When I first started out as an entrepreneur I put my knowledge of fiction, books, and general love of writing to the best possible use I could think of: and edited and proofread other people’s words.
And I did a million other things, from book covers and graphic design to illustrations, 3D mock-ups and even fancy email signatures.
If it was related to books and writing I offered it, with one exception: writing.
For some reason it took me a long while to wrap my head around the concept of a business that let me write full-time.
Writing, to me, was not work.
Why would people pay me to do the thing I loved? The thing that lit me up, made me feel whole and sane and healthy.
The thing I did for fun, to relax at the end of the day after a lot of tough, boring work.
That’s what work was.
Work was boring, monotonous, hard.
Otherwise it wasn’t really work.
This was a particularly bizarre notion given that people were already paying me to write, long before I started my business.
Looking back now I really don’t understand why my immediate choice wasn’t to set up as a copywriter, but sometimes the most obvious thing for us feels like an impossibility.
Writing is my passion.
You don’t get paid for your passion, right?
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Why You Should Make Your Passion Your Paycheck
Entrepreneurship is a tough gig. Everything rests on you (at least initially), there’s a massive amount of pressure to find clients, retain clients, find more clients, market, market, market, build your brand, grow your business.
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Just keeping up with the day-to-day admin involved in running a business is a Herculean task requiring innumerable skills, a caffeinated IV drip, and a time-turner.[/Tweet]
And that’s before you even get to the work you need to do for your clients and customers, and the creation of new products and services.
Innovation, trail-blazing, thought-leadership, building a business you are passionate about, that allows you a liberated, free and abundant lifestyle…they’re all beautiful dreams of entrepreneurship that are swiftly quashed under the reality of running a business.
I love editing, and proofreading, and helping other people hone their words. I can be tremendously passionate about that.
By my passion, my true passion, is crafting words of my own, and teaching people how to do the same.
It took my clients to make me see the truth of this. 98% of them asked me at some point about the best way of promoting their products (usually books) and services (frequently done-for-you versions of what their book was about). The answer was simple: blogging.
Or more specifically, content marketing.
“Create fabulous content that showcases your expertise,” I’d tell them. “Fabulous free content that interests people, that lets them get to know you, fall in love with you, and trust that it’s well worth paying for more from you. Start blogging.”
The response I got 99% of the time was, either “Urgh! I seriously hate blogging!” or “Blogging doesn’t sell shit!”
From that point they naturally split into two groups. The ones who immediately asked, “Can’t you do it for me?” and those who said, “Can you teach me how to do it?”
The answer to both questions was, “Yes, of course!” and before I knew it my most popular service by a few million miles was not editing, or proofreading, or any of the myriad other things I had been doing, but blogging.
Why I Made Content Marketing My Top Priority This Year
2016 was a game-changing year for me because I finally got sick and tired of spending all my time doing one thing, while desperately wishing I was doing something else.
No more working to live. That doesn’t work. Especially not when you’re a new entrepreneur and you have to work an obscene number of hours just to get things off the ground.
There’s no time or energy left at the end of the day to do the things you love.
In August 2016 after a lot of work behind the scenes I shutdown my old business and launched The Write Copy Girl. I dropped all my existing offerings bar one: blogging.
The more I blogged for other people the more I invested in the mechanics of blogging itself. Not just the writing process, but the whole shebang:
“What makes a good post?”
“How do you attract readers?”
And the big one: “How do you convert readers into paying clients?”
Part of this was for my own benefit.
I knew my new business model had the potential to be amazingly successful, but I had nothing to invest in marketing it other than my own time and skills. Content marketing had to work as an effective marketing strategy because it was the only marketing strategy I had.
There was no money for any kind of paid advertising, and I had no list to speak of so email marketing was out. Social media marketing was an option but required a massive amount of content, not to mention time time when it came to scheduling content and building engagement. With more clients that ever, I didn’t have much time the invest in my own social media (though ironically I was doing it for my clients to promote the blog posts I wrote for them).
All I had was my blog.
Beyond that I wanted to ensure the blogs I wrote were more than just well-written articles. In order to deliver the maximum ROI for my clients (good for them but also for me in terms of word of mouth and repeat business), I really had to dive deep into the specifics of blogging as a marketing tactic.
