It may be no news to you that big brands like Motorola, Apple, and Microsoft have used – and are still using – content marketing to generate more leads and boost sales.
Also, the fact that content marketing helps businesses increase their conversion rates significantly may have become a cliché to you.
But wait, did you know that content marketing (yes, the same strategy that worked for the likes of Apple and Microsoft) isn’t working for many other businesses and brands, despite the huge funds they’re spending on their campaigns?
You ask why? Well, I’ll tell you the reason…
You see, no strategy – no matter how brilliant it is – will work if the rules guiding it are not followed. It’s the same for content marketing.
So, whether you’re aiming for lead generation, increased brand awareness, increased sales, or some other goal with your content marketing campaign, you must play by the rules – if you really want to achieve your desired goals.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you 11 golden rules of content marketing. For you to succeed like Apple and Microsoft, you must follow these rules strictly. If you break any of them, well…
Now, let’s discuss the rules one by one:
1. Offer value
If your content is of no relevance to your readers or prospects, then your campaign will yield no results.
In a brief sentence, content marketing can be defined as “the exchange of valuable content for prospects’ trust and loyalty.” What this means is that the only currency you have in hand (to trade with) is value. And when you don’t have this currency, you simply can’t exchange it for something else (trust in this case).
So, your content must be valuable. It must answer provocative questions your prospects have been asking, and it must solve common problems they’ve been battling with.
If your content falls short of these, you won’t get your desired results.
2. Do not sell
With content marketing, you’re trying to build a level of trust among customers. You’re trying to prove to them that you’re the expert in your line of business. Only by offering relevant content – free – can you quickly achieve these.
You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot by sounding overly promotional. If you do, your prospects will activate their “scam detectors” and flee – into the waiting hands of your anxious competitors. (I’m sure you hate that.)
Promotional content abound all over the internet. You’ll find so many glorifying adjectives on the “about us” and “our services” pages of most websites. And attractive ads are sprinkled everywhere.
Well, before now, all these promotional tactics used to attract customers. But because most customers have been burned after falling for these tactics, they’re now more careful than ever. So, the moment they see anything like ads, sales pitches, seemingly-fake testimonials, or promotional pieces, they hit the “close” button immediately.
Now, let me tell you something. You may find it hard to believe, but it’s true:
When you offer relevant content that answers your prospects’ questions and solves their problems, they’ll buy whatever products and services you offer.
Now, running a content marketing campaign doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote your products or services at all. You should, but minimally.
Content marketing experts recommend a 9:1 value-to-promotion ratio. Stick with that, and your prospects will respond positively to the promotional part.
3. Your content must be well written
The magnitude of the results of your content marketing campaign hinges largely on how well structured your content pieces are. So, you must ensure that your content is well-crafted, detailed, and free of grammatical errors.
Readers will get pissed if your blog posts are laden with unpardonable typos and obvious punctuation blunders. Your subscribers will never read past the first three pages of your free ebook if its structure and formatting looks amateurish.
To get the most from your content, you must create stellar pieces. In fact, companies like Microsoft and Apple have in-house copywriters whose job is to craft content that gets read and shared. You may not be able to afford that for now, but you can hire a freelance writer to help you if you’re not a good writer yourself or you don’t have time to write.
Remember, content marketing isn’t about text alone. It includes videos, podcasts, etc. So, just as your text must be well written, your videos or podcasts must be well packaged. If necessary, hire the right professionals to help you.
4. You must be factual
Nobody likes to be fooled. So, avoid offering misleading information – whether deliberately or mistakenly. You must always offer factual content.
Always conduct research to confirm your facts and statistics before sharing them. This will help you avoid an error that can ruin your business or brand quickly.
Always be honest with your facts, even when you think disclosing some of them won’t help your business. The truth is, prospects will respect you for your honesty, and they’ll reward you by doing business with you.
5. Offer content that is related to your business
For instance, being a freelance writer and content marketing strategist, I run this blog, on which I share content marketing strategies and tactics. You can see that the content I publish is closely related to the services I offer.
