Virtually everyone reading this blog will have heard the term ‘content marketing.’ Put simply, it’s attracting and retaining customers or clients by creating and/or curating valuable and useful content.
It’s giving your customers something of value – letting them know that you care and that you’re thinking of them. You can do this through your website, your blog and/or any amount of social media channels – from the sober and serious LinkedIn to 140 characters on Twitter.
Content marketing is the way the world is moving: it’s effective, it’s efficient and best of all, it’s very often free. Unless you take your time into account that is…
This blog is a form of content marketing – and yes, it’s time consuming. But I like to think that it’s useful and I am absolutely certain that over the nearly-four years I’ve been writing, the blog has both attracted new clients and developed and strengthened my relationship with existing ones.
As with any form of content marketing, the blog gives away a lot of information. I can’t think of a subject relevant to business that I haven’t covered in the four years and in total there are well over 100,000 words – plus all the insights and extra information from your comments…
All that has been for free. But this is Yorkshire. Should I have given away that much information? After all: if ivver tha does owt fer nowt, allus do it fer thissen.
Sadly, in the age of Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and Gmail the old Yorkshire adage no longer applies…
I am more convinced than ever that creating, curating and distributing free content is one of the fundamental building blocks of a business and of good relationships with your clients and potential clients. Here are just a few reasons:
- Free content attracts your target audience. Anyone creating content should have a picture in their mind of the exact target audience they’re aiming for. I won’t embarrass them, but when I write this blog there are a dozen TAB members – and now one potential member – that I keep in mind.
- Free content gets your ideas and views shared. That’s what you want. If people share your content, re-tweet it, send the link to their friends, that’s exactly what you want. The more people who see what you’ve written the better – and that will happen with good content. As I said last week, you never know who’s there, you never who’s listening – and you never know who’s reading either.
- Free content establishes your authority. I’ve constantly been astonished by the number of people who’ve said, ‘Oh yes, I read your blog.’ This is one of those instances where you have to rely on the anecdotal evidence, not the analytical. You can’t measure authority, but you do know when you’ve established it.
- Consistent content proves that you can deliver. For me, this is one of the huge advantages of blogging on a regular basis. If someone says, ‘I’ve read your blog every week for two years’ I don’t need to convince them that I’ll deliver consistently. They’ve already seen the proof.
- They also know (hopefully!) that I’m a nice guy. That’s another advantage of content – you can use it to establish your personality. You can also use it to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
So back to the earlier question. Do I give away too much content? Is that something you should worry about if you’re currently creating content, or planning to start?
No, it isn’t.
People appreciate free content. But they will always pay for the content and information that is specific to them – that answers the questions they want answering. Free content will establish your authority, help you connect with an audience and prove you’d be a good person to deal with – but don’t worry, you’ll still get paid for the nitty-gritty.
To hark back to blog no. 99, Make Good Art – use free content to show people what it is that only you do best: and then they’ll pay you for doing it.