Why Content Marketing is the Future of Your Writing Business
You send your draft in. Then the invoice. Then you open a new document and get to writing something new. It never occurs to you that you just missed a huge opportunity. Possibly even your biggest source of income!
If this has happened to you, you’re not the only one. Writers often call a job done after writing. But why stop there? You could offer even more help to your clients.
Instead of simply being a writer, you can become a content marketer.
You’ll do the research, the planning, the writing, and finally, the marketing for all your client’s content.
The more helpful you are, the more you can charge. And the more money you make, the better your chances of escaping a boring 9-5 life.
Play it smart and you can even be your own boss.
So grow your writing business by picking up the valuable skill of content marketing.
Marketing Made Easy
Marketing doesn’t start at the end. There’s more to it than posting your content on social media after you hit publish.
To be successful at content marketing, you need to plan from the beginning.
Your topic is the first step in your marketing plan. Pick a topic that your audience doesn’t care about and your marketing will fail.
Push a topic that your customers don’t want or need and you’ll be doing the opposite of what we call marketing – you’ll be driving customers away.
You can tell if your topic will work by researching your audience. Create a buyer persona that understands their needs, most challenging problems, demographics, and more.
Once you have an interesting, relevant topic, you can move onto SEO.
Optimizing for SEO
You might’ve heard how important SEO is.
But did you know that organic search drives 51% of traffic to B2B and B2C sites? (Source)
It’s no wonder marketers are always talking about it.
To create content optimized for search engines, you’ll start off by researching keywords. There are tools that will help with this like Google’s Keyword Planner. Then once you’ve found suitable keywords to put in your post (high volume and low competition), you’ll move on to writing the content.
A good rule of thumb is to place your keywords in your copy, but write it for humans, not robots. Don’t spam keywords. If a keyword creates an awkward phrase, leave it out. You always want natural sounding writing, otherwise you’ll turn readers away. Google rewards content that is relevant, high quality, and in-depth.
It’s not enough for only your writing to be SEO optimized. You need your site to be optimized too. Your search engine ranking will take a dive if your site isn’t mobile friendly and loads slowly.
Sharing on Social Media
One common question that’s asked is if you need to be on all social platforms.
It’s a tough question, and the answer is that it depends on how much resources you have - mainly time. You’ll want to prioritize time spent on each social media platform by your marketing goals and where your audience is.
It would be foolish to spend all your resources on Pinterest if your customers are mainly on Facebook.
Keep in mind that social media is all about being social. It’s not about selling all the time. You want to interact and create relationships. Readers will become weary of those who try to sell, sell, sell until selling becomes ineffective.
That’s why you should rely on what Gary Vaynerchuk calls Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Give them informative, relevant content that they’ll enjoy, and later you can deliver that right hook when you tell them to act.
Note how many jabs there are compared to hooks. Traditionally, you’ll be delivering promotional content only 20% of the time.
Places to share:
How to increase engagement on social media:
- Know what your audience wants.
- Find out which platforms are most relevant to your audience.
- Optimize your posts and schedules to make it more visible and relevant.
- Understand your audience’s language.
- Display your images with correct dimensions.
- Comment and share with others.
- Help your audience and interact with care.
Sharing with Communities
Chances are your audience has designated places where they interact. They could be private or public, online or offline, but it’s a given that they’ll be somewhere in their own little world — a world that you need to introduce yourself to.
Online, find out where your community is. After interacting for a while, you should be in the position to share your own posts. It’s frowned upon to simply join and promote yourself, so make sure you’ve contributed and built relationships, and then your promotion will be looked upon more fondly.
You might find a community by doing a Google search like: “[Your topic] forum” or “[Your topic] message board”.
Or you can search for your topic on Facebook to find an active group.
Other places to find communities:
Connecting with Influencers
Influencers are key individuals in your market.
These superstars pull a lot of weight. They can share your content with their multitude of fans, and they can help you establish trust and authority.
Most influencers don’t mind collaborating. They had to start off somewhere, and usually, they’ll get something out of it too: more content for their ravenous fans.
How can you connect with these popular individuals?
Note: You should always come across as helpful, not demanding. You shouldn’t be pushy, and whatever you do, don’t constantly annoy them if they’re busy.
Email your useful content – Most influencers are mass consumers of whatever industry they’re in. They study what others are doing, and if your content is useful, they’ll tend to give it a shout out on social media.
Ask for a quote – An influencer should have an interesting take on your topic. Put an interesting quote of theirs in your content and they’ll be more likely to share once you publish. Plus, your content will get an authority boost.
Collaborate – Develop a rapport with an influencer and you can be featured on their website, blog, or podcast. Or you could even invite them to contribute to your own space.
Comment – You can get the eye of an influencer by commenting on their content. Whether that be through a blog post, a Tweet, or a forum comment, make it insightful and they’ll be sure to remember you.
If you interact and become an ally of enough influencers, in the future you could find yourself in the position where you’re now an influencer as well.
Sometimes you’ve got to use money to make money.
Paid promotion is usually more direct than free marketing. Often it involves one on one, highly targeted advertisements sent to your audience.
Sharing content can sometimes pay off, but paid promotion is guaranteed to be shown. (Whether they respond or not is up to how well you’ve constructed your ad. You’re already halfway there if you’ve researched your audience and know them well.)
Forms of paid promotion:
Focus on the offer. Show your unique value proposition. And remember, design your ad so that it is optimized for the specific platform.
Transform Your Content
Not everyone prefers the written word.
Sometimes, people want something different. Why not attack them from every angle? When they want to watch something, offer a video. A podcast when they want to listen. Or an infographic for when they want quick, visual content.
By changing the medium you use, you can share your content with different subsets that visit different hubs on the Internet.
For example, someone who spends all their time on YouTube and hasn’t read a book in years is easier to engage with a video rather than an e-book.
There are various ways you can repurpose content: Videos, podcasts, images, infographics, webinars, and more.
You can even repurpose your written content into another written medium. Turn a series of blog posts into an e-book. Create a PDF report out of an article. Rework an article into a slide show.
Some of these options like creating images might not be part of your repertoire, but with so many tutorials online, it’s easier than ever to learn how to create simple images.
The Nitty Gritty of Content Marketing
There are specific tips to maximize your reach, like submit all your posts to LinkedIn and all the other methods we mentioned above. And while those small tips are helpful, they're not the heart of content marketing.
At the end of the day your biggest task is creating quality.
SEO, social media, niche communities, paid promotion, and everything else you can think of that deals with marketing - all of it relies on quality content.
You create quality content by making it relevant. By creating magnetic headlines. With persuasive copy. By researching your audience and offering benefits that touch upon their needs.
By creating quality content, you’re setting yourself up for success.
It’ll help you gain more clients, more repeat business, and you’ll earn the reputation of a do-it-all writer that clients will jump through hoops to hire.
Deliver on all fronts. Bill yourself as a content marketer.