As our next round of AIM is coming fast upon us, I thought I would take some time to talk about marketing. One of my favorite ways for creative professionals to increase their market and visibility is through content creation and content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as the following:
“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Quite simply, content creation and curation allows your audience to interact with you based on the content you share through platforms like social media, YouTube, websites and blogs. The goal of content marketing is therefore not to sell, as in traditional marketing, but to cultivate a relationship with your stakeholders and find the “tribe” that is interested in what you are doing. It is that greater sense of loyalty that helps to build your customer base in the long run, by providing a destination for the folks with which you are looking to interact. Through content marketing, you can develop greater brand awareness, help build your customer base, provide added value to your work and services, and establish yourself as an expert in your field or discipline. Another plus is that content marketing is generally a very cost effective form of marketing and even more advantageous to artists and creative professionals working on small budgets.
So how do artists create and curate content? Consider the things you do as part of your practice that other people might find interesting. How you create work, how you run your business, areas or techniques of expertise and thoughts or articles that pertain to your career, core values or industry are all great sources of content. Even posts and pictures that tell more of your story or share your personality are great for getting your market more interested in you as an artist. Likely, if you find it interesting and it relates to your core values or your business, your target market will find it interesting too.
From there, consider your market and how you might best deliver this information to your audience or customer base. Your distribution channel should match where your stakeholders go to find information. For instance, concentrating your efforts on Facebook and Twitter might not be your best option if you are a children’s book illustrator (and this depends on what market segment: children, parents or teachers). Performing artists might do better with mediums that allow their work to be experienced more closely to how it is performed.
Content that creates exclusivity is also highly advantageous. As much as I am an advocate for accessibility to the arts, who doesn’t love the feeling of a backstage pass or a members only exclusive? The ability to create exclusivity helps to drive overall demand.
Keep in mind that this is about creating a relationship with those that consume your content. Relationships that are totally one sided don’t usually work very well. Dialogue between yourself and your target market is key to content marketing. So re-tweeting, using hashtags, answering fans’ comments, and being consistent (!!!!) are all important to making content marketing work for you. One more note about consistency – the moment you stop blogging, podcasting, or tweeting regularly is the moment you lose your audience completely. In any relationship, as soon as you break someone’s trust, you’ve usually lost their loyalty. So commit to the things you can keep up with. I have long thought a video series on how singers practice would be great for young singers and professionals. However, having no video production equipment or skill, it would be ridiculous of me to try this. There’s no way I would be able to keep up a regular, quality output.
If done correctly, content marketing can even lead to additional revenue streams. Services like Patreon allow patrons to donate directly to artists for the content they consume based on an amount they find sustainable. It’s also possible that as you establish your expertise in your discipline, others might approach you with opportunities to share you curated content as much as your artwork.
A new Atlanta startup will soon be offering a very innovative form of content marketing. VISIT is a new platform in which makers, artists and creatives can offer exclusive access to themselves through a limited number of phone call or Facetime interactions. Conceived as a limited edition, add-on purchase experience, each fifteen minute visit allows the maker and customer to share in whatever way they wish together. Still in beta, it’s worth keeping an eye on this new model as they launch their full platform soon.
And finally, content marketing is just one piece of your overall marketing strategy.
Concentrating on just one area of marketing can decrease your overall reach ability. It’s important to understand all the tools available to create a better marketing plan. Which is why we offer AIM, our three week course in Arts Marketing. In addition to content marketing, we also cover lean marketing strategies, social media, traditional marketing and so much more. Classes begin October 20th! Sign up here.