If you haven’t read Part 2, check that out here.
So you’re all fired up and ready to help Black businesses build content presences that help them grow…now what?
In this section, we’re going to cover some action steps. Keep in mind that this isn’t so much a step-by-step process as it is a list of habits you’re going to want to revisit and review as you grow as a freelancer.
Even before we get into those though, let’s take a look at some examples of #BlackContentMarketing.
Black Content Marketing In Real Life
It’s worth taking a look at how Black businesses are already using content marketing to sell to Black consumers. This is where you’ll learn to understand what works and what Black consumers are used to working with.
There are a lot of Black businesses out there that are already using content marketing, so this is just a sampling (mostly from products and services I’ve used myself). If you have any you love that you think should be added, leave them in the comments!
Retailer for tall women. Great newsletter and podcast.
Leader in grooming and haircare. This brand uses its newsletter well (in the form of shaving tips), but their use of video stands out most.
The Green Laundress
Eco-friendly cleaning products with a nice testimonials page.
Not one of my favorite businesses, but their product descriptions are impressive considering the sheer number of items they offer.
Makeup and skincare line that makes beautiful use of blogging.
You probably read through that and started thinking of blogs, YouTube channels, newsletters and Twitter accounts of some of your favorite brands…and honestly that’s the best place to start. Anything that stands out in your mind is working at some level and if you can start to pay attention and figure out why, you’ll start to understand what it is you want to bring to your future clients.
Getting Your Content Marketing Skills Moving
I started my content creation life as a blogger. It’s a good place to build from, so don’t get me wrong, but it’s just the beginning.
The same thing’s true whether you come from a journalistic or advertising background or even with a degree in communications…you’ve got great skills, but you’re starting on a journey to figure out where those skills fit in the bigger picture AND how they can help your clients get real business results.
We’re not going to get too deep into specifics here (it’s something we cover weekly in the Academy) but I will share some of my favorite content marketing resources.
First, let me say that no resource is culturally neutral. These though, are the best I’ve found for understanding the absolute basics of content marketing with minimal cultural “noise”. Check them out, sign up for free newsletters, take courses, read e-books, but always remember to trust (and even document) your understanding of the people you’re marketing to as you go.
Building Your Prospect List
Ok…so prospect lists are everything.
As a freelancer, you should be approaching businesses on a weekly basis at least and for Black content marketing it’s no different. It’s easiest to do that if you start with a list.
It can be as simple as a spreadsheet, but I recommend something a little more automated (like Insightly, Streak for Gmail, or another CRM) to maintain a clear picture of your work and to make sure you’re following up.
However you want to focus, (remember the observation tips from the very beginning of Part II) start collecting names and contact information (email, social media info, etc.) . You’ll be using those a lot in the future.
(Btw…Here’s a post on the minimum amount of work you should be doing to get you started.)
Here’s a quick marketing tip that can make major changes in the results you get…
Never approach anyone until you’ve done your research.
That means don’t spam people with offers to cover their social media, or start a blog, or write their product descriptions, or manage their email lists until two things happen…
- You know they need help in some area.
- You think that you can help them.
This is where research and having done some work on your own content marketing skills become critical.
Now don’t get discouraged if you feel like you don’t have enough experience to make a difference…you probably do.
Even if you want to keep things simple (like writing a weekly blog on tips their customers might appreciate or making sure their existing blogs get more coverage via social by helping them out with your understanding of schedulers and automation tools) you can likely free up some of their own time, help them sell more product, or maybe even both. (Quick note that these services might be harder to sell, but we’ll talk about that in a second.)
Approaching Black Content Marketing Clients
This is the most challenging part, but if you’ve spent a little time observing your corner of content, it gets a LOT easier.
Whether it’s via email or social, a quick message with an introduction, an offer to help, and some indication that you…
- Get the people they sell to (you probably already do at some level)
- Have taken a little time to understand their business
…and you’re ready to go.
Here’s a quick example of what that initial contact might look like.
I’m a skincare blogger and noticed the BeautyNoir blog hasn’t been updated since last year. I’d be happy to help you get that started again with posts that help you sell more products. You can learn more about me on my site.
Whenever you’re ready to take the next step, let me know. Talk to you later!
Seriously, that’s it. You’re not trying to send your entire sales pitch. (Feel free to use that as a template to test your first clients).
Getting Easy Wins
I know when I started, I was pretty worried I couldn’t bring my clients actual results.
Sure, I could start a blog or write a newsletter, but could I really help their business? Could I do it in a way they could feel so they’d be willing to pay what I asked?
Everybody has those doubts. The easiest way to get past them? That’s going for the layup, the low-hanging fruit…the easiest possible win.
That’s going to look different for every business, but for the most part it always sits in the same general area…repeat customers. People who’ve already purchased from them are the most likely to buy again. (They convert at almost twice the rate of new customers.)
That means that if you’re prospect’s been collecting email addresses of previous buyers (I really hope they are), find out if they’d be open to you writing messages for them to hype new or existing products or even managing their mailing list completely.
Another possibility is writing better product descriptions. These aren’t as sure a bet in selling more product, but they can make an impact.
I chose these two for one specific reason…when it comes to tracking metrics that say “hey, this person helped me move my customers”, those two are probably the easiest. Most e-commerce and email management programs track those stats (click throughs and purchases) relatively simply, so it’ll be easier to prove your value than, say, blogging. (Not saying that blogging isn’t a good choice if that’s where someone wants to start…it just might be harder to make and maintain a case for it.)
By now I bet there’s a little voice in the back of your head going “Mmmhmm…but they’re not going to want to pay”…and you know what? Listen to that voice. I can almost guarantee that it’s right.
Most of your prospects might not even be aware that content marketing exists, let alone want to invest in it so you’re going to have some barriers to overcome. That’s why part four, the last segment in the series, is going to focus on exactly that.
The most important thing to remember right now though, is that this is just a jump off point. A few years, months, or even weeks from now, you’ll have learned your own lessons and built your own understanding of what your Black content marketing prospects need.
Up Next: Part 4-Dealing with Kickback
Erica Ahmed says
Thanks for giving a shout out to The Green Laundress!
You’re so welcome!