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10 Epic Forms Of Content Marketing

“What are the best forms of Content Marketing?” is a question I get asked almost as much as, “What is Content Marketing?“.

A Content Marketing strategy is like a character in a novel (bear with me). The best books are the ones that have truly compelling characters. The kind of characters with depth, who seem to breathe life into the pages, come alive in your mind, and really stick with you.

The trick to writing such characters is ensuring they are thoroughly well-rounded and completely three-dimensional. They need to have many facets, many different elements to their personality, thoughts, words and actions, all working in harmony to form a cohesive whole that’s impossible to ignore.

A character who is impossible to ignore makes a book impossible to put down.

That’s the kind of effect you want your content marketing to elicit in your ideal client: your business needs to become unputdownable…

How To Make Your Business Irresistible…

Regular blogging or social media posts are a great start to this, but they are only two facets of content marketing, two characteristics if you will. To flesh out your strategy and ensure it’s as strong as possible, you need to avoid the faux pas of thinking they are enough.

Blogging is a phenomenally powerful marketing tool, but it’s only as successful as the number of people who read your blog.

Social media can ensure you drive traffic to your blog posts and boost the level of engagement with your content, but not everyone has time to trawl through Twitter or get lost in the Bermuda Triangle that is a Facebook feed. And not everyone has the time or inclination to read a 2,000-word blog post, no matter how informative, useful, entertaining, or amusing it may be.

Video and audio both provide easy solutions to this problem, giving people a user-friendly means of absorbing content with minimal effort. Videos are fun to watch and astonishingly powerful forms of content, while audio is versatile enough that your readers can listen to your content anytime, anywhere, and with any device capable of playing it.

If all your content is on your blog, you’re missing out on a whole circus of tricks that would help you reach more people, and gain a much higher ROI on your content marketing efforts.

But a lot of entrepreneurs are very uncertain when it comes to content marketing. Exactly what forms of content are best? How they should be used? And how many different forms do you need to include in your strategy to create that coveted unputdownable status?

To answer these questions I’ve put together a brand new Content Marketing Masterclass covering the top ten forms of content. From blogging and vlogging to the best types of social media posts to use, and how to use webinars, courses, and even books, this class will help you create a phenomenally powerful strategy that will catapult your business to success.

Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing and are unsure where to host your blog, or you’ve already nailed a solid blog plan and are looking to really up your game, you’ll find everything you need in this masterclass….

Content marketing has loads of fantastic business benefits. The one type of content marketing most people are familiar with is blogging. Beyond that people seem to get a bit stuck. They’re not sure exactly what is and isn’t content marketing, or how to expand past their blog to create a really strong content marketing strategy. Having that in place is essential to marketing your business and attracting new clients, so today I’m going to run through the top 10 forms of content marketing that will do wonders for your business…

Forms Of Content Marketing #1: Blogging

If you have a website, you almost certainly already have a blog (even if you’re not using it). Most websites come with them built-in. If you don’t have a website, it’s extremely easy to set one up. You can do it completely free on a site like WordPress and other sites that allow you to host your own blog on their domain. You can also set one up very cheaply by buying your own domain name and using something like WordPress, Wix or any other website-building software or portal.

While some social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram limit the number of characters per post, other platforms will happily let you host blog posts on your social media site.

LinkedIn is a great example of this. They have a really user-friendly portal for uploading blog posts and promoting them on your profile.

Facebook is another one that you can very easily use to publish longer written posts. While it doesn’t exactly host it, as you would expect a blog to be hosted, with separate posts you can click through to, there are ways of ensuring they end up as articles, accessible when you click on a particular link on your profile.

Other sites, like Goodreads have dedicated blogs available to members.

If you are planning to use blogging as a form of content marketing, I really recommend you do it primarily through a website.

 

I talk a lot about blogging in my other posts, so I’m not going to dwell too much on the ins and outs of exactly what you should do in order to blog for content marketing. Instead I’m going to refer you to The Golden Trident, which covers exactly what you need to do to maximise your blogging efforts. You should also check out the Halloween Special I did on Secrets of Blogging That Are Actually Witchcraft.

A Note On Where You’re Sending Your Traffic…

If you have an existing website, start blogging right now. It will do wonders for your website in terms of SEO and visibility, and enable you to start drawing people in and promoting your products and services through your content.

The whole point of content marketing is getting people where you need them to be. The reason it’s so useful to host your blog on your website is because most of the time, when you have a website, getting people on your site is the key to selling your stuff.

If you don’t sell your stuff through a website, then it can work quite well using a social media platform to blog.

That being said, in today’s world of online marketing if you are running a business and seriously trying to market a product or service, having a website really is a no-brainer.

There are loads of different ways you can use content marketing to help you promote and grow your business, but they all have to lead somewhere.

Whatever form of content you use it has to send people to something, or it’s not serving its true purpose.

If you have a bricks and mortar business you can do this through social media alone, without the use of a website. I’m not sure I’d necessarily recommend it, but it’s certainly possible.

There are businesses that don’t bother with a website at all, they just have very active social media accounts. Generally speaking though, it is a very good idea to have a website.

Forms Of Content Marketing #2: Vlogging

Blogging is the type of content marketing pretty much everybody’s heard of. If you’re not doing it already, you’re likely aware you should be doing it (and you really should). But there are several other kinds of content marketing you should be taking advantage of, that you may have heard about didn’t realise they counted as content marketing. If you did, you may have discounted them as being ‘not for you’.

This will be for one of two reasons:

You’re unaware of the potential they have, and how powerful they can be in marketing your business.

You have a personal issue with doing them.

Vlogging is one that most people avoid due to a personal issue. If that isn’t the case, and you’re still not vlogging, it’s because you’re not fully aware of the super awesome power of video marketing.

What Is Vlogging?

A vlog is literally a video blog; basically a video version of a blog post.

A blog post is a written post you have on your website (or a social media platform) that hosts written content and can take many different forms. A vlog can also take different forms, but the most common in business marketing and content marketing especially is the ‘Talking Head’ format used in the video above. A static video of a person speaking directly into the camera, often with only their head and shoulders visible. The words are the same as if you were writing a blog post.

Some people write their blog post, stick it on an auto-cue and read it into a camera.

Other people do what I’m (currently) doing and speak off the cuff, without a script. This is either because they don’t have an auto-cue (at the time of writing this I don’t, which is the only reason I don’t use one), or because they prefer that natural flow that comes with an off-the-cuff style.

It doesn’t matter how you record your videos. It doesn’t even matter if your videos take a different form. If you put content in a video format and use it as you would a blog post, it’s a vlog.

Some people also like to record themselves as they’re going about their daily tasks. To give people a behind the scenes look at their life and their business. They take the camera around with them everywhere and show themselves getting in the car, going to the shops, going to meetings, doing work, doing yoga, doing whatever else it is that they do in the day.

A lot of people when they hear the word ‘vlog’ think of this kind of fly-on-the-wall video. It’s almost like a diary, a journal entry of personal stuff you’ve been doing and behind the scenes business stuff. This perception leads to some confusion over what a vlog is, as people discount the possibility of it simply being a video version of your blog. This is why a lot of people who have weekly Talking Head videos they release every week. without fail, have separate videos they label as ‘vlogs’, which take a totally different format.

This is a candid camera format that is essentially them titting about with a camera recording random shots which they cut together and call a vlog.

Marie Forleo is a great example of this. Marie TV is a weekly, Talking Head vlog she releases, but she’s recently a behind the scenes video entitled ‘The Dangers Of Vlogging’, in which she discusses recording the fly-on-the-wall stuff as being totally separate to her usual weekly video. The weekly video is Marie TV, candid camera is ‘vlogging’.

It’s not wrong to call candid camera videos a vlog! But it’s important to understand they are not the only format a vlog can take.

Anything that you want to record as a video is essentially a vlog. You can write a blog post about anything, format it however you like, and it’s still a blog post. Vlogs are no different.

How To Vlog For Business

When it comes to vlogging there are a few things that you will definitely need, and other things you may want. You will need some form of camera to record your videos. You will need a way of uploading those onto a computer, and editing them (at least a little bit). And you will need somewhere to host them.

The easiest place to do that is on YouTube, where you can upload your videos and embed them anywhere else that you need to put them.

You can add them to your website, share links to them on your social media, and basically get them anywhere they need to be once they’re on YouTube. In addition, it’s definitely worth uploading your videos to certain platforms separately.

If you want to share your vlogs on Facebook, you should upload your videos directly to Facebook. Host them on Facebook, rather than sharing links from YouTube on your Facebook page. This will ensure you maximise the positive effect they have on your Facebook page in terms of building reach, likes, engagement and loads of other great benefits. It will also increase your searchability.

The main reason for this is simple: Facebook is incredibly biased.

If you have a video hosted on Facebook and you share it, Facebook will show it to more people than they would do if you shared a link to exactly the same video, hosted on YouTube.

It’s that simple.

To get the most out of your videos on Facebook you need to upload them to Facebook.

