Content marketing is like having a full-time staff that works for you all day. Even while you're asleep! Below, I'll reveal how to get started...
Heads-up: this article contains a ton of helpful links. To prevent interrupting your reading experience, open them in a new tab.
Every word and image you see online is a form of content marketing. People might call it "art" or some other name. It's still the same.
Tweets. Status updates. Posts on LinkedIn. Blogs published on the Practical Dev. Portfolio and resume websites. Even your social media profiles. All fall under the content marketing category.
The unemployment rate is 11.1%. 1,400,000 jobless claims were filed this week alone. And it wasn't easy before COVID-19. The average job opening attracts 250 resumes. 4-6 people get interviewed. One gets hired.
Bleak picture, right? Applying for jobs isn't enough. If you want to stand out, content marketing is the best way to do it. The goal is to tell a story that demonstrates your "secret sauce," or what makes you different from the average web designer and developer.
Begin with a big vision. This should inform all of your decisions. Answer these questions before you write a single word of content.
I bet "web developer" and "software engineer" will be the most common choices. But there are other options. Personally, I'm great at selling stuff and interacting with customers, so roles that interest me include:
- Sales Engineer
- Support Engineer
- Implementation Engineer
- Technical Success Engineer
- Customer Success Engineer
If you're not crazy about the idea of staring at code all day, look into alternative tech jobs. As you can see, there are plenty! You need to make this decision before you start content marketing. Take a few days or weeks to reflect if necessary. Heck, I needed a few months.
If you don't have an audience, content marketing can't help you. Decide where you'd like to live first. Second, connect with people who reside in those areas. Moving won't be as scary since you'll already have a network. And they might know of an opportunity that's a good fit for you.
I've lived in the same area my entire life, so this part was hard. Here's a resource that helped me. It breaks down the best places to live according to a Quality of Life Index. Scores are determined by factors such as:
- Health Care
- Purchasing Power
You also might want to consider what cities are in the best and worst positions to recover from the Coronavirus. After you decide, type these details in the LinkedIn search bar:
Personal example with my hometown: "Kingsport, TN web developer." Then click on the People tab. You should see something like this.
Now you want to connect with anybody who shares your interests. Don't be shy. I've sent hundreds of connection requests. Almost all of them were accepted. And most people even answered! Here's a template you can use:
"Hey (Name). Hope you don't mind the connect request. Noticed we have a similar background. Now I live in (current area), but (new area) is on my list of "Places to Potentially Relocate." How do you feel about the area in general, plus job/career opportunities more specifically? Cheers and enjoy your day!"
PLEASE edit the above script to fit your own voice and style. If people get the same message from a thousand of us, that'll be awkward. And then this system won't work at all. So be unique and original!
Writing is the easiest way for me to express myself. I've been doing it for a decade. And have 200+ articles under my name. So this is my preferred method of content marketing.
Others are better speakers. They tremble at the thought of writing a blog or tweeting on a daily basis. But they're a boss at talking their way through complex problems.
Which one fits you? Either way, I advise an 80/20 approach. Spend 80% of your time playing to your strengths. Devote the other 20% to working on your weaknesses.
This part starts with healthy self-esteem. Without confidence, you won't even be aware of your greatest achievements. Keep a log of projects and their associated performance metrics.
For example, I launched a pet adoption website last month. I check its Google Analytics every morning. So I always know the total views, visitors, and average time on page.
In case you don't know, "time on page" tells you how long people stay on your website. It's a good measure of reader engagement.
Most people leave a website within 10-20 seconds. Compare that to 1-3 minutes for most areas of my website.
Screenshot metrics like these from your own projects. Save them on your computer for ease of access. And share them often! This is the easiest way to become an authority figure. People lie, but numbers don't.
Everywhere! The goal is to tell a cohesive story across all social media platforms. People shouldn't be confused about who you are and what you do. So you need a consistent brand message.
Notice: the only difference? I left out the "soft spot for shelter dogs" part on LinkedIn since this is a more professional platform.
I suggest branding your profiles with a custom header. It's not hard. Canva is the software I used to make mine. Okay, one more screenshot...
This is the top of my online portfolio. The first thing to observe? I used the same three titles -- "Dogfather, Internet Architect, Performance Marketer" -- yet again. No matter where people go, I'm telling the same story.
Secondly, see those performance metrics? Earlier, I posed a question: "Why should people trust you?" This is my answer. Quantify your impact and get the evidence in front of people fast.
First, let's summarize the six essential content marketing principles.
- Assess the best tech roles for you.
- Build an audience and network of peers.
- Choose your preferred communication method.
- Determine your greatest strength or secret sauce.
- Emphasize your skill set with data or performance metrics.
- Fine-tune your social platforms until they tell the same story.
Figure this stuff out before you worry about what to post. Without these pieces in place, content marketing won't help.
That said, the best strategy is to be useful. Share tips and insights that a) help people do a better job and b) demonstrate your expertise.
Use relevant hashtags (especially if you don't have many followers yet).
White space is your friend (it makes text easier to read and process).
Retweet your greatest hits (seriously, most people don't mind).
Write a "job search" tweet and pin it on top of your profile.