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Entrepreneurship

The 11 Golden Rules of Content Marketing

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Content Marketing

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.

Now, obey…

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.

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Career Tips

7 Mindsets of Successful People Which You Must Cultivate

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The population of the world is almost 10 billion. Can you imagine! More than 5 billion people aspire to succeed but only a few achieve success because of the mindset or mentality they have towards success. Do you want to be successful? You want to be the best doctor, engineer, politician…? It’s time you change your mindset about success. A popular quote by Colin Powell says

“No one ever drowns in his sweat. A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat determination and hard work”.

What are you doing now? Is it channeled to the success you’re dreaming of? Success is not a magic, it’s a hard work. However, in this post, I talked about success mindsets successful people have and definitely what you must have to achieve a successful life.

Also Read: How to Generate Leads for Your Business the Right Way

1. IT DEPENDS ON YOU

Success is not automatic. Success cannot be inherited even if you belong to the richest man on earth. Even God himself cannot make you succeed if you don’t want to succeed. George Lois said

“All growth depends on activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort and effort means work”.

The worst thing that can happen to you is to live an idle life waiting for success to emerge. Myles Munroe said

“The worst thing that can to any man is to die with his potential untapped”.

Trapped inside of you is tremendous hidden values waiting to be unleashed. Never take it back to the cemetery. You have potentials and you’re the only one that can release it. When you die with your potentials, you die with your forest and you fail your generation. However, it’s high time you left your comfort zone and rule the world with what you have. Think about how Bill Gates started. He didn’t finish university but today he’s one of the richest. You too can succeed if only you can discover yourself.

2. PEOPLE NEED YOU TO SURVIVE (YOU ARE CREATED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS)

Every individual born on earth has a mission and a problem to solve. People need you to survive and when you don’t succeed, they fail or probably, die. If you become a failure, you have failed your generation. Your purpose on earth is to make an impact. Don’t seize the opportunity to help others.

Had it been that Mark Zuckerberg gave up his pursuit to establish Facebook, so many businesses wouldn’t have existed online. Today, Facebook has more than 1.6 Billion users across the globe. Some bloggers and businessmen depend on Facebook to survive because it’s their major source of income.
Today, More than 1 Billion people cannot get information without Google. Had it been Larry Page and Sergy Brin gave up on Google; there wouldn’t have been the world largest search engine.

Sometimes we never know what we have until we lose it and become poor. Success is all about reaching out to the lives of people with what you have.
Problems arise every day. People create problems every day. But this is a question you must ask yourself

Are my here to create or solve problems?

It is either you create a problem and ruin people’s lives or you solve problems others have created.

3. YOU MUST BE READY TO SPEND

Don’t think that the journey to success is a “free trade area”. Success is not free. You must be willing and ready to spend both your money and your time. You must spend your money to buy books and other materials that can help you to succeed. Time also is very important. The must spend your time on things that are urgent, important and can add value to your life.

The life of Thomas Edison is a good replica. He was able to invest electric bulb because he spent most of his time reading, researching on how to produce an electric bulb.

What of the popular Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com who spent time and money building his blog. He’s now one of the richest bloggers in the world
When you spend time and money on your passion, Success will never elude you.

4. KNOW THAT ITS GOING TO BE TOUGH (DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL)

Every success-minded person must be sentenced to hard labour. There must be obstacles. The journey to success contains ups and downs that may hinder your acceleration in life. Robert Schuler said

“Tough times never last but tough people do”.

We must be well assured that we must pass through tough times. However don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is never a destination; it’s just an outcome or result. Only cowards make failure a destination. Cowards die many times but the bold go through obstacles determined to succeed.

That you failed in your first attempt doesn’t mean you should give up.
Abraham Lincoln never gave up the pursuit of becoming the US president. He contested many times and failed. He knew that it was just a matter of time

The moment you stop trying is the moment you endow yourself a failure. Make up your mind to survive the quagmires of life. Difficult situations will never last. However, success is a gradual process. Don’t expect a success of a thousand years to come in a day or the time you wanted it.

John C. Maxwell said

“Problems will stop you temporarily, but only you can stop yourself permanently”.

When you meet hurdles and you think that there is no way out, then you have stopped yourself. Failure must come on our way but we shouldn’t allow it to dominate.

That you were not able to pass through a tough time simply means:

You have not worked hard enough; or
You have not spent time on it; or
You Isolated yourself; or
You have not read books; or
You have not met the right friends (connections).

Think about it. If you want to overcome a tough time, you must be ready to fight it.
Remember, mistakes are inevitable. Albert Einstein said

“A person who never makes a mistake is a person who has never tried something new”.

When you fail or make mistakes, it’s just the beginning of your success.

5. YOUR FRIENDS MAY LEAVE BUT KEEP MOVING

Friendship may not be permanent. Sometimes your friends leave you when they feel your dreams are difficult to achieve.

