6 things I wish someone had told me before I became a social media freelancer

There was never a question of whether I was happy with my career move away from NBC and the sports journalism field to start a new journey as a social media freelancer. But had I known this six pack of truths about social media freelancing before I made the move, I would’ve done it much sooner.

1. You can work from anywhere in the world

As long as you have Internet access and a laptop. With that said, I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to explore every corner of the world. Sure, I like to travel from time to time, but this isn’t even about traveling; it’s about controlling more of your life. Today you can work from a coffee shop, tomorrow from the park, next week from your bed, next month in another country. The world is your office, literally. For me, working in different places keeps me focused and motivated. Does anyone really enjoy going to the same office every day?

Related: The Freelancer’s Handbook: How to make the most of your lifestyle

2. There’s a lot of money to be made

A lot of people think that freelancing is a part-time side job, only good for picking up a few gigs here and there. For me and thousands of other freelancers, that’s certainly not the case. I make a very comfortable full-time income (more on that below), and I know several others who do the same.

3. You can grow your income super fast

The first year of my freelancing career, I made $41,000. The second year – $57,000. The third year – more than $100,000. In most cases, you’re not going to experience that kind of exponential growth working for someone else. I don’t make that amount of money because I work 80 hours a week, or because I’m the sharpest tool in the shed. I’ve been able to consistently and significantly grow my income because I’ve diversified my services (social media management, consulting, speaking, coaching, teaching, etc) and my geographic reach, working with businesses in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Using a laptop as your pop-up office means you can expand your services to different locations without needing an office in each one, giving you the opportunity to provide a variety of services to a broader client pool.

4. You don’t need to be an expert for people to think you’re an expert

I once read that being an expert doesn’t mean that you need to know everything about a particular subject. Perception is reality, which means people perceive an expert as someone who knows more about a subject than the general public. And let me tell you, the general public knows nothing about social media marketing. If you talk like a social media expert and act like a social media expert, people will think you’re a social media expert.

5. Even some of the biggest companies in the world hire freelancers

I originally thought that I would hit a ceiling in terms of the size of businesses that would hire me. Boy was I wrong. I’ve worked with government organizations (the U.S. Embassy),  international brands (W Hotels), publicly traded companies (SodaStream) and national chains (LYFE Kitchen Restaurants). What I realized is that, regardless of the size of a company or organization, people hire someone who they can trust, so developing relationships with people who trust you will lead to other relationships with people who trust them. As such, my opportunity to work with each of these companies and organizations was created through a mutual relationship, entirely based on trust.

6. It’s all about word-of-mouth

As I said, developing relationships with people who trust you will lead to other relationships with people who trust them. When someone hires you, they’re hiring you with the confidence that you won’t screw them over (intentionally or unintentionally). That confidence is all based on trust.

Don’t worry about promoting or advertising yourself to people who don’t know you; focus on strengthening relationships with people in your existing networks, and those people will create new relationships for you.

Related: Word of mouth marketing: how to get your customers talking

How and where to grow your digital footprint

Do you have a significant digital footprint? 

If a business doesn’t have a digital footprint, it might as well be non-existent. 

Ok, so this might be a bit extreme, but your digital footprint matters. 

The internet is typically the first place people go to find out more details about your brand and you. Learn more about making an impact online – and ensure that all of your online and offline efforts are worth it. 

Samantha Riley knows how to leverage the power of the internet to give a brand visibility. She is an entrepreneur who made her first million at the age of 19 and has gone on to build and sell several businesses. 

In this episode of the Brand Storytelling Podcast  Samantha shares her online strategies to grow successful companies by increasing your online presence.

Brand awareness through custom content is important to consumers. On average, 76 percent of shoppers feel closer and more positive about a company after reading their custom content.

But the message that you send those customers must come from knowing your community. With the high influx of content, Samantha says you have to stop shouting your message and start whispering.

“We can take in 2-million bits of information per second but our mind can only consciously process 134 bits of information and it can only actually remember seven bits per second,” says Samantha.

That means that people see and retain information that they believe is “true” for them. That’s why Samantha says you have to really know your online community to build your presence online.

Here are Samantha’s top three tips

1) Know your avatars or your ideal customers and their pain points

“By knowing that avatar or that ideal customer with absolute clarity means that you can know exactly what they want to hear…. So, instead of shouting at everyone, you can whisper to the specific people who your message is intended for,” says Samantha.

