How to use content to market yourselfFeatured
As a content strategy consultant, I help a lot of high-growth startups and individual entrepreneurs get started with their marketing. Something I hear again and again? “We need content to market ourselves, but I don’t have the time to publish weekly blog posts [or an equivalent].”Here’s the good news: You can effectively use content to market yourself efficiently, even if it’s just you dedicating your spare time to the venture. All you need is some time dedicated upfront to thinking and some creativity. Here’s how to use content to market yourself when you don’t have the time to dedicate to this full time. First, understand how you’re positionedBefore you start using content to market yourself, first document the primary talking points about yourself that you’ll return to again and again:* Target audience — who are they, what do they need from you?* Offering — how do you help your audience, emotionally and functionally?* Reasons to believe — why should your audience believe you can deliver on your offering?* Differentiation — how are you different from other alternatives to working with you?This ensures you’re consistent in communicating who you are and how you help. I promise, it makes your life a whole lot easier down the road! Second, prioritize your content pillars and formatsYour content pillars are your core topics that reflect the audience needs you’re uniquely positioned to address. Think about what you could talk about in your sleep, or what you have a strong opinion on — that’s your content pillar. I recommend having two to three. Every. Single. Piece of content should bubble up into one of your content pillars. It’s easy to think you need to create all the content formats. Instagram images and stories. Blog articles. Medium posts, LinkedIn posts, Facebook posts! Webinars! Events! AH! There are so many content formats out there. Pick two to three. They should align with how you most easily communicate and/or network with others. If you’re a verbal communicator, try Instagram Stories or videos on LinkedIn. If you’re visual, try infographics through easy-to-use tools like Canva. When it’s just you with limited resources, your marketing efforts need to feel natural and easy to produce. Otherwise, it will be much harder to stay consistent in marketing yourself. Third, identify your content workhorsesI hereby give you permission to create less content. Much less. Create one to three pieces of content workhorses. Yes, in total. Invest as much time and energy as you can making them comprehensive, helpful, and closely aligned with your positioning and one of your content pillars. These pieces will be the source of new, recycled pieces (see Step Four). They’ll also provide you endless material for marketing yourself. For example: My website’s blog has “only” five articles. They are all on foundational topics related to my content pillars. I’ve used these five articles over the past three years to market myself. Here are just a few ways I keep it fresh:* Pull different sections of the article to use in promotions* Pull different images or charts to use in promotions* Use the link as the kick off for a relevant question or request for advice* Use the link as the kick off for a relevant stance on somethingFourth, recycle!I also hereby give you permission to rarely create 100% net new contentI promise, recycling your content will save you time AND communicate a more consistent message across your marketing. Here’s another way to think about “recycling”... Take something you’ve already created, and build it in another content format for the respective target audience. For example: I primarily consult with growing startups to build out their content marketing functions. Over the years, I’ve developed a very structured approach to how I work with clients on this. I have deliverable templates, project plans… the works. I wanted to share my knowledge more widely with fellow independent consultants. So in the past two years, I’ve documented my approach to content strategy in the below content: * Online workshops or webinars* Downloadable toolkits to build your own content strategy (https://www.adrienneksmith.com/content-strategy-deliverable-toolkits)* A free, 7-day email course on how to build a content strategy (https://www.adrienneksmith.com/content-strategy-email-course)These pieces of content are all built from the content, essentially, I’ve built for my consulting services. But I’ve adapted it to different formats, to help a wider variety of people. I’d love to know: Have you created content to market yourself or your business? What challenges have you come across along the way?