In a galaxy far, far away …
Who cares about the galaxy far away, when you have customers swarming around waiting to be pulled into your universe right here?
We’ve all heard that content is KING. We may have even heard that video content is QUEEN, which, aside from most card games, always trumps the KING! But, what good is it to create lots of content if you don’t have a plan in place to attract people to the content once it’s created? And even when people come to consume a piece of content you created, what is your plan after that?
Many people put a lot of hours into the creation of a single blog post, video or even website content but then they put no thought into how it will be promoted or what the next step is, and they wonder why no one is finding them. [Read More at- If You Write It They Don't Necessarily Come]
I’m going to talk about a lot of different content pieces, and I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. You don’t need to create all of these at once, and you can get help with many of these pieces (I know a great team who can help! 😉) but when you do create a piece of content for your marketing, you need to know its role and its place in your content universe.
Your Website- THE SUN
The core of your universe, or your sun, is your website or your physical space (i.e. your store, your office, etc.). It is the place you want to ultimately get people to come to so they can contact you or purchase something from you. If your website is old and outdated or doesn’t have strong calls-to-action for people to contact you or buy from you, this should be your first step. You need a clean website without pages and pages of text.
Donald Miller of StoryBrand says it best, “If you confuse, you lose!” Your website needs to be clear and yet answer the questions people are coming with. If you feel that explaining what you do is complicated, imagine what people coming to your site are thinking.
According to Donald Miller, there are three questions your website must answer in the first 10-seconds someone lands there:
- What is it that you offer?
- How will you make my life better?
- What do I need to do to buy from you?
There are too many websites that never clearly tell people how to actually work with the company. Go look at your website with the eyes of a stranger. Does it answer the three questions above, QUICKLY?
Too much text on a site will also cause your potential customer’s eyes to glaze over and they will leave. It’s too much of an investment that you are asking them to make. I have a hard time when people send me an email filled with text, don’t think people will invest loads of time on your website right away. Have links and buttons to “read more” or “learn more” but don’t make it over-whelming for someone just stopping by to read a blog post.
Here's the harsh reality, no matter how much you just love the 16 paragraphs you have on that home page, even your mom isn’t reading it. As the popular meme goes, “Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!”
Once you feel that your website will help you convert more of those who come to it, let’s focus on how to get more of those ideal people heading your way.
Your Larger Pieces of Content- THE PLANETS
There are planets that are orbiting around the sun. These are pieces of content that your audience members want and need. These should have a natural gravitational pull that brings people from the piece of content into your core for more. Planets come in many forms:
A challenge series (one tip a day delivered via email)
Live Video Shows or Interviews
Shortcasts (Alexa briefings or Google capsules)
You may have some of these planets directly on your website or they can be delivered through an email or social media post. Your planets can have planets within them as well. For example, you might write a blog post and within that blog post you have a graphic or box that has a “DOWNLOAD OUR TIP SHEET WITH 25 WAYS TO SAVE TIME.” This is a great way to see if your readers are ready to move forward and commit by giving you their email address. I call this a lead magnet delivery campaign.
Keep in mind, as sad as it may be, not all of our ideal customers will be drawn to every piece of content we create. For this reason, you need to continue to create a variety of content pieces to see which ones land with your audience members.
If your content is helpful or interesting and leaves the reader wanting more from you, they will take the next step. So let’s move out into the stars!
Your Social Media Posts -THE STARS
Your stars are the social media posts (and sometimes email pieces) that are pointing people to the planets. They are small, byte-sized, shiny objects that are attractive to people. Your social media posts should be visually appealing, drawing people in to get to know, like, and trust you. They give enough information to entice. They will have short captions that attract attention and make people want to click or be pulled into your orbit.
Email messages can fall into this category since the purpose may be to pull them in closer to your core, but typically a person is already close if you have their email address. This is where you might want to look at how you can segment your email list to create smaller groups to get more personal with –that’s a topic for another post.
The key with social media content is you need lots of it. Just like stars in the night sky, not everyone will see every post. Some go by like a flash and won’t even catch your attention, while others stop you from scrolling immediately, drawing you in. You will need a variety.
Many people feel that posting one or two times a week is plenty of content on their social channels, but what they don’t realize is, like a shooting star, most people miss the infrequent post and so they never get pulled into your universe. If you’re promoting a new blog post, you might want 3-5 versions of social posts, each with different headlines and images pointing people to the post. This gives you five chances to capture someone’s attention.
Don’t forget that your social posts are not just for pushing out promotional content either. You want to mix in a healthy dose of “social” content to allow your ideal audience to get to know and like you. Social posts that do well include a peek behind the scenes in your office showing how you prepare for projects or your work team in a brainstorming meeting. Anything that lets people come in a little closer to learn more about the personality of your brand.