She says to make sure you include your avatars on the journey with you by sharing content about you based on what you know they like and don’t like.

“I know that my avatar aspires to be on working holidays. So, I will very often weave the story [showing] where I am working at the moment because I do work on the road a lot. So, I will always post pictures of where I am or which coffee shop I’m in. So, it’s like they’re on the journey with you,” explains Samantha.

2) Educate and entertain them

“Think of social media as being social. It’s not an online catalogue to sell your products,” says Samantha. Instead, people want to be educated and entertained.

A majority of social media content is being viewed on mobile devices so simplicity is a must. “Make your posts engaging and easily consumed,” says Samantha.

Use language that your avatar would use. Often contractions are best because the content will sound the way your avatar speaks and writes.

Deliver content that gives your avatars “top actionable tips” to help them take a step forward.

3) Speak in your avatars’ language

“You want to engage and connect with your community and open up that conversation in a way that they can understand… and listen,” says Samantha.

Don’t talk at them; instead create conversation with them. Make your target market understand you share common ground with them.


Learn more about Samantha Riley

Samantha Riley, author of The Heart of Entrepreneurship, made her first Million at age 19 and built several successful businesses over the decades. Today, she helps business owners amplify their message so that they can make a bigger impact and charge higher fees.

Contact

LinkedIn

Twitter

Should I write a how, what or why blog post?

By Kath Walters

There are a million how-to stories on the internet. That is fine, but they only address a small segment of the audience – they address the “doers” – the people at the frontline getting the job done.

What about the managers? What about the leaders? Do they read how-to stories? No, they don’t.

Let me explain.

First let’s think about the three broad story types: how, what and why stories. You’ll be familiar with them all. Here are three simple examples:

– How to write a story.

– What is content marketing?

– Why content marketing is transforming the business-to-business sales relationship.

In my experience, each story type matches a different audience type.

Leaders read stories about why

Because leaders are strategic decision makers, they read “why” stories. They read stories about why content marketing is transforming the nature of sales and marketing, why content marketing is more effective than traditional marketing, and why it costs less.  

They read why stories and they use them to make a strategic decision. So they turn and say to their managers: we need to implement content marketing.

Managers are the process decision makers

They read “what” stories. When their leader says start a content marketing program, they read stories like: “What is content marketing? What are the components of a good content marketing strategy? What kinds of stories work and what kinds don’t. What are the pros and cons of outsourcing to a content marketing agency?

Once they have decided what they are doing and what process they need to use, they turn to their teams and say: start doing.

Doers are the people at the front line

They are the writers and editors in the case of content marketing. They get stuff done. They find out how to write a compelling story and headline, how to write for an audience, how to market without selling, how to write a LinkedIn profile.

We are all leaders, managers and doers

I don’t want to oversimplify the idea of these different roles.

All of us circulate through these roles in any one day. None of us stays strictly within these bounds. I am talking about the broad categories of how our days are spent. For most of us, we spend the majority of our days deciding strategy, managing teams, or getting stuff done.

There is some overlap between the three categories of story, too: always a bit of why in a how or what story and so on.

Who is your market?

There is no point writing how-to stories if your market is leaders. Understand the broad categories of story and how they apply to different audiences, and your content marketing will be much more effective.


KATH WALTERS IS A JOURNALIST, EDITOR AND BLOG DOCTOR. VIEW HER WEBSITE HERE.

TO CONNECT WITH KATH WALTERS ON TWITTER CLICK HERE.

 

 

How to create moments of inspiration in your content

by Phoebe Chongchua

Every company wants to know – what makes people buy?

But few actually understand the consumer path to conversion.

Author and speaker, Andrew Davis, says a trigger point starts people down the consumer journey and eventually brings them to the moment of purchase of a particular brand’s products or services.

He calls this the “Moment Of Inspiration”.

“The moment of inspiration is really designed to own the consumer journey,” says Andrew.

It begins with a trigger. Maybe your car is broken down and you’re now inspired to look for a new one.

But which car company will own your consumer journey depends on the stories the brand has told consumers.

“No one does it better than the media. The television shows you watch, the magazines you read inspire you to buy things you had no idea existed,” explains Andrew.