The other great benefit of doing that is that there is a video tab on your Facebook page which is very easily found. If your followers want to watch your videos, they know exactly where they are. our vlogs are easily found. If you share a link to a YouTube video, unless it happens to be your pineed post (and remember you can only pin one post at a time), your audience will have to scroll through your whole newsfeed to find your videos. To do that, they need to already know you posted them and actively look for them again.

It’s not likely they will remembered a video, then taken the time and effort to scroll all the way back through your Facebook page to find it. If you want to get the maximum engagement possible you want to upload it onto Facebook so it appears in your video tab and you really make the most of it.

As with blogging, I’ve done loads of other posts on vlogging so do make sure you check those out for more details…

Why Vlogging Is The Smart Choice For Those Who Hate Blogging

How To Start A Powerful Vlog For Your Business

Masterclass: How To Start A Vlog – All Of The Technical Needs

Forms Of Content Marketing #3: Podcasts

The next type of content marketing that is really, really popular and can do absolute wonders for your business is podcasting. Now this is not one that I have any personal experience with. I am not a huge fan of podcasts. I don’t listen to them myself and I don’t have one. I may start one at some point, but at this point I’m just not focused on that and that is purely down to personal preference on my part. Like I said before, when there is a type of content that you’re not using it’s usually for one of two reasons. Either you don’t understand how effective it can be or you have a personal hangup with it that just makes you not want to do it. For me, that is podcasting.

It’s important for you to find the type of content that works best for you. Just because there are lots of different kinds of content marketing that you can use, it doesn’t mean that you should or have to use all of them. If you love blogging, and you are really just interested in doing anything else, then stick to your blog. You can absolutely make a content marketing strategy work brilliantly with just one kind of content. It just happens to be that it usually works a lot better if you add in some extras. Promoting your blog post is an awful lot easier if you also have social media posts that you sue to promote your blog content, which is two separate kinds of content marketing working together to create an overall strategy that’s a lot stronger.

If you then add extra kinds of content in like videos or a podcast you can make that stronger still, but content really only works as well as it should do when you’re thoroughly invested in it and when you’re confident in it and when you’re comfortable with it, so if you really, really hate the notion of sitting down in front of a video camera and recording videos like I’m doing now, if you just can’t stand the thought of it there is absolutely no point in making yourself do it because there are other ways to use content marketing to promote your business that don’t give you that awful ick that make you feel bad.

Is there any kinds of content on this list that you get that icky “Ugh, I really don’t want to do that” feeling? Don’t worry about it at all, you can just skip those. Don’t force yourself to do something that you’re not comfortable doing. Your audience can tell. They know when you’re not really happy with something. They know when you’re not really into doing something and when you’re not really invested in it. The other option is obviously to outsource it and to get somebody else to do it for you. The problem with both videos and podcasts is that even if you get somebody to write them for you, which you can absolutely do, it’s a service that I provide for my clients is to write the scripts for them and they record them, but that’s the issue. They still have to actually record.

The big benefit of podcasting and using other audio content is that you can get the multimedia benefit that comes with video without people actually having to see you. I know a lot of people, the reason they don’t like the idea of recording videos of themselves is because they’re self-conscious about the way they look. To be perfectly honest, I put off starting a vlog for a very long time for that exact reason. I was very self-conscious about the fact that people would be able to see me all the time. Recording audio content is a brilliant way of getting around that. If you’re camera-shy but you don’t mind people hearing your voice, it’s the perfect medium to use.

It also depends on your ideal client and your audience and how they’re going to be absorbing your content. If your ideal client is really busy and constantly rushed off their feet, maybe they’re parents, maybe they’re already working another job and they’re trying to start a business on the side or maybe they just have an awful lot of commitments and they enjoy absorbing their content while they’re in the car or while they’re out on their morning job or while they’re doing the dishes, cleaning the house, whatever. If they just like being able to listen without having to read anything, without having to watch anything, then the audio version is the perfect medium for them because it makes it really, really easy for them to access your content and they can listen to it as much as they like when they’re driving the kids to school or doing whatever household chores they have to do, when they’re walking the dog. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they’re doing, they can always listen.

When you’re considering what kind of content to use, that is one really, really important thing to bear in mind. Not just what you are most comfortable with creating but also what your ideal client will be most comfortable absorbing and the manner in which they will find it easiest to absorb your content because the easier you make it for them, the more effective it will be.

Forms Of Content Marketing #4: Webinars

Now another kind of video marketing that you can use that’s really, really beneficial for your business are webinars. These are fantastic list-builders. They are one of the best lead magnets you can use, are running free webinars online. You can also record them when you do them live and then have them available later as recorded content that you can either give away for free as part of an opt-in, as part of a auto-responder sequence, or you can actually charge for them. Package them up in a course and make some passive income from them. Webinars are possibly one of the most multi-functional types of content that you can create.

Video in general is really, really versatile. You create a blog post, all you have is a written blog. If you create a video, whether it’s a vlog or a webinar, you can have that transcribed. You’ll end up with both the video content and the written content. You can convert it into an audio format, so you can use it as a podcast. You can use it as an audio file or an MP3 download. You can take the written version, chop it up into little bits and use it as social media posts or various other pieces of content, but webinars go one step beyond that and say you’re not just going to have the benefit of having it in video content that you can convert into every other type of content, you’re going to record it in the first instance live rather than pre-recording it, which gives you a lot more options in terms of growing your list, attracting interest. People can ask you questions on a live webinar, they can talk to you, they can interact with you, they can really get to know you, interest you a lot more when you’re live.

In addition to that you still get all the great benefits of having video content. One thing I will say if you are going to create webinars, make the most of them. Make sure you advertise them as much as you can beforehand whether that’s paid advertising or just networking and spreading out the word as much as you can on your own. Get as many people pre-registered for it as you can before you go live. When you do go live, make sure you have additional content that you can give people on the webinar. Free downloads that you give at various points throughout the webinar are really useful and just extra bonuses for people that will keep them watching to the end.

At the beginning of the webinar you can say, “Stick around because I have this great offer” or “I have a great discount” or “I have this wonderful free course” or whatever your offer is. Make sure you mention it at the start but don’t give it to them until the end so they actually have to stick around and watch for the whole thing. That’s really, really important and of course at the end of your webinar, take the opportunity to pitch something. A paid product or a paid service or something that’s actually going to earn you some money because people expect that of webinars. They’re quite hip to this format now. They understand that they get an hour of your time for free if you teach them something on a webinar, that that can expect at the end of that that you will pitch them something. You will say to them, “I hope you enjoyed what I’ve taught you today. If you’d like more of that then you can get it this way.”

Most people, they don’t mind that and if they do mind that, they’ll tune out before you get to that point, so you’ll never have people sitting there listening to you pitch something to them who are getting annoyed with you for pitching it because if they don’t want to listen to it they will literally just stop listening, but a lot of people will be interested and they will want more and the fact that they’ve already had an amazing webinar with you and they’ve had the opportunity to understand how good the content you have to offer is. By the time they get to the end of the webinar, they’ll be sat there thinking, “Wow. If this is your free stuff then I want more and also, how much better must your pay stuff be if this is how good the stuff you’re giving away for free is?” Don’t be afraid to stick that pitch at the end. A lot of people get gun-shy when it gets to that point and they feel like they shouldn’t so they don’t and it’s just a huge opportunity that you’ve missed.

Other opportunities that you will very likely miss with webinars either because you don’t think about it or because you feel a bit icky about doing it, have an auto-responder sequence set up long before you actually do the webinar to make sure that everybody that pre-registers for the webinar is reminded about it so they get as much opportunity as possible to actually jump on the webinar live. Then make sure that they have reminders sent out to them with a replay so that the ones that couldn’t make it to the live event, because we’re all very busy people, so some people won’t be able to make it to the live event can still watch it. Then after that don’t be afraid of having a nice strong sequence in place that will promote the pitch that you have at the end of the webinar.

Whatever it is you’re promoting, whether it’s a service or a programme that you’re selling or a particular product, whatever it is, your auto-responder sequence should include several sales emails that build up to offer them this product or service and really, really sell it to them. Make sure you don’t skip any of those steps. When you’re done with all of that, you can take the recorded version of your webinar and you can do one of two things with it. You can keep it as free content that you offer that’s freely available that you then set up basically an automated version of everything that you did live. Rather than it being a live webinar that you do again and again, you have the pre-recorded version of it that people sign up for and then they can watch it pretty much as soon as they sign up for it, and they still get the auto-responder sequence, they still get all the great content. The only difference is it’s not live so they can’t actually ask you questions while you’re on it.

The other option is to use it as part of a paid product or service that you then later give away fro free. You do it once as a free webinar, as free content and when you’re advertising it, you’ll say, “This is all my best stuff on this. This is a one time only thing. It’s the only time I’m going to do it for free. After this, this is going to be a paid product that you’re going to have £15 to watch or £50 to watch” or £100 or £500 or however much it is. You can package it up as a single low-cost thing that you can use as part of your sales flow, or you can put it in a larger course and use it as one video in a series that you put together and sell as a larger course. It doesn’t matter. There’s so many things that you can do.

Don’t forget that you can get it transcribed and you can use that written content everywhere else as well.

