Check Out This Amazing Content Marketing Tool

Just taking a minute here to share an amazing content marketing tool I learned about from Barry Feldman in his recent guest blog post for Orbit Media Studios. It’s at AnswerThePublic.com. You’ve got to try it!

You enter a keyword and select a country, and voila! You’re presented with a number of questions one might ask about the search term. I plugged in “Content Marketing” and was served up this gorgeous visualization:

Answer the Public

It takes my breath away. I’m not kidding.

More Than (Key) Words

Let’s say I want to write a blog post about content marketing (imagine that!). This is a great tool for ideas and inspiration. I could dig into something like…

  • Who is doing content marketing well?
  • Why is content marketing important in social media?
  • How does content marketing build trust?

I’m sure I could come up with these on my own–it’s not rocket science–but why not use a quick and easy tool that gives you 77 ideas in less than 5 seconds?

I need to catch my breath. But I can’t wait to use this tool! Enjoy!

If you want to see more amazing content marketing tools like this, be sure to head over to Barry Feldman’s Blog Keywords: 16 Tips to Select Better Keywords for Your Articles at Orbit Media Studios.

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From Freelancer Brain to Business Owner Brain

Business Owner BrainMy brain is in the process of shifting from “freelancer” mode to “business owner” mode, and it’s changing everything. This is a really powerful statement. So powerful, in fact, that I’d stop right there if I was OK with a one-sentence blog post.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about—or even if you do—let me elaborate.

Before taking my business full-time, I didn’t know that my mindset would change so drastically—or that, in order to grow, it needed to change. I thought that simply taking on enough work to fill a 40-hour workweek meant I reached the next level. (Insert an evil laugh here.) No, no, no. How wrong I was.

She Blinded Me with Science

My brain is literally re-wiring itself. Other small business owners and entrepreneurs, including my business coach, warned me about this. I used to be a freelance copywriter. Now that I’m focusing on SoaringWinds Marketing all day, every day, it’s crystal clear that I am much more than that—and my capacity for all-things-content-marketing is significant. Now, I’m a business owner offering content marketing services.

I’ve been truly blessed with wonderful and supportive clients. Each and every one has enabled me to flex my content strategy muscles in addition to content writing. That means I’ve been able to develop editorial calendars, topics, and content that:

  • Come to life in different forms (print, digital, social)
  • Target different audiences (customers, prospects, investors, channel partners)
  • Target different spots along the sales funnel
  • Support various marketing objectives (lead generation, organic traffic, thought leadership)
  • Etc…

So what does this really mean? I’m never just writing. It might look like it, but I’m doing so much more. And that’s the direction I’m heading. SoaringWinds Marketing is morphing, evolving, shifting…but it’s all about content marketing, not just content writing. Because I AM SoaringWinds Marketing, I’m the one morphing, evolving, and shifting…and my brain is along for the ride.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I kind of feel like I’m in a constant state of recalibration. Maybe all small business owners feel this way. I’ve only been at it for about 3 months and this feeling has only just recently kicked in. It’s the big shift. “I’m not a freelancer. I’m a business owner.”

I’ll walk you through an example (inspired by a real-life discussion in my coworking office) of how this shift impacts my thinking, and, ultimately, my business development strategy:

I have a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. I’ve never OWNED that. But I need to. I used to think that placing “MBA” after my name or otherwise making any sort of “thing” about it was braggy or pretentious. I didn’t think it mattered to a client if their content writer had that credential.

And maybe it doesn’t. But it does matter that their content strategist does.

Upon further thought, my business education, which started way back in undergrad, has helped make me a damn good business person—and a damn good business content strategist and writer—and it shows my clients and prospective clients that I comprehend business terminology and have an understanding of the various business challenges faced by their customers. It’s not a coincidence that I specialize in B2B marketing. (Who’s bragging now?)

Sure, I worked in corporate America for over 10 years and haven’t been living in a bubble, but my business acumen is a big part of who I am and what I bring to the table (and to the computer or mobile device keyboard). And it just might set me apart from other content developers, who, in their own right, bring their own unique skills to their craft. I just happen to be a particularly business-minded and MBA-trained content marketer—and that’s value I need to leverage.

Did you spot the shift?

