If You Build It, They Will Come

Bob Sands here with day four of this week’s The Writer’s Life. All week we’ve been looking at five keys to building a successful freelance business – from the Masters.

Today’s key comes from Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger.com and one of the primary trainers at this year’s Web Copywriting Intensive.

Brian is a living legend to copywriters today. And because of that, one might assume that he had an easy time of it. He didn’t. In fact, when he started Copyblogger in 2006, he refers to the first three months as his “loneliest time of life.” Why? He was unknown, didn’t have any relationships in the industry, and was starting from scratch.

So, what was the key to his success? Building the platform he calls Copyblogger.

What is Copyblogger? Essentially, it’s a blog or digital magazine through which Brian publishes valuable content to attract customers to what he’s selling. He has carved out his own little corner of the Internet. From his website he sells software, information products and subscription services. And it’s all accomplished through this value approach called “content marketing.”

Content marketing can be used to market yourself, but in a softer and gentler way. You can use it to have prospects seek you out instead of your having to chase them.

Here’s how you can use it to build your own platform …

First, identify who you want to reach and understand them as well as you can. Remember that you’re writing about your audience and their needs and wants. Who are you trying to reach … and how should you write to get their attention?

Let’s use the natural health market as an example. You’ll want to read everything you can. Learn what makes the audience tick and what ticks them off.

Second, come up with a content development strategy that would help your audience members solve their problems and fulfill their desires. They can be the same problems and desires that you have. Creating content that solves a problem or shows people how to get a specific result allows you to showcase your value in the marketplace. In our natural health market example, you could make a list of at least 50 content items focusing on research, success stories and even uses of certain supplements.

Third, build the platform. For Brian Clark, that platform was blogging. And he believes it can be the foundation of your platform today. Going back to our example, you could set up a blog called, “Natural Health Focus” or “Getting Healthy, Staying Healthy the Natural Way.” You get the idea.

Fourth, hustle to get the word out. This means determining where your audience hangs out on social media and connecting with them there. If you’re a business-to-consumer writer, maybe that audience is on Facebook. If you’re business-to-business, Brian guarantees, “It’s LinkedIn.” Brian also spends a lot of time on Twitter. He not only has content delivered automatically from his site, but he also personally interacts with his audience. That’s imperative. He says that building a network is vital to your success in the business. And you can build it sitting at your computer.

Do you blog or have another content marketing platform? If so, how often do you publish? I’d love to know more. Just let me know via the comment section.

Join me tomorrow as we wrap up this week’s series with a final key from another Master. I’ll show you why success for you may be just around the corner.

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Published: December 12, 2013

4 Responses to “If You Build It, They Will Come”

  1. I would like to say I have a blog and a newsletter, but I really have more of a template. Between my full time job, kids and AWAI courses, I don't have much time, but, I just completed the newsletter course, which I loved,and now working on the copywriting 2.0. I am making quite a bit of connections on linked-in though. I'm finding if I concentrate on the people who train dogs, I can keep up with the latest trends, plus have good contacts for what I want to copywrite for.

    Laurie L

  2. I write almost daily, and people read it, 150,000 hits in six months. However, what I write best is short pieces of original fiction. How do I bridge from that to a money making site?

    Guest (Kevin)

  3. I just started a blog on my website more as an audition piece and have just begun Twitter as well. There is a learning curve to both these and I'm still learning. Brian Clark is one person I am following on Twitter.

    Guest (Tanya)

  4. I write blogs for a real estate online luxury magazine. I choose an interesting person or topic to feature and use key words to attract readers to the site. This is all new to me, but I'm enjoying it.

    Guest (Ruthie Chong )

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