Today, it’s easier than ever for businesses to do this too.

To learn more about this listen to the Brand Storytelling podcast below. Andrew also shares some examples from his newly published book, Town Inc.

 

“If you really think about what’s that moment of inspiration that will send people on that journey and you start creating content that inspires them to go on that journey, you can be really successful,” says Andrew.

He shares one of his favorite examples of this from his book. Entrepreneur, Jenny Doan, wanted to make a quilt in a weekend.

So, Jenny produced YouTube video tips on quick quilting to inspire people to start quilting and make a quilt in a day. She uploaded them every Thursday for a couple of years.

“She’s garnered 260,000 YouTube subscribers”. Most watch her videos regularly.

Plus, Jenny’s business took off. She had a quilting store in the little town of Hamilton, Missouri. Jenny is now the largest employer in the county with 124 full-time employees.

“It’s actually saved the town she lives in,” says Andrew. “She owns 17 buildings in the downtown area.”

The key to Jenny’s success was to just start creating content and publishing one video at a time.

Andrew says this is how companies build their “loyalty loop” which translates to greater profitability.

“The goal is that the content builds trust. Trust builds relationships and that trust is what drives revenue,” explains Andrew.

Top three tips for creating content to improve your ‘loyalty loop’

1) Set an expectation for your audience: publish or broadcast on the same day, be consistent.

2) Have a consistent show format: make your content the same easy format to follow, watch, or read.

3) Power your content by a person, not a brand: people like to know the person behind the brand – humanize your brand and your content.

If your content isn’t creating a loyalty loop, there is a good chance that consumers are getting lost along the consumer journey in the “active evaluation” phase – perhaps even before they discover your brand.

Andrew shares what that confusing “active evaluation” process looks like in this podcast episode at 13:07. Listen to hear him explain it.

He takes us through the transitory stages of the consumer journey from the triggering moment of inspiration when a buyer decides he needs something, then to the initial consideration phase (which brands come to mind), to the active evaluation phase (gathering information, deciding which brands to add or subtract) and finally to the culmination — the moment of purchase.

“You can short-circuit that entire active evaluation mess by focusing on owning the moment of inspiration and getting people into your loyalty loop early so that they don’t get distracted with all the other stuff,” explains Andrew.


Learn More About Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis has wrangled for The Muppets and written for Charles Kuralt. He’s marketed for tiny startups and Fortune 500 brands. His novel combinations of old ideas that leverage new technology have been tapped by the Obama administration and Russian media moguls. Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships, his new book, puts his common sense approach to work for you.


Mentioned in this episode

Google Trends

Contact Andrew

TownInc


PHOEBE CHONGCHUA IS A BRAND JOURNALIST AND CO-HOST OF THE BRAND STORYTELLING PODCAST & THE BRAND JOURNALISM ADVANTAGE PODCAST. TO CONNECT WITH PHOEBE ON TWITTER CLICK HERE.

Branded Content forum highlights authenticity as the key to success

By Rakhal Ebeli, Newsmodo CEO.

I was fortunate enough to recently join some of the best in the content business on a panel at the ‘New News’ conference at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, where we explored the exciting intersection of editorial and brand journalism.

Alongside me were Amanda Gome, who has taken ANZ BlueNotes to new heights, and the man charged with heading up AFL Media, Matthew Pinkney. We were also joined by one of Australia’s leading editors, Emily Wilson from The Guardian Australia.

 

In an often passionate discussion, we navigated the differences between branded content or owned media and native advertising, before then taking the debate deeper. We wanted to understand the reason behind the dramatic growth of branded content and what impact that’s had on legacy media publishers.

Our host, award-winning veteran journalist, Jim Middleton posing the question to Wilson “Do you see any net benefit from organisations like Newsmodo and BlueNotes that support freelancers and give them more opportunities? Does it make things more difficult for traditional publishers, or take away their resources in any way? ” 

The Guardian’s Editor-In-Chief Emily Wilson responded;  “No, I don’t think it disadvantages us. It gives the journalists more opportunity and extends their ability to work and stay employed. It doesn’t take them away from the papers and magazines”. 

Ms Gome, who heads up Digital and Social media at ANZ also added that the ANZ Bank, through BlueNotes, said their publication was ‘all for’ supporting the journalism industry, in particular, the shrinking pool of specialist journalists in the field of finance.