“Big dreams are always tough to achieve”.

Don’t be surprised, the friends you started with may not end up with you.

“Ten friends may not stay together for ten years”.

Even when you graduate from school, you may not see your classmates/course mates again. But don’t stop moving when your friends leave.

Not all the friends that started with Mark Zuckerberg ended up with him. Some left during his tough times, but it never discouraged him. Those who stayed with him are now millionaires.

The same thing happened to Thomas Edison when his fellow scientists quitted after they failed in the first 6000 times to produce an Electric Bulb. They left him, pitied him and tried to discourage him, but he said: “NO, I now know 6000 ways in which you cannot do it”.

Don’t stop moving, there is a brighter day ahead of you.

6. PEOPLE WILL CHALLENGE YOU (YOU MUST FACE COMPETITION)

Don’t rule out competition. Life is like a race where you have to compete with other people (and win) before you will be endowed the champion. People will challenge your ability to prove whether you are strong enough to succeed.
Through competition, you discover your strengths and weaknesses. Through competition, you dig out more treasures that are trapped inside of you. It instills in us the winning attitude – the power of victory and excellence.
However, take the challenge, bear the challenge, win the challenge and dominate your industry. Remember, champions are finishers.

7. PEOPLE WILL HATE YOU

You can’t just stop it. It’s natural that people hate when others succeed. When you become a newsmaker, there will always be noisemakers that will criticize your impact. This is a reason why you don’t need to share your dreams with everybody.

Dream killers will give you every reason why you will fail.
Dream thieves will make your dreams look inferior to you.

In other words, beware! “Dogs” are around you. They don’t like your success.
Now consider this

No position without opposition
You need necessary opposition to take up your necessary position
Only those that have future position will face present opposition.

When you have a powerful vision, you will encounter opposition. The higher you go in life, the more obstacles that come your way.

+ Bonus Tip: SUCCESS IS STUDIOUSNESS

The key to every great life is the ability to learn new things. Successful people are bookworms. They study and learn every day. The more you read, the more you add value to your life and the more you solve problems.

CONCLUSION

Make a research on how successful men achieved their success, the obstacles they faced, and the areas they failed and how they thrived. Compare them with your life and know whether you’re on the right track.
I believe this article has helped you grab the right mindset of success and channel your life towards success. Cheers!

NOW YOUR TURN

I believe you were inspired and motivated. Have you been able to get rid of the wrong mentality? Have you left your comfort zone? Tell us how you conquered a particular problem that tried to discourage you. Drop your comments below and inspire others to succeed.

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Entrepreneurship

Top 5 Secrets to Become Financially Independent

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The knowledge of financial matters helps one to set a financial goal. Financial goals are list of things intended to be achieved with your finance. These goals includes what to buy, how to buy them and when to buy them. However, this helps one to plan ahead of time.

Financial Education in one way or the order helps to impart into the lives of individuals the act of saving. Savings refers to the disposable incomes that are not spent on consumer goods and services. Financial savings determines the future financial status of every individual and in other words makes people become financially alive.

Also Read: 11 Ways To Build A Profitable Business In Nigeria

However, the knowledge of Financial Education has helped individuals to flow in the realm of investment in company shares. Investment means involving or putting money in a business to earn another money which is sometimes higher than the one invested. One who invests his or her money in company shares is entitled to receive a dividend which can be be received by cash or reinvested to buy more shares in the company.

Financial Education has helped in the management of risk or insurance. However, you cannot completely eliminate risk – physical, emotional, spiritual or financial – but, in many situation it is possible to manage it, and in some areas protect yourself from a variety of risks. In the context of financial Education, risk management includes understanding the wide variety of insurance protections that are available to meet your personal needs. In other words, insuring your business helps you to reduce the amount of money you spend and thereby keeping you free from unwanted financial regret.

Finally, the future of any country depends on their citizens. A country filled with financial illiterates deteriorates the economic growth of such a country. In other hand, a country filled with financial literates expedite the growth of such a country. Financially educated citizens can help to ensure that the financial sector makes an effective contribution to real economic growth.

Also, Financial Savvy can be defined as the practical knowledge and ability to comprehend, manage and invest money. Below are the ways one can become financially savvy.

#1: INVEST

Almost everybody on earth wants to get money at all cost. Its simple. To maintain a good financial standard and savvy, you must be able to invest. Investment is not the spending of excess money rather it means using your disposable income to attract more money to increase your personal income. Economists defined it as the expenditure on physical assets which are not for immediate consumption but for the production of consumer goods and services. This is what differentiates you from a poor man. ‘‘An investor or a rich man will invest all he has and spend what is left, while a poor man spends all he has and invest what is left “. Life is all about investment. Financially Savvy people invest their money, time or opportunity in order to maintain their standard.

