I often have conversations with small- and medium-sized business owners who are not sure content marketing is an effective use of their time and resources. They wonder how content can really generate more business, or at least at the scale required to produce a return on the investment of generating the content.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Quentin Hafner, a marriage and family therapist, about his use of and success with content marketing. I wanted to share his story as a prime example of how content marketing can help a business grow. For more about Quentin, you can visit his site and read his blog at QuentinHafner.com.
How did you first learn about content marketing—or the need for blogging, social media, and email newsletters, for example?
I started blogging on my first website as a means of just self-reflection—sort of a journaling experience. I realized that I enjoyed writing, so I just kept it up and turned the focus of my writing to emphasize my business ideas. I realized that blogging was a more “passive” way of getting my content in front of people, so I decided to create a monthly newsletter as an “active” way of delivering my content. It seems like both are important to my business.
What motivated you to integrate this work into your digital marketing strategy?
Truthfully, I think I’m lucky because I actually very much enjoy writing. So, it’s not hard to stay motivated to do it. In fact, I often find myself writing when I know I should probably be focused on other things, but I keep writing because it’s fun for me.
What kind of time commitment has it involved on your part?
I commit to writing at least once per week, and I usually spend 2 to 3 hours putting something together. But without fail, I commit to producing something on a weekly basis. I’ve chosen to only publish once per week because I want people to see my content as quality, and I think that producing too much content dilutes the perceived quality of the product.
What results have you seen from your efforts? Or what have been some successes?
My writing has generated several new clients in my practice, so the time spent on any writing has certainly paid for itself and way beyond. Not to mention my own personal satisfaction and enjoyment in writing. Besides new clients, my writing has opened the doors to several public speaking opportunities and more synergy with being asked to guest blog on other popular sites and online publications.
What have you learned along the way? Any mistakes you’d be willing share?
I’ve learned not to write when I’m in a bad mood. My feelings bleed all over my writing, so if I’m angry, I come out in my writing as a bitter person, or if I’m sad, I seem to be a very depressed writer. I have a proofreader for all my writing who advises me not only on grammar, but also on the overall tone in my content to reflect empathy, hope, and optimism.
What advice would you give to a business owner who is skeptical about content marketing?
It’s turning into the single biggest referral generator for my business, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. I’m getting to the point now where I consider, given a choice, if I should write a new piece for my blog or attend an industry networking event. The way it’s going, writing something will prove to be a more fruitful use of my time.
If you had all the time and resources in the world, what additional elements of content marketing would you pursue (e.g., podcasting, videos, etc.)? What is currently holding you back?
I wish I had the skills to do infographics and other visual media things on my blog. I know people like to look at pictures and I think that could add a ton of value to my writing. The reason I haven’t pursued it is because I’ve had an abundance of success without it, so I haven’t been very motivated. But it might be a next step for me.
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