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
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 »