Forms Of Content Marketing #5: Live Social Media

While we’re on the subject of video, social media posts and there are lots and lots of different forms of social media posts. Written ones in the forms of tweets and status updates and then you have photographs and you have videos and you have loads and loads of different things. Basically any kind of content that you can think of, you can put on social media in one form or another. I’m not going to go into the minutiae of all the types of social media posts that you can use in this.

There are a couple that I want to highlight as being particularly powerful when it comes to content marketing and the first one is live posts. We’ve just talked about how powerful live webinars can be. Live Facebook posts can be just as effective. You can even do webinars live on some of your social media platforms. Facebook Live is particularly good for longer ones like that. You can do a Facebook Live for … You could do a full hour webinar on Facebook Live if you wanted to. You can also record live stories on Snapchat and on Instagram. Exactly which social media platform that you use for your live-streaming is entirely up to you. It’s again, a matter of your personal preference, so which one you’re comfortable with but possibly more important than that is which platform your ideal client are on.

It’s no good doing Facebook Lives if all your ideal clients are on Instagram. It’s no good doing Instagram stories if all your ideal clients are on Twitter. You need to make sure you’re putting your content out on the platform that your ideal client is most likely to see it on and in the format that they are most likely to absorb it in.

Forms Of Content Marketing #6: Memes

While we’re on the subject of social media, memes are another absolutely brilliant form of content marketing. Some of the really popular social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are all about images. You actually can’t post anything on them without including an image on it.

A meme isn’t just an image. A meme is an image plus, shall we say. It’s an image with text on it basically, so images alone can be really, really powerful and you can post images with written content attached to them, but when I say meme, what I mean is, an image which has written content on the actual image. It’s the kind of posts that you see that go viral really, really quickly and really, really easily. They tend to be very eye-catching and very simple. They’re not bogged down with lots of words, they’re not really, really busy, they’re not confusing. Or if they are confusing, they’re confusing in a enigmatic way that makes you pause and go “What the hell is that?” They’re meant to gran your attention really, really quickly and get across something important that’s going to make people actually stop and pay attention.

They’re great for your engagement, they’re great for reach because they’re very easily shared and they’re also very, very good for establishing what you do and how good you are at it really, really quickly. You can create memes of your own quotes. One of the popular options to do with memes is to make a really, really pretty visual representations of famous quotes. Quotes by your favourite celebrities, quotes by relevant experts in your niche, things of that nature. They go down really, really well and they’re great, but the better thing to do is to create the same kind of thing, so lovely, beautiful images with text on when you are quoting yourself.

Every time you write a blog post or record a vlog, every time you create any kind of content you want to be pulling little bits out of it. Just short sentences and little snappy things and turning them into memes that you can then share because it’s just another way for you to repurpose that content that you’ve already created. You’re not having to reinvent the wheel. You’re not having to create a whole new information, things to give people. It’s the same content, you’re just putting it in a different format and you’re making it really, really easy for people to see it, to share it, and to digest what you’re saying.

Forms Of Content Marketing #7: Questions

The final one I wanted to mention for social media are questions. Now questions are, I think, perhaps the best way of getting people engaged in your posts and actually having a conversation. You might want to say something really controversial and ask a question at the end of it. You might want to pick a particular pain point that all your ideal clients are struggling with and ask them firstly whether they’re having problems with it, and secondly how they deal with it. Or you might want to play Devil’s advocate and pick something that you know is going to really, really irritate them. Ask them a question that you know is going to make them go a bit like, “Oh. I don’t like that” and make them actually answer. You can then make it clear that obviously you don’t agree with the position that you took initially, you just wanted to know why everybody else thought about it, but it’s a really, really good way of getting people talking.

Forms Of Content Marketing #8: Email Marketing

Another great form of content that you should definitely be using is email marketing. Now I mentioned this very briefly when I was discussing webinars and I mentioned also response sequences and that is one way that you can use email marketing is to set up a series of emails that go out to people when they take certain actions. If they sign up to your newsletter list, you might send them a series of emails welcoming them. If they sign up for a freebie you might send them a series introducing them to that freebie and then upselling them something else.

Beyond that, once you have people on your list, once you’ve got them on your emailing list, you need to be emailing them regularly. You want to send out a weekly newsletter and in that weekly newsletter you should have a round-up of all the content you’ve put out that week. If you only put out content once every two weeks, then you’ll only do this once every two weeks, but I really do recommend that you try and publish content once a week. A blog post a week, a vlog a week, both a week. Make sure you’ve got one or the other or a podcast once a week so that you can send out your weekly newsletter and say “This is my new post, here’s the link to it” and you can include a snippet from the beginning to get people interested. You can include the whole thing in written form if you want, but just make sure you send it out because it helps with your engagement, it helps with your reach, it keeps you front of mind for everybody on your list.

It reminds them why they signed up to you in the first place and what you do and it makes sure then that you can really get your content out to as many people as possible. Of course you’re not limited to only sending out email marketing for existing content that you have, you can send out emails whenever you feel like it. If you’ve got something that you particularly wanted to say but you maybe didn’t want to blog about it and something that you wanted to share only with the people on your list, so exclusive content that you have just for them, and of course sale emails. If you want to sell something or promote a particular offer that you have or a service or something new that you’re doing, email marketing is a great way of doing it.

If you’re struggling to build your email marketing list, check out The Cake Construction, which breaks down exactly how you can use content marketing you grow your list.

Forms Of Content Marketing #9: Books

One kind of content that people often don’t think of as content marketing and one that they definitely don’t see the huge potential in as a possible form of content marketing are books.

Books are the dark horse of content marketing; the one nobody really thinks about with astonishing potential.

Now I love books. That’s no secret. I write them, I read them, I’m a voracious reader. I absolutely love books, but as far as content marketing goes, you can actually use books as a really, really strong form of content marketing. I think probably the best example I can think of with this and I use her all the time as an example because she’s brilliant at content marketing, is Denise Duffield-Thomas who has to date got two books published and she’s just signed a deal for the third, if I’m not mistaken and she really has used her books as content marketing.

Rather than creating them as paid products that she wants to sell, she created them as a form of marketing and the fact that she earned money off them as well was a happy bonus. That’s the way of looking at it. That’s not to say that you can’t earn money from books. You’re right, you absolutely can, but if you’re trying to use them as a marketing tools it’s useful to approach it thinking of them as something that you’re going to use to market your business and that your focus is on making sure you get as much mileage out of them as possible in terms of marketing rather than trying to make as much money out of them as possible.

The two goals aren’t mutually exclusive. You can use them as a marketing tool and make money off them at the same time, but normally your approach to selling them is very different depending on which you’re trying to do. You want to use them as passive income and that’s your focus is to create a passive income stream. That’s a brilliant way of creating passive income. By the way, that’s a great thing to do for your business but your strategy in marketing your book is going to be quite different to how it would be if your primary goal was to use your book as a form of content to market other products and services in your business.

If you’re sat there thinking, “Oh god, I can’t possibly write a whole book” the funny thing about content marketing is once you start doing it, once you start regularly producing content, you can end up with a book a lot quicker than you think. If you write a weekly blog post, if you publish your blog every single week, after a year you’ll have 56 posts. If you’re blogging properly, if you’re really using a good blogging strategy, they will be on relatively similar topics. You’ll have a core subject that you stick to, and really all a book is a series of blog posts when you think about it. If you equate a blog post with a chapter or if you’re writing 2000-odd word blog posts, that’s a chapter. Every time you post a blog, you’ve essentially posted a chapter. After you’ve got quite a bit of content amassed you can go through all the content you’ve got and you can turn it into a book.

Now I really don’t suggest that people just cut and paste. I have seen people that do this. They literally get their blog posts, they shove them together and they publish them as a book without doing anything else with them and I do not recommend you do that because it will really irritate the people reading the book, especially if they’ve already followed your posts. They’ve already read the posts, they want something more than that. You need to put a bit of effort into it. You need to find a coherent theme. You need to put them together in an order that makes sense, you need to edit them.

When you come to edit them, you’ll probably find that you have more to say than you did when you first wrote them, so that’s especially true if quite a bit of time has passed since you first wrote the post or first created the post. You’ll have had people commenting on your content, you’ll have had people engaging with it on social media, you’ll have maybe had clients that you’ve spoken to about similar topics before or you’ll just have learned more or thought more about it yourself. You will naturally find when you come to put all your content together and try and make a book out of it that you have more to say and you should definitely, definitely say it.

Don’t just take the easy option, cut and paste all the posts, stick them together and think it makes a book. It doesn’t. It does take a bit of effort but it is well, well worth it and it gives you a form of content that is just super, super versatile and so valuable. You can take the first chapter or two of your book, you can put it in a nice PDF, you can use it as an opt-in freebie. You have an absolutely massive list-builder there, giving away the first few chapters of your book for free. Does wonders for building your list, and you have a built-in upsell just right there. You give the first couple of chapters away for free, people read them and it’s natural for them to then want to buy the book. That is the easiest upsell you will ever do in your entire life and if you do it right, you’re smart about it, you’ll make the subject of your book something that naturally leads into, promotes, or explains something else that you’re trying to sell that’s worth an awful lot more.

