I am working with a new client, coaching them on how to implement a content marketing strategy. Content marketing is the publishing of free blogs, videos, podcasts, and images on the Internet in order to attract prospective customers that are a match for one’s products and services. While I was thinking of different ways to illustrate how content marketing works to my clients, I had the following experience: I was on Facebook and saw a post from a friend for an article titled “11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business” by Stephanie St. Claire at Blissbombed.com.

The title intrigued me as I am starting out in business, again! Hint – I have problems that need solving and this headline led me to believe that it might have some answers. I read the article and loved it, so much so that I poked around the writer’s website. I liked her Facebook page and followed her on Twitter and signed up for her email updates. I also shared the article on my Facebook and Twitter. I also read about Stephanie’s various coaching services which intrigued me.

Next day I saw a video by Stephanie in my Facebook news feed and watched the video. I can’t remember if it was that video or another on her channel (you know how that goes…) that had a screen that said “email me a question”. I thought I am game and I’ll give it try. I emailed Stephanie a question. A few days later I received a nice reply. I also shared more of her videos on my social networks. In the following days I commented on some of Stephanie’s posts on her Facebook page and she commented back. I found out from her page that the article that I read had been picked up and gone viral and she’d received 2500 new fans on her Facebook page in one week.

Though we all have experiences like this, finding someone on social media and getting connected, we aren’t always conscious of how it’s all working in terms of marketing and more importantly that the someone has a carefully planned strategy and set up to support that strategy.

Here are a few summary points of what I think Stephanie is doing very well.

1. Writing blogs and creating videos that solve problems faced by her target market.

2. Clear and bold call-to-actions on her blog to follow Twitter, like her Facebook page and sign up for her email updates.

3. Engagement and personal connection with her fans. She is proactive in this in offering the “email a question” as well as been highly responsive on her Facebook page.

4. Personality and authenticity. She is herself and presents herself as a real person, for example talking about her own challenges.

5. Branding. She has consistent branding across all her channels, using the same “blissbombed” ID, same profile picture, and graphic look and feel.

6. The use of a Youtube video channel really heats up the viral potential of her network.

Having a video or blog go viral may have some luck to it but it’s mostly the result of the persistent following and implementation of a coherent strategy. The results are impressive. I am already what we call in social marketing a “raving fan” which means a) I am highly open to marketing offers that Stephanie sends me b) I am sharing and advocating her content and offerings.

And the beauty is there is no selling going on – when content marketing is practiced effectively, the prospective customers sell themselves by consuming the free content. The marketer doesn’t have to use aggressive persuasion techniques to close business. It’s self-seduction really. Bravo to Stephanie St. Claire for creating an authentic business and being a good example of social marketing to other conscious businesses.

Guy Harvey

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