Content marketing means different things to different people. So I went out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and to coaches and consultants I respect who are using Web content to market their services. The results have been terrific.
For one thing, I realize that I am entrenched in marketing the way I do it. It helps me greatly to see how others use it differently. I hope you’ll find these series of content marketing interviews enlightening and helpful.
Here’s an interview with a smart young professional writer with a creative and eclectic business style, Alex Geana.
1. Tell us what your profession is, and who your typical clients are.
I’m a communications and online marketing consultant. I’m just starting
my own practice and have a budding list of clients. It varies,
depending on their need.
I’m excited about working with the great American Realist Clark Hulings
he’s a master painter with a strong following in noted circles, yet
wants to reach a broader audience. We’re working on an online marketing
campaign to do just that.
2. What marketing tools do you use on the Web?
I use my own blog to give clients a sample of my writing and what I can do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s at Alex Geana I wanted to blog under my own name, because it also helps with my literary writing, everything is interconnected.
I like to fit the site I’m working on, with interested blogs, so for Clark Hulings, we’ll focus on the art blogs and illustrator blogs. Sending out copies of the book and also the DVD White Burro is putting out. The online campaign should lead to a real world press campaign.
MySpace is a great tool, we’re building a profile. Yet, I want to do a YouTube lecture series and have viewers interact directly with the artist and his team. There’s a lot of interest for his work. He’s one of the few artists I know that’s been successful financially and critically with very little PR of his own. I want to broaden that circle.
Ultimately, because there are so many online resources and different circles of readers and viewers, finding the right fit is crucial. You must know your goal first.
3. What kinds of content do you write or use to market your business?
I use personal connections and if an interview opportunity pops up, I take it (wink!). I’m in New York City so I go to a lot of events and parties. This helps in a lot of ways. I’m a strange hybrid between traditional and new PR, if it works I do it. I believe that personal connections are vital. Too many bloggers focus on site stats, it’s not the number of visitors you have, but the kind of visitor you have.
Side Step Me is the book I’ve just put out, with my literary work. It came out a few weeks ago. I’m in the process of launching it, instead of spending my time building numbers to sell the book; I spent more time making a better product. That led to a mention in Allure, a rare opportunity for a poetry book, let alone a POD book. I’m hoping that because it’s a better more interesting product, it’ll attract people with a wider reader base, than I would ever be able to achieving on my own.
Too many bloggers try to be all things all the time. Blogs are tools, not the end all of content. They’re a part of the content mix. Linking is about reaching out and connecting. Yet everything starts with good content, good content takes time to write and create, so finding the balance between the quick need of the online world and good content is crucial.
4. What sources, besides your own, do you use to find content?
I read as many magazines as I can, from the New Yorker to Time. I watch, read and listen to CNN. Also digest 100 plus blogs and read the New York Times on my iPhone. Content is king, knowing how to frame a client according to the current mindset is vital.
It takes such a long time to create a good product, yet readers don’t consider that, they consider the news cycle and the blog cycle over product, so to match the two, is vital.
What I’m trying to say, is they demand a good product. Which takes time to create, yet will buy according to the news cycle and current trends, so framing the product or concept, according to current hot topics is the only way to reach them.
Even though content is king, promoting that content is vital.
5. How much of yourself, your personality, your own experiences do you include?
I find that by using my blog as a marketing tool and being honest on my blog, I’ll find clients that I can work with. Ultimately, my skill comes from doing my own work. I don’t want to get rich on consulting; I just want time to work on my writing. So I’m very picky about what clients I accept. A client who drains you is the worst kind of client.
Content is all about personal experience, we write what we know. All of us.
6. What kinds of results do you see from your online content? And which media (ezine, blog, articles, etc.) bring best results?
Trackbacks have recently started to work for me, also, the things that work constantly surprise me. My Sarah Palin post generated 800+ hits in a matter of hours, yet no one bought my book. So I don’t consider that a success. I’m trying various newsletters and email blasts; that proves to work better.
It’s all about finding out what works, to reach your audience. Stats are vital, yet someone that buys your product or hires you as a consultant is even more valuable.
7. How much time do you spend daily writing or posting content on your blogs or sites?
I spend half hour to an hour, daily, writing my blog. About two – four hours reading, that’s spread out through the day. CNN is constantly on. Often more time meeting with clients, emailing and creating my other work. My day changes constantly.
I also like to email pics from my iPhone and generally email myself notes.
Most of what works, is reaching out and emailing people, building connections you can grow later. I mean, I like the people I’m connected to. If I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t reach out to them no matter what they did. I’ve been in the Blogosphere since 2004 so I’m sure enough people have their opinions about me. I’ve seen many blogs grow and fall.
I remember chatting with Perez Hilton and going to one of Mario’s parties, talking to him about blogging, damn I should have put him under contract, he was a quick learner. He came to New York from LA, survived on cocktail party food for a solid year before he figured out how to grow his blog by being aggressive on TV.
8. What advice would you give to others in your profession about using content for marketing?
I would say, it’s about reaching and meeting people, developing personal connections. What is your goal? Have a clearly defined goal. Yet don’t be trapped in a plan. For me, it’s about being a great writer and growing my books and plays, all the decisions I make are for my literary work. This is an uncommon path.
For most it’s making money, pure and simple. There are so many ways to do this. Define goals, figure out what you want, do it. It takes time; don’t expect it to happen overnight.
Also, remember to get out into the real world and not just stick to the online world, because it’s a good bet your consulting clients don’t know as much about the web as you do, so they don’t spend as much time online. Mix the real world with the online world.
Content Marketing: a primer for business people who want to get found quickly on the Web
Alex Geana: Portrait of how one professional uses content to market online
How to Write Content That Markets Your Company (Or, What would Seth do?)
Content or Marketing or Both? All Content Is Marketing
Coach & Consultant Marketing: An Interview with John Agno