Ask questions to see whether your audience likes listening to classical or pump up music on a Monday morning. Share your favorite quote. That’s the social part of social media.
NEXT STEPS? What do you want your audience to explore next?
Now that we have explored your content universe, you will start to see how important each piece is in your marketing strategy. Nothing works when it sits alone. If you only have a website, you’ve got to work harder to get people to find you. And once people are on your website you will have a lot of work to do getting people to know, like, and trust you if that’s all they know about you.
Is it possible to only have a website and not need the planets and stars in your content universe? Of course, it is. When I have an immediate need for a plumber, if I don’t already have a relationship with someone, I’m going to Google, but then I will take the time to read the reviews on their Google My Business page, which is also a social channel.
Can you use only social media to get business and never need a website? Sure, you can. There is a cupcake truck that drives around Denver selling only cupcakes. You can find out where they will be and what flavors they will have stocked only through their social media accounts. So, you may have something so desirable that people are going to know about you through word-of-mouth and they already like you, so you just have to show up! That’s my kind of business.
The key is, you will shorten your sales cycle and increase your conversions when you have your content universe in working order. So once someone has been drawn to you through a social media post and goes to your website to read a post or watch a video… then you have to ask what do you do to keep them engaged with you? This is where the lead magnets and email campaigns come into play.
Often, we spend a lot of time and stress trying to drive more traffic to our websites, but we don’t think about what the person will do next. We don’t have a next step identified and so the person reads some information and then clicks away to another website. We think our “contact us” page is enough of a call-to-action, or even worse our “sign up for my newsletter.” Who wants another newsletter clogging up their inbox? Why not, “Get our weekly free tips and tools,” or something that sounds like something people would actually want.
When we attract people to our website to read a blog post, we have to think, “THEN WHAT?” What can I offer my reader when they finish, to give them a little more? What can I give them that might allow them to think of my brand a little longer and perhaps allow me to connect one step deeper with them?
You will want to start creating lead magnets and content upgrades for your blog posts or other content on your website to encourage people to exchange their email address for something of greater value. Let’s use the example of a content upgrade in one of your blog posts.
If you were an electrician and had a blog post about the “25 tips to keep your family safe around electricity in your home.” You could then create a printable tip sheet for parents to use with their children to help educate them on the “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts Around Electricity”. You could have a second sheet that provides readers with “20 Hidden Electrical Dangers Lurking in Your Home.” Of course, your contact information is at the bottom of both sheets. All the reader has to do is enter their email address and download these great resources. Who wouldn’t want these? Since you are an electrician and you want to know who lives in your neighborhood, you could ask for their mailing address along with the email address and then mail out a card with tips on a magnet.
When your blog reader gives you their email address, you make sure you have a statement on the form they fill out mentioning you will send monthly tips and resources to keep their family safe at home, and they are automatically added to your list. Now you need to think of ways to nurture this relationship.
Perhaps you send a welcome email with a short video letting them know you are so glad they are focused on keeping their family safe and that if they are ever interested in having a free home inspection for them to give your company a call. Always mention ways they can stay in touch and find more tips and resources on your social channels. You want to stay top of mind and in front of your potential customers as often as you can
Now you send a regular email with additional tips and resources, perhaps seasonal tips along with additional information that you know a homeowner will find helpful. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch in an email, and it doesn’t have to be daily or weekly. You are nurturing the relationship. Building trust.
At the end of each email message be sure to offer a free consult or perhaps a summer special or holiday safety check, along with your contact information. Never make people search for your contact information. I’m always surprised how many of these emails I get where they expect me to click over to their website to find how to contact them. Call me lazy, but that’s just too much work!
When this family needs an electrician, who are they going to call? They have now gotten to know you, like you and trust you because of the information you have shared. They certainly wouldn’t dare call someone from a random Google search.
Make sure you’re not collecting email addresses the way many people collect social media fans. If you are adding people to your list and then not doing anything to stay in touch and nurture the relationship, what’s the point? And then when you want to sell something to this list of people, how likely will they be to purchase from you?
WHAT NEXT? LET'S PUT IT INTO PRACTICE TODAY:
Here are 3 things you can do today to start building your content universe:
- Create a content inventory of your current assets.
Add all of your blog content, video content, any lead magnets you currently have, etc.
- Make a list of ideas for possible lead magnets and content pieces that you will plug into your calendar for creation.
- Draw out a simple content map with your website being the sun, the pieces you have floating around the sun and then begin the craft some social media posts to start shining on those planets!
If all of this has your head spinning… RELAX! We can help you with any or all of these activities and we love working with our clients to move from just having social media posts thrown up on your profiles to having a strategy in place to drive more leads to your business!