“There used to be four journalists at the Australian Financial Review who might have covered the area, but now there might be one,” she said.

“Our aim is to do deeper stories and inform the conversation, but everybody always knows it’s from the ANZ perspective.”

At the heart of the conversation we questioned what produces great branded content that keeps audiences coming back. I proposed that the most important ingredient is credibility and that ultimately  comes down to the nature of the people working in or for that particular branded newsroom. 

Amanda Gome added that brands shouldn’t set up content platforms about something that will give them a conflict of interests or put them in a position where the audience won’t trust them. They should have clear topic pillars and objectives, like ANZ BlueNotes. It doesn’t have content about banking/finance products, or advice on what people should do with their money. It focuses on thought leadership, the future of cities, financial hubs, market trends, technology and so on. These things can be commented on with some objectivity.

Matt Pinkney, who manages to balance the commercial imperatives of the AFL along with his experienced editorial drive said that the site’s audience was very good at sniffing out branded or commercially driven content, particularly via social.

“If we start pushing that sort of stuff, we will hear about it through social media, which is a great feedback channel for us if we are doing stuff the audience doesn’t like.” Pinkney adding that he actually takes offense to the term ‘branded content’ as he works tirelessly to run his ship independently of the League. So much so that he took his point to backers at Telstra, telling them that if they wanted to build a massive audience then they’d have to be able to criticise themselves. That meant, that if someone (like the CEO or AFL Administrators) was not doing a good job, they would have the editorial license to say that.

A great tip for other companies embracing brand journalism is to write an editorial charter. Pinkney did so, and takes pride in growing the media house behind it. Although he admitted “Sometimes I feel we’ve nailed it and we’re virtually independent and other times I feel we’re being leant on.” Adding that such influences were also not uncommon in legacy newsrooms, such as News Corp, where he said the team often felt commercial pressures from other departments within the organisation.

A point that was reiterated by The Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief  “Obviously everyone in-house says ‘we really clearly label’, but the labels are confusing,” she said. “We work hard at The Guardian to have really clear labels, but it gets complicated.” Going on to say “Sometimes the money comes from foundations, sometimes it’s completely editorially independent, sometimes it isn’t — so it is a really complicated area.”

Personally, I found it refreshing to hear that editors, regardless of whether they reside in ‘church or state’ are all at times influenced by commercial imperatives. As those expectations on content publishers continue to evolve, I believe it will be the credibility, quality and transparency of the editorial lens that will separate the best from the rest. And, with so much competition for audience attention, no one wants to be left in the latter.

How to write blog posts that drive traffic (and money) to your website

by Phoebe Chongchua

Susannah Birch has 30 different websites and 500,000 views per month across them. She’s learned to monetize them and find the simplest way to write blog posts that drive traffic to her sites.  

She has been so successful in monetizing her websites that they can, at times, bring in money without her lifting a finger. 

“I’m closing in on $2,000… sometimes I might go a whole month or two without writing a single word,” says Susannah.

So what’s the key to her website success?

“Ask the question and give them what they need on one page,” explains Susannah.

That’s been one of her key writing strategies that helps her earn money and traffic to her blogs. When writing the article, assume that the readers haven’t and won’t read anything else on your website. Instead, make the article the sole source of the information the readers were hoping to get.

She also says don’t believe everything you hear and read about writing blog posts. Follow those who are getting results.

“There are all these people out there saying Google says, ‘You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that.’ Basically, I break a lot of Google rules,” says Susannah.

Surprisingly, Susannah says her success doesn’t come from the advice you’ve likely heard on nearly every content marketing blog.

“I don’t believe in fresh content and posting regularly. I like duplicate content. I make good money off of duplicate content. I love automating everything, it’s great.”

As shocking as this sounds, Susannah, has found a way to be very successful with her online writing. Listen to the podcast for all the details.

Here are Susannah’s top suggestions for super-charging blog content.

Get to know your target audience

Join groups and communities online so you can understand your target audience. Often you’ll find that the questions being asked in these forums are very different from what bloggers are writing about. This creates an opportunity for you to address their unanswered questions.

