If you’re a creative entrepreneur then part of your job description is marketing your business. No surprise there, right? Without getting attention on your work—without eyes on what you do—it’s kind of hard to build a brand or business.
And yet, setting out to make an impact in the world and shining a light on it as a new(ish) business owner can be tough.
Actually, the entire world of online marketing can be downright overwhelming with its competing, blaring advice regularly finding its way to your feed.
But it doesn’t have to be.
You got into business to make and create and do what you love. Sharing your work should not be the thing that holds you back from building your dream, legacy-worthy business.
After years and years studying storytelling, messaging and copywriting, and almost 20 years now working in content marketing in the nonprofit space honing and simplifying my approach to content, I now know there is a sustainable way to regularly:
- Be recognized as the obvious choice for the work you do.
- Prove you can solve the problem your audience has.
- Highlight why you are the right person to work with.
- Demonstrate that you understand.
In this post, I’ll cover some of the common marketing challenges you might be facing and my favorite strategy to help you overcome them.
Introducing Content Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs
How do you tell people how you do what you do differently than anyone else?
How do you make sure they understand the value of your product or service and how it will change their life?
How do you even reach those people to begin with, and connect with them in a way that builds trust and relationship?
Enter: Content marketing.
You’ve probably heard the term. Maybe you even decided you needed to share more content so you posted and prayed even more regularly than before. But you didn’t see much traction so you just stopped posting.
What I’m talking about is a bit different. By definition, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
Put more simply, it’s about showing up with purpose to connect with the right people.
You offer a specific solution in your business. Pair that with generous, relevant, useful information and you’ll naturally attract people who have the problem you solve. That info helps you build credibility and trust, ultimately making it easy for them to choose you and your solution.
So how is this approach different?
It’s not about interrupting someone with a sales pitch like you’d find in a more traditional marketing ad on TV or in a magazine.
Instead, content marketing focuses on providing valuable info for people (aka potential customers) to find on their own as they look for an answer to a specific question or problem
I mean, how many times today have you reached into the back pocket of your (cool) mom jeans, typed in a question and hit search?
You’re not alone. We all love to search:
- The latest data shows that Google processes over 99,000 searches every single second—that’s more than 8.5 billion searches a day.
- 84% of searchers use Google three times a day or more.
- And almost half, 46% of product searches begin on Google.
And listen to this stat: Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads (aka potential customers), according to DemandMetrics.
Another study by HubSpot found B2B companies that blog one or two times per month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog.
Notably, this distinction is key: Instead of setting out to sell, content marketing aims to give.
Offer value. Build trust. Connect with the right people. Grow your business.
Tips for Creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
Let’s review: Content marketing can help you connect with more of the right people to grow your business as a service provider or digital or physical product creator.
The goal is content that’s shareable, clickable, readable and relevant to what people are searching for.
So what are the nuts and bolts? Here’s a few tips for creating a successful content marketing strategy.
(Which, again, simply means you are showing up with purpose to connect with the right people.)
I am not about showing up just for the sake of it, checking it off for the day and hoping it connects with someone. And I’m guessing you aren’t either because you have a business to run. Instead, when you work through setting the foundational elements of your content marketing strategy, and then follow a simple and sustainable system for showing up regularly, that’s when you find the magic.
Some of those strategic, foundational steps include:
- Define your target audience: Before creating any content, it’s important to define who you want to reach. Who are they? What are their interests, needs and pain points? When you really understand your audience, you can create content that speaks directly to them and provides value.
- Set clear goals: What do you want to achieve with your content marketing strategy, specifically? And this will be different for every business. For example, do you want to increase website traffic, generate leads, or build brand awareness? When you set clear goals for your strategy and have a simple way to track your progress, you can stay on track to meet them.
- Create valuable and relevant content: No surprise here—The key to a successful content marketing strategy is creating valuable and relevant content. This includes blog posts, podcasts, videos, email, social media posts and more. When you provide what your target audience finds useful, you establish yourself as an expert in your niche and build trust with people who may become customers.
And I’m here to convince you that your content doesn’t have to be complicated. You need a simple and sustainable system that works for you—and that doesn’t require you to be on every platform, 24/7. In fact, I don’t recommend that at all. If you’re just starting out or trying to build your content marketing strategy, I recommend choosing one primary platform to create 2-4 pieces of content a month for and then repurposing that content into an email, one other supporting social platform and Pinterest.
Of course, consistency is key. You want to create a content plan and then a content calendar you can stick to. It’s only when you show up consistently that you can really build the relationships and community that will help your business grow.
So there you have it.
Content marketing can be a powerful tool for creative entrepreneurs looking to build a successful business. By defining your target audience, setting clear goals, creating valuable and relevant content, being consistent, and promoting your content, you can start to overcome the challenges of marketing your brand. You can connect with the right people and make it easy for them to choose you.
How exactly to go about it in a way that’s simple and sustainable? That’s what this space is all about.
If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Christin—professional editor and content strategist (aka word wingwoman) here to simplify content for creatives. If you want to show up consistently online, this NEW 5-day email series will show you how to plan your content for next quarter (and feel less overwhelmed doing it). It’s 100% free—you’ll be making better content (with less actual content) in no time! Get on the list for CONTENT CAMP.