Who else wants to run a profitable online business using only FREE tools and other people’s content?

Last week, IID’s editor-in-chief, Nick Laight, gave me a sneak peek at a new series of free online training videos he is releasing later in March.

This is a truly exciting opportunity and I urge you to sign up to hear about it first when he releases details in a few weeks’ time.

This is all about learning how to quickly turn what you already know (about pretty much anything) into a profitable online business: not one that’s been auto-generated by some dodgy clickbank-affiliate-origramme-manipulating-auto-posting-website-churning-robot-monster, but a business you can be very proud of…

Just a few of the things you can expect from the free training:

  • Why most people never make money online (and it’s not what you think!).
  • The missing link that will instantly put you in the top 1% of online marketers.
  • Free and low-cost tools that allow you to quickly build an audience, create content, establish trust, and market products for profit.
  • A simple way to identify the valuable experiences, interests and knowledge you already have to become a highly respected expert.
  • Revealed: a clear step-by-step business blueprint to starting your own online authority site.
  • A personally fulfilling and financially rewarding online business model that can be used by ANYONE – whether you have an existing business or are just starting out.

To guarantee access to this FREE video training, make sure you register here.

Bored of hearing about email, SEO, links and affiliate marketing? Good!

Without giving too much away, some of the elements of following Nick’s training have inspired me to focus today’s email on the topics of content marketing and social media: two free online tactics that could form an incredibly solid foundation for any online business.

Sometimes, the heavy weight on the shoulders of Internet Marketers and online entrepreneurs when it comes to keeping up with the latest in SEO, link-building, keywords, metadata, and all those clever techniques to grab visitors, can get exhausting.

Indeed, with changes over recent years at Google, many of these techniques don’t even work any more.

And the websites that have built their traffic through other means – like word of mouth, or having a strong brand, for example – are now laughing (not that websites can laugh, but you know what I mean).

This is not an email about the technical aspects of SEO. It’s about something that is now called ‘Content Marketing‘: the big buzz-phrase of recent times among the kind of people whose job it is to get web traffic.

It’s a startlingly simple concept, but, like everything online, it’s easy to get wrong.

It’s also pleasingly easy to get right if you have (you guessed it) great content.

But you also need to know how to get that content noticed. And that’s the clever part…

Content Marketing is just like it says on the tin: marketing through content. It means using your unique content to spread the word about your product and pull people to your site.

This means that publishers – for who content is everything – should immediately have a head start.

In the past, it was all about ensuring that all that content – as much as possible – was published on your site so that Google would index it, and the keywords would pull in traffic from searches.

Now, the key to being big on Google is to not worry about being big on Google.

Here are the three steps to being a great content marketer and using what you already do best to grow your traffic – and your database, your subscriber numbers and your advertising revenue.

1. Create (or pull together!) really awesome content

Pareto’s Law tells us that 20% of your content will pull in 80% of your traffic. So why are you bothering to worry about the 80% that underperforms?

The secret is to concentrate on the 20% that will strike a chord with your potential customers.

It makes much more sense to put a lot of effort into finding or creating a few amazing pieces of content than to mass-produce tons of merely good content.

So, creating a brilliant download or infographic or stunning feature article will pay dividends – as long as you are confident it will connect with your audience.

Think about your flagship content.

Ideas? Surveys are always great for PR, as long as you design them with headlines in mind. Downloads are great too – blueprints, resources, reports, guides… If it’s useful, compelling, funny or fascinating, it’s got a good chance of working.

You need these chosen pieces of content to give you a tingle when you talk about them.

They don’t have to be huge productions either. Often, something that’s simple that only takes a minute or two to read or watch (because video can be fantastic for Content Marketing) works better than something really elaborate.

It’s also not worth putting loads of time and money into something unless you are certain your audience will love it. So you can test your ideas to your database or networks. Does it get lots of clicks? If so, there’s a great chance it will work.

And if you get really stuck, create a list. People love lists!

Indeed, to make a site or online business successful and to succeed with Content Marketing you don’t even necessarily need your own content.

But you’ll have to sign up to hear more about Nick’s new project if you want to hear more about that! Register here.

2. Make it social

Some of you may be sick of hearing about social media, especially social media marketing; but when it is used in conjunction with Content Marketing it can set your business on fire.

We all know that building a big list of followers and bombarding them with links to our products doesn’t work. (Well, we all should know that.)

But Twitter and Facebook – or LinkedIn and Reddit and Stumbleupon, depending on your audience – are now more important than Google for spreading the news about your content.

This is for two reasons:

  1. The direct traffic from the big social networks can be huge.
  2. Google ranks content with lots of likes and tweets higher than it ranks content without social shares – so you get a double-whammy of goodness.

I have heard this referred to as ‘like bait’, which is a pretty annoying term – but also accurate. You need content that your audience will want to share on their social networks.

When people use Facebook or Twitter (or LinkedIn if you’re B2B) they are looking for social currency – stuff they can share with their friends and followers that will make them look good.

People only share content that they think will improve their own standing – either because it improves their reputation as a taste-maker or the person who is first to know, or because they need content to share and don’t have anything original to say.

People don’t share stuff that is embarrassing or boring or dry. They won’t ‘like’ depressing content on Facebook either.

You need to make sure you have social buttons on your content. And you need to build your own network so you have a frontline of people to push your content out there.

But most visits and shares will come from people outside your own network – or who were previously outside your network.

There is a whole other strategy involved in building followers and fans, but Content Marketing can play a part in this because it spreads the word about your business, you, and your site… it can spread the word about anything!

As I mentioned, this week’s email was inspired by a rather mysterious (but I can assure you, very excellent) new programme from our very own editor-in-chief, Nick Laight.

If you want to hear about that first you need to be on this list.

That’s about it for this week, but do get in touch if you have any questions.

This article first appeared on Internet Income Detective. Read more and comment here