There’s a company called “Curata” that puts out some excellent data on the topic of content marketing. Their article Evergreen Content: How to Choose the Best Blog Topics by Sujan Patel (@) was too good to keep to myself.
Content Marketing? I’m Not a Business, I’m a _______
Whether you’re an artist, photographer, author, filmmaker, retail store owner, coffee shop manager, thought leader or any other Internet citizen (Netizen, as we called them back in the day), if you have a blog or social media account, you are in the business of content marketing.
Surprised by that? Think about it.
Every post. Every blog. Every tweet. Every comment you leave on someone else’s blog or Facebook thread. Every photo. Every video.
That’s your content.
And whether you want it to or not, your content is branding you. [tweetthis url=”http://ctt.ec/bCq2h”]
Your content is telling the world who you are, what you stand for.
Your content is marketing you. Now. Today. It’s not just in Soviet Russia anymore.
(That’s a joke. “In Soviet Russia, content markets YOU!” Okay, never mind…)
Key Concept: Your Content is You
Once you embrace the fact, the unavoidable reality, that your content is saying something about you, then you ought to start making some conscious decisions about what you want it to say.
By all means, keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t stop.
But you might get a little strategic about it, ya know?
Try to include some content that will stand the test of time. If you have ANY goals at all (selling your books, artwork, or widgets; landing new clients; spreading your ideas; etc), then this matters. It’s going to make a difference. Maybe the difference.
Start including at least one piece of content each week that has “evergreen” potential. The potential to continue drawing in more potential buyers, sharers, customers, believers in your ideas — day after day, month after month, year after year. Something that won’t be old, out of date, yesterday’s news and last semester’s fashion.
How do you pick the right evergreen topics for your blog?
Curata’s article says it’s as simple as answering three questions:
- Who are your customers?
- What topics are your customers interested in?
- How can you make those topics stand the test of time?
Who buys your products and/or services? What age are they, what industry are they in, what hobbies do they have, what demographics do they fit?
Think about the conversations you have had with your customers. Think about the things people buy from you and why they give you money. What problem do your products solve for these people? What other problems might they have that you could offer tips or advice about?
What problems do you hear about over and over and over? Those are the topics you can write about that will be relevant long-term.
Those are the things everybody wants to know.
Authors, artists, creatives — what about us?
If you’re a non-fiction author, it’s pretty easy to come up with things that every new reader might want to read, topics that stand the test of time. If you write about productivity, then you would include tips on how to get more done, how to establish more effective habits, and links to the top productivity apps.
But if you are a fiction author or an artist or other creative type, how does this translate? What is it your fans would enjoy?
If you’re not sure, then here’s your homework assignment:
- Start searching. Figure out where your potential fans hang out. Online, in person, find them. Libraries, bookshops, concerts, movie theaters. Websites, social media groups, online forums. Find them. If you have a mailing list or contact with existing customers, readers or fans, use that, too.
- Ask questions. Get to know them. What are their favorite things? If you’re an author, don’t only ask them about their favorite books. Find out what TV shows they watch, what music they listen to, where they like to hang out with their friends. What frustrates them the most about life? What do they wish was different? What are their hopes, plans, dreams?
- Analyze. Think about what you’re hearing from these people. Is there something you can write, or draw, or create that would touch on something that’s important to them?
- Create, and be generous. Make something and start putting it out there. Give some of it away. See what resonates. Do more of that. Keep trying new things.
- Wash, rinse, repeat.
Look at the folks who are doing it well. Think about who you enjoy online and what it is that you like. Here’s some of my favorites:
- Maggie Stiefvater’s Twitter feed. She’s fantastic there.
- David Mack’s Tumblr. He’s always got stuff going on.
- Stant Litore’s Facebook feed. Quotes, illustrations, news, there’s always something for fans.
The sky is the limit, friends. Blast off!
Well, go on! Do your homework, create some evergreen content, and start making new customers and fans!