What does content marketing mean to you? Take a moment to think about it. What does the word CONTENT mean to you?
Content is such a horrible word. It implies the author’s need for something other than the actual work itself. It is materially motivated and the underlying focus does not sit within the work itself. It is something you produce for someone else but is not of yourself. What do I mean by ‘of yourself?’….You put it together so it must have come from you right? It’s your work. But the question we need to ask is what was your motivation and what was your strategy? Was it to produce content so that you can target easy keywords with low competition? If so, what did you feel about your work during the process of creating your content? Did it flow out of you easily? If so, you either know your subject matter very well and/or hopefully it still moves you enough to want to do more, greater and better work. Work that you can be proud of and that you audience will appreciate. Either way you have invested time and energy past and present in something you enjoyed. It is through feeling this joy during its creation that you are putting yourself in your work. This is why outsourced work will never have the same impact as something born out of your love, attention and care.
This is also why so many people are unable to stick to their work consistently to allow success to come about. It is through this consistency that the art within your work reveals itself. Granted art you produce does result in success but that art may very well not be recognised in your lifetime. So now you’re a starving artist! The question we asked earlier was in two parts; what is your motivation and what is your strategy? We have begun to address the first part already and we will come back to it, but before that lets look at strategy. We have to be practical because we all have a need to eat. Survival is the name of the game for many. Our content needs a structure for it to live and work through or else we will be nothing more than starving artists. I believe the best and most stable art arises through structure. Please click here to read a post on my other blog, GentleFist.com to read about the relationship between Art and Structure and their many manifestations in our lives. Art shows up in all areas of life; in work, relationships and even our health. Without a proper structure, Art becomes nothing more than a sweet and sorrowful lament of passions. You have to be able to monetise your art, whether that is now or later down the line will be defined by your strategy. Currently giving your best content away up front is the best strategy to build up a following. Any thoughts of holding back from your audience will hurt you and certainly won’t be serving them. The fundamental principle should always be to serve your followers. They follow you for the value you deliver and over time this value becomes directly associated with you and your brand. Give enough value over time and followers will become loyal. Consistency is what will ultimately be a measure of how much you believed in what you produce and in time how much of yourself you were able to infuse within your work. Without infusing yourself into your work, it will feel dull, lifeless, forgettable and forgotten. There will be no loyal following, no avid readers, listeners and viewers. If you want to monetise now, no problem, be sure to deliver value during the sales process and then present the option to purchase, but if you want to move people in the long term, your strategy should be to reach out and deliver consistently over time.
So let’s stop content marketing and start producing CONTENT-ART. If we aim to BE something, to BECOME through our doings then let our doings be the practice of CONTENT ARTISTRY, or what I like to call ARTENT. Let our practice of CONTENT ARTISTRY be an expression of what we are moved by. An ode to our passions.