3 Reasons Why a content strategy is important for online success

You’ve been coming up with ideas for your social media channels and feel overwhelmed about where to get started. Sometimes the number of ideas you have can cripple your progress. It can even make you feel helpless. I know how it feels because I have been in the same situation. I tried o decide how to tackle my online efforts, and felt helpless trying to decide which direction to go. Luckily I found a solution that actually works, and that is creating a content strategy. 

Why create a content strategy?

In the words of Sergio Zymann in his book “The End of Marketing As We Know It” says a marketing strategy is a road map. It’s how you plan to execute whatever you want to accomplish. He also said the tactics you use are the vehicles once you develop a strategy.

So from that definition, you can see that your online efforts have to be strategic in order for you to see success and results. It also helps you make better decisions. So let’s explore some reasons.

It helps you narrow your focus 

A content strategy helps you to focus on where you’re going. You won’t be easily distracted by trends or what others are doing. This is because you are posting with a purpose. And that purpose is trackable and helping you achieve your business objectives. 

In the book, I mentioned earlier Zymann talks about how coca-cola grew its business by changing their strategy. What they did was to target the entire soda segment as opposed to trying to be just a regular soda company.  That affected how they marketed the brand and the types of advertising they created.

The narrow focus also helps to simplify what you choose to do and which medium you market on. Protects you from platform hoping and lets you work with your core strength. If its written word, audio or video. 

It clarifies the results you are looking for 

A strategy clarifies the right results you are looking for. Claude Hopkins in his book “Scientific Advertising” defines advertising as salesmanship in print. Dan Kennedy also advocates that your marketing should produce results. It’s part of his rules of direct marketing. 

Being clear on the results frees you up to get creative and try stuff out. If it doesn’t work then move on to something else. If it does you can amplify it and add others to the mix. You can begin to see how your ideas fit into the mix and what outcome you’re looking for every step of the way.

Ir Helps you make better decisions.

As you are armed with your roadmap, and you know what success looks like, all you have to do now is decide which road to travel to get there. This is where you make a decision as to which medium or platform to build or reach your customers. It makes it easier to decide which to add, as you build out the system that will help you get results. What the competition is doing won’t affect you because you know where you are going, and you will have data to prove it. 

So there are 3 reasons why you need a content strategy to help you navigate your online marketing.

Allocating time to create content

Time is a precious asset. Making additional time to create marketing content should be one of your priorities to have success online. This will ensure that you keep consistent on your platform and keep your audience engaged, which will result in business growth. Running a business takes up most of your time but how can you actually find the time to create consistent content? 

Document your ideas daily

I got this idea about documenting your ideas daily from Austin Kleon and Gary Vaynerchuck. The concept is simple, document don’t create. Sometimes we overthink value because we over-analyze if it’s good enough. Keep everything and share bits and pieces. Doing so daily will give you an overflow of stuff to share with your audience. 

Austin in his book “Share your work, have a simple system you can use. I ‘ve tweaked it to suit my needs. 

Share what you’re working on, on social media. Expand it on a blog post or longer video or podcast. He calls it stock vs flow. Gary Vee does the opposite, he creates one long-form content, a blog, live video, podcasts, keynote speech, and breaks it down to create native content on social media. 

Whether you do it top-down or the other way around, documenting on a daily basis removes the anxiety of finding time to create new content. I used to get anxious about this issue but once I started writing every day I always have content to share. 

Batch Create

If documenting ideas daily doesn’t work for you, the other way to create content is batching. The way this works is you find a dedicated day and create all the content you need for a week or a given period. What makes this a good alternative is that you only focus on creating the content once and share it later.

To do this successfully, it’s helpful if you always collect ideas. When you’re ready to create content you have tons of ideas to choose from. This eliminates the blank page syndrome and writer’s block. Once you pick your dedicated day to create, eventually it becomes routine.

Do both

You can do both if that suits you. Document all your ideas. Whether it’s you recording a video, taking a picture on your phone or a voice note. You can batch produce it later for sharing. Austin Kleon in his book “Share your work” recommends taking the time out of your day to share one thing from your work journal.

Hope this inspires you to create more and be productive in your online marketing efforts.

How to set up your social media channels for business success

The internet and social media have changed the way consumers buy goods and services. It has also affected how persons consume news, and even how they entertain themselves. But have you ever found a tweet, or a video from a business or brand, you click it to check out their profile, and end up confused? You want to find out more about what they are up to and to even buy from them, but all that information is left out.

