Six Reasons Why Content Marketing Freelancers are the Most Important New Groups for Writers Entering the Evolving World of Content Marketing
NOTE: I’m sharing this exciting news with my blog subscribers first — be the first members of these important new groups for freelancers who want to learn how to make their mark in the Content Marketing revolution that is happening all around us!
Content Marketing is disrupting three worlds — traditional marketing, journalism, and freelancing.
This is why freelance writers need a place to gather, gain insight, and support each other. We need to watch these changes shape this new marketplace — and we need to react to the changes in ways that boost our freelance careers.
This is exactly why I’ve launched Content Marketing Freelancers on both LinkedIn and Google+.
And you’re invited to join Content Marketing Freelancers on both platforms right now.
Content Marketing Freelancers is perfect for freelancers who:
- Are already working in Content Marketing
- Have just started dabbling in Content Marketing
- Want to enter the rapidly changing world of Content Marketing
Content Marketing Freelancers will closely track the expanding and evolving world of Content Marketing — and, more importantly, freelancers’ role in it.
Here are the six leading Content Marketing trends that will impact freelance writers in the coming decade.
1. Content Marketing is Here!
A sign that Content Marketing is no longer just a thing for the cool-kid marketing niche is that small media outlets are now reporting on it. Like this article published in the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal in February 2014.
“Content marketing rose as the darling concept of digital marketing in the last couple of years, sending many companies scrambling to join the growing trend of serving up content first and advertising last or maybe not at all. Also dubbed brand journalism and brand storytelling, the concept is turning on its head the question of what, exactly, is the core competency for a corporation that previously offered, say, soft beverages. Or credit cards. Or perhaps shoes.
“We are, of course, talking about Coca Cola, American Express and Nike. Or are we? Remember when blogs became hot and ‘everyone is a publisher’ was the new mantra? In the world of business, now every brand and its brother is a media company, or at least striving to be. Content marketing is the new black.
“Just ask Coca Cola, which employs full-time journalists and scores of freelancers to provide original content for its website, dubbed Coca Cola Journey. Ask Starbucks, which created an online media portal long before brand journalism became the term du jour. Or ask Red Bull, whose digitally distributed magazine, Red Bulletin, reportedly has millions of subscribers worldwide.”
The companies mentioned here are just the tips of the Content Marketing iceberg emerging on the horizon today.
2. Freelance Writing is Changing
Companies are moving toward Content Marketing at record speed. And Content Marketing requires massive amounts of content in the form of ebooks, white papers, blog posts, branded articles, customer success stories, and much more.
According to HubSpot:
“The growth in content marketing this year has continued to gather pace. There is no doubt this has been influenced by the changes Google has made to their algorithm; Panda, Penquin, and Hummingbird have all helped to shine the spotlight firmly on the importance of content.
“The stats released this year only go to highlight these trends: 73% of B2B content marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago, with 58% of B2B marketers planning to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months.”
What’s more, this content has to be the highest quality. This means the days of vast quantities of keyword-stuffed “bad” content are over (read: “content-mill-style garbage”).
3. Creating Enough Content is a Huge Challenge
According to last year’s Content Marketing Institute research report, the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, the biggest challenge for marketers has been producing enough content — 64 percent cited that as a challenge, and 29 percent saying it’s their biggest challenge of all.
4. Marketing and Journalism Will Merge
Today the line between marketing and journalism is blurry.
Bizmology recently reported the following, for example:
“The newspaper industry has been struggling for years, hurt by dwindling advertising revenue and competition from online news sources and social media. As costs have been slashed, job cuts have gutted newsrooms.
“Last year a 30 percent decrease in newsroom jobs whittled the U.S. down to only 40,000 full-time journalists. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for reporters will decline another 6 percent by 2020. All of those former news reporters are seeking new opportunities.
“In past years most journalists would find work in traditional public relations roles. But now more companies in all sorts of industries are seeking out people with journalism backgrounds to become content marketers and brand journalists, which is a hybrid between traditional PR, journalism, and marketing.”
5. Content Marketers are Wondering Where to Find Content Writers
One Content Marketer posted the following question on a LinkedIn group — which is a representative example of the lack of understanding of how to find Content Marketing writers in today’s changing marketplace.
“I need industry-specific Content Writers. Beyond using internal resources, we will likely need to hire writers for our content marketing efforts. How do you find writers with specific-industry expertise?”
6. Content Marketers are Forming Opinions About Which Writers to Hire
As Content Marketers scramble to find the content creators they need, they are getting a wide range of feedback. For example, here is one of the 20 responses to the comment above posted in a LinkedIn group:
“Good question. I also work in financial services, and finding writers who really understand the industry and the ‘pain points’ of our specific audiences have always been difficult to find. One place I have found success is with industry trade publications. Probably due to the changing marketing world and the ever-increasing importance of valuable content, many of the trade publications specific to financial advisors, banks, investors, etc. have launched custom content programs that offer teams of strategists, writers, and designers to assist with content-related projects. They are generally not cheap, but I have found that their writers do generally have a level of expertise that can be a level above other freelancers or generalist agencies. There are also a few agencies that deal primarily with healthcare and financial services that seem to be on the mark in terms of content creation at a certain level of knowledge/expertise.”
Further, in an article titled, Best Move for Content Marketing? Hire a Journalist, Kuno Creative provided this opinion:
“Journalists will make any content throughout your organization better. Emails, newsletters, press releases, fax cover letters — you name it, they can improve it. Maybe it is just adding in a missing comma, or maybe it is reshaping the message, but when you let a journalist loose in your organization, all of your content is bound to improve.”
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, told Dori Clark in an article published by Forbes:
“In an era where every brand is a publisher and a content creator, you have to have a point of view and a compelling voice. You have to know how to tell a story. Journalistic training gives you an ear for story; you learn how to draw a reader in. You have to create content the customer will thank you for.”
If you are seeing a trend in journalists moving into marketing, you are right. I’ll report on this phenomenon in an upcoming post.
7. Freelance Writers Need Peer-to-Peer Advocacy and Support — Let’s Carve Out Our Place in the Future Together!
There has never been a more important moment for independent freelance writers to come together and mark our place in the rapidly expanding world of Content Marketing. Let’s advocate together — before Content Marketers’ opinions on who to hire to create their content is set in stone. We have a great chance to get our voices heard now.
We can accomplish more together than alone. The value of peer-to-peer support has been well proven. Business people can get farther in their careers when they have the support of others.
For example, Mike Richardson wrote the following on the Management Information Exchange blog:
“None of us is as smart as all of us — a safe, confidential and trusting peer group can be a powerful process for innovation, helping with opportunities, problems, challenges, and issues of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions. I mean a peer group of non-organizational peers, free of any conflicts of interest, hidden agendas, and any other dynamics that diminish its powerful potential. How come a human capital investment so proven is not more pervasive?”
I hope this post inspires you stop what you are doing right now, click the two links below, and join Content Marketing Freelancers on LinkedIn and G+ today.
Let’s help each other discover how we can carve out our niche, make our mark, and promote our value in the new world of Content Marketing.