Steve Martin’s Advice for Online Marketers

As an online marketing coach, I know the kinds of questions I usually get from people when they’re trying to build an online business. My prospects and clients want to know how to get more traffic, more conversions, more press coverage, and more sales.

They want search engine optimization tricks, the latest flashy widget for WordPress, and everything I can teach them about using Pinterest to market their businesses.

But lately, I haven’t had many questions about content. It seems like building quality blog or website content is sort of an afterthought for a lot of people. And that’s a shame.

When we’re figuring out our social media strategy, I want to make sure we’re putting our initial focus where it really needs to be — which is on creating incredible content that our audience will absolutely love.

Are you creating super-useful, compelling content on your website or blog? If not, please drop everything you’re doing and just focus on that.

Comedian Steve Martin, in his brilliant memoir Born Standing Up, is often asked about the secret to his incredible success. He advises people:

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Being great (in the world of content marketing) means creating useful content that gets passed around, commented on, and linked to by other bloggers.

Your content could be a great video series. It could a fantastic how-to blog. It could also be an audio podcast.

“Be so great they can’t ignore you” is the core of what I teach my clients about online marketing. And creating content that is so good people just can’t ignore it is the first step you should take if you are just starting out, or if you’re not getting the results you want with your online efforts.

Here are some examples of great content that I’ve seen recently:

Moment Junkie – a fantastic daily photo blog of emotional and beautiful wedding moments

The Art of Non-Conformity – a blog by entrepreneur and author Chris Guillebeau that encourages readers to live their best lives (and think outside the box)

Today’s Letters – a beautiful personal blog written by a married couple in Louisville, Kentucky

I read each of these blogs every single day. That’s right – every day. And it’s the great content that keeps me coming back, day after day. I wouldn’t be a megafan of each of these sites if the content wasn’t so good I couldn’t ignore it.

It’s springtime — the time for renewal and growth — which makes now a perfect time to revisit your website, and commit to creating incredible content. Make sure to make it so good that no one in your target audience could possibly ignore it.

Your assignment this week: Take a look at what you’re creating online. How is your content (truthfully)? If it’s not great, can you make it better? Can you put a temporary moratorium on your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest activity while you publish some outstanding new blog posts? Can you carve out time every week to create a valuable podcast for your audience? Let us know your thoughts (and your plan of action) in the comments.

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  1. You’re so right about the importance of excellent content! I’ve been focussing lately on writing content for my new website (coming soon), for the home and interior pages. Working on that content has given me all sorts of ideas for new posts for my blog, integrated into my site. I feel like Spring will be busting out all over in my web garden of iris and tulip posts!

  2. Hi Beth,

    I hear you and agree whole heartedly that content should be my number one focus. When the “Muse of Creative Content”, as I like to refer to her arrives, I have to listen to her call. If not she slaps me sideways and says “snap out of it”!

    However, on occasion, a content struggle strikes. It’s like trying to pull a tiger backwards and hoping he doesn’t’ bite you. You feel like you’re all frozen up, the deadline is ticking and your brain is taking a long winter’s nap.

    Now what? Social media is a good distraction but it won’t revive the muse. Building good content I think is hard work. It takes discipline and dedication. Thanks for the guidance and your wise words … this weekend I’m going to work on taking Steve’s advice!

    All the best,

  3. I couldn’t agree more with your post, Beth.

    And, I second Fran’s observation that it takes discipline and dedication to keep posting good content. Along with that, I need to find a certain inspiration in something I am hearing or reading or even just thinking about. When I post just to keep to my schedule, I can compromise on authenticity. The only reason I always read certain blogs is that I want the blogger’s authentic take on a topic, not just anyone’s view. So finding and/or reviving my own muse is critical.

    Thanks for a great topic!

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