I’m on a journey. A quest. Pursuing a dream.
In May, I began working full-time as a content marketing consultant and freelance content writer. My long-term goal is to build up a digital marketing agency.
What I seek to do in this blog is take you along for the ride as I grow from consultant to consultancy to agency, sharing lessons, tips, anecdotes, strategies, and tactics that I learn along the way.
So, you’re a new freelancer. Perhaps, you wish to remain a freelancer or maybe, like me, you have dreams to build an organization. You probably have a lot of questions and could use some friendly guidance from someone who has been doing this for a while and earning a living from it.
Here, I will share my advice with you. I’m not trying to sell you on a course or on my services. I’m not going to give you only a tiny taste, but hide the “good stuff” behind a pay wall.
No, I’m going to document my journey and the lessons I learn for your benefit. And I’m not afraid of competition or of anyone using my advice to outdo me. Not going to happen. I have no fear that my readers will use what I share to beat me, because most of the people reading this blog are either too lazy or too untalented to replicate what I do. Sorry, but that’s the truth.
I wish everyone success and I’m happy for those who do find my blog helpful . I hope my blog helps others grow and succeed. There’s enough business out there for all of us and if I provide you with value, I’m sure one day we’ll work together, refer one another, or in some way benefit each other.
And that will be today’s lesson:
Always provide value.
Provide it day in and day out. Don’t be afraid to give things away.
We live in exciting times. Technology and new media have created a situation in which brands and advertisers no longer have a captive audience. Today, we can fast-forward commercials, block ads, and filter what content we see and engage with. This is especially true on the internet where so much is competing for our delicate attention spans.
Marketers no longer have to compete with the competition alone. Now, they also have to compete with people’s baby pictures, interesting blog posts, cat videos and other wonderful things on the Internet. And lest you think this only applies to social media, social media is how most of us experience the Internet these days.
Pioneers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Dave Kerpen, and Seth Godin have long preached that to get attention in today’s marketplace, it’s no longer viable to go around saying you’re the best. People don’t have time to listen to you – unless you provide them with value.
We engage with the content we want to engage with and we do so on our own time. Today’s consumer has no time to be interrupted. We can’t be bothered. What’s in it for me? Tell me now or I’m outta here. This puts pressure on brands to provide content that is of value to the consumer and not solely of benefit to the brand.
What do I mean by value?
By value, I mean anything that adds to a user or consumer’s life in a positive way. This could be knowledge, entertainment, or something emotionally moving. Creating and sharing content that adds value and gets attention in order to attract prospects and delight customers is called content marketing.
The content that does the best is generally that which educates or inspires. The marketers of today have to think less like advertisers and more like media companies. Less like a TV commercial and more like a TV show.
While there are certainly early adopters and major brands with huge budgets going all in on content marketing, the vast majority of businesses are still behind the curve.
They are still spending a lot of money on outbound, one-way broadcast advertising (e.g. print ads and TV/radio commercials) and traditional digital (SEO, pre-roll video ads, banner ads, and paid search ads). Many of them are simply borrowing advertising techniques of the pre-Internet days or the Internet of the last decade.
The market has grown savvier and when this next generation of millennials (and later, generation Z) develops greater purchasing power, many businesses will not know what hit them. As someone who sells content marketing, it’s sometimes frustrating for me to see how slow many businesses are to adapt and how little priority things like social media are given.
However, this leaves more room for me and others who “get it” to grow and succeed.
We are currently undergoing a gigantic shift in how we consume media and how we interact with brands. Most of the marketing/advertising and business establishment has not moved with the times despite the big game they talk. It takes a long time for larger organizations to rearrange processes and implement large-scale changes.
But those of us who are small (freelancers, startups, small businesses) can readily implement our vision, and make changes quickly and nimbly. In that sense, we have an advantage. We can use the Internet and various tools at our disposal to get attention and break through the noise.
The way most businesses market is out of step with the way most people choose to consume media. This leaves open a tremendous white space for us to play in. The future belongs to those of us who are fearless enough to take advantage, put in the time, and hustle.
Let’s do this together!