I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, but I Sure Know Where I’ve Been

OK, I have some idea where I’m going (I just really like Whitesnake). I’m growing, and so is my business. It’s exciting. I’m very blessed, as I’ve said. This new state of mind I’m developing—along with all the content—is taking me somewhere special, to a place that holds meaning for me and will help my existing and future clients get even more value out of me. Am I working longer hours than ever? Yes. Am I fearful that I won’t get it all done? Sometimes. But are these really problems? No, not for a business owner.

There you go. Shift.

Fabulous B2B Content Marketing Trends I’m Really Excited About

content-marketing-trendsToday, I’m curating some curated content. It’s a great content marketing tactic, no? Repurposing others’ content in the spirit of sharing the wealth–well, it just makes sense. Anyway, Hubspot shared a Digital Marketing Philippines infographic in a recent blog post and I’m sharing it here.

But first, a little shout-out to the folks at Hubspot because they’re the people who got me really jazzed about content marketing in the first place, starting back in the early 2000s and then again in the early 20-teens. Hubspot’s Kyle James (now of SmartBug Media) and Nick Salvatoriello (now with IMPACT Branding & Design LLC), respectively, guided me toward an understanding of what would become my absolute favorite part of marketing. What started as “inbound marketing,” for me, at least, has become content marketing. Love it!

I wonder if they even remember little ‘ol me? 😉

Every Picture Tells a Story, Story
OK, back to the B2B content marketing trends infographic. It’s pretty epic. It’s a huuuuge infographic. Here are my takeaways:

  • Companies who blog more get more web traffic. “Duh!” But that’s powerful, and a great reason to keep coming up with great content.
  • Then again, they’re getting the message that you don’t publish content just for the sake of publishing content. Web traffic is nice, but you do it to engage your audience and boost sales.
  • Companies continue to increase their content marketing spend–yay for me!
  • Companies are most successful when they employ a documented content marketing strategy, as opposed to going willy-nilly (a post here, a case study there, no signs of measurement…).
  • Companies are wise to try various tactics to promote/share their content with intention to focus on the most effective ones.

I’ve seen all of the above with MY clients, so I think we’re on to something. What do you think?

The Hottest B2B Content Marketing Trends in 2017 (Infographic) - An Infographic from Digital Marketing Philippines

 

Thanks for tuning in! Until next time…

Finding My Sweet Spot

suite-spotte-conference-room

My cup runneth over with at least 2 coffees every day…and so much more.

I just know I’m in the right spot. I’m finally working full-time as a content marketer, and that means I can focus more energy on building my business and helping my clients. All. Day. Long.

Well, at least until I head home for dinner and the nightly family dance party.

I’m a big believer in the laws of attraction and that everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe that the universe is leading me in the right direction. And there are little signs everywhere that tell me I’m where I’m supposed to be. Case in point: just now, when settling down at my computer to write this post, I insert my earbuds and fire up my music. I put 26 U2 albums (that’s 496 tracks!) on “shuffle” and the first song to come on is my FAVE, Joshua Tree’s Red Hill Mining Town. Unless iTunes is serving up songs based on a Googlesque algorithm, I’d say that’s a cool coincidence. Or complete rubbish. Who cares? It means something to me.

Musta Been the Right Place, Musta Been the Right Time
Way back in the spring of 2016, I stood at a crossroads. I was either going to find traditional employment or make a go of SoaringWinds Marketing. Guess which path I took? (Read aaaaallll about it in Taking My Biz to the Next Level.) While evaluating my options, I connected with local self-employed folks on Facebook and was alerted to a really cool co-working office, Suite Spotte, in LaGrange, IL. A few weeks later I just happened to be having coffee with a friend while our toddlers were in pre-school. And this coffee shop just happened to be doors down from Suite Spotte, so I had to check it out, right?

Naturally.

Forgive the histrionics, but I felt like I was walking into my future. The ultra-friendly entrepreneur-owner and business coach extraordinaire, Sue, welcomed me (and my willing friend) in for a tour of the super-modern and artsy facilities. While she had me at “meditation room,” where there is a salt lamp and everything, I was flabbergasted when I saw that an article posted on the bulletin board was written for the local newspaper by none other than a fellow Saint Mary’s College alumna, a professional writer introduced to me a couple of years back through our college career office. (Incidentally, she and I met in person a couple of months ago in a “coincidental” run-in at a local library.) Yes! It’s all coming full-circle!

