If you sell any sort of handmade product and you’ve ever written a tutorial for your blog, or shown how you organize your studio shelves, or explained how you choose cohesive colors for a quilt top, you’ve done something called “content marketing.”
Content marketing is creating and sharing content in order to acquire customers. Essentially you provide valuable information or entertainment in an effort to develop a relationship with potential customers, but you stop short of a sales pitch.
There are people who’ve developed careers around teaching best practices in content marketing. And just like the craft world, the content marketing world consists of thousands of sophisticated blogs with very
dedicated authors trying to make a living selling what they know. There are podcasts devoted to content marketing and a flood of new books and online classes on the topic. There are content marketing celebrities and gurus and conferences to attend where you can meet them. Content marketing is
hot because it works better than other, more traditional marketing methods when it comes to selling online.
But I think craft bloggers were among the first content marketers, and are among the most authentic. All this talk of creating content to lure customers may seem pretty slimy to craft bloggers. Craft bloggers
earnestly and honestly want people to learn new skills and to enjoy making things by hand.
I’m a craft blogger, but I also have an internet-based microbusiness. Being a successful entrepreneur in today’s online landscape means learning the fundamentals of content marketing. When it comes down to it, a business exists to make money. And content marketers have a lot to teach us about how to do that better, faster, and more consistently.
Fewer and fewer people subscribe to blogs and become regular readers now. Most people who visit your blog get there by following a link from Twitter, or Facebook, Pinterest, or some other reblogging site. Social media marketing best practices will help you to get those people to click over and read, and share.
Some of the content marketing blogs are incredibly cheesy, promising more than anyone could deliver with a high slime factor to boot. But you certainly don’t have to implement something that makes you feel
uncomfortable. I try to read broadly, shedding what doesn’t apply and picking up what does.
One afternoon last summer I was sitting on the lawn at the house we’d rented on the Cape. The kids were dipping their feet in the water, searching for shells, and I was on the Adirondack chair with a beer, reading
blog posts about how to write great blog posts. (Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I read while on vacation. Don’t judge.)
That afternoon I followed a link that led me to a most amazing content marketing document. I downloaded it right away and I’ve referred to it several times a week since. More than anything else I’ve read, this document has been exceptionally helpful to me in generating topics for blog posts and, equally important, it’s attracted more attention to those posts.
Like much of the social media marketing texts, when I first started reading this document, it really made me laugh. Was this thing for real? But the following week, back at home, I sat down at the computer and
tried to actually apply what it said and was wowed. I found myself easily coming up with great new post topics and those posts became really popular. It works!
Once you get over the sort of ludicrous nature of it you’ll see. It’s valuable. And it’s free.
It’s called 52 Headline Hacks: A “Cheat Sheet” for Writing Blog Posts that Go Viral and it’s by Jon Morrow, the Associate Editor at Copyblogger. Go get it, okay?
Writing headlines is not a topic I see craft bloggers focusing on, but we should be. An excellent headline brings in readers. And you can use a headline to generate ideas for posts, too. In this ebook you get 52 tried
and true headlines to use as titles for your blog posts. Just fill in the blanks. As Morrow says,
“Of all the ways you can improve your blog, this one is by
far the easiest…The more curious your headlines make people, the more they’ll
read your posts. The more they read your posts, the better your chance of
building a relationship with them. The more relationships you have, the more
influential you become in your niche. It’s the same process, regardless of
whether you have 100,000 subscribers or you just started your blog yesterday.
And it all begins with the headline.”
Here are some of my posts with headlines written after reading 52 Headline Hacks. Do you remember any of them? Did the headline help?
If you have a great post from the past that you either didn’t title, or titled with a limp headline, you can go back and fix it. Then tweet it or put it up on Facebook and see what happens. If you’re looking for an idea of what to post about this week, scan through the 52 headlines and pick one that jumps out at you. Fill in the blanks and see what you can come up with.
Look at you and your content marketing crafty self go!
*On a side note, you can also use this ebook to come up with some pretty hysterical headlines for craft blog posts. Here’s two:
- The Shocking Truth about Pompoms
- 9 Lies Quilters Like to Tell
Hee hee! Charlie and I have laughed really really hard many an evening coming up with terrible headlines.