Over the summer I will be talking a lot about content….essentially all that stuff that you might ‘put out there’ to promote your business and attract people to your brand.
Content is exactly that – lots of different types of text/media/imagery that says what you are on the tin.
Creating this content can be tricky and overwhelming for many a small business because it feels like it might be a magic art that you don’t necessarily have. Maybe you need to be a graphic designer or a poet? Perhaps you need a marketing degree or years of experience working in advertising to understand what is required of you?
In a word, you don’t need the above. What you do need, however, is a crystal clear (and I mean laser precise here) vision of what your business is about, how it delights/serves it’s customers, who those customers are and where they hang out. If you know your business in this way, then sharing interesting content with your audience will feel much easier – more like chatting to some friends in the pub and less like standing up in front of the UN to give a speech in four languages.
So let’s go through what you need to know in a little more detail…..
- What is your business? No – this isn’t a rookie error. This is a serious question! I am guessing you know what you do e.g. make celebration cakes or commercial electrician or perhaps you are a freelance service provider. This is a great start but think about what your business does for it’s customers? What problems do you solve, at what stage of their lives to you work with your clients? How much does your activity transform your customer’s lives? Write all this down – don’t worry about concise at this point – a page covered in words & phrases is fine at this stage.
- Why do you do your business? What customers of independent or small businesses love to know is why a business does what it does so well. This is the sweet spot of connection. Think about large multi nationals. We tend not to feel that connected emotionally to them and we often feel it’s all about profit for them. However, when you are engaging the services or buying the products of a small business you will choose them because of their reviews or personal recommendation or because their ethos or values match your own. So ask yourself – what are those values? Why are you so passionate about what you do? Is there a back story you want to share? Why does it matter that your customer’s have such a great experience with you? Again scribble away and let your ideas flow.
- Customers. I love the quote, “not everyone is your customer” because it reminds us that we are not in competition with Tesco and we are not there to please everyone. We are striving to make a connection and resonate with a particular group of people who need/want our products or services, understand our values and skills & who feel connected to what we do. So…profile your customers, not just by age, sex and location but by common needs, wants, desires, problems & challenges. Think about how you, as a business, will solve their problems, delight them, be the perfect answer to their challenge. Once you have a few sectors – get to know them like a best friend. What make them laugh & cry? What do they love & hate? This can take time so invest in this process just like you would invest time in a good relationship.
- Have a conversation. The content you ‘put out there’ via a blog, website, social media etc is simply a conversation, and a conversation that is in a place that’s convenient to your friend. With any great conversation you have with a friend, you don’t want to talk about yourself all the time or put them under any pressure to make a decision. You don’t want to ignore their needs or think you know best. Your conversation will be much better and more sustained if you listen to what they have to say, ask questions, be interested in their challenges and share your point of view or story to comfort, inspire or offer solutions. You also probably want to sometimes have a giggle or entertain your friend – perhaps not the constant clown but you can enjoy lighter moments and more serious moments with ease.
Once you have completed these steps, you will have a much clearer understanding about what your conversation will be about and who with. You will know where that conversation will happen and you will instinctively know how the conversation will start and finish. All this knowledge will help you to build confidence about the content you share – images on Instagram, videos on Facebook, inspiring blog posts or perhaps a but of everything!
I hope this has been a helpful post and please do share with your fellow business owners. You can check out more on all our social channels below.