So you’ve found your niche, you’ve got great strategies and tools for finding your ideal clients, and you’re ready to grow your audience online. What next?
One of the most common challenges small business owners face is knowing what to say, and where and how often to blog. There are a couple of issues here.
- Finding and posting great content that will draw the right audience to you and
- Publishing that content consistently — at the same time and with the same look and feel
Many of us get started, write a few blog posts, or get a video or two ready and promote them on social channels. Then, we get busy; life gets in the way and that ‘regular weekly blog post’ gets put on the back burner for a week or two.
Or a month or more. Eventually, it’s forgotten about.
When months pass, and still we’re not getting a post out there, we become discouraged and a lot of us give up.
Like growing your list, publishing great content consistently needs a strategy and plan, something that makes it easy for you to share your message, with a consistent look and feel on a regular basis. And ensures it fits in with your lifestyle, your budget and your business objectives.
First and foremost, you need
A Mind Set Shift
Think of yourself as a Publisher, not simply as an Advertiser or someone who sells particular products or this specific service. That old way of thinking is obsolete.
It worked well in the past, when businesses advertised in trade publications, magazines, or newspapers in order to reach their audience. The publishers took care of creating and curating content, and of publishing it regularly, in a particular format that everyone came to know, understand and expect.
With the rise of social networks, the game changed. And this game is played by different rules. Once you know them, you can play both to win and to become a better player.
It’s now possible for any business to create and curate content as well as advertise in order to reach their target market. Indeed, it’s the only way to go to reach your target market and ideal clients on line. But, many of us have failed to grasp the fact that we are now Publishers. And haven’t a clue what that means or how to go about it.
And that’s why it’s so hard to get this social posting ‘right’ and keep it consistent. We haven’t got the right strategy — or any strategy — that will ensure consistent publishing, day after day, week after week, and month after month. A strategy that works for you and reaches your audience at a time and in a format that they find engaging. And from that strategy, a plan to work to on a daily and weekly basis.
A Simple Publishing Strategy
With so many social networks to choose from, and so many different media to engage in, it’s easy to get lost online. What’s important, initially is to select your primary channel and approach, and focus your attention on that until you have established yourself there and grown your audience.
Now that you know your niche, and have some great strategies and tactics for finding and engaging with them online, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what channel and medium to use in order to best reach out to and engage your audience.
Do Your Research
I’ve touched on this in previous posts, Finding the Right Prospects and Finding your Target Market Online. Nothing but nothing is more important than doing a thorough job of getting to know your target audience. There are several ways to do this:
121 conversations can uncover a lot about what customers want and need, as well as feedback on what you are currently doing well and not so well
Search of keywords using Google trends and search engine keyword alerts to track what customers are searching for and where they are hanging out on the web. Dig deeper into related topics and how these are trending
Web analytics to find out what your customers are reaching and what they are not interested in.
Social media listening to discover what your customers are sharing, talking about and struggling with in their jobs. Use groups and hashtags to follow these conversations.
Customer surveys to gather insights into your customers’ needs for information
Once you know this, you can craft…
2. Your Content Mission
Every publisher has an editorial mission — which needs to address three key elements:
- Your core target audience
- The material you’ll deliver to that audience
- The outcome for your audience
Take the time now to craft your content mission. Let your audience know what you do for them and how this will benefit them. And share it in the comments below.
Keep in mind:
- Fill a need. Your content should answer some unmet need or question your reader has
- Be consistent. Always deliver your content on time and as your audience has come to expect it.
- Be human. Find your voice and share it.
- Have a point of view. Take sides where you need to. Be controversial.
- Above all else, avoid sales speak. Talk about what interests your reader and matters to him or her
- Be the best in your niche. And in time, you’ll be delivering the very best content that can be found.
- And finally,
Your Medium is your Message
Choose it wisely.
3. Choose your Medium & Platform
Every publisher has a preferred medium. What is yours? How will you tell your stories? Where will you publish them? Will it be
- Videos published on YouTube?
- Written blog posts published on your website?
- Podcasts uploaded to the iTunes store?
- Engaging images on Pinterest or Instagram?
Your choice depends on your own natural talents and what you know of your audience. If you’re great in front of a camera, but find it a real challenge to write more than a few sentences coherently, then video is your route. You can always have someone strip out the video to give you a podcast, and/or send it off to a transcription service like….. to be turned into a word document, a pdf to download, etc. Video gives you the most options, if it suits you and your audience.
But it may not suit you. If you’d sooner die than sit in front of a camera and talk, then another medium — the spoken word or written word — may be better for you. If you have a knack for design, maybe images are the best way for you to communicate with and engage your audience.
Your choice of both your medium and your platform are important. Find the medium that best suits your personality and engages your audience, and use the platform or social network that gives you the best opportunity to grow your list of qualified leads quickly.
Here’s what you need to consider when choosing your platform.
- What channel offers the best opportunity to reach my target audience?
- What channel gives me the most control over my content and growing my audience?
Ideally, you’d like high control and high reach, but that’s often not possible. Your choice is always a tradeoff between the two.
If you use your website and blog as the platform, you have more control, but less reach. In order to grow your list, you’ll need to put in place a system to attract people to your content because your WordPress blog is not hosted on a network that naturally brings in traffic.
Use YouTube or iTunes and you have tremendous reach, but little control. What happens to the audience you’ve nurtured on You Tube if one day Google decides you’ve infringed one of its rules and shuts you down?
That’s why an hybrid approach is so valuable. We’ll look at that in another post.
In the meantime, share this post and let others know your content mission in the comments below.