Content Marketing, Owned Media
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After surviving my first brush with Gen Con, I was amazed to witness how tens of thousands of people had turned a hobby into a passion. Within that subset, there were those who turned a passion into an entrepreneurial spirit. And if you care to delve further, there is a group who has turned their ideas into moneymaking companies that fuel the dreams of people new to the experience.

Having hobbies, it turns out, isn’t just about escaping the work week. Studies show hobbies can boast productivity and creativity at work. Encouraging hobbies to occur in the workplace also has its benefits, so maybe you should start a fantasy football league and build company comradery.

But the benefits to productivity and team building are just the beginning.

Research

Returning to the fantasy football example, many participants will spend hours poring over stats, injury reports, and film to make sure they draft wisely in preparation for the upcoming season. Anyone who spends countless time examining web traffic, SEO trends, and reliable keywords can tell you an attention to detail and the ability to comb through a lot of statistical noise to find the integral and usable information is a valuable resource. Not only does it save time and energy for a company in the long run, it allows content creators to focus on the right messages through the best channels.

So yes, your content writer’s understanding of statistical trends of running backs over the age of 28 can have a positive effect on the marketing content they are writing. Being a thorough researcher is an acquired skill and those hours spent navigating countless web resources to read the latest about music equipment or the best biking trails will pay off.

Engagement

Many of us have had experience with discussion forums and it’s been established that six percent of internet users are on Reddit. Though you’ve likely encountered your fair share of trolls and naysayers, most message boards encourage open, but friendly, debate. Users learn to engage other users in chat, relationships are formed, and common courtesy usually wins the day.

Those skills translate to how content is created and translated to the target audience. Understanding how to appeal to someone on a message board with a formed opinion helps to keep marketing content focused on the audience at hand.

It’s likely you’re writing for an audience that has its mind made up, so rather than use a combative or negative tone in an effort to change it, it’s better to go positive and use quantifiable and vetted information (such as your most prized earned media) to talk about your brand. Argumentative or defensive content is off-putting, but cooperative and open-minded content showcases your business in its best light.

Knowledge

Knowledge is the best benefit fostered by encouraging hobby and work crossover. Jeb Banner has covered the benefits of hiring musicians, and it’s an idea whose time has come.

Hobbies encourage people to seek the most up to date information to make critical decisions. The same is true in regards to content. It’s likely your company has access to its own experts, and it is up to content creators to tap into such resources and use them.

Likewise, content creators are often a wealth of data themselves and should be encouraged to share what they know. What is at first just participation eventually grows into expertise. Many content marketers have hobbies which involving writing and editing, and though the audience for one may not cross over to another, the rules often do.

Just as Banner and others look for musicians, some of the best content writers are hobby journalists who must adhere to guidelines that make the most of SEO and keyword optimization. They dig deep to ensure articles generate buzz and it’s the same knowledge that can be brought to a marketing project.

Hobbies teach us how to better ourselves through learning. The same logic applies to content creation. Understanding how to find the best resources, navigate those resources, engage with others, and put it all into use is vital to designing content that best represents your company’s public image. Though hobbies may be an escape, they also provide the opportunity to learn new skills and to apply them on the job.

How are you using your hobbies to better your work?

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