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“Relationships?! How do you do that when your business is all about selling boxes of widgets? Folks come to my site, order them and I ship them out…”
…or are they?…
How uncomfortable are you with your audience?
I belong to a few business and networking groups, as well as a service organization. Only at one of them do I have the luxury of spending time with the members (about 25) on a weekly basis and the ongoing encouragement to get together with a couple of them every week to really get to know them, their businesses and their lives. I am able to connect and as a result I feel almost as invested in their work as they are (I’m still working on birthdays and favorite foods, but, hey, we’ll get there!). I am fans of them and their work and actively seek out ways to promote and assist each one, if I can.
I’ve been writing a lot about the cognitive research around sharing, content shock and emotions. You’re ready for that to be done. You want the “5 Things You Can Do Today to Rock Facebook!” post.
As if things aren’t hard enough for entrepreneurs and small business folks, the challenges of digital presence and discoverability just keep mutating. I just started reading Mark Schaefer’s new book, “The Content Code” in which he describes this evolution of digital marketing so far.
The online world is utterly obsessed with content. This takes a number of forms, from articles and blogs to photos, graphics of any kind, videos, podcasts, and any re-mix thereof. It is an attention economy and if you can get your customers and visitors to focus on JUST YOU for a bit, you have achieved something pretty impressive.
However, this is only getting harder to do well. If you have the goal of creating or highlighting something of real value and relevance to your audience (as opposed to distraction or “click-bait”…) you have to be thoughtful, intentional and resourceful while balancing the other needs of your business and life. While the standing approach can still be called “Fail Fast” or “Do It Wrong Quickly“, you still need to cultivate an acute awareness of the real value of what you publish to your audience. There are numerous articles, sites, books and courses about content marketing available. Still, navigating it all as a solopreneur or small business owner can seem like panning for gold, and you just don’t feel like you’ve got the time or resources. You’ve got a business to create and run.
I’ll keep this to the point to save you time: here are three views of content that can help you use the resources you have more effectively. Frame your efforts with these in mind and you will find you come closer to “hitting the mark.”
- Make it interesting – There’s the stuff you’re interested in and there’s the stuff your audience is interested in. Drive laser focus on the latter, include the former and do your best to leave ‘overt selling’ out of it. Don’t be a pimp. Remember, only roughly 1 out of every 20 pieces published should be considered selling.
- Make it relevant and useful – Jay Baer says to publish stuff your audience would be willing to pay for. The greater the utility and relevance of what you publish, the more valuable you are to your audience, which will bring them back to you frequently….and when you DO sell, they will listen.
- Be truly “value add“ – Don’t just shove articles and links onto your stream and let your audience figure it out. Comment….give them a clue or a question or a contrarian point of view. Provide a reason to care and click through.
Do you have any views of content you feel are foundational? Share in the comments and make your case.