Time Time Ticking, Ticking, Ticking Away
So here we are, it’s January 2017 and I’m finally working at Suite Spotte. It’s called “the go-to-grow workplace,” and based on my first 3+ weeks in, I can already see why. Not only do I (finally) have more time to work with, but I have the pleasure of working alongside other entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, remote workers, and freelancers. These are my people! And I have access to “on-demand” career coaching. And a meditation room!

We have weekly lunches dedicated to whatever we want to talk about. Since I’ve been here, we’ve hashed out some best practices for introducing a new subscription-based service model and the payments technology to support it…talked about getting “what you’re worth” when going after a new client or interviewing for a  job…considered some new business-building ideas for a law practice…and determined whether or not Jimmy John’s delivery is really “freaky fast.” It is.

Aside from talking with people and eating, I focus on my work. My client-based work as well as work associated with growing my business, making new connections, and setting goals for the short and long term. When I say I’m finding my sweet spot, I’m talking about more than where I set down my laptop and coffee cup. I’m talking about honing in on the work I love to do…identifying the types of projects I most enjoy so I can find more of them, defining the real value I bring to my clients so I can deliver more of it, and establishing a daily routine that maximizes my productivity and happiness so I can be a “better” me in all areas of my life.

finding-my-sweet-spot

Promises, Promises
I’m going to do what any self-respecting content marketer does and BLOG ALREADY. I’ve said it before, but it’s so much easier said than done. Excuses, excuses. “I spend so much time working on my client projects, wah wah wah, how can I blog for MYSELF?” I’ll tell you why, sweetie: because that’s content marketing. It is indeed my distinct pleasure to blog about the world of content marketing and share my insights. And now I can dedicate time to doing exactly that.

And, my readers, I expect you are probably LESS interested in hearing musings about my personal life and work…so I’ll up the ante on developing content around what YOU want.

Yep, that’s content marketing, sweetie.

Taking My Biz to the Next Level

I’m pleased to announce that I’m taking SoaringWinds Marketing full-time! With the support of my husband, I’m adding hours to my part-time schedule and ramping up, project by project. I’ll share a little about why this is happening–and why it’s so exciting:

Rising to my Strengths
It’s not easy being a stay-at-home parent who also works. I could probably leave it at that! But it took me a long time to admit that I’m someone who enjoys working and actually needs to work in order to be an effective parent. I kept telling myself that I could do it all 100%…and I struggled with burnout. And my family (not so much my clients!) took the hit. I’m not OK with that.

Some soul-searching and long talks with mentors helped me decide that I deserve to be my best self, and that being my best self means more quality time with my family. If working a more traditional full-time schedule and pursuing my professional ambitions is the fuel I need to stay charged, then let’s do it.

Having decided to work more, I faced the big question: do I go get a job or do I keep freelancing? For weeks, I went back and forth, seeing the pros and cons of both. I learned quickly that both options are good ones and there really isn’t a “right” or a “wrong” answer. But following my instincts…going with my gut…and listening to some very supportive clients, friends, and career mentors led me to give it a shot. Im giving SoaringWinds Marketing my full professional attention (for now, at least!).

I HEART Content Marketing
Obviously I’ve been evaluating my skills, interests, and giving serious consideration to the 5-year plan. When it comes down to it, my heart is in content marketing. I love strategizing, I love copywriting, I love all of it. But I also love being in a position of leadership. That’s not to say I want to boss people around (I’d rather not do that!), but I identify with the entrepreneurial vision. I can lead my own company, however tiny it might be right now, and assume all of the organization’s roles. It’s taking on a lot, but why not? I can say conclusively that I have the coolest boss in the world. 😉

I’m a content strategist and copywriter for SoaringWinds Marketing, and I can take this role wherever I want to take it. I’m excited about digging deeper into the practice of content marketing and learning from experts, like the folks at the Content Marketing Institute. I will continue learning from my agency clients and corporate clients as THEY manage content strategy and leverage my skills to further their initiatives. I look forward to sharing my insights with you on this blog.

About the Blog
I’ve written hundreds of blog posts for clients over the past five years, but sparingly for my own website. That’s not gonna fly if I expect to be a successful content marketer! So consider this my commitment to taking the time to write posts for SoaringWinds Marketing and NOT make myself the topic of conversation. At least most of the time.

Stay tuned for what’s to come!