You know that social and digital marketing is more than just throwing a post about your upcoming event, sale or business quote on Facebook, and yet that seems to be all you have time to do. Your content doesn’t have any theme other than it’s all about YOU.
Staying true to a marketing strategy can be difficult for the small business owner or marketer because there are so many other things on your plate, like running your business and actually taking care of paying customers. Planning and executing a content marketing plan to attract new customers often times gets moved, not just to the back burner, but to the refrigerator with the other left over ideas and plans for advancing your business.
I know I often use the old excuse of, the cobbler’s children are always without shoes, and I promise myself to go away on a retreat to plan our own content strategy. But of course, that romantic notion gets pushed aside by the need to work on proposals, team issues, and on-boarding new clients.
So I’ve decided to take you on the journey with me. If you are up for it, together we are going to embark upon a content marketing strategy plan and implementation journey over the next five weeks. I’ll be held accountable by posting my plan right here on our blog. You are going to be challenged to do the assignments along with me and share them here in the comments or perhaps on our Facebook page, whichever is easier for you.
Here are the steps we are going to go through:
Finding our sweet spot.
Regardless of how long you have been in business, we need to take a step back and identify where our true expertise is and what pain point will that knowledge or expertise address for our potential customers. This will help us start identifying the type of content we will create.
Find our content tilt
This is what makes you unique. What is the gap you fill that others do not? What is the niche you are going to target? Are you the only one who can explain things easily on video for the topic you cover or perhaps you have a style of writing and sharing photos that no one else does. This will help us look at the platforms you will dominate.
Create a content marketing mission statement!
Most companies do not take the time to do this and it will become our guide through the strategy process. Why are you providing this content to this audience you have identified? What is the purpose of your posts? Are you creating content to entertain? To educate newbies to an industry or provide a higher level discussion with those who might be peers? Be clear on your mission and look at it often as you create content to stay on track.
Decide on our content channels and type of content.
Where are we going to DOMINATE? We are going to be handing out blinders as we discuss this because there are many shiny objects that can make us feel we should be EVERYWHERE (Facebook Live, Snapchat, Periscope, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.). Will we deliver content via video, text, audio? We will dive into all of our options, but we must know where our ideal customers are hanging out so we don't develop strategies for channels that are not in our sweet spot.
This is the hard part. no matter what new shiny object comes across our path, we need to stay true to our plan. (Oh, this is SO HARD!) We will build an audience who grow to depend on us and look forward to our content. We need to commit to ourselves and to our audience to be there consistently. We'll look at this step in our last post in the series.
So let’s tackle the first step right now! Let’s find our content marketing sweet spot.
If you were launching a new business today, ideally, you would want to look at what you are great at, what you have experience in, what you are passionate about (sometimes these are very different). Then the sweet spot is where that meets what need the market has that is not being fulfilled. This is also the place where many of us get delusional. We may think the world is our market and everyone needs what we have to offer. You might believe that, but we want to know who will PAY real dollars for what you are going to offer.
I love a quote I heard from Andrew Davis, author of Town, Inc.:
“If your content is for everyone, it’s for no one.”
So let’s take a little assessment or inventory of our skills and expertise:
What Are You GREAT at Doing? What Expertise Do You Have?
Don't let your logical brain stop you here. We are not going to say, “I'm good at X but I certainly can't make money doing that.” We'll get to that. Perhaps you are a fabulous interior decorator and you are always giving people tips and advice on how to make their homes more beautiful. Or do you have the ability to help motivate people to take action in their businesses and you know the steps needed for them to succeed? Perhaps you have used these tips yourself and have helped others do the same, so you have experience in this area as well. Do you have experience starting and growing businesses or making homes look incredible?
MY TURN: I’m great at playing with new technology to see how it fits into different business situations. I enjoy using video and audio to connect with people. I’m comfortable in front of a camera or microphone. I am passionate about helping people understand technical information and making it “doable!” I know how to identify a target audience then create a strategy to engage them and build relationships online. I have experience doing this as well.
Now to identify the pain-point that we can address. If you are good at raising chickens but have little experience, you will need to work on the experience side before you start holding poultry care seminars, but perhaps you can start your chicken blog and share your journey with other beginner chicken farmers to build an engaged audience. Now as you are blogging and engaging with other chicken farmers, perhaps you discover not only are there a heck of a lot of suburban chicken farmers out there, but there are really no other places to find and share information about dietary tips, health issues and of course chicken accessories. You now have a pain-point that needs addressing.
If you are the interior decorator and you are sharing tips and ideas with your community, perhaps you know that many interior decorators are women who struggle to balance all that it takes to run their business. You may start a podcast or blog to share business tips for women juggling family, home and their decorating business. Now you are on to something.
MY TURN: Most small businesses know that they need to use all the tools available to them for marketing, but social media marketing, blogging and newsletter management takes time and the greatest pain point I can address is having NO TIME! I also want to address the pain-point of confusion caused by so many new tools constantly coming at us with the “TRY ME” sign on them. I can help by showing and explaining what each tool is and how it can be a good fit for some and can be a time-waster for others. My goal is to provide content to help the small and mid-sized business become more social and connect with more of their target audience without wasting time experimenting and not being focused with their marketing efforts.
Next week we are going to drill down even further into the concept of our niche, so before next Wednesday, find your sweet spot. Identify what you are really good at and what you have a passion for.
Gina Schreck started her business in 1995 (4 years after the first website was launched) and is always exploring new ways to help people connect with their target audience!
Connect with her on Twitter @GinaSchreck or any other social media site you happen to be on!