This week I published a new eBook called Six Marketing Wins for Creative Entrepreneurs. You can get your copy here. In this article, I’m going to talk about how an ebook might help your practice, but if you aren’t regularly producing marketing content, an ebook might feel like a stretch.
When it comes to marketing a creative practice, content marketing is king. I’ve written previously about how important it is to write about your creative work, and not to merely present jpegs of the final product of your creative process. Your work does not speak for itself—at least, not in ways that a search engine can read. And without writing about your work, prospects never discover all that goes into producing the final results. Writing descriptions about your work and how you solved problems in each project is critical to the effective use of your portfolio as a marketing tool.
That’s the most basic and simple form of content strategy for creatives—one that should be the baseline of your efforts. When you’re ready to become more proactive in your marketing, you’ll want to add insightful blog posts and articles to your content strategy.
Are Blog Posts Worth It?
You may have tried to write posts before and perhaps, like most creatives, you found that “the juice is not worth the squeeze.” In my article by that title, I show how a focused marketing niche can turn the low-impact drudgery of writing weekly or monthly posts into a much easier, and far more effective, marketing habit.
Writing about your work should be standard practice for your website’s portfolio, and establishing a rhythm for producing other posts is a basic professional practice you ought to strive to attain. The next level of content marketing is to create gated content that allows you to more effectively reach your intended audience. And that will require a bit more effort.
What is Gated Content?
By gated content, I simply mean that a prospect has to give you something to access it, usually just an email address. In some cases, you might charge for such content, though the value for paid gated content should be quite high. An expert-led, pre-recorded webinar might fall into that category.
Most of your marketing content will be and should be free. Your portfolio is open to all, and your articles and blog posts are likewise freely available. But when you want to encourage your prospects to take a further step, you need to offer content that’s worth, at least, an email address. And that’s where ebooks, whitepapers, or other forms of gated content come in.
Gated Content For Creative Content Strategies
eBooks don’t have to be very long. Mine is just 23 pages. But it should offer insights that demonstrate your particular expertise and validate your positioning statement. Of course, if you’re still following the path of the generalist, you might not find it as easy to generate these insights as a specialist will. With specialization come insights and solutions that truly resonate with your intended audience.
For example, my firm Cuberis specializes in websites for museums. And so we’re able to write insightful articles about the ways that museums can benefit from digital content strategy and maximize their website platforms. We’ve even written two eBooks, The Art of Storytelling, and the Art of Marketing Art.
While the effort that goes into creating a piece of content valuable enough to require an email address is significant, it’s not all that difficult once you’ve been focused on solving one kind of problem for a specific market segment. In fact, once you’ve produced a series of articles or insightful blog posts, much of that material can be worked into a larger collection and published as an eBook for stickier marketing.
Utilizing Marketing and Email Platforms
Once you go through the trouble of creating gated content, it makes sense to also invest some time in setting up a marketing platform to follow up with your prospects that download your content. I make recommendations in my video training materials for relatively inexpensive systems that can all be tightly integrated with your website.
Content strategy is a powerful form of marketing, especially for the creative entrepreneur. And you don’t have to do everything at once. Start by upgrading your portfolio, then add some articles, and then start working on ideas for gated content. The more you invest in your content marketing, the more control you’ll gain over new business, and the steadier and more profitable your practice will become.