This works really, really well if you have a course that you’re trying to promote, that you’re trying to sell. A paid programme that’s quite expensive. Programmes, they’re normally at least a few hundred pounds if not even more and you’re creating by writing this book as your introduction to it, you are creating the perfect funnel because you have, by creating the book, got the opt-in that will get people on your list, you have the email sequence that you need to upsell them to the programme with an easy upsell for them to take one step up and go from the free chapter to the paid book and then from the paid book to the paid product or service. This works really, really well.

Books as content marketing it a total no-brainier. It is the simplest thing in the world. It is so effective. The only reason that everybody isn’t doing it is because, I will not lie, writing and producing a book is tough. If you’re creating one completely from scratch and writing about a very specific subject, it’s really, really hard to do. Even if you’re essentially collating content that you’ve already created and turning it into a coherent book, that takes time. It takes effort and if you want to do a really, really professional job you’ll need to have it edited, you’ll need to have it proofread. You’ll need to have it professionally formatted. If you want to create physical copies of it rather than just selling it as an ebook, you’ll need to find a printer. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to creating books. It’s not a quick process and if you don’t already know what you’re doing it’s not an easy process, but the good news is I’ve already done it many times, so if I can do it, anybody can.

Forms Of Content Marketing #10: Mini-Courses

The final kind of content marketing that I want to talk to you about is a mashup of all the others that I’ve talked about so far and that is the mini-course. Now I’ve mentioned webinars, I’ve mentioned paid courses, and I’ve mentioned video marketing. This is basically all of those things rolled into one. What you want to do is create a short series of videos or webinars that form a mini-course that people can have as part of an auto-responder sequence over the course of three or four, maybe five days. I wouldn’t go any longer than that.

If you want to do a webinar, do a webinar. If you want to do a mini-course, do a mini-course. The mini-course itself is one of the best kinds of lead magnets that you can ever create. You don’t need to create a lead magnet to get people to sign up to the lead magnet. The mini-course is the lead magnet. If you want to do a webinar then great but you don’t need to a webinar in order to promote the mini-course. Unless of course you want to charge for your mini-course, in which case go for it.

A mini-course really is a combination of so many different kinds of content marketing. You will want to create it in video format, ideally. You can just do it as a written sequence of emails though that you send out but ideally you will want to create four or possibly five videos. You will want to send them out in a series of marketing emails and have them available on your website for people to watch on your website. Ideally also with extra things for them to download that go with it. One of the best things you can do is create a workbook for people to download at the beginning of the first video and then write in right through as they watch the mini-course. Other kinds of content that you can use are checklists or workflows, anything that helps people action what you’re teaching them in the mini-course.

A lot of people get really nervous at the notion of giving away a whole course for free. It feels like you’re giving away all your best stuff, you’re wasting an opportunity to make money. It takes quite a lot of work to create one and it can take a bit of money to set it up, especially if you’re not very good at doing the technical stuff yourself and you have to outsource that to somebody, so you may have to pay someone to do that for you. When you go to all that effort of creating it, possibly the expense of getting it set up as well, it can feel quite counterproductive to then just give it away for free, but if you are trying to promote anything of substance, if you’re trying to promote a big course that’s costing a few hundred pounds or more, if you’re trying to promote a premium service that you offer that’s worth hundreds and hundreds of pounds or more, anything that’s quite tough to get people to buy into because you need to be able to really, really clearly demonstrate the value that they’re going to get out of something.

You need to be able to make them see and feel and understand exactly how good this thing that you’re asking them to pay that much money for is going to be and exactly what it’s going to do for them, and this is what you use the mini-course for because it’s your opportunity to really, really show your stuff and to really make people understand that although it’s an investment that it’s an investment that they should absolutely be making because it’s going to be so, so worth it.

Content Marketing Masterclass 10 Epic Forms Of Content Marketing Blogging, Vlogging, Podcasts, Webinars, Live Social Media, Memes Questions, Email Marketing, Books and Mini Courses

Top 10 Plugins For Epic List Building

When it comes to content marketing, the key objective of almost all the entrepreneurs I work with is to grow their email list. Whenever I ask clients what they want their blog and content marketing to achieve the number one answer is simple: build my list.

Your email list is the key to getting everything else in your business working. Building a list of absolutely perfectly ideal clients is really important for any business. It’s a massive help to have a tribe of perfect people to work with, to whom you can directly market your stuff, as it means you’re not relying on ‘spray and pray’ marketing. It helps you generate leads. It helps you convert people from readers and prospects into paying clients. But growing your list, the physical act of getting people to hand over their email address and put themselves on your list, is something that a lot of my clients find quite problematic.

The Importance Of Infrastructure When List Building

One of the main things that I say to all my clients (particularly those on The Divine Blogging Design, which is really geared towards list building and using your content to grow your list as much as possible) is that I can create as much content as you like, and we can get your content marketing working perfectly, but if you don’t have the infrastructure in place to actually capture leads on your website your list building efforts will fail.

You need a website that was built with list building in mind. If it’s difficult for people to sign up in your list, you can have the best content in the world and you’re still going to struggle to get traction where list building is concerned.

When I point this out, I’m invariably asked, “What do I need on my website to grow my list?”

List Building Infrastructure

I am currently in the process of outsourcing, upgrading my website. I took it as far as I could on my own and still needed it to perform better. I needed some professional help with that. But if you’re not yet at a point where you can afford to pay for somebody else to design a professional website for you, or if you’re quite handy with WordPress and simply need to know what plugins to install, then these are the plugins for you.

NOTE: You don’t need all of them. I’m not giving you this list and saying go out and install all 10 of these on your website immediately.

I suggest you take a look at these suggestions and decide which ones sound like will work best for you, and your business. As a general rule the more plugins you install on your website, the slower it will be, and the more chance there is of conflicts. So when I say don’t install them all, I really do mean it. There is a good reason for that. If you suddenly start installing a massive load of plugins on your site you might completely screw it up.

I’ve used all of these plugins at some point. I have many clients who have used them/are still using them and have achieved great results with them. So, without further ado…

My Plugins: Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a really comprehensive lead generation plugin. It comes with a lot of templates making it really easy to use. You just install it, upload any of the templates and use them as you see fit. It is a paid plugin. Last time I checked it was about $70, which is good for a high-quality lead generation plugin. Thrive Leads is extremely good and one I use, so you should definitely check it out. It’s incredibly functional with a lot of great popups that you can customise to make them as user-friendly as possible. This means they’re not in your face and annoying people, but they’re still capturing visitors’ email addresses while they’re on the site, and making sure people are aware of the fact you have an email list and giving them the nudge to just sign up for it.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is quite similar to Thrive Leads. Before I upgraded my website, this is the one that I was using, and I got great results from it. It’s extremely easy to use. It’s about $20 for a monthly subscription, or you can get an annual subscription that cuts it down to $9. OptinMonster has lots of popup options and some really cool functions like locking content. It’s really useful because it gives you more levels to work with. By now you’re probably familiar with using optin freebies to get people to sign up – having a free e-book or a mini video course or whatever that’s available on your site in exchange for an email address email address. But not everybody can be bothered reading a free e-book or watching a free course.

They’re not that interested, but they may come across one of your blog posts and really want to read it.

Locking content allows you to make certain posts inaccessible without the visitor signing up to your email list. The odds are they’ve come across your blog post because they’ve been looking for something specific, or because they know you and they’ve seen you share it, and they’ve clicked on it because they want to read it right now.

They already want to read what you’re offering. It’s not a case of convincing them that your optin is going to be really useful to them. You don’t need to convince them of anything. They’re already there. They already want to be read it. They want to read it right now. You just put a really simple step in place that says, “You can read this, it’s just a click away, pop your email address in!”

This is a great way of getting signups. The only caution I would make is that you shouldn’t use it excessively. Save it for premium posts, the majority of your posts should still be freely available (if you want to know why, check out The Cake Construction).

My Plugins: Landing Pages for WordPress

Thrive Landing Pages is made by the same people as Thrive Leads. They work together very well. Even if you don’t have Thrive Leads, you can still use Thrive Landing Pages, which enables you to create really beautiful landing pages extremely easily. It comes with a lot of templates which makes it very simple to use, and it’s also got a drag and drop interface that makes building your own customised landing pages ridiculously easy.

I still use this on my site. I’ve used it for all my main sales pages (here’s an example!) as well my option landing pages. It’s possibly the most useful thing on my whole website as it lets me DIY the major pages rather than paying a small fortune for my tech guy to do it. In fact, it’s so good that the website overhaul isn’t including the big sales page for The Divine Blogging Design, because I’m happy with the one I created myself for now!

Bloom

Another great plugin for optins is Bloom. I haven’t used this for a while, but I have a lot of clients that still use it, and they get really good results. It’s easy to use. It’s customizable. It’s got a lot of options when it comes to colours, and settings, and things like that, but the feature that I really like about this one is the fact that you can track things very easily. You can track your results and see how your conversion rates are going. You can split test. You can also target specific content, which makes it a really versatile plugin that does a lot of things in a very easy to use way.

