• Advice

How to scale your business with content marketing

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

Word of mouth will only grow your business for so long before referrals stop coming in. In order to keep a steady stream of clients and projects, provide value with content marketing.

I am sure you have come across what content marketing is or at least heard of it.

But, did you know that content marketing has been one of the most powerful tools that businesses and freelancers can use to grow their business?

It works too. According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing does and for a lot cheaper.

Content marketing can do a lot to help grow your business, and here’s how to start your own content marketing strategy today.

Showcasing Your Expertise Publicly##

If you are freelancing or own a business it is very important to showcase to potential clients why you’re the right expert to work with.

It is one thing to just have a distinguished resume and references, but if you’re not actively showing your clients that you are an expert in the field that you specialize in, then what incentive does it give the client to hire you over someone else?

  • Idea: A great way of doing this is to start writing for your own blog. Use it as an opportunity to showcase your work and also as an avenue to write about topics in your field that can add value to your potential clients.

  • Execution: Start researching topics that you’d be interested in writing about as well as topics related to your field of profession. I recommend using Buzzsumo, which is a powerful resource to help with this process. Buzzsumo will help filter what popular blog posts are out in the market today and help inspire picking a topic.

Once you select a topic, start writing a draft of your article. Aim for 1,000 - 1,500 words per blog post as readability and SEO tends to deliver the best results within this range.

Next, edit your article until it is in final form before publishing. Once it is published, share with your network on social media, and repurpose as a separate article on Linkedin.

Note: Don’t just share once and call it quits. Tailor the post to the specific platform that you’re sharing it on. For example, on Twitter embed the article with a short excerpt or quote enticing people to read more.

To reach a wider audience, reach out to influencers and other writers in your industry. If you’re using Buzzsumo, you can see the people who shared articles similar to yours. Send them an email first introducing yourself, and explain why your article can benefit them.

Collect emails from previous and potential clients to start building your mailing list. If you aren’t already using email marketing, I recommend using MailChimp for their ease of use and also because the software is cost-effective.

Design a template to feature your newsletter, and keep in mind that branding is important. Adding your logo and style guide for colors and fonts should be a key focus. You want everything to have a cohesive look and feel.

Once you have your list and template designed, start with your first email marketing campaign. In MailChimp, the software is already built to A/B test your campaigns with different subject lines, and segment your lists. This way you’ll know which subject line appeals best to your audience.

After your campaign is sent, monitor the reporting to review open rates, click-throughs, and unsubscribes to better format for your next campaign.

Things To Note:  Consistency and quality are two major components here for a successful campaign. Stick to a schedule that works best for you to create and send your emails, and only share posts with your audience that will provide valuable insight for them. If they can’t find value, they are likely to unsubscribe.

Visuals Tell Great Stories##

If you want to tell your story in a more engaging way, creating visual content to compliment your writing is quite helpful. Adding an infographic might increase the exposure of your post significantly because of its sharable value.

However, the actual type of visual content that is created is up to the freelancer or business owner. The main purpose of this type of content is to drive the results that they are after.

Infographics: According to Nielsen Norman Group, eye-tracking studies show readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.

Plus, 65 percent of us are visual learners so creating compelling visual infographics to compliment your blog post or even act as a stand alone will be important to add to your content marketing strategy.

P.S. creating infographics doesn’t have to be hard, even if you don’t have a graphic design background or friend to help you out. I strongly recommend checking out Canva.

Charts and Graphs: If you are trying to prove something with data, then there aren’t a lot of better options out there than telling the story with charts and graphs.

It is very valuable from a business standpoint to not just write about any findings that you have, but also showcase it with visual content.

Charts also play a big factor into the amount of trackbacks (other blogs pointing to your blog) which has seen a 258 percent higher rate than other images.

Video: As stated above, visual content is much more than just what you incorporate on your blog. It also included content that you share on your YouTube or Facebook/Instagram page.

Since we already know that 65 percent of us are visual learners, it is time to craft content around attracting and retaining those people.

For example, if you are a freelance graphic designer, instead of creating a blog post on how to do a certain effect in Photoshop, why not create a “how-to” video on YouTube to reach their 30 million visitors per day.

Like Speaking? Podcasts Might Be Your Thing##

A lot of your potential clients are busy and simply don’t have the time or interest to read your blogs posts, no matter how effective they might be. This is where the power of creating a podcast comes in.

Podcasting is growing, in 2016 an estimated 57 million people listened to podcasts each month. Just like YouTube, there are millions of people out there and potential business waiting for you to capture.

Podcasting isn’t for everyone, and the “content is king” motto still applies here. No matter the quality of your sound, the effects that you add, etc. If it simply isn’t interesting, people are not going to tune in and listen.

On the contrary, if you have an established network of interesting people to interview, I would recommend giving podcasting a try. Podcasting is only going to get bigger from here, so start exploring how to add it into your content marketing strategy to attract new clients.

Using Existent Content For LinkedIn##

As a freelancer or business owner, LinkedIn is and for the foreseeable future will be your good friend. Not only is it easier to find gigs on LinkedIn through their new ProFinder feature, but you can also repurpose your existing content that you published on your blog straight to all of your connections in a matter of minutes with Linkedin Publisher.

When you publish an article on LinkedIn it becomes part of your professional profile. It is displayed in the articles section of your profile. It is also shared in the newsfeed of your connections and followers.

You can also get members to follow your account from the articles that you published without being in your network. Lastly, it is also searchable on and off of LinkedIn, depending on your privacy settings of course.

This can dramatically increase awareness around your content without having to do a lot of extra work. If you aren’t publishing on LinkedIn, start today.

Let Content Marketing Work For You##

Marketing yourself as a freelancer or business owner and breaking the mold is a challenge. You’ll find that many other freelancers and companies offer similar services that you do, and sometimes for even cheaper. Instead of lowering your prices to compete, focus on content marketing.

You’ll notice that clients don’t hire you for the services you offer, but for the value that you can bring them.

If your potential client is a small business owner, and you can effectively layout examples on a blog post about how they can make money off of Facebook advertising, then it doesn’t matter that another freelancer or business offers services for cheaper, because they didn’t provide value like you did.

It doesn’t matter if it is writing, creating graphics, videos, podcasting or the other various ways to promote your brand through content marketing. Focus on the value that you can provide to your potential client, and you will start seeing the results you have been looking for.

Max Pete aka One Hand Wonder Man is a freelance website designer and digital marketer. Max Pete also specializes in social media management, email marketing, content creation, and paid advertising. You can check out his work and get in touch with him via his portfolio