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  • Writer's pictureClaire Bentley

10 CONTENT MARKETING TIPS FOR PARENTS

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

How do you market your services, your products, or your art in a way that a. doesn’t feel icky, b. helps you build relationships with peers and potential customers, and c. that you actually have time to do?


INTRODUCTION


Content marketing is defined as: ‘a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services’ (Oxford Languages https://languages.oup.com).


Disclaimer: I’m not a marketing expert. Instead, I want to share what I’ve learned from the perspective of a busy parent building a creative career. Most advice I come across doesn’t seem to take life limitations into account.


I love content marketing. I enjoy learning with and teaching others, and personally I would much rather offer valuable information and interaction than Tweet ‘buy my book’ at what would be a handful of followers ten times a day.


However, it can feel extremely overwhelming.


What should I make content about?


Should I blog? Make videos? Podcasts? Should I be on Twitter? YouTube? TikTok? Instagram? Facebook? My own website? Repeat thought process until the kids are hungry and you still haven’t started dinner.


Me holding a cup of coffee with a slightly-panicked look
Content marketing can feel overwhelming!

Which brings me to my next point. How on Earth do you navigate this if you’re a parent, or are otherwise hampered by professional or caring or disability-related restrictions in your life?


In this post I will discuss considerations, practicalities, and strategies for managing content marketing, especially if you have added complications in your life.

For the purposes of this post, I'm assuming you wish to create content to build relationships with your target audience and others in your field, and to raise awareness of yourself and your brand, rather than purely for ‘sales’.


For (related) practical tips on productivity and time management for creative parents, please see the post below, or sign up for my newsletter to gain access to my free Productivity for Parents guide:


https://www.clairebentley.co.uk/post/21-quick-productivity-tips-for-parent-creatives

https://www.clairebentley.co.uk/newsletter


TIP 1: HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU ACTUALLY HAVE?


Don’t panic. I’m not about to suggest keeping a time diary and recording how much time you spend on each activity during the course of a few weeks.


If you wish to do that then great, and yes it can offer some helpful insights.


However, it makes me feel stressed when people suggest this as an automatic first step to working through a time-management problem. Great idea in theory, but as my kids are wrapped round my legs and I haven’t showered in three days (sorry kids), I already suspect I don’t have a lot of free time. And I’m not going to waste even more time doodling my lack of free time on a colour-coded chart.

Pictorial representation of how many things take up my time (cleaning, sleeping, meal prep etc)
To summarise: there isn't much free time left!

Yes, I could spend less time on my phone, but the daily grind of 14hrs+ of childcare doesn’t leave a lot of room for concurrent writing tasks which, for me, require concentration and forethought. I’ll return to this point later.


By now, I don’t need a colourful chart to tell me how busy I am. My droopy stinging eyes, bodily exhaustion, messy house, and my (sometimes) barely-controlled sense of panic are enough to remind me how busy I am. If you’re reading this I suspect you’re in a similar boat.


By now, I instinctively know where there may be slots in my diary (if any) which can be adjusted or deleted, and I keep weekly to-do lists to help with this.


TIP 2: NO, REALLY, HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE?

A word of caution based on my own experience (cough).


BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF ABOUT HOW MUCH TIME YOU REALLY HAVE.


I often fall into the trap of thinking I can do everything: write all the blog posts, make all the videos and recordings, and post thoughtful and insightful content in all these formats on a regular basis. All of this while of course writing my novels and short stories, and building my editing business.


When my brain gets carried away with itself like this, I have to rein it in and remind it that it’s 1am as I write this blog post, and to ask it how on Earth it expects me to record podcasts instead of eating and sleeping.


TIP 3: WHICH TOPICS EXCITE YOU / WHICH TOPICS DO YOU HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF?


Whatever your profession or creative passion, there is a good chance that you have an interest in, or knowledge of, other topics which could relate to your chosen path and which could help your potential customers or others in your field.


For example, when I decided to commit to a career in writing and editing, I knew I wanted to use content marketing to connect with and help other writers, and to help people become aware of me and my work.


I made this career move at a time in my life when I have two young children who already need most of my time. I have a nerdy interest in time management and productivity, and I’ve always been good at getting things done, even as a parent. I also noticed that traditional time management advice (both general and from other writers) typically doesn’t take into account those of us with added responsibilities in our lives. Yes, most of us start out juggling a day job, but what about if you (also) have children / caring responsibilities / chronic illness etc to deal with? This inspired me to build a content marketing strategy around helping other busy creatives.