Similarly, for a dentist, offering blog posts, videos, podcasts, free ebooks, and presentations on dental health would be the most appropriate content marketing strategy. With that, he can easily position himself as an expert and attract more patients.
It simply won’t work if you’re a website developer and you’re running a blog on freelance writing or making money online – with the sole aim of attracting clients. How would you pass word across that you’re an expert web developer when you’re offering content about freelance writing? You’ll surely be mistaken for a freelance writer.
So, always offer content that is about your line of business. This way, you can easily prove your expertise to prospects and convince them to do business with you.
6. Show proof and results
Now, most prospects are no longer impressed with theory-only content. What they want are practical guides to solving their problems.
Even, merely offering practical guides won’t suffice. You must show them proof that your methods are really working. This is where case studies come into the whole picture.
So, you must publish case studies, presentations, and videos that show how your business has helped customers in the past. This will prove to your prospects that you’ve really mastered your business.
7. Be organized
Having an editorial calendar is very important, but sticking with it is even more important.
You must have a regular schedule for publishing your content. It may be once, twice, thrice, or more frequently on a weekly or monthly basis. But stick with it – strictly.
When your campaign operates by a fixed schedule, your prospects and customers will know when to expect new stuff from you. And in anticipation, they’ll set aside some time to really digest your content. (But this will only happen if they know you publish only at certain times.)
If you publish content haphazardly, you’ll retain less prospects and customers.
8. Don’t choke your prospects
Even your best food will trouble you if you take it in excess amounts. It’s the same for quality content. Though your content may perfectly suit the taste of your prospects, bombarding them with lots of it may be counterproductive.
Personally, I hate it when emails from a blogger start to get too frequent. And for this reason, I’ve unsubscribed from many mailing lists in the past. I don’t like it when someone tries to stuff my throat with more than I can swallow. I’m sure you don’t. And I’m sure your prospects don’t, too.
That your subscribers or prospects are always engaging with your content and giving you encouraging feedback shouldn’t incite you to start bombarding them with content. If you do, you’ll get them pissed, and they’ll stop following you. So, don’t ever mess with their loyalty to you.
9. Always allow for 2-way communication
One of the advantages of content marketing is that it creates an avenue for effective correspondence between you and your prospects. (Of course, no one can engage with ads or pieces of blatantly promotional content.)
So, you must maximize this advantage by actually opening communication channels with your prospects.
Encourage comments on your blog posts, conduct polls, use social media effectively, and welcome suggestions, recommendations, and ideas from your prospects. This way, you’re telling them that they matter a lot to your business and that you’ll like keep a long-term relationship with them.
10. Always add CTAs
Content marketing, of itself, isn’t an end. Rather, it’s a means to an end. It is the most important part of your lead generation machine because it attracts and convinces prospects. But, remember that your goal is beyond attracting or convincing prospects; your goal is to convert them.
Now, the truth is, content marketing won’t help you achieve that goal. (Conversion, I mean.) A clear and concise call-to-action (CTA) will make that happen – or almost happen.
After prospects have been successfully attracted and convinced, they need to be told what to do next. This is where the CTA comes in. You use it to prompt your prospects to take a particular action (subscribe, download, etc.).
CTAs help to push prospects further down the sales funnel. Without them, you’ll lose your prospects – even after successfully attracting and getting them convinced. (Painful isn’t it?)
So, add CTAs at strategic points within your content, to prevent your prospects from “evaporating.”
11. Always analyze
After rolling out your content marketing campaign, you must keep quantifying your individual strategies as well as the results you’re getting from each. This way, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.
Are your videos attracting more prospects than your free ebooks? Is your blog more effective in attracting clients? Or are you getting most of your customers through social media?
Only by analyzing your campaign can you find answers to crucial questions like these. Plus, you’ll know which strategies to ditch and which ones to focus more on.
To get the desired results from your content marketing campaign, follow these 11 rules strictly. Don’t disobey even just one, as this may turn things against you. I wish you all the best.