Use Google Suggests instead of Google’s Keyword Planner

“You go into Google and there is a drop-down box with all these different questions in it when you start typing and the cool thing about these questions is all of them are ones that people are regularly Googling,” explains Susannah.

By clicking on the suggestions you can see the results of the highest-ranking content, explore the competition, and come up with a different and unique angle.

Write long- form posts that give in-depth answers to questions

“People don’t Google answers, people Google questions,” says Susannah. Putting questions in your blog post titles and writing listicles with some content are both excellent strategies to increase organic search engine traffic.

Pick topics that have low competition

Research blog post content by using Google Suggests to see what types of posts exist and are performing well. Make sure your blog post gets to the point on that topic and delivers relevant answers so readers are satisfied when they’re finished with the article.

Have a great title

This is the first thing people see and will determine if they’ll click your content. “In my opinion, the title of the article is 75 percent of your Search Engine Optimization, at least, and it’s one of the most important things,” says Susannah.

Always use images with your blog posts

Susannah adds her titles of her blog posts to the images. This ensures that the content will likely be shared on social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram that are designed for photos.

“Having the title on the image is a great way to get click-throughs.”

Don’t promote your blog post until you know it works

“To me that’s like having $200 in your bank account and going around to every bank manager and [saying], ‘What’s the best interest rate you can give me on this money?’ Whereas I say, wouldn’t you rather have $10,000 or $100,000 in your bank account because when you approach a bank manager they’re more likely to offer you a good interest rate and you’re not going to get a few cents in interest—you might be making serious money in interest,” explains Susannah.

Two things should happen before you promote your content: have a good amount of content on your blog (approximately 70-100 articles, depending on the topic) and know what people want to read that content.

“I’m a really lazy writer. I write something, make it great, and if it’s going well in six months, I might actually bother to promote it seriously,” says Susannah. 


Find out more about Susannah Birch

Website

Susannah is a freelance journalist, SEO copywriter, blogger and certified birth doula. She also works at an electronic medical referral startup, owns a popular pregnancy website called Trimester Talk, and is the Australian Regional Ambassador for a social app called MomCo. 


PHOEBE CHONGCHUA IS A BRAND JOURNALIST AND CO-HOST OF THE BRAND STORYTELLING PODCAST & THE BRAND JOURNALISM ADVANTAGE PODCAST.

TO CONNECT WITH PHOEBE ON TWITTER CLICK HERE.

 

The Freelancer’s Handbook: How to make the most of your lifestyle

By Rachel Kurzyp

Are you new to the freelance scene?

Are you unsure how to take advantage of the freedom the freelancing lifestyle brings?

These four practical tips have helped me find my ideal clients, develop my service packages and live a more balanced and productive lifestyle. 

Invest in yourself

You shy away from spending money on your personal development. And you spend most of your time looking for your next job. You’re not alone. Most freelancers don’t invest in themselves.

Yet, it’s one investment that’s guaranteed to give you good returns. Invest time and money in your personal development. It will make you attractive to future clients.

Between jobs do an online course like SEO fundamentals if you’re a journalist. Or read a book on Lean Startup Methodology if you’re a business owner. Keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date will help you show you’re the best person for the job.

Take up a side-project

You know that project you’ve been thinking about but never got off the ground? Well, now’s the time to do it.

Brands want to hire people who are passionate about an issue. They want to work with people who have a community and aren’t afraid to put themselves out there.

See your side project as an opportunity to set yourself apart from others. Use it as a platform to experiment with your voice, develop ideas and test products on the market. When potential clients approach you, you’ll have a body of work to show them. Plus proven real-life examples of how you can solve their problems.

Try different pursuits

Get out of your comfort zone and try something different. Take a painting class, go hiking or try a new cuisine.

Use this time to learn who you are – what you like and don’t like, your strengths and weaknesses, and what type of people you connect with and those you don’t.

Take these learnings and apply them to your business. If you’re a storyteller use stories to sell yourself. Don’t like bureaucracy? Seek out small business clients. Having a clear sense of who you are and what you do will make it easier to position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Build new relationships

We’ve all heard the saying ‘it’s not what you know but who you know.’ For freelancers, knowing how to build authentic and relevant relationships is key to finding ideal clients and ongoing work.

Step out from behind your laptop. Go into the world asking, ‘how can I help others?’ Not, ‘what can I get from others?’ People don’t want to be sold things, they want their problems solved.

