Content marketing is a relatively inexpensive way to get the attention of qualified prospects in your niche who are looking for help. The strategy uses the creation and distribution of content to earn the attention of prospects. Once you have their attention, they get to know you better and take the next step toward working with you. LinkedIn is the perfect place to start your content marketing strategy because of the LinkedIn Publishing platform and LinkedIn Pulse, where people can find and consume your content.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about content marketing, read Content, Inc. by Joe Pulizzi, which is a great resource with a menagerie of business examples. You’ve likely been the target of content marketing from companies sending you eBooks, white papers, podcasts, and more. The goals of content marketing are to:
- Earn the attention of prospects
- Show them what you do and how you can help
- Position yourself as a subject matter expert
- Stay on top of mind
- Start a conversation
- Drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile or website
The strategy can be effective with general or “canned content,” but is most effective when the content created is specialized and unique. You may be using a form of content marketing today if you’re sending out market commentaries, videos, or other third party produced content to stay top of mind. However, there has been a backlash against generic content in recent years, as we all tire of the noise.
Have you received an obviously mass-produced health or lifestyle article from your real estate agent or dentist? That type of content is annoying, because if you wanted to learn about the “Top Ten Vacation Spots in Europe,” you would Google it yourself. Effective content marketing uses custom, original content that provides unique value specifically to your target demographic.
Ten Retirement Planning Mistakes
How to Maximize Your General Electric Benefits Package
Three Reasons to Use a Financial Advisor
Why I Became a Wealth Advisor Serving Single Women
Ten Keys to Investing
What Should You Do After Last Week’s Stock Market Decline?
People in your network don’t want to be bombarded with generic content, but they are interested in reading your expert opinion on a topic that affects them. High-quality custom content addresses this need.
Answer Your Prospects Most Pressing Questions
Content marketing, in general, is aimed at helping people find you when they need you most. One direct way to do this is to answer the questions they are likely to type into Google or LinkedIn Pulse. Oftentimes, I work with advisors to create posts that are the only answer available on the Internet for a common question their clients and prospects ask.
For example, my Dad works with researchers and scientists at UC San Diego, where employees have both a 457 and a 403(b) plan to choose from. He is commonly asked what the difference is, so we created a blog post titled “What is the Difference Between the UC San Diego 457 and 403(b) Plans?” and another on “Making the Most of Your UC San Diego Employee Benefits.” Posts like these are likely to be shared among groups of employees and between your clients and their coworkers, fostering referrals.
Another advisor I work with serves widowed and divorced spouses, so we created a series of posts on “The First Financial Steps to Take When Widowed,” and “Five Financial Mistakes Widows Should Avoid.” Posts like these are effective in helping prospects who were referred to your website or LinkedIn profile get comfortable with your experience and expertise before they decide to pick up the phone and make an appointment.
Three Ways To Share Content On LinkedIn
You may not be aware of the three main ways to share information on Linkedin:
- As a status update, which appears in the newsfeed of your connections
- As a publication, which notifies all of your connections that you’ve published a post and permanently resides on your profile
- Sharing your publications or updates within your LinkedIn groups
Because there are benefits to each avenue of sharing content, I recommend all three. Each time you create a post, you’ll want to publish as a publication, share that publication within all of your groups, and share the publication as an update.Since you’ve taken the time to create the content and get it approved by compliance, you should also publish to your website as a blog post, then send an email to your contacts directing them to the blog post. Then, you can share the blog post on LinkedIn to drive traffic back to your website. It’s all about cross-pollination of your website and social profiles.
If you want to really maximize exposure for each piece of content you create, you can also build automated email workflows so that when a new contact signs up for your newsletter, they’ll get an automatic campaign of emails showcasing the best content you’ve created. Once you’ve been blogging regularly for a year or more, you will likely have enough content to publish a book! This can be a great marketing move to gain speaking engagements and position yourself as an expert.