Out of the Box Marketing Via Helpful Side Projects

Writing is neat and all, but your audience probably doesn’t want to read stuff all day. They want to watch videos, look at funny images, play games and more.

When doing your content marketing, consider creating something other than just blog posts. How do you do that? Create side projects

A side project is something that takes time and effort to create so don’t expect immediate results like when you use ads or social media. But the fact that it does take effort means fewer people do them, so you’re offering something a bit different to your customers.

Also, these tend to be stickier since they help your audience in an unconventional way.

1. Power an online group
Having an online group is not only a great way to get new customers, but also a way to help current customers in a place they’re comfortable in.

The only downside really is that you don’t control the group once you’ve made it, no matter how much moderation you add. It’s a venue for them to talk, not for you to promote. But you can use that to your advantage by simply being useful and helpful to them without promoting your products.

2. Host regular events
There is no doubt that we love being around other people like us. While events can become logistical nightmares at the start, they get easier once you get a hang of them.

An event once a month or quarter can both be a venue to introduce your products as well as a way to learn more about your target audience. Don’t forget the free food, very important.

3. Create an academy
If your audience loves learning, you can set yourself up as an authority simply by providing courses on the topics that matter the most to them. You don’t even need to give them away for free, as long as you produce top notch content.

The end result is that you build a captivated (not captive) audience as well as increase your standing in their minds. Who knows, they might even list you in their resume next!

4. Build a group blog
Invite top minds in your industry to contribute an article every once in a while to your group blog. This site is different from your company blog in that it acts like a melting pot of ideas where people can contribute valuable content whenever they want.

This way, each contributor pools their resources, audience and insights, so that everyone benefits from each other.

5. Develop plugins and extensions
Want your products to be part of your users’ daily lives? A browser extension does just that. It might do something utterly simple, but that tiny bit of screen real estate is enough if your plugin or extension is something they can use often.

Yes, this takes a bit of technical know-how but it’s simpler than build a full-fledged app.

6. Create free digital assets
We all take online media for granted, but it takes a lot of effort to create those assets.

Infographics, videos, and even tiny icons all take a lot of effort and expertise to make. If your audience craves content like these, create some and give it away. The goodwill you get far outweighs the one-time effort of making one.

7. Author a book
Sometimes, customers want to do something but can’t simply because they don’t have a guide to follow. They take to piecing together information from blogs, reports, and discussion boards just to solve their problem.

If you can do this for them and make a definitive book about the topic, you’ll catapult yourself to the top as an authority on the subject. This makes it easier for them to recall you when they need your product, as well as recommend you to others as the top mind in the topic.

This article is written by Glenn Santos, one of the co-founders of 199Jobs.

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