Content marketing is not only incredibly effective, but it’s cost-efficient as well.
But to get the best results, your content marketing strategy needs to build trust by staying human-centered and authentic.
Jules Taggart, founder of Wayward Kind, a digital marketing agency, is a firm believer that building genuine, meaningful connections is the key to growing a successful business.
The article below is an edited and condensed version of an interview with Jules that originally appeared in The Daily Interview in 2014, reprinted here with permission.
With that brief intro, I’ll let Jules take it from here … in her own words. —Dave
Authentic Content Marketing
Hi. Jules here. Years ago, I worked in a marketing role for a company that sold a really useful product. They had serious loyalty from their customers, but sales struggled because they just couldn’t seem to connect with new audiences beyond the people they already served.
So, if it wasn’t the product, what was holding them back?
It was the message.
Instead of being approachable and infusing their brand with personality, the owners of the company wanted to project a “professional” image. Unfortunately, “professional” is easily confused with “boring,” “distant,” and “out of touch”—and sales struggled because of it.
As I saw this company refuse to make a simple change in their content that would help them grow, I knew I wanted to start working with businesses that were willing to raise a few eyebrows and tell a better story. So I started my agency to do just that.
I began working with small businesses and entrepreneurs who wanted to become unforgettable to their customers, show off their imperfections, and make deeper (and incidentally, more profitable!) connections with their customers. We do that by creating a content strategy that builds trust by being inviting, personal, and real.
That’s right, authentic content marketing.
As I’ve shared before, every data point on a spreadsheet is a real person—with all the fears, joys, needs, and expectations that go along with that.
So my biggest advice?
Be your authentic self. Put yourself out there.
Too many bloggers spend far too much time and energy trying to come up with a persona online. If you stop filtering yourself and trying to sound like someone else, you’ll be far more approachable, relatable, and interesting.
My Simple Trick to Write Blog Posts Twice as Fast
Knowing how to write an authentically you blog post is a critical component of a successful content marketing strategy.
Your blog is the most cost-effective marketing strategy you can put in place for your business. It’s a way to get your brand in front of your ideal customers and keep them coming back to your site day after day and allow them to get to know you and your expertise.
But, as you know by now, blogging is hard!
The difference between an average blog post and a freaking fantastic, mind-blowing, can’t-help-sharing-it blog post comes down to a few simple things. And the magic actually happens after you’ve written the first draft.
My secret? I talk out my blog posts as I write them. To do this, I use voice-to-text on my phone along with Google Docs. This one simple trick instantly cut my time spent writing blog posts in half.
But hold up… Why does dictating your blog post work so well?
Because you can think and talk waaaaay faster than you can type. Talking out your blog posts allows you to get the thought out of your head before it saunters off.
Also, one of the biggest mistakes people make when blogging is editing as they are writing. Talking through your first draft instead of writing it requires you to hold off on editing and hang on to your best ideas.
Embrace the “Crappy First Draft”
Try these tips the next time you set out to create a blog post as part of your authentic content marketing strategy:
- Don’t spend too much time on the first draft. Take a few minutes and get your thoughts down in a Google or Word docs without overthinking things.
- Once you have your “crappy first draft,” it’s time to go back and edit your post. Your best writing will always happen after you get your initial thoughts down.
- During this first pass through the content, look for places to add stories and examples. This is your chance to elaborate and organize all of your thoughts. It’s also a good time to delete any sections that just don’t make sense.
- One of the easiest things you can do to massively improve your writing is to call in the verb police. Highlight all the verbs (or action words) in your first draft and swap them out with more powerful words. This is where the thesaurus can come in handy.
4 Audiences You Need to Reach
Having compelling, authentic content can go a long way, but you need to get eyeballs on it, obviously.
You’ll have to promote every piece of content you create, or you might as well not bother writing it. So work on reaching these four important audiences with each blog post:
- The audience where you are the expert.
- The audience where you learn from experts.
- Your “familiar faces” audience.
- Your “fresh faces” audience.
These are known as the Fundamental Four.
How to Measure Blogging Success?
There are a lot of ways to measure blogging success. For many people, it’s about traffic and pageviews. But for me, it’s about new email subscribers.
The reason I use email subscribers as a benchmark for my authentic content marketing efforts is that there is so much noise online. Anytime someone honors you by giving you permission to enter their inbox, they’re basically saying they think you’re incredible and they’re cool with hearing from you regularly.
That’s the kind of thing that tells me whether what I’m writing is resonating with people and helping them.
Jules Taggart is the founder of Wayward Kind, a digital marketing agency built on the belief that people buy from people, not brands. Wayward Kind helps clients cultivate better digital conversations, with a specific focus on companies that are working toward race, class, and gender equity.