What Is Content Marketing, Anyway? A Simple Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs
I realized the other day that I spend a lot of blog time teaching you how to create a content marketing strategy . . . but I've never explained what content marketing actually is. Cart, meet horse.
Content marketing is a buzzword right now. It feels new and trendy, and maybe you're questioning if it's even something you need in your business. (After all, I'm a big fan of only doing things that work for you and your business.)
Let's start by getting out of the way what content marketing isn't. Content marketing is NOT
- having a blog page on your business site that you post to when you feel like it, about random topics;
- a sales pitch in every post;
- writing solely for SEO robots.
So what is content marketing?
Let's take away the hype and get right to the heart of things: content marketing is offering valuable information in a way that makes people want to buy from you.
It's the win-win of the marketing world. You're not bothering anyone with a sales pitch; you're delivering free solutions to their problems. You don't have to feel yucky about selling things because you're genuinely adding value to the conversation.
That may be the simple answer to your content marketing questions, but how will that actually look in your business? Check out these 6 definitions of content marketing to find out.
6 Definitions of Content Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs
1. Content marketing attracts new visitors to your site.
Do your ideal clients know they need a career coach, or are they searching for things like "should I quit my job?" Do they know an experienced copywriter could solve all their problems, or are they asking Google why their sales page isn't converting?
Many people don't know what they need; they just know they have a problem. Content marketing allows potential clients to find your business because they searched for help to a problem, and you swooped in with the solution.
2. Content marketing introduces new visitors to your expertise.
When I'm scoping out businesses for help with a problem, I don't linger over bullet points on someone's resume. I head straight to their blog. That's where I'll find out how much they really know about their industry. Are they talking about current events in their field? Can they write about their topic in a way that's engaging and easy to understand? Are they writing posts that solve problems I've experienced?
That's what proves an entrepreneur is someone worth hiring.
3. Content marketing gives visitors a reason to stick around.
What's to stop a potential client from landing on your blog, getting the helpful tip they came for, and forgetting all about you? Content marketing.
A strong content marketing strategy includes calls-to-action that encourage visitors to stick around. New readers will be drawn to other smart content you've written instead of clicking away. If they're impressed by what they see on your blog, they'll want to get even more by signing up for your email list.
4. Content marketing shows visitors who you are.
Content marketing introduces readers to your unique voice and gives you a place to share related anecdotes from your life or business. Most people would rather work with someone they know than a total stranger. Letting people get to know you through your content marketing gives you a huge advantage over the competition since you've already built trust and rapport with your prospective clients.
Bonus: This also allows you to weed out clients who aren't a good fit for you. If someone doesn't like your writing style, your sense of humor, or the way you communicate, they probably won't hire you . . . and that saves you the headache of trying to do a job that's not right for you.
5. Content marketing gets people talking about you.
People want to share things that are helpful to them. By consistently creating useful content, you're giving your readers a reason to share your work with their friends. This draws even more potential clients to your site---but unlike a cold search, these visitors heard about you through word of mouth. Never underestimate the power of social proof in your marketing strategy!
6. Content marketing meets potential clients where they're at.
You have an ideal client in mind, and you've narrowed down their persona. But no matter how niched down your client avatar is, people in the real world are in a range of places in business and life. Content marketing lets you meet people where they're at.
Maybe someone isn't ready for your services quite yet, but she could be in a few months. Create content to help her get where she needs to be to hire you! Maybe one of your readers doesn't quite fit your demographic profile, but their business vision and work style are exactly what you hope to attract in a client. Strategic content marketing lets you cast a wider net, drawing in perfect clients you may not have considered otherwise.
Ready to build your content marketing strategy?
So, what is content marketing? Basically the most helpful, least sleazy marketing strategy ever.
If you're ready to bring content marketing into your business but don't know where to start, grab your copy of my free Content Strategy Cheat Sheet! Just enter your info in the box below, and you'll be on your way to a smarter, simpler content strategy.