On Trust and Content Marketing

Post by Ana Ottman for the Kindness in Business series.


Photo by DiddyOh on Flickr

You probably thought this post was going to be about how to market your creative business in a way that builds your audience’s trust.

And it is – in a way. It’s going to start not from the marketing itself, but from you, and the trust you have in your business.

With all the marketing advice out there, it’s a wonder any creative business owner manages to come up with a unique marketing plan.

That’s where my favorite tool – content marketing – comes in. It’s still one of the most fun – and effective – ways to market your creative business. Content marketing is a technique that creates and distributes relevant and valuable content to your target audience on places like Facebook or your blog. And the big secret? It’s most effective when it’s something you actually want to do.

If you get one takeaway from this post, I want it to be this: Trust yourself to let go of the content marketing activities that don’t delight and inspire you. Your audience can tell when you do things half-heartedly, when you pursue the “shoulds” instead of the “YES.”

(Isn’t it wonderful that what’s best for your creative business is also best for your personal well-being?)

Let me pause here for one caveat. I would recommend still getting your business name domain and your personal name domain for all the social media sites, even if you aren’t using them. That way, if things ever shift for you in the future, you’re not left wishing they were available, and needing to choose some second choice option that your audience may not easily remember.

Here’s how to get started with kind content marketing:

Take a content marketing audit.

Yeah, I find that word off-putting too. But it’s accurate here. Review all the content marketing activities you’re currently doing, and for each one: look at the results you’re getting from it AND ask yourself – do I love marketing in this way?
For example, you could look at your Facebook business page, and from all your buyers in 2013, you discover that 40% of them found you through Facebook. What’s more, you love interacting with your Facebook fans, posting prompts, sharing your creations, and hearing from your customers. So, Facebook is a content marketing tool that is here to stay, for you.
The dilemma comes when you have a content marketing tool that is successful for your business, but that you don’t enjoy doing. In that case, I would recommend delegating it. You don’t want to negatively affect your business growth by stopping this important activity, but you also want to be the happiest, most effective business owner you can be.

What haven’t you tried, and why?

What about those content marketing activities that you haven’t tried yet. What should you do about those? I would start by doing some online research, and asking your peers: What’s great about this medium? What about it works for you? What don’t you like about it? Then, before you commit to anything, pretend you’re a journalist or detective and play around with it. What do you discover?
For example, say that you’ve never tried having a mailing list. You talk with your peers who say that they love MailChimp because of its user-friendly interface. Your next step would be to sign up for a free MailChimp account, and create some sample newsletters. Look at their tools for embedding sign-up forms into your website. Notice how other people entice visitors to sign up for their mailing list. Come up with a name, or brainstorm potential free content that is very high quality for newsletter sign-ups.
Then, ask yourself: Does this content marketing activity make sense for my business right now? Will it grow my business in the ways I want? Do I like doing this activity, or did I discover that it’s not the right medium for my audience?

Make a plan.

Now you’ve got everything on the table – the content marketing activities that make you come alive and those that don’t. The activities that you’re going to keep or add-on to what you’re doing, and the activities that you want to stop doing or delegate. This may be enough for some of you, and you can stop here.
If you want to take it a step further, start putting some numbers, dates, and goals into the mix. For example: In Q1, I want to increase my Facebook fans to 800. To do this, I will post quality content twice a day, every weekday. I will dedicate 30 minutes per day to finding and posting content, and interacting with my page fans. Try doing this for every content marketing activity you have in the mix.

I’d be lying if I said my favorite part of this process wasn’t when creative business owners, like you, let go of a content marketing activity that has drained their energy for months. The need to do everything all the time in the right way is exhausting, isn’t it?

The happiest business owners I know understand the content marketing activities that work for them and focus on doing more of those, without worrying about the marketing activities they’re not doing. You can grow your business to the level you desire with this same approach, and uncover more time for the creative work that matters.

Ana Ottman is a copywriter who loves helping creative business owners develop intelligent marketing activities. Uncover your USP and develop your brand voice with DIY Voice & Copy, available at AnaOttman.com.

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