PopupAlly Pro The Best List Building Plugin For Polite PopupsMy Plugins: PopupAlly Pro

I use PopupAlly Pro on my own site. It’s just the most useful thing in the world. I absolutely love it. It creates really good little popups. They are not even remotely intrusive, which is the thing that I really like about them. Natalie Lussier, who created PopupAlly Pro, actually refers to it as the ‘polite popup’ specifically because it was designed with this in mind: a lot of site visitors find popups really irritating and intrusive. It’s been designed in such a way that the popups are as unobtrusive as possible, so they don’t really bother you while you’re reading. They don’t interrupt visitors, yet they still grab their attention at the optimal moments and help them sign up really easily.

I have to admit I do find this a little fiddly to setup. It’s not the easiest one in the world, but once you figure out how you do it (and there are videos and tutorials that will help you do that) it is easy to do. It just take me a little while to get the hang of it. That being said, it is hands down the best lead generation plugin I’ve ever. Even though the Write Copy Girl is currently being redeveloped, we are not getting rid of PopupAlly. We’re keeping that because it’s so useful. Where popup plugins are concerned, I would definitely recommend this as my favourite.

Ninja Popups

A really good budget option if you’re not really looking to invest a lot, but you want something that will help you grow your list, is Ninja Popups. You can get that about $21. That’s just a one off payment, that’s all you have to pay, making it cheap and very cheerful. It’s extremely functional. It’s very easy to use. It comes with 40 different themes, loads of different designs, and it’s extremely responsive.

If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful budget option, Ninja Popups is definitely the one to go for.

Lead Pages

Lead Pages is quite similar to Thrive Landing Pages in that it helps you build really great landing pages that are very effective. I used Lead Pages for a while before I got Thrive. To be perfectly honest, I found it a bit expensive, which is why I switched to Thrive and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been quite happy with Thrive, but if you don’t mind paying extra, Lead Pages is probably the industry leader for this particular thing. I think it’s the most widely used landing page plugin and one of the most popular. It’s certainly one that a lot of my clients use, and they all get great results out of it.

I personally have managed to achieve exactly the same results with Thrive Landing Pages, and Thrive is an awful lot cheaper, but it’s just going to be a matter of preference for you.

OptimizePress

If you’re looking for a complete bells and whistles option that gives you absolutely everything you need, OptimizePress is perhaps the best one to go far. It is quite expensive, but it is the most comprehensive option currently available. You can use OptimizePress to create marketing sites, landing pages, sales pages, and option forms. You can use it to do anything that you need to do when it comes to growing your list, and you can do it all in one place. That is incredibly useful.

It is a little expensive, and it’s not necessarily the best at doing all of the things that it does.

It’s useful because it’s so comprehensive, but it is quite expensive, and it’s not necessarily the best way of doing it.

SumoMe

Another incredibly useful tool to use is SumoMe, which is a great list building plugin. It also has a lot of ways of building and boosting your traffic as well as growing your list. It’s very easy to integrate with Google analytic. You can create heat maps and use the highlighter, which are really useful for growing both your traffic and list.

Big bonus for this one: it’s free!

There are paid elements that you can add on, but you don’t have to and the free version works perfectly well.

Optin Forms

Finally, if you’re looking for an option to build your list that doesn’t involve popups (because I know a lot of people hate popups), Optin Forms is a fabulous alternative. It doesn’t involve any popups whatsoever. Instead, it uses really discrete and very well-placed option forms across your website to entice people to sign up to your list at the best opportunity. You can put them in side bars, menus, blog posts, etc. There’s so many ways you can integrate these forms into your site that make it really easy for people to sign up to your list, but doesn’t bother them with constant popups.

Looking To Supercharge Your List Building Efforts?

Check out The Divine Blogging Design, my signature Content Marketing service designed with list building in mind. This monthly service provides you with regular content for your blog and social media, as well as optin freebies and content upgrades.

10 Facebook Hacks To Build Your List

If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll know that I do a lot of list-building through blogging. I have a lot of tips on how to use a blog to build your email list, so do check those posts out. Today I’m sharing my ten Facebook hacks to build your list, because Facebook is, aside from using my blog to build my email list, my favourite list-building strategy. It’s a really powerful tool and a very easy way to get direct access to a very specific crowd if you know how to use it.

If you don’t already have an email list I really recommend that you start one. It’s a brilliant way of building trust, an easy way to share information, and get your blog, products and services out to your ideal client. Through your list you’re going win sales and long-term customers, which is always good.

Facebook is really useful for loads of different things, but for list building there are a few specific things you need to do that are really going to optimize your Facebook page, and ensure it’s building your list as much as possible.

One thing before we get started: I’m talking about your Facebook business pagenot your profile. Your business page is the one that people ‘like’, your profile is the one people make friends with you on – two different things. We’re dealing with the business page today.

If you’re looking to drive signups, these simple Facebook hacks to build your list are perfect…

Facebook Hack #1: Set Up A Signup Tab

This is a really easy thing to do, but it’s something that quite a few people who have a Facebook page don’t know you can do, or think there’s little point in doing it because ‘nobody is going to click on it anyway’. Two things…

1) It s absolutely worth doing. Even if you only get a few people clicking on it, that’s still a few people you wouldn’t have got elsewhere. There is certainly no harm in doing it.

2) It’s a lot easier than you think, it’s not at all complicated.

A lot of people are put off by the concept that it’s a really tricky thing to do. It’s super easy to set up, all you need to do is log into your business page and go to the main page and look at your cover image. At the top there will be a big blue button that says “Add A Button”.

Click that, follow the instructions and you’re sorted.

It will take 10/15 minutes tops, and it’s a really easy way of getting people to sign up. The second they land on the page, they see that button and just click it.

Facebook Hack #2: Have A Dedicated Opt-in Page On Your Website With A Freebie To Download

You’ll see these all over the place, constantly popping up in your news feed: download our free eBook, download our free guide, download our free toolkit, etc.

Everybody has these; they’re brilliant. They’re a really good way of getting people to hand over their email address and sign up to your list because in return you are giving them something for free.

It’s really important you set up at least one of these opt-in pages with a freebie. Because really, if you’re not going to give people things in exchange for signing up to your list (other than an email telling them about your blog post, which they can read on your website), if you’re not going to give them an incentive then they’re not going to sign up. You’ll get a few people, but the key is to make sure you have something they really want, something only you have.

You need a really good opt-in freebie (or two, or three). Don’t worry about doing them all at once, start with one that’s nice and simple, build from there and get a little collection going.

If you get your freebie wrong, the people signing up to your list aren’t going to be the right audience for you. They’re not going to be your ideal clients. They’re not going to be the people you want on your list. Spend quite a bit of time thinking about your freebie and getting it right.

Once you’ve got it, you need to set up a page dedicated to it.

It’s useful having signup boxes and things on your website, but for the purpose of Facebook, you need a dedicated link that sends people straight to a single page that has nothing else on it; it’s literally a form they stick their email address in, click ‘sign up’, and that’s the end of it.

You need to make it as easy as possible for them.

Facebook Hack #3: Optimize Your Cover Image

By optimize I mean ensure there is something on that image telling people who you are and where they can find you. You might want your logo on there, or the name of your business, the URL of your website, you might want all three, but you want something on there. It doesn’t have to be large or in your face; it can be small, subtle, just in the corner. Just to make sure that if someone is on your page and they think, “Oooh, I’d like to look at their website”, they have to faff around going to your ‘About’ section and finding your website address somewhere else; it’s right there on the photo.

You can’t make it clickable, unfortunately, but once you’ve uploaded your photo with the URL on it, go into the description of that photo and add an active link to the description. So make sure the image itself has your website address on it somewhere, and make sure that the description has your website address on it as well with an actual active link that people could click.

Now, if you really want to drive signups to your newsletter, make the URL on your image a direct link to that opt-in page that we talked about in the last tip. You can use Bitly  to make a pretty little shortlink that says something cool (i.e. bit.ly/ListbuildingHacks).

Facebook Hack #4: Use Your Updates To Drive Signups

When you post a photo, meme, question, or any kind of update, link it to your newsletter with a very quick, “By the way, sign up to my newsletter”, followed by a link to your opt-in page. Every time you have an update that even loosely ties to your opt-in, add that link! It doesn’t need to be fancy, just make sure you are using your updates to your best advantage for your list.

It’s really easy to completely forget about your list when you post on your page. You’re so focused on making sure you post things regularly, and that you’ve got good content and good engagement, you totally forget that you actually need those updates to do something tangible for you

Facebook Hack #5: Use Facebook To Run Events 

Events can be competitions, questionnaires, or quizzes, they can be any kind of event that you can post on Facebook. You can make it as simple as an image and, “Comment below to win your free bag/coat/strategy session/whatever.”

Give them an incentive, give them a reason to get involved, then give them really clear instructions on how to take part

Loads of people get caught up with ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ competitions on Facebook, where the only things you have to do is qualify are ‘Like’ a photo and share it, or ‘Like’ a photo and comment on it. While that’s really good for your engagement, you’re not actually getting any long-term benefits from it, other than a little bit of temporary publicity.