Join online communities. Take prospective clients out for coffee. Look for speaking opportunities. And take the time to nurture these relationships. You’ll be the first person clients think of when they need help if you do.  

Join the Newsmodo freelance community  to get helpful tips, news and best of all – work opportunities!


For more freelancer tips see our articles on the importance of personal reputation, quoting sources, or writing for the ‘other’


RACHEL KURZYP IS A WRITER AND COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT HELPING BUSINESSES BUILD THEIR DIGITAL STRATEGY.

TO CONNECT WITH RACHEL ON TWITTER CLICK HERE

WEBSITE

 

Create corporate culture with brand storytelling

by Phoebe Chongchua

It seems like the buzzword these days is “storytelling” but a story without a purpose does little for a brand. And a story produced without knowing your audience can become a complete failure.

“Every story should be written with a certain audience in mind”, says Bryan Adams, head of Ph.Creative.

The problem is often with brand storytelling, the content creation begins before a brand becomes familiar with its audience and audience personas.

This frequently leads to mediocre content that gets few likes and shares.

Listen to the podcast to learn how you can hire, inspire, and create a corporate culture for your business.

Find out how Newsmodo can help your brand tell its story, and get its name on the map. 

Inspiring audiences with storytelling

However, effective storytelling can inspire audiences, help you hire employees, and create corporate culture.

For instance, Nike is a clear example of a brand that inspires its audience by making them the hero and encouraging the audience to help finish the story.

“They reach the higher purpose within people,” says Bryan.

“They do something which a lot of other brands fail to do. They put the audience as the hero and position themselves very well as the mentor,” explains Bryan.

By telling a story about the customers and being the mentor for them, a powerful relationship is formed between the brand and customer. “They challenge the customers to go it alone. And all they do is hand them their product and say, ‘Here are these shoes. We believe in you. You can do this – off you go.'”

Bryan says this brand storytelling method inspires Nike’s audience to tell their own story using its products.

“It’s a technique that Hollywood and mythology have effectively used for many, many years and Nike really nails it on the head,” says Bryan.

Hiring employees with storytelling

Brands are often challenged with reaching the best talent to hire. Bryan shares how his company helped a brand to recruit the best mechanical engineers for a company despite the fact that they didn’t spend much time online.

“We told a very simple story and we positioned the mechanical engineers as the hero. We empathised with their wives and inspired them to enter a competition…,” says Bryan.

Using a Facebook contest, the wives engaged with the company and filled in information about their husbands.

In order to successfully reach the wives, Bryan says they had to do persona and empathy mapping so they could accurately understand who was online listening, (in this case, not the actual engineers but, instead, their wives) which is why this campaign targeted the contest toward women. This allowed the brand to get to know the mechanical engineers through their wives.

“We could tell a story that did connect their lives; we just had to go via their wives,” says Bryan.

Creating corporate culture using storytelling

“A lot of the great storytellers …are starting to align the story that they tell their employees and the story that they tell their future employees with the story they tell their customers,” says Bryan.

This creates authentic and transparent storytelling throughout the brand.

“To tell an authentic story that really resonates is to allow employees or customers to align their own vision with a company vision and, once things are streamlined like that, communication is so much easier. It’s simple. It allows a healthy culture and it allows you to lead from the front with an organization that you’re actually aspiring to have and your staff, your team, your employees have the same vision,” explains Bryan.

Brand storytelling and inbound marketing strategies are only effective when they’re aligned with the business objectives.

“Only then can you put a strategy in place which isn’t peripheral but is right at the core of where the business is trying to grow.

Three Key takeaways

1) Use persona and empathy mapping: really know and love your audience. Break your audience into segments and analyze them.

2) Use the ABT (and, but, therefore) method: tell a story to the audience but change the “ands” and “thens” into “and”, “but”, and conclude with “therefore”. Listen to the podcast episode for an excellent example from Bryan.

3) Publish only excellent content: “If it’s not going to get shared, it’s not worth the effort,” says Bryan.


Mentioned In This Episode

Mention Map


Find Out More About Bryan Adams

Twitter @Bryan_phc

Bryan is the co-author best-selling inbound marketing book, ‘Getting Goosebumps’, speaker and CEO & founder of the award-winning digital marketing agency, Ph.Creative.