The simple answer to all my research and questions was this: just blogging isn’t enough.
Content Marketing is the only sane way to go, and the only way to directly make money from blogging (as opposed to earning passive income from ads or affiliate programmes that capitalise on your blog traffic, or using blogging to simply boost your SEO).
I wanted to spin my words into gold.
But the problem with Content Marketing is that there are so many moving parts:
- Creating posts
- Promoting posts
- Optimising posts
- Converting readers to subscribers on your list
- Nurturing that list to convert subscribers into clients
- Creating offerings that are good enough and/or numerous enough to give you a great return on the massive investment required for content marketing. Not just your products and services, but passive income products like books, eCourses, and affiliate programmes.
- So many parts. It all runs on content (hence the name!), yet the various elements of that content require a seriously broad skill-set.
- Skills that go far beyond simply writing:
- Ideal generation
- Writing, editing, proofreading
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Graphic Design
- Marketing and Sales tactics
- Web Design and Development
- Email Integration and Marketing
- Customer Care and Understanding
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Content Marketing is a complete solution to all your business requirements, but it also requires the same number of skills as a full-scale marketing and sales department, plus a few extras.[/Tweet]
It wasn’t enough to write great content for my clients.
Too many of them had no idea how to leverage that content and use it to make money.
More still knew how to do that, but didn’t have all the skills required.
And still more had the knowledge and the skills, but no time.
The more I talked to existing and potential clients, and other biz owners, the more I realised that my initial observations about blogging held true. When it comes to content marketing people fall into two camps:
- Those who are willing or able (or able to learn) to do their own content marketing, but don’t know how.
- Those who are unwilling or unable to DIY their content marketing but would happily pay someone to take it off their hands.
So I set about creating a system that offered the complete solution that all entrepreneurs (including myself!) craved. A system I could do for my clients and teach to those who preferred to DIY it, or couldn’t afford to outsource it.
Why You Should Make Content Marketing Your Top Priority In The New Year
For 18 months I’ve been offering Divine Blogging as a paid service for the clients who simply want their Content Marketing handled.
The results have been rather amazing, and very clearly demonstrate why you should make Content Marketing your top priority in the New Year…
Triple Your Income
Even if I don’t get any extra work in between now and the end of the year, my 2017 income is already over three times that of 2016. With the exception of a trial month of Google AdWords with a limited £250 budget, I’ve done zero marketing or promotions in the last year beyond my content marketing. And, due to limitations with my website, and severe time constraints, I’ve not even been running at full speed.
The Divine Blogging Design uses extensive content upgrades and lead magnets, as well as social media marketing to drive traffic and support list-building, drive traffic, and promote great engagement.
I’ve been unable to utilise the former due to the limitations of the existing website and my own technical ineptness, and the latter due to having no time for my own social media marketing. I’ve just hired a social media manager to solve a large part of the time issue, and a shiny new website will be up and running very soon.
But that is literally only just happening.
Which means that, even without the full content upgrades and social media elements that are essential to truly spectacular content marketing, my income has more than tripled in 12 months.
See for yourself…
Double Your Email List, Then Triple It
So, how do I know content marketing is amazing for list-building if I’ve not been using that aspect in my own biz?
Simple, my clients get amazing results.
Take the fabulous Robyn Kyberd as an example. In the first month of the Divine Blogging Design being up and running on Robyn’s site, Optimise and Grow Online, she doubled her list.
We’ve just reached the end of her first three months, and she’s almost tripled it.
To put that in context, four blog posts doubled Robyn’s list.
(I’ve taken on a few ‘guinea pig’ clients this year, offering them a discounted rate in exchange for sharing their results as case studies of how effective the Divine Blogging Design is – Robyn is one of them. The service is usually 100% confidential.)
Zero To Hero On Twitter In 3 Weeks
I mentioned I’d not been taking advantage of the social media elements of The Divine Blogging Design due to lack of time. I’ve recently hired a social media manager to deal with this. Well, three weeks in and I’m already seeing great results. I have a personal Twitter account that has always functioned as the face of everything I do – my fiction, my business, and my work with bipolar disorder.
