What could your business look like, a year from now or 10 years from now, if you were finally able to expand your reach, help more people, and increase your profits? In today’s episode, I want to help you beat that feeling of overwhelm when it comes to content marketing.
We’re going to do this first by creating more structure.
The more structure and planning that goes into your business, the more freedom you actually have in your business.
So, if you want to launch something new, great. You want to have a warm audience. You cannot just go dark between your product launches. By going dark, I mean you stop posting on social media every day, you stop engaging with people, and you just avoid showing up online.
You have to stay out there, in front of your potential customers. That’s why content marketing is the perfect solution to nurturing and building your audience, so we need to create structure so you can show up consistently online. And let me guess, before we dive in, you feel like you don’t even know what to say, or you think, “Why would anyone care what I have to say?” But done right and done consistently, content marketing can bring in a steady stream of leads, and you don’t have to spend money to run ads.
Over 35% of my client inquiries last year found me by searching for answers online and finding my blog or videos.
Another 20% found me because of the content I was posting on social media, which means over 50% of my leads from 2018 came from content marketing on my website, on YouTube, or on social media. And honestly, it’s not surprising, because a recent study showed that 85% of users ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results. And I will say, I am one of those people.
Before you turn off this episode thinking, “Okay, Jess, but you probably have like tens of thousands of followers and subscribers, and all those people share your content for you, so it’s no wonder that those are the results from your content.” Nope. As I’m recording this episode, I have less than 3,000 Instagram followers and less than 4,000 YouTube subscribers, and that’s part of why I even started creating content in the first place. I was a nobody, and I’m not saying I’m a somebody now, but people wouldn’t even have me as a guest on their podcast, because I was a nobody. It took convincing to get my inquiries to hire me sometimes, because they didn’t see me as an authority. I was just a freelancer.
I wanted to increase my visibility. I wanted to get more clients. And I’m betting you want the same, so if you are ready to get started, you need to take the first step. Commit. As Craig Groeschel says, “The difference between successful people and normal people is that successful people do consistently what normal people do occasionally.” Now, that is a quote worth writing down.
You need to make this a non-negotiable in your book. It’s easy to make promises to our clients and our family, but we always break promises to ourselves first. If you want to be successful, if you want to see results from your content, you have to be consistent. That’s all there is to it. I did not get featured in Glamour Magazine or Buzzfeed by occasionally posting a blog every three months, and no, consistency does not mean that you have to post a blog or video every single day, or even twice a week. It can be once a week or even every other week.
So, here is your homework. Make a plan and write it down. Write it in your planner. Tape a sticky note to your computer screen. Turn your phone off. Whatever you need to do, the key to preventing overwhelm is knowing you don’t have to be perfect, and knowing you don’t have to go from zero to 100 tomorrow. I want you to remember that you built your business to solve a problem, so just move your ego out of the way and dive in.
Your content marketing can help solve problems.
Now, maybe you’re wondering, “But, like how do I know if content marketing really is the right solution for my business? Like, how do I know if I should actually move forward with this?” Well, I want you to answer a few questions honestly. Do you have time and energy to invest into creating and promoting your content? Are you ready to embrace a growth mindset and put yourself out there more online? And are you okay with potentially making some changes to how you market your business online? If you answered yes to these, you can probably guess that means creating content could be the key to changing your business.
Now that you know you are ready to start content marketing, it’s time to look at the three main phases: strategy, creation, and promotion. You might be thinking, “Well, I don’t have any writing experience, and I don’t really want to sound like a dummy online.” This is totally fine, and honestly, it’s actually a good thing. You do not need to sound like anyone else. You need to sound like yourself. When your writing sounds like you, your audience connects with you on a much higher level. They can tell if you are trying to sound like someone else or if you’re just trying to sound all fancy schmancy, and yes, schmancy is a word.
Or maybe you’re thinking, “This won’t work for me, because I don’t have a big list, or a big following.” It’s not true. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have right now on any platform. As I already shared, I don’t have a huge following either. With the help of Instagram hashtags and Pinterest group boards out there for you to utilize, you don’t need a huge audience. That’s why I love helping business owners like you transform their business and increase their visibility online.
Content marketing doesn’t require a huge audience or a budget for buying ads.
Here are the first two steps to execute to start creating content. The first step is to figure out where your potential clients are at in their journey. Are they aware of their own struggles and problems, and what’s causing them, or are they struggling and not sure what to do to fix it, because they don’t even know what’s wrong? This will influence how you position your content, and can help you theme your content from month to month as you move them from awareness to solution.