Do you disagree with any part of this post? Or do you know of any additional rules? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
How To Start a Gemstone Business in Nigeria
The Basic Principles to a Successful Gemstone Business in Nigeria
Several questions arises from doing gemstone business because a lot of people are new to this business (just entering the market) while some others are just reading about it for the first time.
It is a known fact that one of the best sectors for business is the mineral sector and it has been identified that Nigeria is blessed with lots of mineral resources and about 35 mineral deposits have been discovered in the nation. Nigeria is a country blessed with unique kinds of diamonds such as topaz sapphire with a large market out there demanding for these minerals.
What is Gemstone and its Physical Properties
A gemstone is a kind of attractive mineral but after being polished and cut is traditionally used to make jewelry or other adornments.
Some physical properties of Gemstone which distinguishes the mineral include its lustre, although most of them are tough. Rarity is another attribute that brings value.
Stone according to this is valued dependent on not the amount available but also from what is called the 4C which is interpreted as Clarity, Cut, Carat Weight and Colour.
Colour: Color is an important element for gemstones as there is no stone without color. If the color of a stone varies from this variety either being darker or lighter, more vibrant or less, it becomes less precious the stone will be. Colour generally consist of three dimensions: hue, tone, and saturation.
Hue is the belief of color noticed like yellow, red or blue.
Tone defines the degree of darkness or lightness of an item.
Saturation defines the level of purity of a colour.
Cut: This is the design or shape of a stone in addition to the accuracy of the proportions of the stone and complete. The cut reveals a gem’s beauty.
Gemstones are usually cut into shapes. Furthermore, they are fashioned or are sometimes carved into different designs. In the Cut property of Gemstones, there are two other sub-properties namely Proportion and End, respectively.
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Proportions involves appeal and the equilibrium of the design. End identifies the detail of this workmanship. A cut will demonstrate the optical properties of a stone. While all other variables are even in terms of (colour, clarity, and carat weight), a more better-cut gem will increasingly be valuable.
How To Begin a Gemstone Business
Possessing a broad assortment of diamonds is vital. Mostly when having a target on diamonds or jewelry, you should be be able to purchase gemstone beads and carve one off designer beads which are in hot demand. One of the ways to build a long-lasting confidence in the heart of your buyers would be to get a huge choice of gemstones. Through the means of a gem testing lab like the GIA, where you will be able to test these diamonds and include a certificate. It will make your buyers to make decisions even as they build trust in your business.
Strategize On Methods of Targeting and Attracting Buyers
When starting out, necessary precautions needs to be taken but the first step to take when starting the business to attract buyers is start for pleasure, majorly as a hobby and also note that you can avoid mistakes only if the precautions are adhered to. Try out your ideas for beginning. Although there’s a need to do some market research too but ensure that your goods are much better than what others are offering.
Try to Build That Trust
One thing about Gemstone business, is that it needs lots of trust and confidence from both the parties (seller and the buyer). When you are enthusiastic about the business, your clients will have confidence to buy from you.
Invest Your Time and Money
You also have to give it your all, invest your time to the business. In this business, the most important thing to do is to invest large quantity of money. Gemstones are costly, and sapphires and the diamonds are the most of all stones.
Have an Escort Especially One Who Knows the Market while Purchasing
It is advised that while trying to source for the product, that you visit the market with someone who knows the market well, especially someone who knows the in-and-out of Gemstone business so that your trade will be worth your cash. You will also find several stores offering the products online and off the streets. For drop-shipping, the shipping expenses will be added. In all these, always try to check up first with someone who has knowledge of the business.
Make A Choice Of What Sort Of Gemstones You Would Like To Market
Before buying a gemstones, you need to decide what sort of gems that you would like to market. Decide if you will establish the market of genstones in retail marketplace or at wholesale. There will be a need to use a cutter to cut the stone if you would like to make the stones in various forms and quality to the market, putting more money into your pockets by selling cut gemstones.
Make More Money Selling Cut Gemstones
By improving the marketplace and making more money, one thing which you would do is to buy a machinery and you probably would have to employ a gemstone cutter the capital you will require will probably be greater. Be assertive that you buy exactly what you would need.