I’ve been in that situation many times. Generally, a person just set up a social media profile, throw up a website link,  then start posting. “I mean that’s social media right?” 

Being on social media alone won’t help you unless you set up your profile for success.  Here’s a list of the 3 things that are damaging your social media channel.

A bio that is not focused on the customer

Your bio is where you talk about how you can help your potential customer. The problem is most people use this real estate to talk about themselves. They even use it to tell their life story. This is all well and good but no one cares. This might sound harsh but look on the flipside. 

You’re on twitter and a friend of yours retweeted a video of a guy sharing some health tip. It grabs your attention, and you repost it as well. You then click to check out his profile and see the type of stuff he posts and read his bio. Below are examples of scenarios to look at. Which one do you prefer:

  1. I’m James Brown Health Coach
  2. I’m James Brown and I can teach you how to gain more energy and lose weight. Check out my free ebook on 5 ways to lose weight <link>

The first option is just a job title, the second option is utilizing the space to explain to people why they should follow him as well as promoting a free information kit, that will help persons looking for a health coach.

No header / Cover Photo

Cover photos are prime real estate for your social media profile, but many persons don’t use. They may either choose a generic background and that’s it. What’s often not realized is that You can use this section to promote your offer. This will allow you to have a more concise bio with the link to your lead magnet.

Going back to the health coach example, Dr James Brown could place the headline with the core offer in a nice cover photo with a background image of success. That will draw in first-time visitors to his profile and make his social media account attractive. 

No updated profile photo

Most businesses just put their logos as the profile image and that’s fine. But most individuals don’t have a professional picture taken They just use a regular photo and just forget it. This is your prime real estate to sell yourself and the benefits you offer to the customer. You want them to see you and your personality in the profile photo. Make it appropriate for the industry you are in, attracting your ideal client. 

Social media is a great way to build awareness about your business, and what you do. Fixing these 3 things can position you for business success.

How to keep track of industry trends

Staying up to date on industry trends is a great way to stay current and find new ways to serve your customers. You will also find new tools you can use to make your life easier, but the question is, how do you do all of that and still run your business? Luckily there are tools you can use that will bring that information to you in a curated way.

Know the best sources for information

Before you start to curate knowledge and information about your space, know where to get quality information from. This could be blogs, with new updates, twitter accounts or social media personalities that talk about what you do. Youtubers, media publications and influencers are all great sources of information. 

Knowing who these people are, is the beginning of your curating journey. Why? Because they are already writing about the industry. Some are industry-specific and can help you find information quickly. If you haven’t done this already start gathering your sources. 

Create Google alerts

Google alerts is a great way to find information on a daily basis. What it does is curate all articles, blogs, videos for a particular keyword. Once that keyword is posted online, you get an alert n your inbox. You can set it up so you get a daily digest, or you can set it so you get an alert about each post. 

This is useful as you can check it once a day and find new and interesting articles to share on your social media channels. Even ideas to talk about as well. 

Create a list on Twitter

Twitter list is an excellent curation tool. If you follow people on twitter add them to a list for a specific topic. When you’re browsing on Twitter, go to that list to see all the latest tweets, and see what people are talking about in your industry. If you see something interesting you can retweet it, log the idea for use later and so on. 

If you use a tool like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and others you can see all your lists at a glance. This is handy because you don’t have to switch between list using the regular Twitter app. 

Join groups on social media sites

Facebook groups, quora spaces, Linkedin groups are great ways to keep current. Some groups curate content and help you find good sources for information. This is very useful as group members not only ask questions but share helpful articles as well. If you’re not in any group, join some and keep track of the questions members ask. 

Subscribing to blogs in an RSS reader

You can use an RSS reader to have all your sources in one place. Feedly is a good app for this. All you do is create an account, start following blogs and media publications. Create a different topic list to separate them. This will help you have all the information in one place. 

So we’ve discovered 4 ways to curate content and stay current with what’s happening. why not try them out and see what works for you.

How to generate ideas for your social media channel

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. It’s also a good tool to keep in touch with customers. But here’s the thing many business owners create social media pages and fail to consider what am I going to share? Some might think about it and then get scared and abandon the idea altogether. 

