Imagine yourself, sitting on a beach somewhere… or in a Swiss chalet… or on the balcony of your Parisian flat…
You open your laptop to check your emails, and find notifications of thousands of dollars that have flowed into your bank account, literally overnight.
With a contented sigh, you close the laptop and wander off to do whatever it is you do with all that free time, because you’ve discovered the power of…
OK, so it doesn’t work exactly like that. Passive income is a bit of a myth, because there’s nothing truly passive about it. It takes a metric crap ton of work to set your business up to make money while you sleep. And, despite what any number of Internet gurus would have you believe, it is not “set it and forget it.”
Even those hucksters selling people on the dream of passive income? They’re working their tails off to achieve it. I don’t doubt they’re sitting on the beach sipping mai tais — but they’ve also got that laptop open, typing away like crazy.
So, I don’t really like the term passive income. Leveraged income, on the other hand, seems to me a much more apt description of what many (if not most) of us solopreneurs are aiming for.
Imagine if you could leverage your time and make more sales with less work.
That is the power of content marketing.
Content marketing is your opportunity to have a sales conversation with hundreds — even thousands — of potential customers all at once.
Yet most people totally waste the opportunity, because most people don’t understand that their blog is their best sales tool.
When you stop blogging and start content marketing you turn your blog into a lean, mean lead-generating machine!
The difference between blogging and content marketing
In my last post, I said that all blogging is content marketing — but that’s not strictly true.
All blogging can be content marketing if you have a strategy.
Strategy is the difference between blogging and content marketing.
To me, blogging is what you do when you’re just writing about whatever comes to mind. You’ve set up your schedule to post once a week, and so you sit down and type out whatever you’ve been thinking about lately in regards to your business (or… not, sometimes!) and hit publish.
And then you sit there, waiting for the sales to roll in.
But that’s like walking up to people at the mall, or the farmer’s market, or a networking event and saying, “I really like this new soda water I tried last week. It was blackberry cucumber flavor and totally yum. By the way, are you interested in weight loss coaching?”
(And actually, most bloggers without a strategy don’t even go so far as to ask for the sale like that. They just leave their random soda water comments hanging out there in the wind with no context whatsoever!)
Content marketing, on the other hand, follows a strategy that provides context — not just for your readers, but for you as well!
You can still tell your personal stories, review that soda water, whatever it is — in fact, I encourage you to! — but now you have a framework for putting those stories into a context that will help you sell your products and services.
The dream of leveraged sales is a reality
Remember that passive income dream I had us dreaming up top there?
It actually happened to me last month.
OK, so I wasn’t sitting on a beach or in a flat in Paris. I was sitting at my dining room table.
In my jammies.
With yesterday’s mascara still smudged under my eyes.
And I opened my laptop to check my email, and there was an email that said I had made $500. Which was pretty exciting, because it was unplanned income.
And then the emails just kept coming… $860. $1,000. $1,200. $2,000…
By the end of the day, I’d earned more than $3,000 — and it was all from a single email.
Except it wasn’t.
That’s the dreamy mythological version again. Sure, that single email is what triggered all those people to buy. But what actually happened is that I’d spent the last four weeks priming them to be ready to buy.
And so when I sent out that email that said it was their last chance, they took action.
It would be easy to say I’d earned $3,000 in a day, because technically I did.
But I actually earned it over the past four weeks of blog posts and emails. I earned it with my content marketing because I had a strategy, because I’d put what I was offering into context for people, and because I’d lead them happily down the path until it just made sense that they purchased.
THAT is the power of content marketing.