A conversation I have with so many of my coaching clients is about what their content strategy can and cannot look like.
My answer? Your content strategy can look however the hell you want it to.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lost all reason and sanity here - I am a content coach after all. But what I’ve found with so many of the purpose-driven creatives I’ve worked with is that so much of the “shoulds” and “how-to’s” when it comes to content marketing and strategy have actually ending up stifling their best, most creative, and impactful ideas.
There’s a reason why I don’t believe in or make space for one-size-fits-all formulas, strategies, and quick fixes in the work I do with my clients - because I deep-down-in-my-gut believe that there’s no place for them when we’re showing up and doing meaningful and impactful creative work.
Whether you’re aching to be a thought leader, a visionary, or just to build an impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable creative business on your own terms, your content marketing strategy can play a huge part in getting your brand out there and in front of the right people for you.
But as purpose-driven creatives, our content marketing strategy is way more than that. It’s a way to build meaningful relationships, brand awareness around the values your work is built upon, and trust that makes the selling process for you and the buying process for your clients and customers feel so damn good instead of sleazy along the way.
My full list of “your content marketing strategy could look like this but doesn’t have to” would take me far too long to write about, but here are some of the key mediums and methods my clients bring up in our work together when they’re feeling like they have to market themselves in a way that doesn’t actually feel true to who they are and what they do.
1. Sharing Your Expertise
This one’s especially for all the awesome B2C businesses out there - I’m talking artists, photographers, florists, and writers - sharing your expertise isn’t the only way you can resonate and connect with the right people for you. Take a painter for example - a potential future customer or client is way more likely to be interested in the heart and inspiration behind your work and your creative life than they will be the techniques and methods of your craft.
Even coaches, designers, and B2B brands can explore different ways of showing up with their voice and message online - it doesn’t have to be all “how-to’s” and lists and strategic guides.
Because here’s the thing: it’s super easy to fake expertise. All you have to do is re-write something you’ve already read about from an expert. But to share your core message? Your vision? Your values? Your personal brand? That can only come from an authentic and true place.
This may sound simple - that content marketing isn’t only about sharing your expertise - but I’ve worked with so many clients who have struggled with giving themselves permission to explore a different way of showing up online. We can find ourselves boxed in if we start to believe the only content that matters is content that hones in only our expertise and information - sometimes the best thing we can do is share our ideas and our vision instead.
2. Periscope, Webinars, & Podcasts
So many of my clients ask me - do I have to do webinars? Do I need to be on Periscope? If I don’t pitch myself to go on podcasts, is my creative career over?
Here’s the thing: I believe our best content comes to life when we play to our strengths, dig deep and share ideas, stories, and conversations that really matter, and push ourselves outside of our comfort zone but only in a way that makes sense to who we are, our brand, and how it is we want to show up in the world.
If webinars, starting a podcast, or streaming live on Periscope doesn’t feel true to how you want to show up with your work and your ideas right now, that’s absolutely a-okay. On the other hand - if you’re itching to start broadcasting, that’s awesome too.
Just because it works for others doesn’t mean you have to do it. I do think there’s a big place for multimedia content when it comes to showing up and sharing content online - but there are so many mediums and formats to explore and you have permission to intentionally choose the one(s) that feel the best to you and your work. Content is so much more effective when it comes from an intuitive, intentional, and creative space.
3. Opt-Ins & Sales Funnels
You don’t have to give away freebies to get people on your mailing list if you don’t want to. You don’t have to sell to them as soon as they subscribe either. You don’t have to aggressively build your list if that doesn’t feel good to you right now and if it doesn’t align with your vision for your brand. There is so much noise out there online right now about list building - lots of it is full of really great advice - but that doesn’t mean you have to do what other people are telling you to do to get more people on your list.
If creating some email series opt-in feels like pulling teeth because you actually haven’t had the time yet to figure out what it is you want to say or if this is the way you want to say it, you don’t have to make one. If getting people onto your list to strategically sell them something in a step-by-step process doesn’t feel like how you want to market yourself right now, you don’t have to.
And if you want to? Awesome. I’m rooting for you as much as I’m rooting for the people who don’t. All you have to remember is that you don’t have to do it just because everyone else is saying you should. I really believe in the power of content as a tool for getting our brand, our message, and our ideas out there so we can build awareness and interest in our products and services - but I also believe in the fact that there really is no one-size-fits-all-way to do it.
4. Email Marketing
We all know how important building our list is. It’s a great way to cultivate community, have direct access to our people, and put our ideas, our message, and our brand out there on our own terms without relying on another platform to distribute our content for us. But not all types of creative businesses need to use email marketing for the same thing. Especially if you don’t plan on having returning clients and customers - for example if you work in the wedding industry, using your email list as your core marketing tool probably won’t be as effective as blogging, referrals, and social media.
You can do whatever you want with your email marketing - and if you don’t think your brand needs it right now? Don’t let the internet tell you you’re crazy, because not all businesses are made the same. You do not have unlimited energy to create content, and although the majority of people I know and work with utilise their email list in a really effective way, there are a few people who don’t need one at all. The most important thing to remember is that you have complete control over how you want to share content via email - instead of worrying about doing it in the way the internet is telling you to, my best advice is to think how you want your email content to fit into your content eco-system, and then just experimenting and evolving with it as you go.
As you can see, the options are endless when it comes to how you can utilise content marketing in your creative work - and the different platforms and mediums to choose from at times can feel a little overwhelming. Blogging itself is something that you don’t have to do if you don’t want to - it all comes down to intentionally deciding what it is you want to do with your content online. My best advice is this: do the work it takes to really put your brand at your core, and then make intuitive, creative, and smart decisions about how you want to show up and share your stories, your ideas, and your message online. Don’t box yourself in with all the “shoulds” and instead remember that you have permission to create and share ideas in the most impactful, effective, and fulfilling way for you.
Create content marketing strategy that makes sense for you and your brand. Build it with purpose, intention, and intuition so the content you create and share really can be impactful, effective, and fulfilling along the way. What I've found in both my own journey and my clients too is that our best content ultimately comes from a very intuitive, intentional, and creative place.
I was on the Space To Face podcast recently talking all about content creation and standing out amongst the noise online, so if you'd like to hear more about my thoughts on this topic you can head over and listen this way >>
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