Content can be used to expand your business's audience, and to strengthen and develop your brand. In other words, your marketing content can also drive leads and sales by appealing to other businesses (B2B is business to business) as well as to customers (B2C is business to customers).
Yet, many freelancers think that these marketing strategies are reserved for larger companies with marketing budgets. Well, think again. Even if you only freelance on the side, you still can benefit from content marketing.
The good news is that you don’t need a marketing team to do it and you truly can do-it-yourself. How? By paying attention to and implementing content marketing tactics.
What is Content Marketing?
You may not be comfortable with marketing, but the reality is that with the internet and e-commerce, content marketing has become normative. Revolving around leveraging one’s content (written, web-based, digital, and video), it can lead to greater profitability and sustainability. So, how can you capitalize on it?
Think Like a Content Strategist
One of the first things that I recommend is thinking like a content strategist. Do you know your audience? Whether you have two customers or 2,000, think about the demographics, educational levels, genders and even racial and ethnic backgrounds of your current client roster. Now think about other businesses that you currently do business with. What products do they sell? Who are their clientele? Where are they located?
This is an assessment that you can conduct with minimal effort. The most important question is: What does your assessment reveal? There are probably some patterns that emerged—this, in turn, makes up the core demographics of your targeted audience. You may want to start by marketing to this group and then work your way outward. After you identify the clientele patterns that emerge, it’s time to put that information to good use.
The next logical question may be: now what? And that boils down to understanding how to leverage three things: being clear about your uniqueness, having value added, and being solution-oriented.
Be Clear about your USP
USP is short for unique selling proposition. USPs are literally everywhere. Think UPS—What can brown do for you? Or Enterprise—Pick Enterprise. We’ll pick you up. In both of these examples, the emphasis is placed on what the company can do for its clients – hence the use of the word you.
Short and to the point, the USP encapsulates why a company or freelancer is unique. In light of this, the USP is the why it is all about making sure that you are telling the right story in a few words, phrases, or a sentence.
For example, when I first started freelancing, I would tell people that I loved helping people make their dreams come true.
Although this was an authentic response, there was nothing unique about it. It took me a while, but eventually, I settled on “Writing Your Dreams into Reality Since 2011” because that is what most of my clients pay me to do—I help them carve out, express, and ultimately turn their writing dreams into realities.
Like many other USPs, I included the word you to clearly earmark that we are service-oriented and I added the establishment date to signify that we’ve been in existence for a while.
Ready to start? The amount of time that you may initially have to invest in coming up with your USP may seem daunting, especially if content creation, storytelling, and writing are not your areas of expertise. The good news is that you know your story better than anyone else.
Understand Value Added B2B Marketing
If you want to increase your volume and the number of B2B customers that you have then think about what you have to offer that would lead to “value added” for that business—in other words, what do you bring that a potential competitor cannot.
Are you a SME—subject matter expert? Do you have numerous years of experience? Do you have a clientele roster that reflects the depth and breadth of your ability? These are tangible and commodifiable assets that many businesses are willing to pay [more] for. However, if you do not leverage these benefits in the verbiage of your content marketing then how will they know?
I have found that businesses ranging from small business to Fortune 100 companies are more willing to use your services if your marketing clearly reflects the value added that you bring to a project.
Embrace Solution-Oriented B2C Marketing
What value added is to B2B is what solution-oriented is to B2C. Specifically, if your goal is to increase your B2C customers then value added may not be as important, but fulfilling a specific need is. Most successful freelance careers are launched because a freelancer saw a need and was able to fill it with a particular product, good, or service.
Often B2C marketing is easier for freelancers. With B2C marketing, you are dealing with individuals who have the autonomy to make decisions. The key to standing out from the competition is being clear about the gap or the problem that your services or products solve.
And, once again, this approach all begins with the content that you use to consistently convey your messaging.
So, whether you have been using these strategies or you plan to start, remember that the genesis of any content marketing process starts with you.