C.C. Chapman On Content Marketing & Why Your Voice Matters
By John Bonini
As part of our BlogAbout Interview Series, we're speaking with authors, speakers, and TED Presenters on all things content. Get your content ideas with the BlogAbout tool.
When it comes to content marketing, many entrepreneurs partake in order to help build credibility and establish the elusive "thought leadership."
But for C.C. Chapman, it's a little different. He wrote the book on content marketing.
Along with co-author Ann Handley, Chapman published Content Rules which details how to create killer content on varying platforms in order to engage your audience and ignite your business.
He's also a frequent speaker on the topic at many of the top business and marketing conferences in existence.
So for Chapman, it's not about building credibility, as he's already one of the most respected minds in regards to content, branding, and online marketing in general.
It's more of a lifestyle. One that involves helping and consulting other brands and businesses realize their potential. To generate content that people actually care about.
I recently caught up with Chapman to share some of his thoughts on the current state of content marketing.
For most bloggers, the hardest part isn't finding things to write about, but rather defining a purpose, angle, and getting started. What's your advice to business bloggers who simply have trouble putting the proverbial pen to the paper? How can they work toward quality and consistency?
My advice would be to just start writing.
People put off writing thinking they don't have the time or enough of an opinion to matter and that is crap. You are the only one standing in your own way, so get started.
Don't worry about what other people are writing. Your voice is the one that matters when you are blogging, so write from the heart and what feels right to you. This should guide you when you are worried about the length, topic, and everything else.
Consistency comes from making it part of your life. Set a time every week when you write. The best writers try to write every day. Again, the schedule is up to you, but by doing it on a regular basis it will quickly become habit.
In Content Rules, the underlying focus was on creating content that people care about. However, many marketers and business owners feel their product/service isn't "sexy" (particularly in the B2B space) enough to accrue a substantial blog audience. How can they get people to care?
I don't know why everyone is focused on building an audience rather than building a product or service that people want. Any content marketing efforts that you decide to do will supplement that, but you should be more worried about gaining customers than readers.
I hate when people play the "but we are a B2B" card or that their product isn't "sexy." That has nothing to do with it. Google is a search engine and they produce some of the most compelling content on the planet. Pilot Pens are nothing special, but since I love their product I appreciate their playful content on Instagram.
The key is figuring out what you want to create and how that meshes with what your customers want.
If your only goal is to build an audience you are going to fail.
By simply scrolling through your Twitter news feed, it's easy to see how saturated the market has become with blogs and content. Is it still possible to stand out by adding more content to an already crowded space?
Ever flipped opened a magazine in your life? Notice how many pages inside a magazine have content on them? But some of it jumps out and gets your attention?
Same thing online.
There will always be too much out there. You will always be competing for attention. The amount of things being created is not going to slow down.
Now that you've accepted that, you can focus on making your content stand out to the customers you want. This is why in Content Rules we talked about how there is no silver bullet that is going to make you instantly better than everyone else.
Content is also a long term strategy. It isn't something you turn off and on and hope to magically have results. Just like a campfire you have to keep adding to it, stoke it once and a while and add a variety of different sized pieces to it to keep it going.
If you tell your brands story in a unique and compelling way, people will notice. Your customers will take that content and share it with their own communities. That will gain attention there. It will build. It might snowball.
But it isn't going to do anything if you don't start.
Most narratives in regards to blogging commonly harp on consistency but seemingly glance over how hard that is to do. What can marketers do in order to blog more efficiently?
It has to become someone's job to do it. This is why we suggest putting together a content calendar so that you can lay out what you are going to write about ahead of time. Just don't make it too rigid because you want to be able to write about anything that inspires you.
I'm not that consistent and I know that hurts me. I've personally embraced the fact that I only write when I'm inspired to do so.
Set up a schedule that is realistic. Start with once or twice a week until you get it going.
When it comes to writing for your own blog, what do you find to be most enjoyable about the process?
Hitting the publish button is the best part without question.
To learn more about C.C. Chapman, his work, and speaking engagements, visit his official website.
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