for creative entrepreneurs

Write For Prospects, Not for Peers

Do you know why almost every creative’s blog (if they have one) fail? It’s because their posts are written entirely for the wrong audience. When I survey creative’s blogs I see the same repeated pattern, they make a good start, posting a few times per month, then it drops to monthly, then every other month—before finally slowing to a trickle. Sometimes I’ll see an attempt to re-energize their blog with a spat of posts, but then back to the same old habits.

There’s a good reason for this pattern. Creating content takes time, and when the results are minimal to none, it’s entirely rational to stop doing what’s not working. But the reason it’s not working has to do with the kind of content that’s being created, not that content strategy doesn’t work.

Additionally, creatives often have entirely unrealistic expectations about how a content strategy is supposed to function in their marketing efforts.

Content About Creativity is Besides the Point

Creatives’ blogs often focus on topics relevant to other creatives but are often of little interest to prospective clients. Your prospects don’t really care that much about the tools or processes you use to do your work—they just care that once you’ve done it, it will deliver results for them.

So posts about your craft, posts about tips and techniques, posts about your opinions of other design work (good or bad) simply don’t interest your prospects. Your peers might like these posts, but you’re not trying to market to your peers.

Other Content That Doesn’t Gain Traction

A few other irrelevant topics I see frequenting creatives’ blogs are case studies, company culture, or general news posts. Case studies are fine, but they are better suited to your portfolio. Culture posts such as fun facts about events you’ve engaged in don’t hurt—but again, they are not terribly relevant for your prospects. You might attract some talent that way, but that’s not marketing. And news about hires, or conferences you’re going to, is just noise.

Refocusing Your Audience

So what should you write about, if not creativity, culture, or news? You need to write about the needs of your prospects, and how you can solve their problems. Unfortunately, if your primary target prospect is just about any business or non-profit that needs creative services, answering that question with any degree of specificity is nearly impossible. This is why just about every creative blog has at least one post about the importance of “branding.” Yes, branding is important, but if that’s all you got you’re not going to be very persuasive to a prospect. They already know this. And you certainly aren’t going to differentiate yourself since all your competitors have essentially the same post on their sites.

PinPoint Positioning to the Rescue

No surprise, PinPoint Positioning is the way to transform your blog posts from ineffective general topics to clear and valuable insights that validate your expertise. When you’ve isolated a specific industry or problem focus, and you’ve practiced your solution over and over again, the ability to come up with meaningful topics becomes much simpler. I’ve written about this before so I won’t belabor the point, but this really is the key to creating content that is meaningful and effective, and much easier to produce.

And creatives give up on content strategy, too, because they have wrong expectations about what it’s supposed to be effective for in the first place!

When creatives assume that creating content will result in leads, they’ve missed the point. While it is possible that a post might be found in search and ultimately lead to an opportunity, that is not its primary function. Content strategy does two important things for you: it validates your positioning and nurtures your prospects.

Validate Positioning

When a prospect responds to any of your marketing efforts by rewarding you with a brief moment of their attention, you have to speak absolutely clearly about what you do and why it benefits them. That’s your positioning statement. But of course, you can assert anything you want, proving it is the next step. So when a prospect reads your positioning statement and then continues to scan your home page or your LinkedIn profile, seeing a series of articles all expressing your main positioning statement, that becomes a strong validator of your expertise. They don’t even have to read the posts to gain this advantage, they just need to see the titles on your page or in your “Featured” section.

Content as Lead Nurturing

The other important function of your content strategy is lead nurturing. When you make a new contact, you have to account for the reality that your timing might not be right. Therefore you need to stay in touch. As you generate content, posting it on your website, sending it out via email, and dropping it on social media you’ll be staying top of mind—so when the time is right, they’ll remember you.

Positioning validation and lead nurturing are the main functions of your content strategy. That it may also result in direct leads is gravy.

If you’ve given up on your content strategy, it’s time to breathe fresh life into that dusty old blog.

Are you ready to take the struggle out of finding new clients?