I’ve spent the last 2 years doing a lot of resumes and LinkedIn profiles for job seekers. I’ve also done a lot of biographies and social media marketing copy and consulting for coaches, authors and other solo business owners along the way. But now I’m leveraging my last two years of experiences (all of which were paying gigs, so no need to smack my pen out of my hand, LOL!) and I am positioning myself to expand and work with bigger companies like my first one.
There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content--far too many to cover here. My intent is to give you an introduction to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you’ll see the opportunities all around you. Soon you’ll be coming up with 50 content marketing ideas every day. You won’t be able to stop seeing opportunities to create content. Here are five examples to help your mind start percolating.
We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack. But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion. Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood? With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care? If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.
While successful content writers seem to have an enviable life -- they work from home, make their own schedules and work as much or as little as they please -- the vast majority have a hard time making a living of it. They lack the skills necessary to succeed. Because no matter how talented they are, writing skill is simply not enough. So, if you want to become successful as a content writer, you need a full toolkit of marketable skills.
What do you want readers to do with the content you create? If your only answer is, “Well, read it, I guess,” you need to go back to the drawing board. Before you even start writing, you need to know what your call to action will be, and you need to make it compelling enough that readers can’t help but click. That’s how you connect content writing to marketing goals and prove ROI.
When writing calls to action, put yourself in the reader’s shoes: what would it take for a company you’ve never heard of to convince you to do something, even something as simple as sharing the article with a friend? Now, connect it to your goals: how can you craft a CTA and content specific to your company’s marketing and sales KPIs that actually persuades readers to take action?
Take a content writing class online. Some professional content writers argue that academic programs may be too basic or general for individuals who already have some writing experience or an existing English degree. If you feel you are already a skillful writer, you will likely need technical writing skills that you can gain through a content writing class online.
The key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it. So was VW’s 2014 “Game Day” commercial, which has been viewed on YouTube almost 18 million times as of the writing of this post, an ad, or content marketing? The answer is it’s both, depending on how it’s received by each individual who is exposed to it. The same will apply to any piece of content marketing you create, depending on whether the recipient received value from it or not. Of course the goal is to provide as much value from your content marketing to as much of your target audience as possible. At this point, despite this definition and explanation, you’re probably still wondering what exactly content marketing is. We can get more clarity by considering a few examples.
You're Director of Marketing for an agency that specializes in design solutions for small businesses. You're having trouble attracting customers, though, because keeping an agency on retainer seems like a luxury for a small business. So you decide to create some DIY design tools to help them, you know, DIY. You do some keyword research and notice about 2,000 people are searching for an "infographic generator" every month, so you decide to build one that people can use for free once -- and if they like it, they can create more infographics for free if they provide a name and email address.