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Starting a business? Why you should use content marketing

September 23, 2016
starting a business unashamedly creative
starting a business unashamedly creative

Photo by Álvaro Serrano

When someone is starting a business or creative venture, they are OK with talking about marketing. Websites, a bit of social media, maybe some ads- but when it comes to content marketing, boy oh boy do people get concerned.

The more I talk about content marketing, the more I find it funny that businesses and creative people often shy away from the idea of it.

Yes, content marketing can be time consuming. It can be something that drains resources. And it’s something that a lot of people think takes a lot of time away from the critical work that they should be doing.

Then there is SEO to consider. That alone is enough to turn any would-be blog writer right off. Knowing the framework for writing is important. As if that wasn’t enough to learn, knowing social media also helps. After all, without distribution how serious about content marketing can you be?

There is a lot about content marketing that forces you to channel creative skills that might not feel all that natural. It requires us to write and promote and step outside our comfort zone. All while adhering to timetables, rules and trying to maintain enthusiasm about content marketing.

These are all valid arguments, but what are the benefits of the blog when starting a business? And what is it about content marketing that is so successful when done right? Let’s see shall we?

Defining and starting a business through content

The first thing to recognise about content marketing and blogging is that they help you fight fear. Content marketing helps you fight through the anxieties you might have in relation to your business. It also helps you define the how, what, where, who and why of starting a business.

It gives you the opportunity to distil your ideas. And it takes the ideas you have in your head and puts them in a form that other people can relate to. By pushing yourself to write your concepts down in a coherent way, you’re learning how to make a case for them with other people. Those people turn into your consumers.

You move out of the abstract and start thinking about your ideas in terms other people can understand. You can in turn sell yourself as a person- in business and in creative pursuits- by capturing that process and laying it bare.

This is where starting a business begins- with the business plan, the marketing plan, the pitch and the short descriptions. And this is all content marketing.

Starting a business requires a lot of writing down of ideas and important milestones and definition. So it seems only natural to repurpose that later as content marketing.

If it worked on you and your backers, it’s bound to help influence your customers.

Content production as a CV

Using blogs and other forms of content to prove that extra little bit of something extra is a fantastic addition to a CV. The demonstration of dedication when you get serious about content marketing gives your ideas strength.

You can use a blog when you’re looking to apply for grants or funding. It can be a source of information for securing partnerships.

But it’s not only for those starting a business or launching a major creative project.

Content marketing can show your abilities and interests when seeking extra work outside your standard employment. It is about exploring ideas, defining products and all that kind of fun stuff that a CV doesn’t contain.

This is your proof in the pudding, blog, visual or video style. It’s the big chunks of bright, thoughtful brain that means you may not need a CV to get where you’re going.

It shows you’re applied and knowledgeable. What employer or future business backer wouldn’t want to see that?

Establishing a position of authority

There’s something about content marketing that allows you to craft your story and put your mark on your chosen field. Having a blog or a regular log of your events and production via content puts you in a situation where you have a position of authority.

Be warned, it’s not automatic and it does take time. And sometimes it’ll feel like you’re expending a lot of energy for little to no return. It takes a good 12 to 24 months to truly make content work well.

But over time, it starts to say something about you. And that is, you’ve taken the time to tell people about the subject interests you in such a way that they can immediately attach to the information. You are sharing what you know for their sake. That transparency is appealing. Demonstrating you’re so confident in what you do that you’ll share information to help others garners trust.

And it also demonstrates you command a high level of knowledge. Because if you’re willing to share your information processes, it means you must also know more by default.

Going out of your way to pull ideas out of your brain and share them is powerful.  People respect that.

And it’s a place where a lot of hobbyists and bloggers begin before they end up starting a business in their chosen field. It gives you credibility before the commercial part begins.

The thing about content marketing and privacy

One of the things it is commonly misconstrued when starting a business or creative venture is that you need to keep things private to succeed.

That you need to keep things behind closed doors until they become commercially viable. Or that you shouldn’t share your business acumen with other people in case of theft or giving away too many trade secrets.

But the most successful people are transparent about what they do. They’re the people that have the Open Door policy to others who want to share in the knowledge. Who seek to share the thought processes behind why they do what they do.

Sharing helps create the trust that is so vital for people to take the next step and buy in on your adventure. Whether that’s emotionally or financially, it makes no difference.

And yet, we buy in on the fear. We worry that someone might steal our idea; we clip our ability to connect with our audience. But having an idea alone is not enough. Starting a business or pitching a creative project is far more involved than what we dream about at night.

Think of it this way. We’ve all had that friend who has a great idea for the film that never pushes forward or the business idea that never eventuates. The book they’ll write one day or the million dollar product- they all wash upon the shores of good intentions.

The ideas we are dragging around in our heads that never see the light of day are not worth anything. It’s not until you are willing to action it that it matures in value.

By putting your ideas out there and by sharing the behind the scenes experience, you build trust.

You automatically position yourself as someone that is open to scrutiny. That is confident enough in their work to stand up for it and lay it bare.

Besides- what if someone does copy your blog or your website or cool idea? So what? Are you that uncertain about your ideas that you can’t take the risk that someone else might actually learn something from you?  If they work out how to do it better, can’t you in turn do the same from them?

We need to let go of the preciousness surrounding our ideas and realise that even if we end up starting a business or launching a product or idea others copy, it doesn’t make what we do any less valuable. And that with 7 billion people on the planet, people have the right to choose between you and someone else.

Besides, some of the best things ever invented were by people looking at different ways to streamline what someone else already built.

People are always going to criticise. Guarding your ideas and your creative process does not make you immune from it. In fact, if what you’re guarding isn’t up to scratch, people are going to be a lot more critical of you then if you allow yourself to be open.

If you have something to say, say it. If you are an authority, people will (slowly) start to listen.

Fear of losing that should not stop you from sharing your thought as you begin the process of starting a business or nurturing an idea.

The final word on starting a business and using content

People love behind the scenes stories. We love being up close and personal with the people we admire. We looking under the hood of their various creations give us a thrill.

And we value connection. We like to think we don’t care, but we do. We want connection to the people, processes, businesses and ideas of the world.

Plus, we need help shaping ideas and moving them from the scraps of vapour and wonder in our heads to actual physical plans.

So when you’re thinking of starting a creative project or starting a business, consider using content marketing. It’ll help sharpen the story and connect you to your newly found audience in an authentic and fun way.

Want more advice on starting a business or plotting your creative endeavours? Contact me now!

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