I have to confess, I’m really not a fan of social media. I am on Facebook a lot because it keeps me in touch with my friends, most of whom live too far away for me to ever see them. But I’ve really never ‘got’ Twitter.
I know it has great advantages for business, and I know how to use it in that respect, but personally I’ve never personally used it for my business beyond a few cursory Tweets promoting blog posts.
So I decided a little experiment was in order.
I set up a brand shiny new Twitter account dedicated entirely to TWCG. At the start of November, when my social media manager came onboard, there were a handful of Tweets on it, and I had a grand total of 12 followers.
I had done nothing to promote this new profile, literally nothing, and that was quite purposeful.
Once my social media manager was up to speed on exactly how Divine Blogging, I handed over my new Twitter baby and left her to it.
At the time of writing this I’m three weeks in, and in that time my new Twitter account has exploded from 12 followers to over 600.
That may not seem like an impressive number of followers in total, but for a totally new account, achieving that with ZERO advertising and no need for time consuming and tedious tactics is pretty damn impressive.
That’s repurposing blog content and a killer automation, plus a couple of minutes a day sharing interesting and relevant posts, and responding to any interaction.
But here’s the thing.
Six years and 5,621 Tweets on my personal account has achieved a grant total of 678 followers.
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]3 weeks and 368 highly strategic Tweets achieved 609 followers. Content Marketing works because it combines the flair and finesse of blogging, with the creative productivity of entrepreneurship, and the strategy of marketing.[/Tweet]
Nurture Your Clients
Content Marketing is awesome for building your list, but the content you create also ensures you can effectively nurture all those leads. Your nurture sequences run on content. And beyond that your existing clients will get a great deal out of your content marketing efforts. Sending them fresh, new, regular content has several great benefits:
- It reaffirms your expertise
- It reassures them you’re the right person for the job, and they shouldn’t be looking elsewhere
- It keeps you front of mind, so that when the time rolls around to renew their contract, or upgrade their product or service, it’s an easy decision.
- It promotes word of mouth, and makes it more likely existing clients will tell people about you by sharing your content, or recommending you when friends, family and colleagues need someone with your expertise.
- It increases the lifetime value of your clients by encouaraging them to buy new offerings and invest in additional products and services with you.
- It ensures customer satisfaction by providing the answers to question they may not have thought of yet, or already had but hadn’t got round to asking.
- It ensures a high-value client journey. Simply providing them with regular content will make your clients feel you are delivering exceptional value, above and beyond what they’ve paid for.
- It will help stabalise your income so you generate consistent revenue rather than a feast or famine effect. Take another look at my income this year compared to last year. Happy clients sign up for long term contracts, join monthly subscription programmes, and come back to you again and again for the same tried, tested and adored products and services.
Start Where You Are
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Content marketing is, hands down, the best investment you can make in your business next year.[/Tweet]
It should be a top priority, but it’s super important to go about it in an organised manner. It’s vital that you choose a strategy that’s right for you and your business. And it’s essential that you set up the infrastructure needed to support your content marketing efforts, and monetise your content as much as possible.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the notion, just remember – you don’t have to do everything all at once. I certainly didn’t have the resources or time available to fully implement the Divine Blogging Design in my own business all in one go. I started by writing blogs, I doubled up and began recorded the content in video form, and then I added in social media marketing and a website with all the bells and whistles when I could afford it.
The original Write Copy Girl website is one I built myself, from scratch, over a few weekends before I launched. It didn’t cost me a penny. And while it’s true it also isn’t exactly how I wanted the site to look, and didn’t do a lot of the things I wanted the site to do, it still did the job.
18 months in I could afford to pay a professional developer and designer to overhaul it for me. I could afford a professional brand photo shoot. I could afford to outsource social media management.
There is no way I could have done that right out of the gate, even though I was already doing it for my clients.
Start where you are, with what you have. And if you don’t have the time or inclination to do it all yourself, but really want to harness the epic power of content marketing in your business, book a discovery call and we can chat about what Divine Blogging can do for your business…
“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
– Arthur Ashe