Why would anyone want your content?

| 17-min read

Why would anyone want your content?

And what’s the difference between your "content marketing" and your "marketing content?"

Those are just a few of the questions I answered in Episode #464, which is the opening for the first Office Hours gathering that comes with the Simplest Marketing Plan. (It's not too late to join!)

So listen here (or below) and learn:

If you like what you hear, we’d love it if you write a review, subscribe here and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

Read the transcript for Episode #464 here:

Hi there. This is Ilise Benun, your marketing mentor, and this is the podcast for you if, and only if, you are ready to leave the feast or famine syndrome behind. And I mean for good.

So why would anyone want to read or watch or listen to your content? T

hat's a question many clients ask me when I suggest they do some content marketing to stay top of mind in their market.

They, maybe you too, feel you don't have anything worthwhile or original to contribute to the larger conversation that's happening on LinkedIn or Twitter, but that's not the point.

There is another way to look at the purpose of your content marketing and it just might help you get over that mental hump that prevents you from doing it. That's what I'm sharing today on the podcast and what I shared in the very first Office Hours of 2023. That's the live monthly gathering that has become the centerpiece of the Simplest Marketing Plan. So listen and learn.

All right, welcome everyone to the January, 2023. This is the first Office Hours session for the Simplest Marketing Plan, and I'm pretty excited because it's a brand-new year. And if you want to know what's new for the 2023 Simplest Marketing Plan, then watch the onboarding session, which Bonnie, my co-host Bonnie Fanning, is going to put in the chat.

It will be in the follow-up message that you get with the replay of this one. I'm trying to build a lot of redundancy into this process so that no one says, "Wait, where was that thing?" It's just going to be everywhere, which may be a little overwhelming. I apologize, but I'm going to err on the side of putting things in more places than fewer. So that's what's new for 2023.

Speaking of what's new, Bonnie Fanning is new for 2023. So Bonnie, why don't you just briefly unmute yourself and give your elevator pitch or however you answer the question, what do you do?

Bonnie Fanning:
Because it's always changing. Hi, guys. In case we haven't met yet, I'm Bonnie Fanning. I'm a copy and content writer. I've been doing this for 15 years in-house and then this year I broke free and I'm a freelancer and I'm also building a community around creative people and helping creatives become the most vibrant versions of themselves.

Ilise Benun:
Excellent. And Bonnie, tell the people what you're going to be doing here during this hour for me so they can direct the right things to you.

Bonnie Fanning:
I think the most important thing you guys want to know is that I'll be fielding questions. So just type the word question in the chat because there's a lot in the chat and I'll be able to see that. If I don't get to it right away, I'll save it and I'll make sure to ask Ilise at some point. And I'm also just facilitating communication between you guys and Ilise. I'm trying to think of questions that I have that you might also have, things to bring up. So I think that's my main duty here.

Ilise Benun:
Yes, to support me because one of the shifts I am making... as I said yesterday, we talked about making shifts and I referred to this book, How to Change, by Katie Milkman, the Science of Getting From Where You Are to Where you Want to Be.

It's really awesome. And she talks about shifts in mindset and shifts in labels as well. And so I'm going from solopreneur who does everything by herself to delegating and sharing responsibility and getting help, and I highly recommend it.

So I wanted to start, Bonnie, with a quote or a testimonial really, a message that someone sent me the other day, maybe it was last month actually, Laurel Carpenter, who I don't think is here with us. But Laurel, if you are, please say hello in the chat. She gave me permission to share this.

She's from Pearl Consulting and she said, "My partner and I have a tiny copywriting business and this past year we decided... That was 2022. We decided to focus more on brand voice and website copywriting. We used the SMP to plan out how much income we wanted to see this year. In full transparency, we are not yet a six-figure business." Which isn't the road for everyone. She said, "But I wanted to share some fantastic news. In 2022, we grew our income 67%." Isn't that awesome? "And although that is due to many factors, the SMP tool was something that helped us greatly to organize and plan. We're so appreciative of you and the role you played in helping us grow our revenue. Thank you. Looking forward 2023 and growing more."

So I'm thrilled. Perhaps she's not the only one who grew their revenue last year. And if you did too, I would love to see that in the chat. She happened to reach out to me. I love messages like that.

I really think if you use these tools, they will help you. And I showed yesterday in the onboarding session how rich and comprehensive the actual planner is, and we're going to show it again today actually using the planner in action.

And Taylor Farman, who I know is here today, so say hello in the chat please, Taylor, he's a videographer who I'm working with one-on-one as well. And he has given me permission to share his planner so that you can see how he's using it. Everyone uses it differently, and that's kind of what I love about it.

So we are going to begin with a couple of polls because I'm really enjoying these polls. So the first one, do you use an electric toothbrush? Yes or no? We call this curiosity gap in marketing. What's the name of that guy who talks a lot about that? I can't remember. His name starts with a D. Andrew Davis.

