At long last! It's here! It's up and it's ready for YOU, my dear business owners and friends.
For the last 18 months this project has been designed, built and put through beta testing with local owners like you. Tested, proven...and then redesigned a bit for the coming year.
* Plan on paper. Implement online. *
I'd love for you to join me on this journey.
Review the Strategic Content Planner listing now, or join me for a Plan With Me Workshop here in Seattle to check out a copy in person.
Wahoo! 2018 is already looking AWESOME!
“The paradox is the more info you give away; the more people will buy what you have to give …” -Brian Clark
Concerned about giving so much info away that no one will work with you or buy from you?
First thing's first: this is a fairly common concern for owners with all things limited: time, money, resources like interns or employees. Heck, even when resources are abundant, a business owner still wants and needs to make some profit from their efforts, right?
One of the biggest struggles owners deal with is finding the line between how much information to provide their audience and how much to keep. But this initial fear doesn't take the paradox (mentioned above) into account.
Many people have a fear that if they provide their too much information, their audience might not have the need to come back for more information, or to connect or to buy anything
. There are lots of components that can (and do) scare the socks off of some owners, and we'll cover those in later posts, but for here & now...let's address the fear of "if I give it all away, no one will buy it".
Allow me to explain with the concept of Show and Tell...and share the magic question.
Show and tell
The concept of show and tell may sound immature, but it's incredibly effective.
We're in an age of show and tell on social media, if you haven't noticed. However, much of the problem with business marketing is that they Show and Sell, vs. Show and Tell. Instead of sharing knowledge, they "share" a pitch for a sale.
When we were kids in school and brought in a toy for Show and Tell, it was in an effort to share something about ourselves that would give insight to others.
We didn't trudge to the front of our kindergarten class with our favorite stuffed bunny and describe all of its features then offer a "helluva price for the first kid to raise their hand." (I didn't, anyway.)
We shared. We showed. We told.
And then went back to our seat and someone else took a turn.
So what happens online when we Show and Tell?
You demonstrate your expertise
You are an expert, and your audience is not. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you are helping to make a connection with readers who are looking to soak up more information. By reading, learning from you and connecting with you, you are building trust with your audience, reader by reader, through that information exchange. They are getting to know you, how you work, how you think...and how you do business.
A reader gets the answers they want - from you! - while they get to know your brand or business. When a reader gets a sense of your brand while learning something from you, this is a win for your business.
That reader has actually given you two forms of valuable currency: their time and their attention
...And what's going on while they are giving you time and attention? They are also determining whether or not your business/solution/information is a "good fit" for them and their needs. They are asking, consciously or unconsciously, "Are they my people? Am I comfortable with this answer or this option? What else do they have for me to consider?"
This is not a slam-dunk to getting a new customer. But it could be a step closer.
You may just be developing some trust here (more on that in a bit)...yet another form of valuable currency.
2. When they read your content about how you fix "x", or determine "y", or regulate "w", a potential customer gets insight into exactly what's required to perform the work, or solve their problem, at hand.
Sure, some people may want to "do it themselves," and you'll have given them the next step or two in the process. But not everyone wants to do it themselves. Or, maybe they want to be assured that you are an expert who does a thorough job....and your content and sharing is an opportunity to assure them of your professionalism....a way to boost your own credibility.
Or, they may come in thinking they want to do it themselves, but when they discover how much work it is, they decide to hire you instead (I found this to be very true when I was managing social media accounts).
What's happening is, you're simply making the first public move to show and tell. You're offering your insights, expertise, perspectives and some of your solutions in a way that helps inform people about what it is they are looking to learn or decide on.
Enter: Strategy...& the magic question
The main question I ask to kick a strategic content plan is:
What does my customer need to know about this business or company in order to help them connect to it, either based on curiosity, emotion or entertainment?
And later on in my planning, I'll ask the very same question about specific products or services as well:
So, if you think of your content not as giving your audience all of the information they need, but rather sharing tips and offering a helping hand. Show and tell how you are an expert, and with your care and some guidance, they will make better, more informed decisions, one of which may be to work directly with you one day.
You can help to coach them through your words, and in turn they will either connect with you, or self-select away from you. The ones who connect will stay and you, if you work at it, will earn more of their trust.
When a little trust is built, they will know who to turn to when they’re ready to take the next steps on their journey.
They will turn to you.
I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying." -Jeff Bezos
What stops you from chasing your business building dreams?
Especially when it comes to online content production?
Are you scared you won’t succeed? Are you nervous of failing? Or is it the ever-present, but completely understandable, lack of time?
There may be many fears layered together...like an unwieldy gooey lasagna.
Layers may include:
Baked all together, these fears become complex and the layers kind of melt together and become seemingly inseparable.
In an actual lasagna, it's a wonderful thing for the layers to never come apart.
With fears, it's different. We can untangle and then prioritize those together.
Before we do, let me ask you directly....
Is failing worse than never trying?
Did you check out the post about how I'm scared that your business might be perceived as abandoned or non-existant?
Give that post a once-over and then ask yourself how you will feel if you never try, or didn't try for long enough, to develop your social media marketing (or fill in the blank of some other kind of marketing).
