Whether you are the CMO of an established brand, an agency director, or an editor-in-chief with a background in journalism, as professionals who trade in content, we all share at least a few of the same types of challenges in our work.
Surveys released at the end of last year have revealed that as budgets for digital marketing are on the rise, content marketers struggle most in keeping up with content production and staffing talent. But does it have to be a struggle? Or could building up your content community be a simple solution?
For me, 2011 was a year of becoming intentional and strategic about my community. I had already started a content meet-up in 2010, but it was small and so was the circle around me. Thus, 2011 became a year focused on growing both.
But why is community so important to content marketing professionals? Can’t we just keep networking the way we always have?
When I say the word “networking,” most people think I’m talking about attracting new clients. And I am—but only in part. When you start building a community around yourself or your company—when you start networking for community—you are often building a client base as well as a referral base. But that’s not all you’re building. Here’s how community can help you solve some of our collective challenges:
- Contractors. Not every part of our work will require full-time staff. Whether you’re an executive or an independent consultant, you’re going to need access to contractors—who offer specialized talents or constantly updated skills—you can trust.
- Collaborators. Building a strong content community filled with varying expertise and experience can come in handy when you’re researching an article, writing your next book, or just want to bounce ideas off another expert.
- Opportunities. If you want to expand your speaking opportunities, teach a workshop, teach a class, or find a new job, having a robust network can help you find—and seize—said opportunities.
- Knowledge. The primary reason I started the Denver Content Professionals group was this: No (wo)man is an island. I was running the content department at an ad agency as a one-woman shop. My only access to the latest and greatest solutions and conversations in the content professions was online. Don’t get me wrong: I learned a lot from the online community, but I wanted to talk with real people—people who do what I do, people who use different tactics, people who have different ideas. In short, people I can learn from and grow with. And in building up my community, I’ve absolutely found that.
Intrigued? Good. Tomorrow, I’m going to show you how I built a growing meet-up group and a robust network of content contractors, collaborators, opportunities, and educational resources around myself in 2011. And I hope that 2012 will become the year you build your own strategic content community.