In the real world, it’s easy to spot someone who’s interested in something you’ve made. Their eyes light up, and they examine an item by touching it or looking closely at it. They might ask a couple of questions about how it’s made or how it works. But online, it’s a little different.
Online, you know if someone likes what she sees from things like shares, likes, pins, follows, comments and click-throughs.
That kind of engagement can only happen when what you’ve posted resonates with your followers, customers, and fans. The more you good stuff you post, the more engagement you get. It makes perfect sense.
But this is also the root of a big problem for lots of creatives.
You know you should post, but what to post, where to post it, and how to create all that content can get a bit overwhelming at times.
If you feel like you should be doing more engaging things online, what’s stopping you? How can you get past it?
Here are some common concerns.
I’ve heard the term ‘content marketing’ and it just sounds like meaningless buzzwords. How does content help with marketing?
You’ve probably already done some content marketing, even if you didn’t think of it that way.
If you take a photo of a necklace you’ve made and post it on Pinterest, and other people pin it, you’ve done content marketing. It can be just that simple, but you’ll probably get much better results if you go beyond one social media site.
Articles, books, podcasts, video, and photos are all content. It’s not that the word ‘content’ is hard to understand; it’s just so all-encompassing that the word itself is almost meaningless. If your eyes glaze over when you hear the term, I’m right there with you, despite that fact that I use it all the time for lack of a better alternative.
The term content marketing might seem fuzzy, but the process is anything but meaningless. In fact, it’s the best way to help customers discover your business online.
Is this really for me? I go to shows and get lots of customers there. Why should I do anything more than I’m doing right now?
That’s a decision you have to make for yourself.
But if you want to make a connection with a customer once and then continue showing up in front of them until they become a repeat customer, having a comprehensive online presence helps immensely. This consists of your own site and blog, your email marketing, and a variety of social media platforms.
How else can you get constant feedback from your audience? What other ways do you have to remind them that you exist? Of course there are other methods of doing this, but most of them have a much higher price tag.
Can’t I just use my Facebook page? I have lots of fans and conversations. Or my Pinterest page? I get lots of repins.
Of course you can, but if that’s all you do you could be missing a few really important strategic elements. If you don’t depend on your creative business for income, it’s perfectly fine to just have a page on a social media site.
If you have a real business that you want to grow, then it’s likely that you will eventually need more.
Social media is one tool of many. It’s necessary, but it’s not all you need. It’s not the focus of your online presence; each platform is one spoke on a big hub.
I see how it could be valuable, but it seems like a lot of work – and time.
- What do I need to do to get started?
- Once I get things going, how much time do I have to invest, and what’s the real payoff?
- How much does it cost?
What do I need to get started?
Start by planning. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, and your plan will almost certainly change as you go, but just having the guidelines in place makes everything much easier.
How much time will it take?
That depends on your level of comfort with the skills and tools you’ll use. The more practice you get, the faster things will go.
If you know you’re not good at something and don’t want to spend the time to learn how to do it better, find help, either from a colleague or a professional. For instance, if you enjoy social media and photography, but hate writing, then find someone to write or edit your blog while you take the photos and update your social media feeds.
Make a plan and put a system in place. This will save you time in the long run.
What’s the real payoff?
The long-term is where the real gold lies. The real benefit is that you become a trusted resource for your audience, which means they’ll think of you when they think of your niche.
How much does it cost?
That’s the other thing that’s so great about content marketing. It’s scalable, and tailored to your needs. Your budget can be as big or small as you need it to be. You can do as much as you’re comfortable doing by yourself, or you can outsource the parts that you don’t like or that are too time-consuming.
Using content for business promotion feels right for creatives
As a creative entrepreneur, using content to attract customers clicks with your attitude toward marketing. You don’t want to push hard sales pitches; you want your customers to find you and know you before they buy, so you go beyond the one-off sale and create an ongoing relationship.
Don’t let your logistical concerns about how to create content drown out your business needs. Get started and work at it bit by bit. A slow trickle of consistent content is better than a huge flood done just once in a while.
Get help if you need it, but the most important thing is to get it out there.
This is truly a case where the tortoise can win the race.