Content marketing for creatives: 4 tips to help you stand out from the crowd
Content marketing is often seen as being about writing. Whether it’s blog posts, landing pages or whitepapers, when some people think about creating content for their target audience it usually involves opening up a laptop and hammering away at the keyboard until you have something you’re happy to publish.
However, content marketing these days is about so much more than just words on a page, especially if you work in the creative industries.
If you’re an artist, photographer, film-maker or other creative, you have a huge advantage over the rest of us. While regular brands invest in visually-rich media, such as videos and custom graphics, to drive exciting content marketing campaigns, you talented folk can use the very products you create to hook and engage your target audience.
Whether it’s posting a clip from your latest short film on Instagram or promoting examples of your artwork on Facebook, as a creative you already have the tools to run powerful and effective content marketing campaigns.
But having great products (even if they also look amazing) is no guarantee of success. If you’re a creative looking to leverage the power of content marketing, here are some tips:
1. Set clear objectives for your content marketing
Never start any sort of marketing activity without being very clear about what you want to achieve. If you’re planning to use content marketing to drive traffic to your website, you’re likely to have one of the following objectives: brand building, lead generation or sales. That applies just as well to creative industries as insurance, real estate or e-commerce.
If you run a photography business you might use your website, social media and email to showcase examples of your work. But what you ultimately want is leads – people filling out a form and making a booking.
As a filmmaker, your main goal might be to create buzz around your release. You want as many people in your target demographic to hear about the film, watch the trailer and share it with their friends. Your challenges are no different to a tech business try to establish itself as an innovative thought leader.
As a creative, you should always have better-looking marketing campaigns but failing to set defined goals for success will undermine their effectiveness.
2. Don’t just be a creative – be a creative marketer
Your fabulous new clothing line or your latest website mock-up might be able to sell itself but why not put your creative skills to work on truly remarkable marketing campaigns?
If you’re an artist, how about drawing or painting something just for your fans? The Oatmeal has some awesome examples. If you’re an actor, what about staying in character to promote your latest release on social media. The cast of ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ – a mockumentary based on vampires living in a sharehouse in Wellington – did just that. Check out their Facebook page for some examples.
3. Know your audience and give them what they want
One of the top reasons for people following a brand on social media or subscribing to an email list is access to exclusive content. If you want an engaged social following you have to give them something cool in return.
During filming for ‘The Hobbit’, director Peter Jackson published a series of behind-the-scenes videos on his Facebook page. The footage spans approximately 10-15 minutes for each video, and shows how certain special effects were created, interviews cast and crew members, and generally just reveals some exciting aspects of the film, yet to be released. Most of the videos have garnered upwards of 35,000 views, which is amazing exposure for the film prior to its release.
Okay, so maybe you don’t have globally-recognised book and movie franchise supported by state-of-the-art equipment, world famous actors and a multi-million-dollar budget. But Peter Jackson’s tactics apply just as well to a small independent movie as they do to a Hollywood blockbuster. Your demographic will be a lot tighter and measures of success will be lower but your audience is there if you’ve got something rare and exciting to offer.
The behind-the-scenes idea applies to other creative fields as well. Artists could make time lapse videos showing how they create their work from start to finish. They could also create tutorials for beginners to help them get started on their own masterpieces. This sort of content marketing positions a brand – whether it’s a company or your personal brand – as a thought leader. It also builds trust. You give your audience something useful and valuable and you can start nurturing relationships that will lead to sales in the future.
I’m sure we’ve all seen those Facebook videos that show us how to cook a meal in just a few minutes. They’re shot from above with all the dull bits sped up. Not only are they beautifully-presented, they also provide real value – you can use them to make the dish yourself. This video by BuzzFeed Food has earned over 1.1 million Likes!
4. Think outside of the box – you are a creative after all
As a creative, you no doubt pride yourself on pushing the boundaries. Innovating and experimenting is how you keep your products and services cutting edge.
So when it comes to your content marketing, don’t be afraid to be a little daring in your approach in order to stand out from the competition. You want your campaigns to be memorable so that your audience keeps coming back for more. Another ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ example for you. Before the film’s release, Wellington’s famous ‘blown away’ sign got an unscheduled makeover:
— WhatWeDoInTheShadows (@DeliciousNecks) June 9, 2014
While I’m not suggesting vandalism is great idea for promoting your creative brand, it doesn’t hurt to do something a bit out of the ordinary!!