Content Marketing: The Hottest Marketing Trend Right Now

These days, I focus on direct-response copy, but when I was just starting out, most of what I did was pure content marketing. So I’m excited to take the helm of The Writer’s Life this week to show you how it works.

When I was just getting going as a freelancer, I didn’t know there was a special name for my kind of work. All I knew was my clients couldn’t get enough blog posts, short website and newsletter pieces, or special reports.

Their appetite for what I thought of as easy work was almost limitless, and I was quickly able to go from a total newbie with no clients to a full-time writer with several ongoing contracts and monthly retainer relationships.

What I didn’t know in those days was that I was working at the leading edge of a marketing trend that has exploded in the last five years.

Content marketing doesn't look like traditional advertising. It looks more like answers to questions, solutions to problems, and tips on how to do things — short, easy-to-write pieces you can finish in less than a day.

For example, a pet groomer might ask you to write a series of articles about dealing with dog hair for her blog. Your neighborhood grocer might want you to write a special report about seasonal produce, or you could get a financial client who wants tax tips to publish in his quarterly newsletter.

The idea behind all of these articles, blog posts, white papers, special reports, and other types of simple, informational pieces is that businesses want prospects to know, like, and trust them.

They hope if prospects like the information they see from them, they'll come back for more, visiting their site or their store over and over. They’ll get comfortable — feel at home — and eventually turn into a loyal customer.

That “at-home” sensation may seem like a simple, minor thing — but in a world of skeptical, jaded consumers, nurturing warm, long-term relationships with customers is the difference between healthy sales and struggling.

And that means you’ll find an almost unlimited appetite for your services as a content writer — as I personally know!

The first step, of course, is learning to spot content marketing “in the wild.” This is necessary so you can later identify possible clients, understand the structure of the different forms of content, and write your own pieces.

Visit a few of your favorite websites, and ask yourself these questions to see if they’re using some of the most common kinds of content marketing.

  • Is there a blog that’s updated regularly?
  • Can you read articles or press releases about the site’s products?
  • Does the site offer a free e-newsletter?
  • Can you download a special report?
  • Does the site link to a Facebook page or Twitter feed?

Let me know what you find in the comments — and tomorrow, I’ll show you how these content pieces really work to win over customers and keep businesses eager to hire you to write more content for them.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: August 12, 2013

5 Responses to “Content Marketing: The Hottest Marketing Trend Right Now”

  1. That all sounds very nice. But how do you find such work and more importantly, get them to pay?

    Guest (Wondering)

  2. The sites that I most often frequent have most of the above (providing a special report isn't something I've run into). Part of the reason I visit them is because they're engaging and provide information. For instance, if I visit a site for the first time and notice that it's weeks since the blog was updated I won't return. Recently, I received "junk mail" from a group urging me to invest. The copy was several paragraphs long and terribly written. That destroyed their credibility.

    Guest (Christina Hawthorne)

  3. Great article Jen!

    I'd really be interested in a series of articles on the steps a newbie web content writer can take to get started.

    Maybe share your story of the mechanics / "how to's" of getting those first clients.

    In my experience this is typically the biggest hurdle for new writers!

    Guest (Jeff)

  4. Hi Jen,

    I'm a newbie to the site as well and this article is very informative and I'd also appreciate a series of how to articles and getting those first clients. I was a Sub Teacher for years and now I'm taking care of my 85 yr. old Mother. For some reason I can't get my thoughts to get going. I used to write all of the time. Keeping it real.


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