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Liz Clarke

Liz Clarke on the clarity of compelling content

By Liz Clarke

Owner, Freedom-CS

For as long as she can remember, Liz Clarke has always loved writing. A passion and skill that arose in a professional sense when she began rewriting complex legislation for Southampton City Council, which she traversed into writing public interest reports for the Audit Commission’s Benefits National Policy Team.

Applying her lexicon to the private sector, Liz later managed the marketing for a local construction company where she realised an opportunity to help other SMEs with their marketing.

Now, under her company Freedom-CS, Liz helps SMEs and owner-managed businesses with content-focused marketing to strengthen brand awareness and tell their amazing stories.

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What components make up a good, holistic marketing strategy?

There are certain things you've got to do so that people hear about you, and you have somewhere you can point them to for more information about your business. You have to have something in place that keeps your social media warm.

The buying cycle for the kind of clients that I work with is typically quite long. Which means it's all about looking at ways that my client can keep themselves at the forefront of their ideal audience's mind so that when the time is right for them to buy, the buyer has already made that decision.

Great marketing is about building trust and integrity for your brand amongst your audience so that when the time is right to buy, they come straight to you.

Research suggests that 80% of the buyer’s journey is done by the time they reach out and make an enquiry. Essentially, if your marketing is on point, they've probably already made their decision to buy from you.

I always recommend email marketing. Some people think it's tired, but every single business owner is in their email every day. If you're dropping in regularly with useful, relevant, helpful information, then you will be front and centre to catch their attention when they need you.

In the digital space, email and website are super important. But I also think companies really can't underestimate good old print marketing.

"People buy people, and even digital marketing is about how you connect with your audience on a human level. - Liz Clarke - Owner, Freedom-CS"

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What do you think will be the marketing trends of the future?

I think (and hope) that we could see less reliance on social media as a social strategy. I’m really passionate about the fact that social media on its own is not a strategy – it’s a channel. And it’s a channel that can be taken away from you at the drop of a hat.

Tech is an interesting one. I think we are going to see greater use of AI potentially making it easier for people to write their own content. Even with the use of AI, I don’t think human input will ever fully go away, but it will inevitably change the way people approach their content marketing.

I’m hoping that we’ll see a continued focus on building strong relationships. People buy people, and even digital marketing should be about how you connect with your audience on a human level.

Are there any clients that you aspire to work with?

What I have learned over the last five years is that I want to work with people who are doing something exciting and positive for the area in which they’re working as well as having their own business aspirations.

For example, the construction clients that I work with, are really committed to improving the built environment. I connect most with clients that are purpose-led and values-driven.

What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

I think the power of what I do is the ability to bring together amazing freelancers with different skill sets, in order to suit individual clients. I always match the team’s skills to the client that they’re working with.

I recently signed a financial institution client; I brought a finance writer and a finance social media manager together and the client is over the moon because they’ve got a dedicated specialist team working on their new product launch.

That is where my strength lies. For the future, I want to grow my team so that I can place highly skilled micro teams for each client’s needs.

What is one piece of advice that you give to all your clients?

If I could ask every single client to do one thing when they first start working with me, it’s to either read or listen to Marcus Sheridan’s, They Ask You Answer. Because it absolutely unlocks the fundamentals of how to use content marketing in a way that your competitors don’t (or won’t!).

It tells you why you need to be answering all those questions that everybody else is too scared to answer and it’s fundamental to what I do with clients.

As a writer, what do you enjoy reading?

I love reading. I really love crime psychological thrillers. These days I tend to listen on Audible more than read as I can listen in the car, when I’m walking the dog or watching the kids’ sports activities.