Hats off to you!
You’re taking your business seriously. You know that the key to moving upmarket and sustainably growing your pet project into a healthy, stable company is to establish yourself as the go-to expert for your ideal audience, the people you would love to work with. Your happily-ever-after-crowd of clients.
Just like paying your bills and providing first-class client experience is essential to your bottom line, marketing yourself smartly and authentically is essential to reaching the sweet spot of financial freedom and 4-hour workweeks.
Here’s to working ON our business, not just IN it.
As entrepreneurs, we know that marketing needs to be continuous, content-rich, and client-focused.
The beauty of content marketing is that it doesn’t take big bucks to make a big splash. A shoestring-budget will go a long way in establishing expert status and creating momentum if you have the skills and the stamina to back it up.
[info_box type=”note_box”]The key: You know what you’re talking about and enjoy sharing your knowledge and expertise with the people who need it in a smart, engaging, genuine way.[/info_box]
Done right, content marketing is your fool-proof path to turn readers into leads, leads into clients and clients into raving fans aka repeat clients — clients who value and respect you as a business partner that adds to their bottom line. Sounds good? Let’s do it.
1. Define Your Audience
Who are your readers? Who would you love to work with?
What are they looking for online? What are their issues? Their pain points?
Now, if you’re still catering to all, this exercise is pretty much impossible to master.
You cannot be everything to everyone. You’re not a cure-all service, and lack of positioning takes away the “perfect fit” feeling for the clients who would love to work with you.
[info_box type=”note_box”]How would you feel if the pilot responsible for getting you and your loved ones safe from A to B was also a baker, a breeder for rare roses, a sommelier, an ice cream-manufacturer and an insurance seller?
You are looking for someone dedicated to being the best at what you need them to do. So are your clients.[/info_box]
Finding your crowd, the people you’re drawn to, who think like you, whose values and passions align with yours makes marketing sweet and easy: Say you’re a fan of eucalyptus, love hanging out in trees, and grey and fluffy is high up on your list of favorite things to snuggle, then catering to Koalas will feel second nature to you.
Get crystal clear on who you’re serving, who you’re talking to, who you’re writing for.
2. Bring your A-Game
Excellent content sparks engagement and action. It initiates trust and a lasting connection between you and your client. You want to reach the people who make up your dream clientele. If your content triggers their emotions, if it’s relatable for them, if you help them out, improve their situation, resonate with their core beliefs, that’s what sets you apart from the crowd.
If what you bring to the table proves useful or helps them get results, solves an issue they’re facing or generally makes their life easier or better, you’re on the right path to winning a lifelong fan.
3. Be Generous
We’re all busy and content creation can seem like you’re giving your hard-earned expertise away for free.
Well, get browsing and you’ll find: Few companies thrive that don’t continuously mark their spot on the map by displaying their level of expertise to the people who are looking for them. Content marketing is the opposite of time and money down the drain. It’s your chance to display, for free, your unique set of skills, to attract and convert readers into clients. The playing field is essentially the same for startups, solopreneurs, and big, established companies. It’s a tough playing field, but being smart and consistent in your content marketing wins every.single.time.
4. Dive Deep
You’ve heard me talking about your one square inch of the market forever. Well, this is one of those times.
The content you create should align with the service you provide. Pick topics that your clients relate to, things they have an opinion on, stories, news, and facts they feel strongly about. Spark their emotions, get them dreaming, excited, or astonish them with facts and insights they never really thought about. Again: Your ideal content aims to solve problems, tackle issues, dive into current topics that are on your clients’ minds.
[info_box type=”note_box”]Creating content is writing for your clients.
Content that is unique and empowering/educating/entertaining for your audience and gets them to take action for themselves is content that works to propel your business onward and upward.[/info_box]
5. Location, Location, Location
You heard me right: Showing up and being smart and consistent in your messaging levels the playing field. Help your clients get results. Empower them to take action for themselves. Deliver value, continually.
But the key to getting more eyes on your content is to show up where your audience hangs out. Instead of focussing on SEO-ing your website, work at growing relevant to your core audience. Let’s say you’re a passionate surfer yourself and choose to cater to the surfing industry. You know these guys and girls are a tight-knit community with their own “slang”, favorite brands, view on the world. You know that from their point of view, the world is divided into surfers and non-surfers. The same is true for virtually any community built on a passion for a specific lifestyle, business niche, area of expertise. Think aviators, lawyers, human right activists, b-corps, hoteliers: if you’re not an insider, you’re an outsider. And who do you think they’d rather buy from?
Again, choosing your area of specialization around your own core beliefs simplifies your marketing.
[info_box type=”note_box”]Where are your clients hanging out? That’s where you show up, with your A-game, and start building your kingdom from scratch.[/info_box]
Depending on who your clients are, the place to be could be Instagram. But it could also be a magazine, a well-established and highly-frequented website, a podcast, or even offline measures like a retail catalog, the yellow pages, trade fairs, and expos. Where are your clients going to read up on the topics they feel passionate about? That’s your new place-to-be.
6. Timing is Everything
When your dream client hits Google to find, well, you, you’ve already dropped the ball.
Once your dreamies refer to Google, you’re competing against thousands of other services that, from an outside point of view, look pretty much the same. There’s no better place to bury a body than on page three of Google results. And: getting and staying on page one doesn’t mean you’ll get found by your core audience: Try it out. What keywords actually lead to YOU?
Instead of hustling for the top position in a game that changes all the time, take the short and sweet cut.
Establish yourself as the insider and expert you are: Continuously grow your reach and become the person your readers love to refer to their friends and acquaintances.
You know that every happy client is a potential marketing coup. I urge you to think bigger.
Every set of eyes stumbling across your content, every reader bookmarking your website or an article of yours is a potential marketing coup. Breathtaking, isn’t it? People love following referrals from people they trust. Become that referral.
[info_box type=”note_box”]Show up and stand out to prospective clients before they need you. Grow onto them. Become the insider they love to talk about, the expert they refer to their acquaintances.[/info_box]
7. Think Strategically
Sure, you want exposure. But what’s your business vision, your one, three, five, ten-year goal? What’s the big picture? Define your path and think tactics, then turn your business plan into manageable chunks. Once you have your solid annual list, use that to create actionable items and topics to tackle one by one.
8. Exceed Expectations
Today’s final ingredient but actually business smarts 101: However stellar your marketing, the secret ingredient to get ahead of the game and your competition is to always. Exceed. Expectations. Pamper your clients. Nail down the essentials of projects coming your way. Make working with you a pleasure. Be a scholar and a gentleman/lady in everything you do: Kind, courteous, knowledgeable about both subject matter and etiquette.
[info_box type=”note_box”]Don’t miss the opportunity to turn clients into marketing coups.[/info_box]
[info_box type=”success_box”]Ready to dive in?
To get you off on the right foot and help you streamline your content marketing, we created a complementary content marketing schedule. You’ll find it in our Freebie Library. Just download, print, and get started!
If you’re ready to go all-in, I’m teaching a workshop on Writing for Clients this November at the 2018 Canary Translators Conference
in las Palmas.[/info_box]