A lot of people say, “Just create content that solves your audience’s problems,” which is accurate to an extent. You need to really understand how aware they are of their problems. This might mean you need to do some discovery calls with people, some Instagram polls, or even a reader survey. You can see what people want in their own words, but be sure that you are not just asking what people are struggling with, but how that is affecting them.
The second step is to decide what you will be promoting in connection to your content marketing. Will you be sending people to an opt-in freebie and then a nurture email sequence, or will it prompt people to book a call with you? The content can’t just have a dead end, so you’ll need to know where you want to send people next.
Now, when I started blogging several years ago, I did not have a plan or a strategy.
I was blogging about my thoughts on the Diet Dr. Pepper logo. Yes, I really did have a blog about that, and then, you know, social media for churches the next week. I was all over the place in terms of content and who I was talking to. Then, at one point, I decided to try creating a course for people to create their own website. I spent months and months recording videos, and building the course, while also working with clients, and blogging, and nothing. I got zero sales when I launched.
Now, when I look back at the time spent in that course and watching it fail, I know I did two major things wrong. The biggest mistake is that even though I was creating content every week, it really wasn’t helping lead people to the course. I was not optimizing that content to get people interested in the course that was about to launch. The other big mistake I made was not telling enough people about it online. I wasn’t warming up my audience or putting teasers out about my course. I just kind of showed up one day and was like, “Ta-da. I have a course,” which clearly did not work.
With online marketing, you have two options: push or pull. Push marketing is just pushing your own product or services online. It’s just a straight-up announcement that, “Hey, I have this new program, this new course, this new blog post. Here’s where to find it.” This is where most people focus their time and energy. But today, I want to remind you about pull marketing, which is just what it sounds like. You pull people in. They need to know, like, and trust you. they need to know you’re an authority in your industry before they buy from you.
Inside The Better Collective, I cover how you can pull people in with good SEO, creating engaging social media content that provides value, and being really good at storytelling in your promotions.
But when we’re pulling people in, we need to make sure that we’re pulling them to something great. You need a solid foundation for your online marketing to stand on, and that solid foundation should be your website.
Now, your website is so much more than just good design, as I have mentioned many, many times on this podcast. It’s also about being aware of your clients’ personalities and their level of awareness of their problems. You don’t just need good colors and nice photos. You need good copy and a good strategy. Once your website is perfected, you’re ready to start driving traffic.
This is where content marketing comes in again. This is how we get people to our website, but we have to be creating the right kind of content, and maybe explore even different types of content as well. And with millions and millions of websites out there, we need to be optimizing it for search, to pull those potential clients in.
Now, when it comes to promoting your content, whether it’s blogs, videos, or podcasts, we need to remember RAP, and not that kind of rap. RAP stands for repetitive, automated, and personal. Now, repetitive doesn’t mean that you just hop on Instagram Stories every day for a solid week to promote this new content every single day, but you need to show up on different platforms several times. Not all 512 of your followers are going to see every single Instagram post or tweet.
Now, this is where the automation part comes in. You need to automate your sharing on social media with the many tools and programs out there. Some are free and some do cost. Most, if not all of your content, should be evergreen, which means someone can read it today, a month from today, or six months from today, and it still be valuable.
And lastly, the personal part. This is, again, where we are pulling people in. You don’t have to air every single detail of your life, but people want to know the person behind the brand. You build relationships based on common interest, so when you’re promoting that newest blog post, you need to tie in a personal story as well, to make it more engaging.
Now, if I had to guess, you’re probably thinking, “Excuse me? How am I supposed to do all this? I don’t have a team of people.” Well, I don’t either. I am a one-woman show. That’s where the automation and processes come into play. There are free tools available to help you automate. Not every single tool that I recommend will cost. I spend less than $100 a month to automate different things in my business, and that includes even the things I use for my clients, not just content. Processes actually allow you to be more creative, because you’re not spending all your time restarting from scratch, month after month, with all your different tasks.
So, if you are ready to have more freedom, so you can have more free time to be creative, be sure to check out The Better Collective, which is a self-paced online course for business owners like you, who want more clients, and consistent income, and more freedom in your life. So, if you have any questions about content creation and your business, I’d love for you to reach out on Instagram. Shoot me a DM @JessCreatives, and I will see you all next week.