In situations where cut stones will be sold by you, it’s compulsory that you get a gemstone cutter. The cutting of this product can add to the cost and increase to several thousands of dollars.
According to experts, in cutting stones such as diamonds and sapphires in respect to gemstones you would have to pay great rapt attention. This obviously means that the purchase price of the jewelry or the diamond is dependent upon how it’s cut. Which is the main reason why having good knowledge of cutting gemstones is significant to your success in the business.
Strategize and Re-strategize on Your Sales Options
After all been said, you need to identify buyers or potential buyers who may be interested. You may be able to sell your items on the internet or also off the streets. Major investors can be your customers especially for those who like to collect precious things You’ll have the ability to cater for their needs by identifying your target clients. You would need to survey the market for more opportunities in the gemstone business. Produce the quality, quantity of the gemstones in addition to the cost for affordable to everyone. You have the opportunity to promote your business to more clients by promoting your products online. With that, you can have the opportunity to make even more money.
In the Nigerian marketplace, gemstones are very precious but the current market is saturated and will take up as much volume of the product without having any effect on the purchase price against supply. The higher the quantity available, the better your bargaining power.
The price of gemstones can increase by 10 percent to 15 percent once the item is cut.
At this juncture, you must be aware that gemstone export has been a recurring event and just a few people are profiting from it due to lack of information.
How to Start Fish Farming Business in Nigeria
Establishing a Profit-Making Fish Farming Business
Fish farming is a highly lucrative and profitable business. It is said that the quantity of fish that are produced locally cannot feed the Nigerian population of over 200 million people. With this, there is an open market for individuals who will like to grab this opportunity in the fish market and locally produce fish.
Firstly we will consider the commercial potentials of basic fish farming in Nigeria.
Commercial Potential of Fish Farming In Nigeria
- Nigerians eat a lot of fish daily because it is a very cheap source of protein compared to meat.
- Secondly, there is a high demand of fish importation in the country.
- It is also important to note that in order to start a fish farm, the cost implication is cheaper as compared to setting up a poultry farm or any livestock farm.
- Fourthly, with government support toward agriculture, you are assured of loans on a long term.
Write a Fish farming business plan
Having known the benefits in starting up a fish business, you can therefore write a business plan and start up. Carry out a market survey to gather all necessary information about the business and also to know the cost items or things needed so as to have an estimated budget price for capital.
As you survey also inquire about the type of fish you want to start with and find out which one is currently on demand and low on production. After carrying out the survey, you can write a business plan to create strategies to run the business.
Begin with the little you can start and use this stage of the business to expand in knowledge and as you get more experience in the business, you can expand as more funds come in. With about three hundred thousand naira (N3000), you can get a pond which can contain an average of 10000 mature fishes and this depends on if you already have a piece of land with a stable source of water.
Types of Fish pond
For your fish farming business to be successful, you are to put into consideration the type of pond to be used in a given environment.
When you purchase a piece of land for your fish business, you need to get an expert opinion on the type of pond that should be constructed. The type of pond are namely:
- a) Earthen Pond
This type of pond from its name is from the soil which consists of about 25% of clay that enables the free flow of water. This pond can be constructed in any desired shape, majorly close to swampy areas whereby there’s a free flow of natural water in and out of the pond.
- b) Concrete Pond
This pond involves the use of sand, gravel and cement with manually fix pipes used to pump water in and out of the pond from a storage tank. A well or borehole is built to supply constant water to pond on a regular basis.
- c) The Plastic Pond
This is a type of pond made from plastic and installed in the compound where the fish farm business will be tested. This is a less expensive type of pond and can be used by anyone.
Location and Land Mass of Farm
You may want to start with a plot of land or more but this should be big enough for the construction of your ponds and the water source either well or borehole.
A lot of people started the business from their own backyards and later expanded to bigger accessible environment as the demand for more fishes increased.
Types of Fishes You can Produce
The popular fishes in Nigeria with high demand are the Cat Fish, Salmon and Tilapia
Cat fish is easy to breed and nigerians love catfish. A lot of restaurants, Beer Parlors and Hotels prepare soups and pepper soups using catfish. It is also used during ceremonial activities and many Farmers choose to do cat fish because the demand for it is very high.
