FT 166: Content Marketing the Right Way with Devesh Khanal
Devesh Khanal is a content marketing guru who used to be just like us. He never thought content marketing would work for him until a fateful meeting with his future business partner, Benji Hyam. Together, the two of them started their own content marketing agency, and they help big businesses and freelancers alike manage their content marketing campaigns.
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Devesh shares with us:
If you think you can’t use content marketing to connect with your ideal clients – think again! Content marketing is effective no matter what niche or skill you’re selling. If you’re having trouble making it work for you, then you might be doing it wrong. According to my guest today, a lot of us are doing content marketing wrong.
How to Run Two Agencies
In fact, Devesh is running two content marketing agencies. He was running his own business long before he met Benji, but the two of them decided to start a second business as a sort of personal challenge. Starting a business with a partner can really change the game for a freelancer.
The second you have someone you 100% trust, all of a sudden you don’t need to be 24/7.
Devesh recommends that we consider a partner if we’re planning on starting our own agency. A partner is not like managing a staff, but it still provides you with a support system. When you start a business solo, there is a lot of pressure on the individual to manage absolutely everything. But with a partner, you have someone to share responsibilities and clients with.
For Devesh and Benji, starting a second business was organic. There was a demand for their product, and they had no choice but to deliver what their clients wanted. It was not their original intention, but the business evolved on its own.
It was content marketing, which is what we sell. So we just built up that audience. We had a rapport with that audience.
Building a relationship with their audience is something Devesh calls “product marketing fit." He explains what this means in today’s episode, but in general it means matching your product (or skillset) with the problem your clients need fixed. When you are flexible as a freelancer, you are more open to the evolving needs of clients.
How to Create the Perfect Content
It’s this flexibility that will make content marketing work for you. If you’re like Devesh, you might be thinking that content marketing is only for consumer products. How can you possibly create content about a skill such as writing or web development? Easily. Start creating content geared towards why clients need your skill.
That’s why I complained that this wasn’t working for me. It was finding imitators and not clients. So you have to think – what do the clients actually care about?
Devesh breaks content marketing down into levels to give you a better idea of how you can grow your brand and your content. Stop producing mediocre content that’s geared toward beginners or other freelancers and start writing content that your clients want to read. Blogs about business trends or newsletters about competitors are great places to start. If you want high-end clients, you need to create content that’s going to attract people in executive-level positions.
If you don’t know where to find those executive clients, start roaming the internet. Find out where these people are hanging out online and engage with them in their community. Devesh calls this “community content promotion."
Figure out where these people already hang out online. That means, who do they read, what groups are they a part of, what newsletters do they subscribe to – and you have to figure out how to get your content there.
Start looking at groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. You want to engage in message boards where people are having discussions about their problems and their pain points. If you can solve problems for people with a quick comment, they are more likely to seek you out when they want to hire a professional.
What Are Clients Looking For?
Today, Devesh answers the question we’ve all been asking – what are clients looking for? More importantly, what are "high-paying" clients looking for? He encourages freelancers to share in an authentic way and gives tips for outreach emails that really catch their attention.
In the beginning when you’re trying to build that engine, you need to push. And then it gets its own momentum and pushes itself.
Start thinking outside of the box and stay away from the kind of content people expect. Drop the sales pitch and start engaging with clients on their level. Surveys go a long way when it comes to understanding your clients’ needs, and these kinds of conversations can evolve into honest content that reflects your knowledge and your empathy.
The biggest takeaway from today’s episode is that brutal honesty and transparency will be the ultimate success story for your content marketing campaign.
Find Devesh Khanal online:
- Twitter: @deveshkhanal
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