27 April 2017 | 15 Comments
I’ve written thousands of words over the last few years discussing the merits of content marketing, but a few days ago I listened to a a discussion between Chris Rowlands and Gabe Barrett on the Board Game Design Lab podcast that said it better than I ever have.
Content marketing is attracting and building an audience by creating regular content, whether it be a blog, podcast, Youtube channel, etc. It’s something you do well before you seek to sell anything, and it’s something you continue well after you’ve started to sell.
I’d highly recommend that you listen to the podcast, but I thought I’d summarize my 4 favorite points made by Chris and Gabe, and I’ll add 1 of my own.
- It’s all about social equity. I’ve learned not to underestimate the goodwill generated by helping people through the content I create. My estimation (a general rule of thumb) is that about 10% of the people who consume your content will support the first thing you try to sell. We saw this happen last year to an extreme with The Oatmeal’s impact on the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter campaign.
- It’s not a trick. People can tell the difference between someone with a genuine passion and desire to add value to the world vs. someone who is trying to leverage an audience to their advantage. It’s an odd thing, but the key to content marketing really is to not think about marketing. Like, take my Kickstarter Lessons blog. I write it out of a genuine desire to help my fellow creators. Even if I never sold another product, I would still write this blog.
- It’s an opportunity for people to know you (and you them). Gabe says this really well on the podcast, “You’re more likely to support people you feel like you know.” Content creation is a fantastic way to expose yourself to the world and create relationships with those who consume and interact with it.
- It can be as easy as documenting your process. You don’t have to approach a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel with an intent to teach. Rather, you can add value to other people simply by documenting your creative process. The key is to have the mindset of helping others as you do–that means being transparent with your mistakes and your successes. Recently I was elated to see Michael Iachini start blogging again for this very reason.
- It’s not enough by itself. You might have a fascinating, invaluable YouTube channel with 100k followers, but if you try to sell something to those fans that isn’t well made, looks terrible, and has a hugely overinflated price, it’s not going to matter that you spent years creating all of that content. In short, when you’re creating your project page, pretend that you don’t have a single fan so you can strive to make it as appealing as possible.
Who is one content creator you will gladly support if they ever try to sell something? Maybe try to pick someone who doesn’t already have a big audience, and feel free to share a link.
- Kickstarter Lesson #52: Write a Blog
- Top 10 Ways to Be a Likable Content Creator
- Kickstarter Lesson #74: Help Them First
- All Top 10 Lists