3 Steps to Going the Distance with Content Marketing: Addison Avenue Marketing’s Melanie Howe

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Want a better idea of how content marketing can help you reach more people, help more people, sell to more people? Consider the case of Melanie Howe.

When Melanie left the marketing department at Ontario Systems, all she thought she wanted to do was help people with their social media.

My, how things change.

Addison Avenue Marketing, named after her little girl, had some pivoting in its future. The original model just wasn’t going to work.

“Clients had a hard time telling me about what was going on in their businesses. I had to extract the information from them,” Melanie said. “It was stressful and time consuming.”

The total number of clients who paid what she felt was worth her time and energy in the beginning came to a grand total of one. Others who had said they would hire her in a heartbeat before she had taken the leap into entrepreneurship discovered they couldn’t actually afford it.

So, Melanie pivoted.


Refocusing on what she really loves doing, Melanie began to market herself not so much as a social media marketer, but as a small business consultant, someone who could help people help themselves.

Still, there was a profitability problem.

She got really excited about working with a construction company at one point, starting to come up with thousands of dollars’ worth of killer strategy. The prospective client asked if she could do it for $500.

She had to say no.

“The epiphany came. I was like, oh my God, I’m not going to make any money doing this!”

She had to get lean to match the budgets she was working with. Real lean. She started coming up with what she called “down and dirty” hacks to improve her clients’ market presence without expending much time or money.

It wasn’t perfection, but it was something. Perfection was impossible, and striving for it was just too expensive. Something simple – even something down and dirty – was better than nothing.

Then she had a thought.


“If I could take all those people and put them in the same room with others who have the exact same challenges, and the exact same needs, with similar budgets and teach them all together, it’s like they’re sharing their cost of my time … I could do workshops!” Melanie said.

So, Melanie pivoted yet again. Two months later, she hosted her first DIY Marketing workshop and entered her next business iteration as a professional small business marketing instructor.

Her DIY Marketing Workshop is in three parts. Melanie teaches small business owners and entrepreneurs how to 1) build a marketing roadmap, 2) develop a basic marketing plan and content strategy, and 3) create content.

So far, she has done this workshop four times, each time to rave reviews. Naturally, that caused Melanie to ask, what’s next?

Reach even more people, of course.


Melanie rolled out her free ebook 30 Down and Dirty Social Media Tips in the summer of 2018 for two excellent reasons, and in this order:

#1: To help more people succeed than could fit into a classroom.

By putting some of her favorite social media tips into an ebook, Melanie can touch and help more people. Those who download it can immediately benefit from tips for reaching more people through social media.

#2: To invite more people to go further with her into more in-depth lessons.

People “purchase” her ebook by supplying their email address. Through email, Melanie is able to keep them engaged and offer more: an online course she plans to roll out in January 2019.

The ebook “gives away” a lot … but not everything. With her paid online course, Melanie will be able to offer more of herself efficiently, more profitably and will help those who want to go more in-depth.

Welcome to your down and dirty model for content marketing success.

Step One: What Are Your Gifts for Serving People One-on-one?

If you were paying attention to her story above, you may have noticed that she began, as many of us do, with a passion to serve people face-to-face, one at a time.

Her passion was small business consulting. Yours might be mowing lawns or helping people with their finances or programming apps that solve complex business problems. You have something to offer.

Step Two: How Can You Reach More People?

Melanie translated her love for individual consulting into group consulting. She went beyond individuals to figure out what problems were common to her audience as a whole that she could help fix.

You do the same thing when you go to market. Whether you run a business or social service organization, you tell stories customers, clients and donors as a group – as an audience – can relate to.

Step Three: How Can You Reach Even MORE People?

Melanie is now reaching the limits of her time and energy in reaching the masses through in-person workshops and the marketing work she does for clients. Her solution is to translate know-how into content.

This is the next step for you.

To some degree, we’re all in a consulting business. You have valuable knowledge to share and stories to tell about the benefits of your product, service, cause.

You just need a way to package and deliver that knowledge to an ever-increasing, well-defined, hand-picked audience in a way that encourages them to like and trust you.

That is exactly what strategic content marketing does for you.


I pointed out to Melanie that the ways she’s helping people goes way beyond marketing; she’s also an organization guru, an efficiency expert and business coach all rolled into one.

That begged the question, what’s next for Addison Avenue Marketing?

“As I’m creating content for clients, Addison Avenue Marketing is always going to be my agency. But Melanie Howe, marketing instructor, is my personal brand. When you invest in an instructor, you are buying the instructor. People buy from people,” she said.


Melanie’s a person. I’m a person. Even if you work for a huge conglomerate, at the end of the day, it’s your personality, your character, your personal story that’s going to convince your audience to act.

Share your gifts with one person, then with many, then with countless more through published content. Those are your three steps to content marketing success.

Down and dirty style.

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