The Journal of Message Therapy

A Content Marketing Evangelist Writes the Book for Small Business.

What’s Not to Like? A Chat with Author & Content Marketer Matt Mansfield.

Matt Mansfield calls himself a “content evangelist.” With a rare combination of writing chops and IT skills, he’s been hosting online seminars on web practices since long before “content marketing” even became a thing.

What’s Not to Like? A Chat with Author & Content Marketer Matt Mansfield.Currently the President of Matt About Business, he’s just published his first book: The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing for Small Businesses.

The following is an edited transcript of an online interview.

Journal of Message Therapy: You host several websites and online training courses. What made you decide to write an actual book?

Matt Mansfield: I have a passion for serving small businesses and helping them succeed, especially in the area of content marketing. This way, I can enable a large group of small business folks to move forward on their own with content marketing—something that would be near impossible if I had to do it on a client-by-client basis.

JMT: How’s the book structured to make it easy for small businesses to get started?

Matt Mansfield: Essentially, the book is a basic course in content marketing, plus some extras to help them on their way:

What’s Not to Like? A Chat with Author & Content Marketer Matt Mansfield.I start off by teaching them what content marketing is, why they would want to use it and how to decide how much they should use it given their own unique business circumstances.

Then, I walk readers through the basics of creating any type of content: blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc. and how to get past the common roadblocks they’ll run into along the way.

Lastly, I provide some guidelines and solutions for hiring help such as freelancers and agencies, and then finish with a list of resources where they can learn more as they move forward.

JMT: “Small business” is a big category. What kinds of small businesses do you think can most easily (and most profitably) take advantage of what you’re teaching?

What’s Not to Like? A Chat with Author & Content Marketer Matt Mansfield.MM: Before I answer your question, let me pose two questions of my own that each small business should ask itself:

“How much of an opportunity exists for your business to use content marketing?” Is content marketing the best way to attract your target customers? Will using content marketing for your type of business be a challenge or a walk in the park?

“Given the level of opportunity, how much of your marketing mix should you devote to content marketing?” Most small businesses are in an either/or situation in terms of time and money to spend on marketing. Should you spend your marketing dollars on newspaper advertisements, flyers and magnets? Or, should you spend them on content marketing?

JMT: Okay, but there are a gazillion kinds of small businesses—different industries, different markets, different business models. Are some better candidates for content marking than others?

What’s Not to Like? A Chat with Author & Content Marketer Matt Mansfield.MM: Nope, uh-uh, won’t answer that one. It’s all too easy to generalize when it comes to online marketing, but the truth is that many small businesses do themselves a disservice when acting as if their business is the same as another, even one in the same industry.

This stance was the genesis of my “What your business SHOULD be doing online” formula—something I wrote about a few years back and continue to stand by today.

Sure, the concepts are the same, but how they’re applied to meet a particular business’ goals, now that’s a whole different ball game.

JMT: How do you briefly explain content marketing to someone who’s only familiar with the more traditional forms?

What’s Not to Like? A Chat with Author & Content Marketer Matt Mansfield.MM: The short answer is that online content can:

    • Drive targeted traffic to your website month-after-month. Most content is created to help your target customers answer a question or solve a problem. Therefore, the folks who are looking for that information will be driven to your site via search, inbound links and social shares.
    • Cost less than traditional online marketing, thanks to its super long-lasting return on investment. Once you publish a piece of content, it’s out there forever working to draw search traffic, cultivate links from other sites and encourage sharing via social media and e-mail.
    • Build the authority, goodwill and trust that leads to sales. By sharing what you know, you clearly demonstrate your expertise. By sharing this information for free, you build goodwill with your target customers. Combine these two and you get trust, a key—if not the key—component to closing a sale.

What’s not to like?

JMT: What resistance do you sometimes have to overcome when you’re laying out a new content marketing strategy for a client?

MM: The points of resistance I run into boil down to some common hurdles:

    • I’m not creative enough
    •  I have nothing new or original to say
    •  I don’t have enough time to create content
    •  I’m feeling overwhelmed learning to create and use new types of content

Addressing and overcoming these hurdles is the focus of Chapter 5. One statistic I quote, however, really helps to overcome any resistance I run into: “Companies that publish new blog posts just one to two times per month generate 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog at all.”

The takeaway is that you don’t need to launch a huge campaign to start gaining the advantages that content marketing can bring to your business.

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