gives you another platform for interaction with your customers.

12. Compile your best 100 blog posts into a physical book. It worked for Godin, and it can work for you.

13. When you contribute to an online forum in your topic, remember that your answers are content. Make sure this content reflects well on you.

14. Take your most popular blog post, add some really good images and translate it into PowerPoint, then record it with Camtasia for a YouTube video.

15. Use WordPress to efficiently create mini niche sites. Since you’re a student of quality content, your sites will tower above the usual fare. Use these niche sites to sell products from affiliate marketplaces like Commission Junction.

(Commission Junction offers “real world” products as well as digital ones. So if you want to sell coffee, movie posters or collectible figurines on your niche site, you can.)

16. Most of us know that Twitter is an exceptional tool for building relationships with prospects and customers. To use Twitter most effectively, make your tweets entertaining, funny, and/or personal. The right balance on Twitter is generally 95% relationship-building, 5% selling.

17. Use any content vehicle to talk about how you’ve overcome a difficult problem related to your topic. Don’t try to be an infallible guru. Instead, be a smart, real person who has solved problems that your readers will find relevant.

18. Write a yellow pages ad that looks like a blog post. Make it interesting, informative, funny, and compelling.

For bonus points, in addition to the usual contact information, provide information in your yellow pages ad about how to sign up for your email autoresponder or get your free white paper.

19. Take your 10-15 best podcasts, get them transcribed and edited, and sell them as an ebook.

20. Bring 5 or 6 of the strongest people in your topic together and create a virtual conference, with each presenter giving an audio or video workshop. This is a relatively simple way to create a very marketable product. Again, the recordings can be sold as long as the content remains relevant.

21. Hold a Tweetathon for your favorite charity. Consider creating a piece of valuable content (a special report, etc.) as a reward for donations over some specified amount.

22. Create a treasure hunt with some blogging friends. Each person hides a clue somewhere in the content on their blog, and readers are invited to find all the clues and put them together for a prize. (The prize, of course, is another piece of valuable content.)

23. Your comments on other people’s blogs are content. Treat them that way. Be original, relevant and interesting.

24. Use your own content to sing the praises of others in your topic. Partnerships, both formal and informal, can exponentially multiply your success in the content world.

 

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