Make one of the qualifiers for your event or competition signing up to your list. Pop your dedicated URL in the description, and say, “Anybody interested, sign up here, 3 of you will win a free spa day!” (Whatever you’re giving away)

Facebook Hack #6: Use Call to Action Buttons

The signup button on your cover photo (see tip #1) is a Call to Action button. But there lots of other Call to Action buttons you can use on Facebook. Particularly if you’re doing advertising or any kind of promoted post, there is the option to add a Call to Action button to it. You can have it say anything from “Sign up” to “Read more”, “Click Me”, “Buy Me”; it doesn’t matter. But if you’re trying to drive list signups, make it “Sign Up” or “Read More”. That way you’re far more likely to get people to click on it.

You’ll probably find more people click if you just use “Read More”, rather than “Sign Up”. That’s because this was, by the time they realize they actually have to give you their email address to get the information that they want, they’ve already gone to the bother of clicking the link. It’s not much more effort to put their email address in. If you tell them upfront they have to click through AND signup, it’s double the work, and we are all time poor, lazy people!

Facebook Hack #7: Crowd Source Products And Service Ideas

This is a really good way of getting extra engagement and publicity. On its own, it’s amazing, but if you couple it with list building it becomes really powerful. Create a few posts around a particular product or service that you’re brainstorming. If you’ve got a pad of paper with all your ideas written on it, take a quick photo, post it and say something along the lines of, “Putting together some ideas for a new product. What do you think?”, or “Looking into a new service idea and I’ve got 3 different options, which would you prefer?” 

I often do this with book covers to start to raise interest in my book, and also to get valuable feedback on the type of cover my clients will respond to best.

The idea is to get your audience actively engaged in what you will be offering them. Not only do they get a sneak peek of what’s to come, and get quite excited about it, but they actually feel they’ve got some say in it, that they’re in charge. This is a great way to get people talking about your products and services, but it’s also a great way to get people to sign up to your list. All you need to do is stick a little bit on the end that says, “If you want to be kept informed, sign up” or “If you want to be the first to know when this is live, sign up”, or “If you want to be in with a chance to win my amazing new product/service for free sign up”.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you get that in there.

Facebook Hack #8: Provide Incentives For People To Share Your Newsletter 

One of the easiest ways of doing this is saying, “When I hit 1,000 subscribers I will do X.” It might be a prize giveaway, a special post, a webinar, a look behind the scenes, whatever you think people will REALLY want. The idea is to get them hustling for you. Your goal could be 2,000 subscribers, 5,000, 10,000, even 100,000. It could simply be 100, or 500. It doesn’t matter what you’re aiming for.

If you have a goal in mind and you’re trying to get to a specific number of signups, or you’re just trying to get a little bit of momentum going, tell people you’re going to celebrate a particular milestone with this fab freebie, or a flash sale, or doing free calls – anything you like, just give them an incentive. Give them something they want and tell them how to get it. “All you need to do to get this is get other people to sign up to my list!”

Now, this isn’t necessarily the best way to build your list because you can end up with a load of people that don’t really want what you’re after, they’re just doing it because people have asked them to.  But you will often find that people who are genuinely interested in you have a lot of friends who are also genuinely interested in you, so it’s worth doing occasionally.

Another way to do it is to always encourage people to share posts that have a signup link in them. If you’ve got any updates you’ve been using in any of your competitions, events, anything in which you include a link to your signup form, make sure you also add in there somewhere, “Don’t forget to share!”

That’s it, “Don’t forget to share” or “Please share”. It’s a really simple thing but that little prompt can help so much.

Facebook Hack #9: Use Video To Promote Your Newsletter

It’s really easy to record a short introductory video. You can use a decent camera on a tripod (like I do for my Vlog), but you can just as easily use your iPad, web cam, phone, anything. It just needs to be a quick video explaining who you are, what you do, and what people get if they sign up to your list.

It could be something along the lines of, “Our latest news and blogging/social media/coaching advice includes X, Y and Z – don’t miss out. Get it delivered straight to your inbox!” Videos get the best organic reach on Facebook, it gets the highest engagement, and it’s the best form of media to use on Facebook (and on a lot of social media platforms). But on Facebook in particular, video is KING, so make sure you’ve got it working for you, and that there is at least one video on your Facebook page encouraging people to sign up to your list.

Don’t forget to include a link in the video description, and superimpose the link in text over the video itself.

Facebook Hack #10: Whittle Down Your Audience

Facebook is brilliant because it can reach so many different people, but you don’t want all of those people on your list.

You want your ideal clients and nobody else.

Otherwise you’re expending energy, effort and resources marketing to people who are never going to want what you have, and people you really don’t want to work with.

There are quite a few ways to whittle down your Facebook audience:

If you’re advertising it’s really easy to target very specific people.

If you are creating opt-ins and freebies you can make sure you really hone them so they’re specifically directed at exactly who you want on your list.

You can do the same thing with your posts and updates. Ensure all content you put on Facebook is designed to appeal to your ideal client and dissuade everyone else. Include things in it that only your ideal client would be interested in, that other people would really not be interested in. This is really important because it’s going to be the difference between a list of ideal clients and a load of random people who aren’t really interested,  and a list of JUST your ideal clients. 

You don’t have to be too ‘in your face’ about it. You don’t have to say things like, “Only signup if you’re interested in this”, “Don’t sign up if you’re not interested in this”. Don’t be negative about it. Just find very specific things people will naturally gravitate towards or away from, like Marmite (it is the go-to example for things like this; people either love it or they hate it).

You need to find something that your ideal clients will love and everybody else will hate automatically and perfectly naturally, so that you whittle down your audience and hone it to only include people who fit exactly with who you want signing up to your list.

And that’s it – nothing more to it. Use these quick and simple Facebook hacks to build your list, you’ll soon have email contacts pouring out of your ears.

Do you like my list? Did I miss anything? I’d love to know what you think – comment below and let me know!

10 Facebook Hacks to Build Your List (6)

Advanced List Buiding: The Cake Construction And How To Use It

In September I wrote an introductory post to List Building, list building 101 if you will. This week I’m doing a follow-up on that post, in the form of Advanced List Building, essentially list building 202 – an advanced post about how to use Email List Building for marketing. I’ll be explaining my own signature method of using blogging to build your list. It’s called The Cake Construction, and was mentioned briefly in How to Grow Your Tribe and Market Like A Ninja. I’m going to go into it in more detail for you know, as this is a core concept I use in my content marketing strategy, and in planning blog schedules, both for myself and my clients. 

Imagine for a moment a giant cake. Like a wedding cake, with four big fat tiers of cakey goodness. The bottom tier is very large, the next one up is smaller, but still quite large, the third tier is a medium size, and the top most tier is small. Each tier of The Cake represents a form of content in your business. When combined to form The Cake Construction, this content is a marketing machine that will grow your list at a phenomenal rate. 

If for some reason you don’t like cake, you can think of it as a pyramid, but I like cake, so…

Advanced List Buiding: The Cake Construction And How To Use It

Tier Four: Free Content

The lowest tier in your cake is tier four, and it consists entirely of FREE CONTENT. Free content can be just about anything but the main forms you should definitely be using are:

  • Blog posts
  • Guest Posts (blog posts on other people’s sites)
  • Interviews
  • Newsletters
  • Social Media Posts – tweets, status updates, memes, videos etc.
  • SWAG – bookmarks, pens, postcards and other very cheap marketing materials featuring your business name, logo, website, and/or quotes and images by you.
  • Tasters & Testers – a mini version of one of your products or services
  • Tutorials (short and sweet)
  • Vlogs
  • Webinars

The reason this tier is so big is because you need to produce free content in swathes. It must be high quality, despite the fact its free. It must showcase your Zone of Genius and just how awesome you are. It must tease all your knowledge, but not give away the farm – keep the best bits back. It needs to be SERIOUSLY TASTY free content – entertaining, helping, informing, or a combination of the three. It has to make your ideal clients fill their bellies and purr like a kitten. Then it has to make them rub up against your legs begging for more. You need a LOT of free content so you can keep that kitty happy and get it used to eating your delicious cake.

Tier Three: Freebies & Upgrades

The content in this tier is still 100% free, but they do come with a very small, non monetary ‘price tag’, in the form of an email address. This is where your list building starts, but don’t be fooled – you can’t have this tier without the tier below it. Tier four is your base, it’s the foundation of the construction, without it everything else falls down. Your free content is what shores up everything else and makes the whole magical machine possible…

But how does it work? 

Freebies

Freebies should only be available for download in exchange for an email address and the agreement that it will be added to your list. It should be abundantly clear that people can unsubscribe from this list at will, and yes, you WILL get people signing up, nabbing your free stuff, and immediately unsubscribing, just like you will have an unsubscribe rate of about 1% every time you send out a newsletter.

Them’s the breaks, kid, suck it up.

