As a professional writer and blogger I have been engaged in the practice of content marketing since the launch of this blog in the fall of 2007. At that time, my freelance writing practice was just beginning and I wanted to start getting my work out there as I did not have a lot of clients or clips to refer prospective clients to. Over the years I have attracted some amazing clients and built an impressive body of work with this blog.
My first blog, which I started in the fall of 1997, was a personal blog, so I was not marketing anything with it I guess except my own ideas and my world view. I never looked at my traffic stats and I was not trying to grow an email list. I was simply blogging for the sheer enjoyment of it and because I was part of a vibrant community of personal bloggers.
Marketing is simply telling the world about the products, services or ideas that you have to offer. Content marketing is the practice of creating and syndicating (purposefully sharing) valuable content in an effort to attract your target audience to your blog or website.
Once you have gotten them to your website your goal is to engage them and use your content to begin to foster the ‘know, like and trust’ factor that will ultimately either lead to a conversion from visitor to subscriber to customer to fan, or they may just go elsewhere. Actually, most people will end up going elsewhere, but that is fine because you only want to work with people who resonate with your message, and the only way to know that is to continuously get your message out there into the marketplace.
When I first started this blog I simply gave everything away. I researched meticulously and wrote blog posts on topics that I thought would be useful to my prospective clients. But as time went on I learned that there is nothing wrong with marketing yourself and the products and services you provide even as you offer valuable content to your readers.
Now I understand how crucial it is to include a compelling call to action in each blog post. People want to be led, and if you want them to take a particular action you must tell them exactly what action they should be taking. Whether you want your readers to sign up for your email list, enquire about the services you provide, or buy a product that you are offering, you’ve got to direct them to the next best action to take.
Recently, my client work has begun to take over my life, and I found myself staying up late at night to keep up and not miss deadlines. Juggling single parenthood and self-employment is no joke. I took a hiatus from posting to the blog while I got a handle on my client work load, but also because I needed to re-visit my content marketing strategy. My business has matured to the point where most of my new clients are referred to me from my fabulous, current clients. But just this week I received an inquiry from a prospective client who found my blog and wanted to hire me—despite the fact that my blog had not been updated in weeks.
But I will say that I have also learned that in addition to providing a platform where I can share my expertise to attract prospective clients, I have been greatly encouraged to hear the positive feedback that I receive through the comments on this blog, and via email about how what I share on the blog has helped you in some way. I feel blessed to be of service to you.
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