Content marketing is HOT for a simple reason. It’s cost-effective. You get an awful lot of bang for your content marketing buck.
If you’re thinking about using content for marketing, you may confine your ambitions to blogging, and Facebook pages. While there’s nothing wrong with that, consider broadening your horizons, to info products.
Blogs and social media pages have a big challenge: they’re ephemeral. You can create a wonderful, traffic-generating blog post, which gets a trickle of traffic for years. While it’s valuable, and can do a great deal for your business, it’s still just a blog post.
A book on the other hand is a book. Suddenly you’re an author. At a more humble level, a white paper or a report is a product. It’s a discrete entity. It’s not that I have anything against blog posts and the like. Heaven forbid. I’ve been blogging since 2000, and loved blogs while other businesses were still scoffing at “online journals.” A blog’s wonderful, but info products are entities.
Let’s look at creative ways you can use info products in your business.
1. Use content marketing to demonstrate expertise: become a thought leader
Want to become a thought leader in your industry? Write a book. Seth Godin is the pattern card for thought leaders in marketing. The man’s a genius, no question. Authors are respected.
No time to write a book? Hire a ghostwriter, or write a white paper, report or short ebook.
2. Generate income opportunities from info products
You can generate income from info products in many different was:
- Offer them as inducements to sign up to a mailing list;
- Sell them on Amazon or the Web;
- Create online classes and courses;
- Attract traffic and links.
3. Get more traffic (Google isn’t the only search engine)
Speaking of traffic: Google isn’t the only search engine which sends you traffic. Aside from Yahoo and Bing, consider that Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube are search engines which can send you traffic.
Podcasts and videos are popular info marketing tools for this reason: traffic.
4. Generate more leads using info products
As we’ve said, a blog post is just that. Millions of blog posts are created each day. (3.7 million, in August 2014.) That’s a LOT of competition.
If you create an info product however, it’s something for your website visitors to download, pass around, and keep.
5. Build your brand
Content marketing with Info products builds your brand. Produce a book, and you’re an author… an authority. Produce ebooks, or a magazine, and you’re a publisher as well as a business person.
In 2014, many more businesses use info products like magazines to publish regularly to build their brand — see Flipboard, if you’d like to create a (free) magazine for your business too. I love Twitter, but a tweet has a life span measured in seconds. Every info product you create builds your brand now and in the future.
6. Become an author: build reputation
We’ve mentioned Seth Godin. He’s an info product powerhouse, who understands marketing and publishing. His reputation rests on a sold foundation of books.
7. Create ebooks to enhance sales
In the early 1990s, if you strolled into a bookshop, you saw brick-sized software manuals stacked to the ceiling. Yes, they were necessary. I can remember reading my Lotus Agenda manuals as if they were holy writ.
Those manuals were also content marketing. Businesses displayed those manuals on bookshelves.
Nowadays you don’t have to kill a forest. You can use ebooks to enhance your sales. Think about what you wish your customers knew about your products. Create a downloadable ebook to tell them.
8. Create workbooks to help customers get more from your products
Most products lend themselves to a workbook or two.
Selling T-shirts? Create a workbook which shows customers how to draw their own designs onto your T shirts. Then create a contest for the best designs.
In real estate? Create a workbook/ journal/ app to help your clients to move house.
9. Create white papers and reports to inform
Your business produces a mass of research and stats. Use that information to create white papers and reports.
Tip: get creative with this. If you can’t stand to read your own white paper, your customers won’t read it either. Use straightforward language, and don’t be boring.
10. Create videos and podcasts to entertain (and inspire)
Your videos and podcasts are info products. By all means upload them to YouTube. Don’t stop there however. Make the most of them by compiling them into downloads on your own website, where your customers can find them easily. Info products you create to teach your products also promote your products – and they’re info products in their own right.
Techsmith for example does an amazing job with their tutorial videos as you might expect from a software company devoted to helping their customers to create images and videos.
Here’s what I like about the way Techsmith handles its tutorials: they’re entertaining, and informative, as well as being inspiring.
So there you have it — ten creative ways to use info products in YOUR business.
Updated July 24, 2014.
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