#2: EARN

Of course this cannot be exempted. Earning money after investment is a priority. And the fact is, earning passive income is best when there are many sources. Financially Savvy people don’t depend on one source of income. This is because anything can happen to your one and only job- it may collapse or you may be sacked. Am not trying to discourage you from your job, but, that’s life for you. When you have many sources, it increase your chance of amassing wealth and becoming financially independent.

#3: SAVE

An important key to Financial Savvy is the ability to save. Saving is not just protecting your money in any financial institution rather it is reducing the rate of your consumption expenditure or reserving part or all of your income for future purposes ( which may be for transactive, precautionary or speculative motives ).

#4: SPEND LITTLE

I always hear people saying that ‘‘ to earn money is difficult but to spend is the easiest thing in life’’, and that’s the truth. The worst thing that can happen to your financial life is being extravagant. Financially Savvy people spend little, invest and then save. Don’t spend much money when you know that you cannot even get double of what you’ve spent. The difference between rich men and poor men is that the rich plan how to spend while the poor just spend on anything that comes their way.

#5: BORROW LESS

This principle is very important for you to become Financially Savvy. Mistakes people usually make is that when they don’t have enough money to startup a business or their account have gone red, they will go and borrow huge sum of money which they cannot even refund. Before you borrow money, think about what you are going to do with the money, its consequences when you don’t pay at the appropriate time, and how to refund when you’ve gotten enough money. In order words its always advisable to borrow less whenever you are bankrupt.

However although this article is lengthy, at least l have been able to diversify your knowledge about Financial Education and how to become Financially Savvy. I have taken enough time to write this because of our society. The society is dilapidating. Parents and guardians no longer care about their finances. I believe you have been inculcated the knowledge of financial education. Now try to live it out. Becoming financially savvy is practical where money is the specimen.

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Career Tips

4 Excuses Poor People Give Which You Must Avoid

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Excuses have power but many people think it’s a part of life. Excuses have denied people of so many things they should have achieved. Sometimes if we fail to achieve something, we begin to blame people, or there is no money.

Excuses have made people live a mediocre life, have a negative mentality and make us believe that our big dreams are impossible to achieve.

It was very hard to believe that almost 30% of the population of Nigeria were poor and 60% average. This can be narrowed down to the excuses that have stopped them from moving forward. If you are reading this article and you discovered you are among the victims of excuses, then be well assured that you will end up blaming others for your failure in life.

Also Read: 9 Most Profitable Skills for Young Entrepreneurs

However, I scrutinized the lives of poor people and discovered many excuses that have made them remain poor or live an average life. However, in this article, I will marshal out 4 excuses poor people give.

1. I CAME FROM A POOR BACKGROUND

“I came from a poor background”. That’s one of the stupid excuses I hate to hear. Many poor people blame their parents for being poor. Some that are spiritually unintelligent will blame witchcrafts that operate in their father’s house. But the truth is no human being is behind your poverty.

You may be born into a poor family but that shouldn’t make you become poor. Many rich men like Dangote, Bill Gates and others didn’t allow their poor background to stop them from moving forward. If these rich men can make it, you too can make it if only you will forget about your poor background and strive to achieve your dreams.

2. I COULDN’T COMPLETE MY EDUCATION

Unable to complete your education can never stop you from becoming successful but the only thing that will hinder you is when you stop learning. People like Dangote and Bill Gates didn’t finish their education but they never stopped learning. Dropping out of school shouldn’t be the end of your world. Those who dropped out and became successful are really people who learned something in school.

The only way you can achieve all your dreams is to keep learning every day. That’s one of the keys to a successful life.

Related: 11 Ways To Build A Profitable Business In Nigeria

3. I HAD NO MONEY TO START A BUSINESS

Some poor people will tell you they couldn’t start up a business because there was no money.

But who said money is a prerequisite for starting up a business?

Actually, money is not the most important factor for starting a business in this 21st century. Many businesses today can be started from the comfort of your home without spending a dime. Money is just the secondary need, but the primary and most important is your passion, commitment and your ability to embrace new business ideas.

4. I COULDN’T GET A CONNECTION

“But, must you be connected to the richest man on earth for you to be successful?” Absolutely not.

There are so many successful and self-made billionaires and billionaire who rose from rags to riches. They struggled to make their own money without being connected to rich people.

If you are out there still waiting to meet rich people to start making money, then you are wasting your time. Start now to think of what you can do to make money. There are many businesses you can start today, choose the best you can do.

Bottom Line
Poor people are people who simply don’t take actions when they conceive a dream. They are people who have allowed procrastination and laziness to ruin their lives. And when they fail to achieve something, they start giving excuses.

The only way to escape this tragedy is to do what successful people do. Write your dreams, create a plan of action, and kick off your plan. Be committed and connect with people with like minds that will help you achieve your dreams.

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