This is a very popular fish in Nigeria and it is widely called the Titus fish. The natural habitat for the Salmon is the oceans but farmers can produce them also
Nigerians eat a lot of tiliapa especially in their soups. It is enjoyed and mostly breeded by farmers because they grow fast and the matured ones are usually fleshy.
Sterilize water with antibacterial and anti-fungi medicine and make sure the ion and natural concentration of water is of equal strength before you place your fish inside the pond. Get an aquaculture consultant for proper instructions.
To start your breeding, you can get Fingerlings and Juveniles at a different price range for both of them and be sure of the exact amount you need to begin with.
Feeding the Fish
Fishes grow faster when they ate being fed well, feeding them properly would enable them grow faster from 1 to 1.5 kg in 4 to 6 months.
Things You Should Know and Do In Fish Business
Below is a list of things you should know and do in running a fish business and they are highlighted in no order.
- Make sure you purchase healthy Fingerlings and Juveniles from farms that produce them
- Let them be fed two times in a day
- To prevent pollution in the water, carry out spot feeding
- Never change water immediately after feeding so that they do not vomit the food
- Do not manage water as fish cannot survive outside water
- Change water after two or three days with fresh water
- Supply fish with vitamin supplements to prevent diseases and keep them healthy
- Purchase the common brand of feed on sale such as Raanan, Livestovit and Aquafeed
- Separate fishes by sizes as they mature to avoid bigger ones from eating eating smaller ones
- Same size fishes will grow, struggle for food, swim, and have healthy competition
- To save cost of feed, buy your own Pelletizer to make your personal feed
- Store feeds in a cool dry place save from rodents and pests
- Gain knowledge from aquaculture experts by attending seminars and conferences.
Sale after Maturity
You can sell to anyone who want to as long as you know the actual price in the open market having done your market survey, as in that way you make profits.
What to do to avoid problems in Fish Farming
- No Business Plan
Without a business plan you’re planning to fail in this business. It is important to have a business plan in order to protect your capital
- Lack of experience
Get adequate knowledge, have a mentor, attend seminars; get all the help you can.
- Bad Farm Site
Have an easy accessible farm site to buyers, let the roads to your farms but vehicle friendly
Control the temperature in the pond to save your fishes. With a high water temperature in the pond, the juveniles at risk of dying, no production of egg and decrease in reproduction.
Competition is a factor which cannot seized to exist in any business and for the fish business, it is not different. To get your customers you need to move into the market away from your immediate environment to sell at the best price available
Disease can wipe out juveniles in no time, therefore it is important that the juveniles are monitored closely and regular checkup should be done on the them to prevent any deadly disease outbreak which could lead to a big loss. If any irregularity is noticed, kindly notify the Vet immediately.
This business is open to anyone who wants to make millions providing the cheapest source of protein to Nigerians. Take advantage of this opportunity using the guidelines above and you can be one major provider of fish to one or more states in Nigeria.
How to Start A Successful Farming Business in Nigeria
Farming is a business which yields a lot of profit especially when it involves the production of crops and livestock. Poultry farming is equally lucrative, especially when talking about chicken, pigeons, quails, and turkeys. Farming is the major sustainable source of economic development for nations over the years and has served as a means of livelihood for the populace and in Nigeria, the strategic role of farming cannot be overemphasized.
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Farming business is the major focus for nations with good climate conditions for farming, as they look into building a sustainable development of the nation and make gainful employment of its populace, encouraging them to engage in farming.
Reasons Why You Should Start Farming Business In Nigeria
Why should you go into farming business in Nigeria? Also, why should Nigeria be the focal point for lucrative farming? The answers are:
- Large Productivity And Profitability Margin
The Nigerian environment is the lucrative choice for all farming investors as Nigeria has proven to be productive in its resources and show great number of profit achievable in the nation. There’s no country in West Africa with more production rate than Nigeria in the farming industry.
