Some tips to help professionals start and succeed in content marketing

Content marketing for professionals

I’m sure you’ve probably heard of content marketing or blogging. But maybe you’re not entirely sure what it is. If you’re not, content marketing is essentially a method of putting whatever information you want to put out into the public domain by publishing it online.

One of the simplest forms of content marketing is to blog. Which is basically publishing information in the form of an online diary – which may be part of a wider website or alternatively a standalone blog.

Blogging is no longer something done just for fun. It is an increasingly important kind of marketing. But even if you are not the slightly bit interested in ‘marketing’ a product or service per se, it is an increasingly important way of getting information out into the public domain. (Think of it as an alternative to publishing a paper or contributing to a journal for example.)

Here are some reasons why you should give serious consideration to becoming involved in blogging:

* It will give you an online presence. Today, if you don’t have an online presence there’s a tendency for others to think you don’t actually exist, or aren’t eminent in your field.

Ask yourself, even if your employer/organisation has an online presence, eg. a website, do you have a personal online presence?

* It will raise your profile. Which generally can only be good for your professional reputation and career. (There’s generally no such thing as bad publicity!)

* It will help in the general advancement of knowledge in your field of interest. Much the same way as publishing a book might. Except blogging is easier and cheaper.

* It can help to generate business and attract prospective clients. Although if that isn’t part of your role it is still relevant. Blogging still has an important part to play outside the corporate world.

So, how to get involved?

There are several different ways you can get involved in content marketing via blogging.

* Respond to any requests to contribute material to your organisation’s blog or website.  (Do they have one that you don’t even know about?)

* Offer suggestions for your organisation’s blog or website. This is usually much easier, as it usually easier to write on topic’s you’ve chosen yourself.

If your organisation doesn’t have a blog suggest they explore setting one up.

* Consider setting up your own personal blog. This can offer opportunities to publish information/opinions that aren’t possible on your organisation’s blog, within reason, perhaps on an ‘opinions expressed are my own’ basis.

* Offer your material to third party blogs. Search for those which you find interesting and useful yourself and offer your ideas.

Needless to say, avoid potential professional conflicts of interest, but there are thousands of third party blogs out there the vast majority of which welcome guest posts.

How to set about blogging? Here are some tips:

* You don’t need to be a natural writer to blog …. although a knack for writing doesn’t go amiss. Blogs written by ‘real’ people rather than journalists are often just as good.

* Study the blog you’re blogging for first. Glean what’s useful from the content, style, presentation and length of existing posts.

* Put your reader to the fore when writing. Think about what they will find interesting and useful, as well as what you would find it interesting and useful to write.

* There are several different types of blog post. Here are what I think are the two easiest kinds of blog post to write: Journalistic style, where you offer new information on your chosen subject. Editorial style, giving your thoughts and opinions on your chosen subject – perhaps on a current issue or even someone else’s journalistic piece.

The style of your post will to some extent depend on what you’re writing about. As a general guide for online content casual is favoured over formal. Humour, where appropriate, can be very appealing to readers of blogs.

Also, blogging isn’t all about writing. The ‘non copy’ elements of a blog post can make it much more appealing to readers …. and also much easier to prepare. Consider adding: Photographs (original photographs are best), diagrams, charts, tables and infographics – illustrations which present information in a pictorial format.

Lastly, and very importantly, blogging isn’t something that brings results overnight. To see results you need to commit to blogging content regularly. Given time and effort though you should see your blog posts being quoted in social media, quoted in other blog posts and appearing in online searches too.

Mark Hempshell is a freelance copywriter and content writer