Bonnie Fanning:
Yes. Yes.

Ilise Benun:
Andrew Davis has a session about curiosity gap, which is awesome. And it's basically sharing something and making people think, "What is this about? What is this related to?" And then telling them later so that they're paying attention.

That's what we're doing to you today. So do you use an electric toothbrush? That's interesting. 52% say yes and 48% say no.

All right, I'm going to share the results so you can see them. So not that you should or... There's no right or wrong here as with everything, but we're going to come back to the electric toothbrush at the end.

And then the other poll I've been doing consistently now for a couple of times, and I do want to keep doing this, is to ask, how busy are you with client work right now?

How busy are you with client work right now? And your options are too busy. Right? It's January 13th, Friday the 13th. Are you too busy? Are you busy enough? Are you slow or do you have no work at all? Those are your options.
So we'll give people another moment to answer. Take a breath. I'm going to take a sip. Looks like almost everyone has answered. So I'm going to end the poll and share the results. So you can see that 6% of you, five of you are too busy, 29% are busy enough, 38% are slow. So that's our biggest one. And 27% of you have no work at all. All right, what do you think of that, Bonnie?

Bonnie Fanning:
Well, I just wanted to share that Erica had a comment here that says, "I sort of think of myself as my client while I write." And I think I brought this up last time you did a poll like this and I was in a session with you, is that we assign meaning to all these different things, but it can be different for everybody. So like slow could actually be a good thing for you if you're trying to do something else, or it could be something you aspire to change.

Ilise Benun:
Exactly. But either way, I think it's a good segue to the marketing because marketing is, in my mind, the pedal on the car or in the car or the accelerator. It's the thing that gives you leverage and you can take your foot or your hand off or put it on depending on how much work you want or don't want. So as I previewed yesterday, we are going to talk about content marketing for the first quarter, for the most part. We're going to focus on content marketing. It's the first tool in the Simplest Marketing Plan.

And so let's just do one more poll related to content marketing. And the question is, where are you with content marketing? And here are your options. You can say, "I'm doing it and it's working." Or, "I started doing it but then fell off the wagon." Or, "I have ideas but haven't been able to launch anything yet." Or, "I want to do it, but I have no idea what to do." Or if it's something that I have not proposed to you, you can put other and then tell us in the chat and we'll take a moment.


I haven't defined content marketing yet either. Hopefully you've read a little something or know what it is already, but I will define it.

Okay, so I'm going to end the poll and share the results. So it looks like 8% of you are doing it and it's working, so that's not bad, but a lot of room for improvement. 28% started doing it, but fell off the wagon. 40% have ideas but haven't been able to launch anything yet. And 7% want to do it, but have no idea what to do. That's pretty good actually, that it's very low. And then other... Are people posting in the chat what could be part of other, Bonnie?

Bonnie Fanning:
Yeah, we've got quite a few people posting in the chat. Some people saying, "I know what I need to do, but I'm procrastinating." Some people saying, "I'm doing some but not enough." "It's too often for someone else instead of my own business." "Just getting started on marketing and it's on my list." Yeah, there's a wide variety of other answers here.

Ilise Benun:
All right. And I did happen to notice that someone said, "I have no interest in content marketing." I'm going to respond to that and maybe use that to segue into where we're going with this.

First, let me define content marketing. I distinguish content marketing from marketing content first.

Marketing content is what you say about yourself, your services, what you do for people. That's what people will find on your website for the most part, on the services page. All of that is marketing content.

Content marketing is totally different. And it is actual content about not only what you know, but more important what your clients and prospects care about, which is their pain points and solutions to their problems and things that they're struggling with and the goals that they're aspiring to and everything you know that would make them say, "Oh, this is really for me and this is evidence of this person knowing how I can be helped and they can help me."

What I want to emphasize is that content marketing, the role it plays in the Simplest Marketing Plan is that once you've established relationships with your prospects and your clients through the targeted outreach and through the networking, the best way to stay in touch is through content marketing, sharing what you know, offering something useful, sending out tips.

I imagine most of you get my quick tips from Marketing Mentor, and maybe some of you have been on my list for 20 years now and just recently got into a more inner circle, if you will, right? That's because I stay in touch through my content marketing so that no one forgets about me and also because it takes the burden off of you to remember that I exist.

And that's really one of the main points I like to make about the value of content marketing when you are doing it with your prospects and clients, that you're taking the burden off of them, they don't have to remember you exist, it keeps you visible and it little by little, adds layer after layer of trust to their impression of you because you keep showing up.

Remember, showing up is my watchword for 2023. This is one of the ways to show up.

So for anyone who is thinking in this way of I have no interest in it, that's fine, but I hope that your lack of interest is because it wouldn't necessarily work for some real reason in your market or the way that you run your business, as opposed to, "I really don't want to do that." Right?