- High Population Of Nigeria
Nigeria has an estimated population of over 200 million and this puts a farming venture capitalist to an advantage to a wide open market to constantly do business directly with such estimated percentage of the populace. When the percentage of people who purchase your product from the open market is high, the farming business….
3. Availability of Expansive Fertile, Arable Land
Nigeria has a wide range of rich-fertile farmland which makes it open for investors to adequately invest in farming in Nigeria. With a estimated total mass of 910,770 excluding the water bodies makes it one of the largest land in Africa with over 70% of the land available for farming given the good weather conditions.
- Governmental Supports, Loans and Incentives
The government in Nigeria has encouraged local farming in Nigeria by showing support through granting of loans and giving of juicy incentives. In terms of support, the government provides necessary tools and materials which are essentials for farming and will also aid the production of farm goods largely available to the populace and for business to the international market. Agriculture is also one of the highest earners of foreign exchange for Nigeria aside from oil. So, the government is fully supportive of farming practice in the country
Useful Caution Before Taking To Farming Business In Nigeria
Before you delve into farming in Nigeria, there are several imperatives you need to consider:
- For a would-be farmer to be successful in Nigeria, you need to master and understand the skills needed to be successful in the business. The major reason for this is that a lot has changed in the business and you must know your onions to avoid running into debts while aiming for profits in the farming business.
- In addition, you need to create a market strategy and identify which product you want to focus on or what you will be providing to the populace which will make your farming business a more successful one.
- Lastly, set a target for yourself and the business. This will bring about opportunities for improvement in certain areas that needs improvement. Although competition may arise but that should not overwhelm you to the point which you begin to lose focus of what you should do to keep the business going.
- You are meant to promote your business and constantly research on new innovations to make it better. It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to raise your bar to becoming a more successful farmer or businessman/woman in the farming industry in Nigeria.
Major Farming Businesses With High Prospect You Should Start In Nigeria Today
Now that you’ve decided to invest in farming, here are major farming business you should start today. Note that the highlighted business are major farming practices which are high in demand by the populace in Nigeria today.
1. Rice Farming
A bag of rice currently cost about N13, 000 and N25, 000 in Nigeria depending on the quality of rice. Therefore with an estimated production of 100,000 thousand bags a year, selling at about N15, 000 will apparently result to about N1.5million Naira.
Rice is one of the most cheerful foodstuffs in Nigeria and widely consumed meal by most families. On a daily basis, over 70% of the Nigeria’s populace consumes rice and as 2011 the nation spent over 991 million Naira importing rice.
Therefore, starting up a rice farming business could be highly lucrative to you if all the money which is being used to import rice is directed to you as a major rice farmer.
2. Cassava Farming
Cassava can be processed into several forms such as garri, starch or what the majority call fufu. This food is highly common in Nigeria as everyone eats cassava in one form or another. The cost of garri in the market is similar to rice and this means that there’s a lot to gain or profit in this farming business being that the foodstuff is a premium commodity in Nigeria.
Furthermore, Nigeria has lots of fertile lands for profitable cassava planting and management in which you can be getting profits in millions of naira from selling of raw cassava tubers or in its processed form such as Garri and fufu.
3. Poultry Farming
This is yet another highly profitable farming business in Nigeria. With adequate management of the poultry, a farmer could literally count millions in a very short time. This type of farming business is not difficult to start but requires a basic knowledge of its operations. This knowledge can be sought from veteran poultry farmers and they will shed more light on what is inherent in becoming a successful poultry farmer.
4. Beans farming
Beans is another high-in-demand farm product sort by Nigerians and it is important to note that beans costs almost double the price of a bag of rice and garri combined. The northerners are majorly involved in this business and they supply to states all over the country, ripping millions of Naira on large supplies. Wouldn’t you want to become a stakeholder in the beans farming business?
5. Catfish Farming
If you’re low on capital and want to start on a small farming business, catfish farming and snail farming are available to venture into. In the open market, the catfish sells for about N1,500 and you can gradually increase your production as you make sales.
- Snail Farming
Snail farming is another business which requires a low capital of less than N50,000. A research proved that a snail farmer can reap over 15 million Naira in the business within two to three years of operation.
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