Child's drawing of a whale
Pick a topic you're passionate about and which may be useful for those you wish to connect with

I’ve come across people using previous expertise in physiotherapy, psychological services, accountancy etc to help others in their field explore related topics which could benefit them or their work. Look at your own creative or professional field. Are there any underserved topics? Is there anything you have knowledge or experience of which could help others (colleagues, potential customers)? Is there a topic which you have a nerdy interest in which could be relevant?


Ultimately, pick something which interests or excites you, something which is underserved in your community, and which you feel could benefit others.


TIP 4: WHAT TYPE OF CONTENT DO YOU CONSUME?


When I’m cooking or cleaning I usually have writing-related podcasts or YouTube videos playing in the background. When I get a few moments when looking after my boys I will click on interesting-looking blog posts (usually via Twitter).


What types of content do you consume? What types of content would you enjoy creating? Do you know what types of content your target audience is likely to consume?


I’ll use myself as an example. If I had more free time I would love to make videos or podcasts, and I’m considering moving to one of these formats in the future when both my children are at school full-time. Podcasts and TikTok in particular interest me, and I suspect many of my writing colleagues and target readers can be found there. I’m an auditory learner so this is my preferred method of consumption, plus I regularly see Tweets from the US gushing over British accents, so my Yorkshire tones might help me gain listeners (!)


However, this is where the step of REALISTICALLY assessing how much time you have really comes into effect.


I would love to create high-quality writing and productivity-related videos and podcasts, but I just don’t have time to do this justice (at least not yet). I’ve always been an all-or-nothing person: I would rather do something properly and professionally with the commitment it deserves, rather than half-arse it and abandon it after three weeks because I’m overwhelmed.


If you would still like to go this route, then fantastic, and I wish you all the luck in the world! But before you do so, be aware that this is a huge time commitment, and it may mean having to hold back on other things in order to do it. Only you know what is most sustainable for you, and what you would most enjoy.


There is a sense in the writing community that blogging has had its heyday, and I don’t entirely disagree with this. However, it is the form of content marketing that works best for me at this stage of my life. I’m a writer and editor after all, and I’m naturally more confident and proficient with the written word than I am sitting in front of a camera or microphone and trying to coherently discuss the key points on a topic. With practice I think I could do this, but practicing and learning a new skill set is yet another thing that would take time away from other parts of my life.


To summarise: pick a form of content which you would enjoy producing, which you enjoy consuming, and which you feel you could do a good job at (or at least learn the ropes relatively easily).


TIP 5: PICK ONE OR TWO OUTLETS


Remember, your time is limited. Therefore, for both content and social media presence, it is better to focus your efforts on one or two outlets (and do them well and consistently) rather than scatter-gun your time and energy across multiple social media accounts.


I focus most of my time and effort on my blog (hosted on my website) and my Twitter account. Again, play to your strengths and preferences. Choose social media that you are comfortable with and, possibly, ones you’re already familiar with. For example, I don’t have an Instagram account because a. lack of time (again!), and b. I’m not a visual person so wouldn’t feel confident making content for a platform which prioritises the visual.


There is something to be said for working out where your target audience is most likely to be found and focusing your efforts there. However, I personally feel the number one priority is looking at what you’re comfortable with and what you can realistically maintain. Yes, you might miss some of your target audience (at least at first), but you’ll miss even more of them if you are not consistent with your chosen platform(s).


TIP 6: PICK A SCHEDULE THAT WORKS FOR YOU


The recommendations for growing an audience via YouTube or podcasting are to release quality content on a weekly basis. Bearing in mind that includes preparation, filming / recording, editing, artwork, blurbs, descriptions… that’s a lot to fit in every week when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep for six years (*clears throat and side-eyes her children*).

Typing on my laptop at 6am and still being disturbed by my child
Your schedule should be achievable within your current limits

Other outlets such as TikTok and Instagram recommend posting every day. Some (like Twitter) recommend posting many times a day. As a parent, when I see these recommendations, I laugh and laugh.