I'm going to make the argument that it's a really good thing and can be very useful, one of the best marketing tools in the long term over the course of this quarter. That's the argument I'm going to be making. So I'll pause there, Bonnie, and see if there are any thoughts or comments from you or in the chat about this. 

Bonnie Fanning:
Oh, there is a question. I'm sorry. "So when I talk with potential clients, I say I am a content marketer?" 

Ilise Benun:
Well, if you're a content marketer, that means you help your clients with their own content, that's great. Even one more reason why you should be doing your own content marketing as well, right? But the fact that you do content marketing for yourself doesn't necessarily mean you are a content marketer, and that's what you do for your clients. So hopefully that clarifies things.

Now, often, the problem, the obstacle, the resistance is "Yeah, but where does content come from? Where do the ideas come from? How do I know what to write about?" Which it doesn't always have to be writing, by the way.

We'll talk a little bit about the different formats, but the idea here, and what people say to me often is, "I have no ideas. Why would anyone want to hear about that from me?" Someone said that to me just the other day, and I had a thought that I thought I would share today and see how this resonates.

It's kind of a new thought about where ideas come from because part of what often gets called imposter syndrome and this feeling of, "Why would anyone want to hear anything from me?" Or, "What do I have to add to the conversation that's already out there?"

That's really not the point. The point is that when you connect with someone, they need to see that you can help them, basically. That's as simple as it gets. So it's not like I have nothing new to add. That doesn't matter. They're not seeing the whole conversation in the same way that you might be. They're seeing you as a potential resource and they need reasons to hire you. They need to understand why you're the best fit for them. On the one hand, yes, your content can be about what you know and what you're an expert at, but I actually think that what's more useful and maybe easier to access is what you are wanting to learn more about as it relates to your prospects and clients and what they need.

So it doesn't have to be about what you already know and you "performing", but more using curiosity as a marketing tool to have conversations with people that then becomes content. And so that may be a little bit abstract.

So I had another conversation just a little while ago actually, with a client who also gave me permission to use her situation as the example. So the thought was that she is a designer who wants to do more digital annual reports. She's done a few, she's not an expert. She wants to do more. She doesn't necessarily feel comfortable enough yet saying, "I'm the expert." So what is the content that would help attract the best prospects to her? And so what we came up with was around this idea of curiosity and the questions that both she wants answers to and her clients are asking her about.

And so for example, who does digital annual reports? Who exactly is involved in the process? Does it take a designer? Does it take a writer? Does it take a web developer? Who else could be involved? Does it take a videographer? How much time is involved? How much does it cost? If you have one, does it mean you need to do a new one every year? And how does a digital annual report interact with an existing website?

So I suggested to her that she interview her web developer, asking all of these questions, and then they together create a piece of content or maybe even a series of pieces of content that they then both share on their own platforms and/or on LinkedIn. And that's a way to come up with material that isn't necessarily, "Here's everything we know about this, but here are some of the issues that you care about that you want answers to." So Bonnie, is that clear?

Bonnie Fanning:
I think that's really clear. I don't see any questions coming in. I do have a question I could throw your way.

Ilise Benun:
Okay.

Bonnie Fanning:
I noticed in the poll some people said they don't have client work right now. So I was wondering if there's people here who don't have clients yet, how do you walk that line between seeking knowledge and being curious in your content and also creating content that's useful and helpful to potential clients?

Ilise Benun:
Well, I often advise people to reach out to prospects and interview prospects as a way to get into a conversation that has fewer of their defenses up. And they may be willing to spend five or 10 minutes on the phone with you or on a Zoom call or in writing, just answering the questions that you are curious about. And then you turn that into contact content, and then sometimes, by the way, that becomes an actual prospect and an actual client, because through that conversation, they see what you're like to work with. And that's really what matters more than anything is how you work together. And just going back to this idea of cultivating relationships with content, the content process, as well as the actual content that comes out of it.

I hope that peak into our latest Office Hours session for the Simplest Marketing Plan gave you a new way of thinking about your own content marketing.

Here's a baby step you can take right now. Start making an ongoing list of the questions your clients and prospects ask about the work you do and how you do it. Let that become the source of your content marketing ideas so you can stop wracking your brain.

And if you want more from me, make sure you're signed up for my Quick Tips, which come out every other week. That's one of my own content marketing tools, and I've been doing it since before we called it content marketing because it works. My Quick Tips email newsletter not only keeps me top of mind, but also removes your burden. You don't have to remember I'm out here because I'll keep reminding you so that when you're ready for help, I'm in your inbox and you can do that for your clients and prospects too.

So if you want to build a thriving business on your own terms, the first step is to sign up for my Quick Tips at marketing-mentortips.com. Once you're on the site, you'll find lots more free resources. Enjoy and I'll see you next time.

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