Now sit with that feeling and ask yourself, “is that better or worse than failure?”.
We learn most when we fail, so even if you don’t succeed at first, or at all, there is a great take away and opportunity to learn for the next part of your journey. If you never try, you will likely regret never really knowing how far you might've gone toward success because you wouldn't take the first or next step.
Perfection doesn't exist in business...or marketing
There's always testing and improvement. In fact, that's all marketing is...is testing.
Along your journey, you'll definitely experience hiccups, side steps and probably even setbacks.
All this progress that makes an already busy person feel they must move faster, harder and smarter...immediately.
Hey, I get it.
Dang that disappointment
You're not going to like this either. Disappointment is going to happen.
The social media outlets and marketing opportunities are moving, changing and being developed faster than they ever have before. The important part is to accept them as options for marketing, without allowing the learning curve or ensuing mistakes to completely derail you.
Try, even if effort means failure.
Continue to make goals for your business growth, include a little education into this marketing space and dream a little bit bigger....maybe a little bit outside of your comfort zone.
You will never regret your best efforts.
I promise, this is the truth.
If you've already swung for the fences and are completely spent, I totally understand.
If you've still got some curiosity, some questions and some desire to improve, stick around.
There's lots to share and learn.
Would it help to learn by doing? Consider the monthly Plan with Me workshops.
We'll have a great time! You, me and 19 other business owners who are interested in learning more about online marketing, social media, website content development and more.
Internet & web marketing are not going away. In fact, they are beginning to transform and evolve even now. If you're a business owner who feels like you've "tried the online thing" to no avail, or you know you have a couple of accounts that are languishing, this blog is for you.
Because I'm actually more than a little bit frightened for you and your business if you're having a tough time getting consistent content out right now.
If you're having a tough time publishing regular posts on your customers's favorite social platforms, I don't know how you're going to do, business-wise, when more Altered Reality and then also Virtual Reality begin to become the norm for marketing and referrals.
Because that's where this is alllll going....it's going to continue to transform and evolve, just like it has been doing for the last 10 years.
So, if you've been waiting to see if you really have to do this for your business, I'll simply ask you to consider the following:
They are doing it ...even while at Disneyland!
At Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, people are on their phones for all kinds of reasons. The gate price for admission (for 1 person, for 1 day, at 1 park) is $110 (on August 25, 2017, because prices vary.)
If customers are paying a hundred clams to get in and are taking selfies, checking menus, playing games in line, checking showtimes and making calls, scoping reviews of rides & attractions at Disneyland, you know they are gonna be on their devices while they're waiting 15 minutes to get in to their dental appointment or waiting for their oil change.
So, big question
What is your business like online?
My fear is that it appears to be ...abandoned or non-existent.
You're not alone
When it comes to content planning and implementing, there are maaaany business owners who feel they've "tried the online thing", either with a half-completed-now-abandoned Facebook business page after 3 months of spotty posting. Or a Twitter account that they created, but never really understood in terms of ... 1. how it functioned or 2. how they might efficiently and effectively use it for business.
Or, insert any number of online or digital attempts made in the far or recent past. You know, the stuff that seems the easiest to blow off. Blogs, newsletters, email marketing messages, new sales sheets, etc.
If you're having trouble now and you don't know what to say, how to say it or to whom you want to talk with, either on or offline, that's what this blog can help you with. Regularly.
The time has come to give another look at this "online stuff". For reals.
Avoid the appearance of being an abandoned or non-existant business.
Follow along, it'll be fun...and maybe even entertaining.
It's super practical...and you're probably going to hate what I'm about to say...but here's what happens when I wake up, I have something due that needs writing, or needs working on...and I don't want to do it.
Either I don't want to write it, think about it, send the email, ask, whatever it is....here's what I do...and it takes about a minute:
I open a new tab on my laptop, open a fresh document and type....in a big ass font....
across the top of the blank page.
And then one of 2 things will happen:
I'll be willing to start writing from the middle of the post out...or
I'll get pissed off because I still don't want to do it (I tell myself I don't feel like doing it), and I'll stomp around for a minute and then sit back down and write another word.
And then word by word, my tantrum subsides and my word-typing turns into writing and I'm on my way.
It's different if it's a call.
If it's a call I don't want to make, I open the phone app on my device, or I have the number that needs calling in big letters right in front of me. Staring me down. Not really taunting me, and certainly not coaxing, but it's how I've learned to do what I don't feel like doing.
Do I judge myself for "not having discipline", or "not being able to do it on my own with sheer 100% willingness on a daily basis?"
I take inventory on whether the work got done...or not.
Then I make a new plan & take the next step.
This work has got to get done
Am I going to blow it off?
Not a client's work, no way. It's easier to blow my own marketing work off, sure....but that's getting less acceptable because I know what needs doing...and I need to just make sure it's getting done. That does sound more mature than the stomp-around tantrum.
Am I going to try to fight it? Maybe.
And maybe it'll take me 2-3 sessions of stomping, and word writing, and then more stomping...but I walk myself through it. I know it doesn't look good, or sound mature, but the fact is, I've been doing this for 5 years now...and I've learned that this is what works for me.