Some great ideas for freebies:

  • Cheat sheets
  • Worksheets
  • Guides
  • Short eBooks
  • Desktop backgrounds
  • Planners

Content Upgrades

Any piece of 100% free content from tier four has the potential to be UPGRADED. For example, you have a totally free post (just like this one) that provides oddles of quality content, and then you add something to it. Something extra. You UPGRADE the blog post, or the vlog, or the guest post, or the interview, or the webinar, so that there is an extra awesome thing, directly related to the piece of content, that will either help readers action what they have been reading, further their understanding of the subject, or simply provide them with something pleasant but useful. You will very soon be able to download a nice poster version of The Cake Construction, as a content upgrade for this post (it was supposed to be available today, but the site is glitching so you’ll have to bear with me!).

You will notice I refer to this tier as the ‘low price’ tier. This is not because people are paying you MONEY. They’re not. But they are still GIVING YOU SOMETHING. They’re giving you an email address, which is worth a lot more than you think. Because once you have their email, once they’re on your newsletter list, once they’re on this level, getting them to graduate to the next level up, and the one after, gets a LOT easier!

Content upgrades are the very essence of The Cake Construction. You start by getting people hooked on something totally free of charge, you then offer them something BETTER, that requires a tiny bit more of a commitment – an email address. This steps them up a notch on your client ladder. They’re on your list. The next step after this is to get them to pay you cashy money for something…

Tier Two: Medium Priced Products & Services

Your next tier up is tier two, and it’s a reasonably large wedge of cake, but nowhere near as big as tiers three and four. Tier two products and services don’t have to be related to what was on offer in your third and fourth tier, but it really helps if they are. It’s a lot easier to convince the cat it’s worth paying for a larger slice of a cake they already love, than it is to convince them to buy a cake they haven’t tasted yet. Linking your content across tiers relies on the established relationship and experience the cat has had with you, the other requires them to take a leap of faith and trust everything you do is as good as the cake they’ve already eaten. Once your cat has been chowing down on your free content for a while, they will be addicted to the yummy cakey goodness of you and gladly hand over their email for more cake, taking them up to your third tier. Once they’re there, you can offer that happy little cat something EVEN BETTER in exchange for a SMALL amount of money. The cake on this tier is far superior to the free content, freebies, and upgrades. Your kitty cat will happily hand over a bit of cash to try it.

Here are some good second tier cakes:

  • Full Length Book (eBook and/or print), rather than a free guide or short eBook (< £15)
  • Full Versions of Your Tasters & Testers (<£15)
  • Masterclasses – in-depth tutorials that last c. 1 hour (Membership Club Content @ c. £10/Month)
  • Low Price Products/Services (<£30)
  • Short Courses (£20-£30)

You’ll notice I’ve assigned a numerical value to each suggestion. These are rough guides, and the exact price you charge will depend on your overall prices, but you should think of these items as The Cheap Seats. They’re introductory level products and services and you should have a range of them – different items, for different prices, from about £5 up to around £30. Books are great at this level, especially if you can link them to a high-priced product or service (see below). Short courses are also brilliant, especially if they follow on from free and full tasters and testers.

The idea is really very simple: create content that can incrementally increase in value and skill level. You can do the same thing with blog posts. Just as I did a basic ‘list building 101’ blog before I wrote this one, and will go on to blog about list building in more detail in the future. You build a catalogue of posts on a single subject that get progressively more and more advanced. If they become advanced enough you can make them exclusive newsletter content, only available to people on your list. The next step after that is setting up a paid membership club with a monthly fee, which gives members access to your best blog posts and some really high quality exclusive content, like master classes and webinars.

Tier One: High Priced Products & Services

Here we are at the top of your cake, and despite the fact this is the elite tier, the crème de la crème of your cake, it functions in much the same way the previous tiers did. This level of products and services is better than the last – more valuable, more advanced, more highly priced (and prized!). You can actually have five versions of one eCourse if you’re smart about it: an elite bells and whistles edition that’s top-tier, a full but not elite edition that’s tier two, an advanced edition and a full but basic edition for tier three, and an introductory and totally free edition for tier four. For example, you will soon be seeing this develop on The Write Copy Girl, as I will soon be launching The Divine Blogging Challenge, a free course to help you plan your blog schedule using my signature method. Some time after that I’ll be launching a low price (c.£15) Tool Kit to walk you through building a 12 month blog schedule, and a an advanced version of the Tool Kit including additional guidance on how to monetise your blog. The next step after that will be a full-blown eCourse, followed (at some point) by a live version. The trick is to ensure that each version has a lot more value than the last, while simultaneously covering what was included in the less advanced versions for anyone who’s not done them.

Designing Your Cake

You will notice I’ve described each tier in terms of price but that I’ve also marked tiers one to three with ‘Master’, ‘Journeyman’, and ‘Apprentice’. This is because there are two ways to ensure your offerings are more valuable the higher up the cake they go: one is to do it by price, from free to high, the other is to do it by skill level. When you’re first learning a new trade you are an apprentice. Once you’ve been at it for a while you become a journeyman, and when you really know your stuff you take the title of master. 

Your paid-for content should be divided according to price or skillset. Many products don’t require different levels of skill to use, so you must divide them by price. Supermarkets are brilliant at this – they have a cheap Value range, the everyday brand range, and a Premium range. Tesco, for example, have Tesco Value, Tesco, and Tesco Finest. Sainsbury’s has Sainsbury’s Basics, Sainsbury’s, and Taste the Difference.

Think of your first tier as the free tasters you get at the supermarket. As you’re walking around doing your weekly shop you can sample cheeses, breads, crisps, all sorts of yummy treats. If you like them, you’ll find the product right next to the sample stand, ready to be picked up and put in your trolley. It doesn’t matter which range the sample is from – value, normal, or finest – if you like it you’re likely to buy it. If you’re using the low, medium, and high price model, determining what goes in each tier is simple, you just need to decide a price bracket for each and ensure you have SOMETHING in every tier. 

For other products and services, you need to consider things from the point of view of the client and their skill set or current level of need.

Skill

Are they totally new to the concept, craft, or subject you’re selling? If so, they’re an apprentice, and need easing in. They will have to start on tier three because they don’t yet know enough to handle the higher tiers. Once they have some experience and are more of a journeyman, they can try the next level up. Once they’ve got a lot more experience and are getting really good, they’re a master, ready for the top-level you offer. Your free content is there to get them hooked to begin with, to convince them that, yes, they really are interested in learning about this.

Need

Dividing based on level of need is similar to skill, in that a person doesn’t need the tools of a master while still an apprentice. It goes beyond this, however, as you can have clients who are at master level in terms of knowledge, but don’t currently require the top-level materials or services. A good example of this is when you’re just setting up a new StartUp. You can have extensive knowledge when it comes to business etc. but because your business is brand spanking new, you don’t yet have an email list. You still need the software though, so you choose a provider and signup for a plan. You will select the lowest tier plan on offer, because you don’t currently have a lot of subscribers on your list. As your list grows, your need grows, and you will have to upgrade to higher priced packages to accommodate your growing list and business. Here, the level you are at is determined by need, not skill. In all other respects, however, the manner in which you allocate products and services to tiers is the same as that used for skill sets, so I include them in the same model to save confusion.

If you’re dividing your products and services using the apprentice, journeyman, and master model, price isn’t the point, skill level is. You might charge more for your apprentice course, products, or services, because they need to be broad in range, time consuming, and/or high in volume to get people started. You might charge more for your master course than anything else because once people reach that level, courses that can teach them new information are scarce. Price, in this instance, is irrelevant to determining what goes in each tier. Base it on skill level and/or need, not pricing. As with the price-based model you MUST have SOMETHING in each tier, but beyond that which tier things fall into is determined entirely by the skill level, or requirement of the client.

One final thing: free content (level one) should vary so that all your clients get good value free content, regardless of their level of experience, needs, or whether they’re already paying clients or not.

List Building 101: How to Grow Your Tribe & Market Like A Ninja

As business owners in the online world we’re well aware of the need for list building. It’s the key to tribe growth. It ensures your tribe is composed of ideal clients – people you love to work with, who value you. We understand the power of an Email List. We know that having direct access to our ideal clients’ inboxes will sell our products and services. But knowing what steps to take for effective list building is tricky. List building allows you to market like a Ninja.

It’s also a constant effort.

And what exactly is an email list? How exactly do you go about building one?

Here are some FAQs and three key things to remember about list building.

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO MY THREE KEY PIECES OF ADVICE ON LIST BUILDING.

What is an Email List?

An email list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of email addresses. They aren’t any old email addresses though. They’re special. These are email addresses for your ideal clients, your tribe. This is crucial to list building: your list MUST be made up of people who LOVE YOU and VALUE YOUR WORK. People who need what you have to offer. Who value your skills. People willing to give you something in exchange for what you’re offering. Initially, this will be their email address in exchange for a regular delivery of quality content direct to their inbox. You give them this for free. An email address for awesome content. That’s the deal.

Once they know, like, and trust you, they will happily give you more. A small sum of money in exchange for a low-level product or service. Follow this up with a higher sum of money for a mid level product or service. Finally they hand over a big bucket full of cash for a tip-top products or services. Generally the last goal is selling one very high ticket item. It can also mean taking a client on retainer. A small to medium fee, paid frequently, is often worth more than a one-off high price sale. For product-based services, these are your repeat clients. They buy multiple products and come back time and again. They’re first in line when you release something new. They rave about you to anyone who will listen.

