When it comes to promoting your business or communicating about yourself online, content is the key. It takes many forms, comes in all shapes and sizes, but at its core, you need a clear voice and you need a strategy to make quality content work.
Recently, I had a chance to speak with C.C. Chapman, content marketing expert and co-author of Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. We spoke about the goals behind content marketing, how designers and developers can benefit from it, and ways to use it for your business.
DG: What exactly is content marketing and how does it differ from traditional marketing?
CC: Well, first I think to understand content marketing you have to understand what content is, and the way I describe content is anything that you create and share to tell your story. So, that can be anything really, and content has been around forever. Back before the internet we had print, radio and television. All of that was content. Content marketing lately has been getting a lot of attention because everybody has woken up to the power of the internet and the fact that no matter if you’re designing a website, starting a charity, or creating an event, you’ve got to create stuff to share online that people can take and share with others, and give likes and +1s and all those other things too in order to generate interest in whatever it is you’re creating.
DG: A lot of our Treehouse members are coders. They’re designers, developers, and they’re building websites, apps, and many different kinds of projects. Where exactly does content fit in for them?
CC: I think it’s really critical, and it’s probably something that a lot of coders and designers may not be thinking about because they’re so focused on getting the app or the site or whatever it is they’re building finished. Let’s face it: that’s a lot of work, so you’ve got this great thing created. But how are you going to get people to come check it out? How are they going to know that it exists? You’ve got to do some form of content marketing in order to get people to check it out, and that might involve doing something in the alpha stage or the beta stage as you’re building a new site or a new app. It may be creating an interesting overview video that shares it.
It’s one of those steps that I think is forgotten about, and yet it’s really, really critical because the reason you’re building something is you want the world to see it. Maybe you’re trying to sell it. Maybe it’s about getting users to sign up. There’s different reasons that you’d want to bring people in and check it out, but in today’s world where – let’s face it – every second there’s new stuff being shared online, you’ve got to create content that stands out and is going to engage the audience that you want to bring to you… It’s not “everybody has to do a video” or “everybody has to blog”. It’s more about what’s right for your audience to get them to come check out what you’ve created.
DG: In addition to marketing the products, a lot of our members need to market themselves and their services to bring in clients. How can they use content marketing to differentiate themselves against the competition in the marketplace?
CC: There are a lot of freelancers out there, especially in the space where your audience lives and breathes. There’s a lot of people out there doing that, but the person who is going to stand out, the person who is going to get attention is the one that does something different. One of the rules in the book is we talk about do something unexpected. What could you do that’s going to make you stand out? Maybe you’ve got a sense of humor. Maybe you’ve got a creative streak. What makes you different – your voice?
Whenever I talk to businesses – and it applies to individuals especially – each of us has our own voice. The way I say something and the way somebody else says something is very, very different. How could you use that voice – and by saying voice I’m not saying just how I sound. It’s your approach, your philosophy to life, and always the more of yourself that you can put in your content, the better. If you’ve ever seen when I share stuff, I may be talking about my kids, or I might be talking about cooking, and somehow I tie it into what I’m doing. I connect with a whole bunch of new people, and it’s critical. It’s very critical that you do something that’s unique to you and that you’re comfortable with doing to stand out.
Gold Members of Treehouse can watch the entire video with C.C. Chapman on our website right now. For more information on becoming a member of Treehouse, please check out our website.