Content Marketing continues to have a life of its own, riding a wave of non-stop hype. But what are all that text and all those images floating through space really worth to your business? I edit two newsletters, one short and sweet, the other several pages long and filled with lots of text and photos. One newsletter I assemble myself by reaching out to obtain snippets of relevant and timely new information and an image or two each month. The second I solely edit and what a laborious process it is to slog through all that dense text! Can you guess which entity generates the most revenue and profit?
Why, the owners of the short newsletter that gives splashes of fresh info every month plus one or two new pictures, of course. Those organization leaders do not bury themselves in the labor and expense of high-maintenance content marketing. They are instead pursuing clients and making money. They are not merely busy; they are productive. They know their role as business owners.
If you can build and maintain a good stable of clients without a web presence, by golly I say you should do it. Truth be told, most of the most successful business owners and Freelance consultants that I know have no website and no social media. Instead, they are known and trusted by clients and referral sources. They are going to the bank and not to their keyboards or video cameras to crank out “content”.
Enter the experts
The short answer is, if you’ve done something successfully a number of times, you can claim the title. However, there is also the axiom “Those who can do and those who can’t, teach.” My client who has enlisted my services for the production of the monthly weighty tome hasn’t had a client in something like five years (I’m serous). She swans around speaking on panels, moderating panels, writing articles for a couple of journals that don’t pay (I edit those as well) and overall being a very busy girl. But I’m not sure how she pays her mortgage. Trust fund?
Everybody with access to a keyboard or a camera is doing some level of content marketing, even if it’s only for themselves and their Twitter friends. Everybody’s pulling out a cell phone to snap pictures of something—the first snowfall, the first crocuses and at the Boston waterfront a couple of weeks ago, when the air temperature was minus 10 and the Atlantic Ocean was about 40 degrees, the fog that was rising from the water as a result of the 50 degree temperature difference (it was quite a sight). all those photos become content posted to social media. It’s all noise that competes with what Freelance consultants and other business owners are aiming to do, that is, get the attention of potential clients and referral sources.
Branding is not personal
Supermodels and a certain group of raven-haired sisters (and their mother) in southern California seem to have done very well with the personal branding concept, but that doesn’t hold for the rest of us. Unless you were lucky enough to have held a job that allowed you to publicly build a reputation amongst prospective clients, or you descend from a prestigious family, the differences that you (and I) point out to clients are only differences and not distinctive competitive advantages. We are the same, only different.
Strategic, original, relevant, concise
If you have the time and inclination to delve into the content marketing fray, be strategic about the process, most of all. Have a clear and defendable purpose. My purpose for producing this blog since June 2009 has been to
1.demonstrate that I have good business judgment
2. demonstrate my writing skills
I’ve referred prospective clients to the link for this blog and the strategy has been successful. I’ve gotten at least three clients, including a (modest) book editing assignment, my first. Editing two newsletters also helped me to snare that gig.
Further, read about business topics in places like The Financial Times, The New York Times, Business Week, Inc. Magazine, the Harvard Business Review and other credible sources. Those can become your inspiration, along with your owned lived experience, to generate original content. Do not bother to try and pass off groupings of links to articles as your blog or newsletter content. Do not insult people.
Finally, whatever your topic, two and a half pages of text, or 1000 words, has got to be your max. When writing this blog, I start thinking about creating a two-part post if I surpass 800 words. Attention spans are not what they used to be in this noise-filled arena of experts.
Thanks for reading,