So what we’re going to talk about this morning is the purpose of content marketing. And if you’re on the fence about this whole thing I completely understand because I certainly was for a lot of years. Building content is all about removing sales friction. So inevitably and we have to assume that inevitably people will come across your material. They’re going to be learning something new. So what do you want to teach them when you’re coming up with content for your content marketing? What you want to think about is what your audience already believes about your industry and what your audience already believes about you and what your audience believes about the problem that they’re having. And maybe you’re not in the business of solving problems for people like a lawyer or a doctor or a dentist. Maybe you’re in the business of helping people realize their aspirations so they might have some specific beliefs about an aspiration that they’re working towards in their life. So stop them write down all the things that you know your audience believes about you. It might also be useful to ask some of your existing customers what they believe about you or your industry or about your product prior to doing business with you because those beliefs are an obstacle to a future transaction with you. So for instance, if you’re a dentist what do people believe about dentists? Well, people believe that the surgery or going to a dentist is going to be all about pain and discomfort. So the message needs to be about how your practice in particular, deals with pain and discomfort. If you’re in the legal profession, there are some very specific stereotypes that people have when they’re thinking about the legal profession. So what do people believe about you? What do people believe about your industry? Well as far as what people believe about you, one of the obstacles we’re trying to get over here is that people may not even know that you exist and so they have zero belief. So just an awareness of your existence and then an awareness of your expertise is an important obstacle that creating good content will traverse. So we’re interested in getting your face out there and having that face say something intelligent so that people understand that you know you’re talking about. So it’s either an absence of awareness that we’re trying to overcome here. And at the same time trying to remove all the obstacles, all the friction that exists between you and the person that you would like to do business with or the person who you are in the best position to uniquely help in this situation. The other important thing that content marketing does for you is it gives you an opportunity to deepen a relationship. This is most acutely felt at the beginning of a relationship when there is no relationship. So think of all the effort that you could put into cold calling people to try and get a meeting with them. The beautiful thing about content marketing is that you create a resource that is there when the prospect is ready. So when they’re ready for what you’re laying down they will search for it and the resource will be there for them so that they can experience what is basically a sample of your service. And when we’re talking about offers and smells like I’m changing the subject but I’m really not. All of the great marketing campaigns out there that have gotten the most traction have had at their core a really good offer. And an offer is nothing more than a sample of the service that you provide. So for instance, we have the example of Domino’s Pizza. When they first came out with their offer, it was twenty minutes or it’s free and that removed friction because the people who they were targeting: stoned teenagers, they were hungry and they wanted to eat now and so when the offer came out twenty minutes or it’s free the resistance that that part of the audience had to picking up the phone and calling disappears because there was a guarantee of speed. ┬áSpeed of service, that was an important thing to them. It was actually less important than the quality of the pizza that was a well-crafted offer and it had everything that an offer should have which is a risk reversal and it provided an opportunity to add low cost to the prospect sample. The service and your content marketing does exactly the same thing. A person can experience your expertise or who you are as a person or the personality of your business without the risk of having to spend any money with you and that may sound like a bum deal for you but it really isn’t because without you building half of that bridge, you’re really asking the prospect to build the entire bridge to you. If you go out and deal with someone you’ve never done business with, you’re assuming all the risk in the relationship because you don’t know the quality of their works. You don’t know whether they know what they’re doing. You don’t know what their personality is going to be like. That’s a giant commitment. That’s like going on a date and then agreeing to marry the person right off the bat. So obviously, most people aren’t ready for a giant unqualified commitment and that’s what an offer does and that’s what your content marketing does. It creates a micro offer which is promised and stated headline and then the sample the actual sample of your service is the content itself which if you write it in an engaging way and the person gets through most of it and it actually provides them with either relief or a preview of the relief they will experience while doing business with you. Then it will only have done its job and it will have changed the person forever because they will never be able to go back from having been exposed to you as an expert. They will now have the beginnings of a relationship with them and you will have had a meeting with them even though you weren’t involved, your video, it has done the work for you but some of the sales process has already been taken care of. One of my favorite marketers Dan Kennedy says that if the marketing is done properly and it’s doing its job the sales becomes superfluous which basically means you turn your sales people into glorified order takers and I’ve seen this in several instances. We have good content marketing for my clients where we’ve created a really great video or series of videos and by the time the initial contact was made with the client, the sale was already made. In fact in the case of one of my customers who sells boats, a very thoughtful and well-crafted set of videos resulted in a person driving from Kentucky to Southern Ontario to buy a pair of boats. The sale was already made that’s why the enormous investment of travel was made by the customer but the sales had already taken place because the marketing was so good and the marketing was nothing more than an educational tool to help the person know that first of all the product was exactly what they wanted and exactly what they needed for their specific situation or in this case, aspiration and the people who were selling the boat were exactly the kind of people that the prospect wanted to do business with.