He is a self-confessed social media addict, blogger and podcaster with a passion for storytelling, digital strategy and making things as simple and effective as possible.

Bryan is an industry expert and commentator with over 10 years’ experience working with an impressive portfolio of clients, including: Virgin Media, MasterCard, BAE, Dominos, Bupa, Vodafone, Tesco, Dulux and Nationwide Building Society.


PHOEBE CHONGCHUA IS A BRAND JOURNALIST AND CO-HOST OF THE BRAND STORYTELLING PODCAST & HER PODCAST, THE BRAND JOURNALISM ADVANTAGE.

TO CONNECT WITH PHOEBE ON TWITTER CLICK HERE.

Why I love HubSpot and how it markets to marketers

By Linh Dao

Around 3 years ago I got the chance to meet HubSpot thanks to the company I was working for. For those who are not familiar with the brand, HubSpot provides an integrated inbound marketing platform to over 15,000 customers in more than 90 countries.

It may be easy to say I love the company because it’s a big player in the field, but everything started small. To be an epitome of inbound (as opposed to the traditional outbound) marketing, Hubspot has excelled in the triple Es – Engage, Educate, Entertain.

Engage

Attention is vital in delivering a message but in this digital era, attracting attention is only half a story. That said, HubSpot utilizes attention-grabbing methods pretty well. Look at the headlines of the company’s blog entries. They use words like “you”, “your” to emulate direct conversations. They make audacious promises with “best ever” guides. They write “how-to” posts. They use interesting adjectives like “awful,” or “infamous.”

The other half of the story is nurturing the initial attention into engagement. In fact, HubSpot’s blog is one of the world’s top 50 marketing blogs, which proves they must have done many things right.

Again, let us look at HubSpot’s blog, which is segmented according to their target audience: marketers, sales people, agency professionals and last but not least, their existing customers. People only ever want to engage with content directed at them that is relevant. By dividing their corporate blog into separate sections with a unique mission for each, HubSpot minimizes the chance of a potential lead slipping through the cracks.

Linking to HubSpot’s blogging efforts is their email marketing campaigns. The importance of workflow and seamless coordination comes into play. I have received personalized emails about various things: weekly roundups of new blog pieces, invitations to events with discount offers, and templates to help with marketing tasks. Most of the time, I open the emails, suggesting they have done homework on targeting.

Educate

Coming from a journalism background, inbound marketing was new to me. But thanks to HubSpot’s adherence to their motto “where marketers go to grow,” I have been able to pick up the marketing pace.

I am probably jumping between the top and middle of their marketing funnel right now (although my past job made me their customer and hence, bottom of the funnel). The point is, HubSpot also segments their content according to this funnel.

At the top, HubSpot would feed the audience with the general marketing knowledge. Then in the middle, they give you the tools to familiarize yourself with their marketing approach. The bottom of the funnel is about giving you that nudge with hard facts, statistics and case studies.

The image below from HubSpot’s marketing resources hub illustrates my point above:

HubSpot’s highly targeted content/marketing funnel
HubSpot’s highly targeted content/marketing funnel

Entertain

As serious as HubSpot is about marketing, they also want readers to have fun. Entertaining posts are scattered around their blog.

In terms of topics, this could be productivity and well-being tips, or bits of pop culture (e.g. Coke vs. Pepsi battle) and current trends (e.g. Shark Tank show).

HubSpot also entertains the audience with the use of bite-sized content and multi-media items such as infographics, videos, gifs, and so on. A note though, they don’t go wildly off the track into entertainment, because that is what sites like BuzzFeed are for.

Key lessons from the story

One of the most obvious lessons for marketers, content creators and all those interested in getting the most out of their marketing, is persistence. You don’t create content for it to go viral in one week and then all goes downhill from there:

  • It takes time to establish a brand as a thought leader, or even just as someone readers would expect to hear from often.

  • Targeting and personalization comes from intensive audience research and planning.

  • Have a mix of content formats, topics and authors for variety.

Disclaimer: I am not commercially affiliated with HubSpot. The view expressed here is entirely my own based on my experience.


LINH DAO IS A FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND CONTENT EDITOR AND WRITER. 

TO CONNECT WITH LINH ON TWITTER CLICK HERE.