Do I really have to make List Building part of my business?

No. You don’t HAVE to do anything. Your business, your rules. If you don’t want an email list, you don’t have to have one. I’ll be honest, building one is hard work. It takes a consistent effort. It’s often extremely frustrating, at least initially. But…

It makes everything so much easier.

What software do I need for List Building?

You can build an email list using basic software, or you can go all out. It’s really up to you. You cannot use your normal email account for a list. It MUST be a proper structure in place to manage your list. You MUST allow people to easily subscribe and unsubscribe at will. Which means at a MINIMUM you will need to use Email Marketing Software.

Email Marketing Software.

There are a lot of options for good Email Marketing Software, such as Mailchimp, Mad Mimi, or Active Campaign. I started with Mailchimp and now use Active Campaign. This is not JUST to make your life a lot easier (it will!) it’s a legal and moral issue. You can’t arbitrarily put people on mailing list, they must OPT IN. They must be able to OPT OUT at any time.

It boils down to data protection, common decency, and common sense. You want the people on your list to LOVE YOU AND WHAT YOU DO. If they don’t want to be on your list, you don’t want them there anyway! Uninterested and inactive members of your list will skew your data. You don’t want that. You’re trying to use this list to build your business. You’re ultimately looking to sell people things. Which means you really don’t want to piss them off.

Set up an account with an Email Marketing Software provider. Use it to to manage your list (or lists) and send email campaigns. You can hire email marketing experts and campaign managers if you don’t know what you’re doing, or haven’t the time or inclination to do it all yourself.

Optin Forms and Popups

Aside from this, people need a way to get on your email list, so make sure there are plenty of opportunities on your website and social media. You can install a range of plugins on your website that create Opt In Forms and pop ups in various places and formats. I use PopupAlly Pro, which is a premium plugin, but there are plenty of excellent free options, such as Magic Action Box (which is what I used before I upgraded). You want to make your optin forms as unobtrusive and polite as possible, so that they don’t get in the way of people reading your website, but are also obvious enough that people sign up.

Landing Pages and Sales Pages

In addition, you might also want to get something to help you create beautiful and highly converting landing pages. Some popular choices are Leadpages, Profit Builder, and Unbounce (I use Profit Builder).

Do I need freebies to make people sign up to my email list?

The short answer is yes. It’s worth having a form or two on your website that encourages people to sign up so they don’t miss a post. But, realistically, most people on your list are going to end up there because of a freebie. Think of it as a transaction, You aren’t giving something away for free. Potential clients are buying something for the price of their email address. Yes, some people will signup, get the freebie, and immediately unsubscribe. Most people won’t. Most people will stay on your list for at least a little while. This gives you chance to build a relationship with them. Which makes it more likely they will buy something in the future, for cash. You need to get people on your list before you can sell to them.

If your blog posts are truly spectacular you will find people sign up to ensure they don’t accidentally miss your posts. In most cases, however, you need more than the promise of never missing a blog post to get people to sign up.

Can I buy email lists?

Again, the short answer is yes. It’s possible to buy lists of hundreds and even thousands of email addresses. You should never, EVER, do it however. For one thing, it’s unethical – the people on the list have no idea who you are, and didn’t agree to be on your list. For another, these are RANDOM PEOPLE and very few of them will have any interest in what you’re offering. Finally, any emails you send to a bought list are spam.

Your email might be wonderful and packed with great content, but if the person you’re sending it to didn’t agree to being on your list, it’s spam.

Nobody responds well to spam

So yes, you can buy email lists, but you shouldn’t – it’s unethical, ineffective, and a total waste of money.

Three Key Pieces Of Advice On List Building

Key #1: Content is Queen

Before you can really start building an email list you need to make sure your content is seriously high quality. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Your content is the incentive that gets people to sign up to your email list.
  2. Your content is what KEEPS people on your email list, engaging with you, and buying your products and services.

You need quality content, and lots of it. Ask yourself: who is going to decide what content you need and when? Who is going to write/design/create it? what about uploading, formatting, and scheduling it all? Who’s going to write and schedule your newsletter? Who will design and run advertising campaigns? How is going to network and promote your content in groups and forums? Who is going to promote your content on social media?

These are all essential tasks. Many of us never really get anywhere because we’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do. We procrastinate. We want everything to be perfect, so we never begin.

Don’t do that.

You can absolutely do every single content-related task yourself, but you don’t have to. Outsource tasks you’re unfamiliar with, uncomfortable doing, dislike, or just don’t have time for. Whether you manage all content alone, outsource it, or settle on a mixture of outsourcing and doing things yourself, just remember that CONTENT IS QUEEN. Your content is the most important element of list building. Without quality content, you will never build a good list. If by some fluke you do, you will never keep your subscribers. And even if by some miracle you do, they will never convert into paying clients.

Key #2: Plan For Growth

If you’re using email marketing in your business, you need to PLAN. More than that, you need to PLAN FOR GROWTH. As mentioned, Key #1 is CONTENT IS QUEEN. But using any old content as and when you feel like it isn’t going to cut it.

Your blog schedule needs to be carefully planned to make sure it drives signups and sales. This means:

  1. Posting regularly and consistently.
  2. Always writing for your ideal client.
  3. Only covering topics your ideal client will love, relating directly to your products and/or services.
  4. Providing variety and value in every post.

If your posts are up to snuff, people will sign up to make sure they never miss posts. But if you’re really smart, you’ll plan more than blog content list building in mind. Plan your optin freebies to make sure they relate to your main topics. Ensure at least one thing in every blog post is an incentive to join your list. It might be a freebie that relates to the post. It might be the chance to enter a competition and win a free product or service. When you get really good at this, you will start upgrading your blog content. Content upgrades make sure your most popular posts come with free content. This means creating worksheets, cheat sheets, guides, and other downloadable content. These items accessible while reading and allow people to ACTION what you’re talking about.

You short, your blog schedule should be carefully planned to ensure and sustain the growth of your email list, sales, and business.

CHECK OUT: HOW TO PLAN A KILLER BLOG SCHEDULE THAT DRIVES SIGNUPS AND SALES

Key #3: Let Them Eat Cake

Yep, you need to go all Marie-Antoinette for this one…

In order for an email list work, you need a business that’s structured to take advantage of email marketing. This means you need at least four tiers in your business in terms of products, services, and available content. I like to call this THE CAKE CONSTRUCTION.

The Cake Construction

In a nutshell, The Cake Construction is a business model that relies on attracting clients to you with tasty treats, i.e. CONTENT. You’re going to divide your content into four tiers, which in my world form a CAKE. A four tiered CONTENT CAKE

Tier Four

The lowest tier of your cake is how most of your tribe will get on your list. Tier four is FREE CONTENT. It needs to be SERIOUSLY TASTY free content – providing entertaining, helping, informing, or a combination of the three. It has to make your ideal clients fill their bellies and purr like a kitten. Then it has to make them rub up against your legs begging for more. You need a LOT of free content so you can keep that kitty happy and get it used to eating your delicious cake.

Tier Three

Your cat is now addicted to your yummy cakey content. Which means you can offer that happy little cat something from the next tier up. This is in exchange for a SMALL amount of money. The cake on this tier is even better than the free cake. Your kitty cat will happily had over a bit of cash to try it.

They LOVE your free cake. It’s unbelievable you have BETTER cake. They simply MUST try it! And it’s such a low price it’s DEFINITELY GOING TO BE WORTH IT.

Cake on this tier can be similar to your free content but must be even more valuable. Full versions of your tasters and testers work well. For example, I offer a free blog post to all potential clients to give them a taste of my services. The next step up is to buy a full length post with all the bells and whistles.

Tiers One and Two

Now your cat happily pays for your cake, you can start tempting her with more decadent offerings. The exact products and services you offer on each tier will depend on your business, your clients, how you price things, and whether you divide your offerings by price, skill, or need.

THE CAKE CONSTRUCTION - LIST BUILDING 101 - HOW TO BUILD AN EMAIL LIST - EMAIL MARKETING - HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST - MARKETING

By Price

If you’re dividing by price the price range for each tier will be relative to your business. You may not have anything on offer above £50. You might not have anything on offer less than £500. Businesses vary widely when it comes to pricing, which is why I don’t include price guidance on the three paid-for tiers. Look at your offerings and divide them into low-, medium-, and high-priced products and services.

By Skill

When it comes to skill, look at it in terms of the knowledge level of the client. Are they an apprentice (a newbie)? A journeyman (someone with some experience who is still learning)? Or are they a master (someone who knows the subject well and is looking for specialist knowledge)?

By Need

If you’re dividing by need, consider your clients’ various levels of need. Think about how each of your products caters to them. For example, I offer single blog posts for people who only need a one-off post. I offer twelve post bundles for clients who only need one professionally written post per month. These also cater to clients who don’t need posts regularly enough to have me on retainer. My top-tier service, The Divine Blogging Design, is for clients who need their blog written week in, week out.

Whichever method you use, make sure you have at least one thing on every tier. Make sure your free content caters to all levels of skill and need. That way, your list building efforts will work for all potential clients, regardless of skill or need.

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