If you are an extremely busy person then I advise you to ignore these recommendations and only post / create content as frequently as you are able to whilst still preserving your mental and physical health. It is no good committing to a weekly podcast if you will quit after two weeks, or crash and burn after six months of minimal eating and sleeping, most likely damaging your health and losing the enjoyment of creating the content in the first place.


I know that, to grow my blog quickly, I should be posting every single day. However, when I started my blog and author newsletter, I decided on a monthly posting and emailing schedule. Sometimes I manage to post more often (my Enneagram series was intense!) but the minimum I know I can deliver, which will be useful, well-thought out, and delivered consistently whilst preserving my health, is at least one post and at least one email every month. No matter what Google or the algorithms say, taking care of myself and my children is higher priority than producing daily content.


For Twitter, I don’t post as often as I ‘should’, but I make sure to post at least once a day. Back to my earlier point about watching the kids: for me, those moments when they are engrossed in something and don’t need my rapt attention are the best moments for Tweeting, and responding to and liking Tweets.


I can hop in and out of it as I need to and still be present with my children: unlike writing and producing content for my blog and newsletter, which I need deeper focus for. Tweeting in this way also doesn’t cut into my evening chunks of time for writing and working on my business. It also helps me stay aware of changes in the writing, editing and publishing fields.


TIP 7: BATCH CONTENT

If you are producing podcasts / videos, or writing multiple blog posts over a short period of time, then I highly recommend batching tasks wherever you can to save time, e.g. recording multiple videos at once, writing several articles at once etc. It is not possible to do this every time or with every type of task, but I batch things wherever I can. Scheduling tools for social media and other types of content are also really useful.


TIP 8: ADAPT AND RE-USE CONTENT

If you produce content in one form or for one type of social media, then you can often adapt its contents and / or message for other outlets.


I don’t recommend copying content straight from one social media into another, as one type of content may not translate well into another platform. For example, if I tweeted an entire blog post then the resultant thread would be a hundred Tweets long and yawn-inducing. However, I might pick out a section or a key message from a blog post and create an adapted Tweet or a thread around that. Or I might see a Tweet that inspires an idea for a topic to cover on my blog. My two main platforms inform and feed into one another, which helps lessen the workload.


TIP 9: REMEMBER YOU’RE HUMAN (AND SO IS YOUR AUDIENCE)


On some authors’ Twitter feeds the only types of Tweet I see are ‘buy my book’ or ‘hey, let’s have a #writerslift’. It’s fine for some Tweets to be along these lines, and indeed some of my own Tweets directly promote my editing services, or my blog, or my newsletter (although I will burn before I initiate any writerslifts). However, if I see a Twitter account made up entirely of these Tweets then I don’t follow them. Yes followers are great, but I would much rather have a smaller number of followers who I have good interaction with than thousands of followers who I never ‘speak to’, and whose only content consists of demands to ‘buy my book’.


It is important to set boundaries when choosing what to share (or not share) on social media. For example, none of my writing platforms feature the names of, or photos of, my husband or children. However, I will Tweet about aspects of my parenting life, or Tweet some of the funny things they say and do, and Tweet about my writing and editing life and the frustrations of being a parent-writer. I’m a human and I value genuine human interaction and connection. I enjoy sharing some of these aspects of my life, rather than always being strictly professional (or, worse, continuously screaming ‘buy my book’ into the ether).


TIP 10: IF NOTHING ELSE, BE PRESENT


To conclude this entire post: it is better to be present online, in whatever way works for you and in whatever way you have the time and mental capacity for, than to not be there at all. Even if this is minimal or restricted to a professional website (for example).

However, no matter what the other authors / marketing gurus tell you, your mental and physical health are more important than follower counts and book sales. Whatever you choose to do, it should be enjoyable and sustainable for you.


BEFORE YOU GO…


The post was getting long so I kept it to ten tips, but do you have any other content marketing tips and strategies which you have found useful?


Please feel free to comment on the article and/or contact me if you have any questions!


Socials: @cbentleywriter on most of them!




Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/clairebentley

I welcome respectful and friendly discussion on the topics I write about, including if your opinion differs from my own.


Disclaimer: generative AI

I do not use generative AI to produce or inform my blog, my images, or my fiction. All of my content is generated by the chaotic firing of my own (human) brain! (I have access to some images through my Wix subscription). I do not consent to the use of my content, images, or fiction to train generative AI models. Please contact me to discuss permission and compensation if you wish to use my content in this way.





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