This might work to ease the fear but never solve the problem. In this post, I’m going to share with you how you can generate lots of ideas to share on your social media channels. 

Keep a notebook and write stuff down

The first thing for generating ideas is to have a system to keep track of them. What’s the point of gathering ideas losing them because you forgot. So, having a notebook and pen will be a useful tool to keep close by, to log ideas when you get it. A good exercise I found in James Alcuther’s book chooses yourself is to s write 10 ideas down per day. He says it’s a great way to keep the brain flowing and good practice to always have ideas to use.  Applying it in your case is to write down stuff you can share in the notebook and work on them later on.

Doing this will get your thoughts flowing, and help you see that it’s not that hard to find stuff to share. You can be as detailed or informal as you want, just get the ideas down.

Richard Branson in his book” Losing my virginity” talked about how keeping a notebook with a list of ideas is important. Also, James Alchutcher says writing ideas down changed his life. I have personally tried the exercise and walk around with a notebook in my bag every day to keep track of ideas.

Keep track of questions customers ask

Answering customer complaints is a great way to find new content ideas. People have issues all the time. They might even have questions that you know the answer to. During your interaction with them, they might have a problem unrelated to what you do but can point them in the right direction. Write them down. That’s why you carry a notebook. These are ideas that you can use for content. 

If you run out of ideas, do a search on google/quora for other questions people are asking relating to your business and answer those on your channel. 

Keep track of industry trends and events

Another way to generate ideas is to keep track of the latest happenings relevant to your industry that you can share with your customers. These content can be a great way for you to share your opinion and share a different side of your brand. 

It is also a way for you to educate your customers about what else is happening in the space. You can find offer other persons to collaborate with and even cross-promote each other. Keep track in your notebook and ideas for future content.

Keep track of ideas you can do tutorials on

The last thing I want to share is teaching what you know. Make a list of ideas you can teach that your customers can benefit from. These videos and articles can serve as a way for you to show customers how to make the most of your product/service.

The other thing that’s important is also teaching customers how to buy quality products or find a good service provider in your space. This can help you build trust and expand the variety of content you can share on social media. 

By going through the exercise you should have lots of ideas to share on your social media pages. Now go share those ideas.

A new way to look at social media

Have you ever found a local business on Facebook, only to see that the content they post is one big flyer? That flyer has all their services mixed up in one. I personally know business owners who do this and I think they miss the mark when it comes to social media, and I’m going to share why.

Outside of a stamp of approval when I follow businesses on social media, I’m looking for more information about what they do and to connect with the brand, learning more about their story. This approach to social media is causing many businesses to lose money because not everyone is in the market to buy. Publishing content other than a sales pitch is a good strategy. So the question you might ask is, what do you post?

Answer questions that your customers have

The first type of content you can share is frequently asked questions. These are easy to do, just use your phone and record videos of yourself answering the questions that customers have. These types of content is a great way to build trust with your audience. To get started, make a list of all the questions your business get on a regular basis and start creating videos with the answers, then schedule them over the course of the week.

Teach people how to do what you do

Another way to use social media is to build trust by teaching. John Jantsch in his book “Duct tape selling” says content that demonstrates your expertise, attract leads and builds your reputation is a renewable asset. Once you build it, it can serve you for years, and continue to increase in worth. This shows you just how important it is to teach what you know. 

If you’re in fashion teach people about how to dress for different occasions. A photographer can show how to take pictures with a DSLR. A chef can teach recipes so that others can copy what they are doing, and by doing this, builds trust as well as finding new content ideas. 

When you educate your customers they become more informed about the choices they make, and working with them becomes way easier. For example, I worked with some gospel recording artist on a few tracks, and we would talk all the time about how the music business works, how to get the music out there and so on. These were paying customers, and they had questions about the next step. I had solutions, and I shared it with them. This was on a one to one level. Social media can amplify stuff like that. 

A channel to share your story

One of the things I hear gospel recording artiste in Jamaica complain about is lack of support from the media. Business owners have similar problems with getting media coverage. Here’s the thing about getting a write up in the paper, and an interview on the radio or television doesn’t always lead to people buying your products. Sometimes the media doesn’t tell your story accurately. But you don’t have to wait or seek permission to do that. Share your story your way through your social media channels. 

How can you do that? Start by sharing why you started your business. Share what problem you are looking to solve. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and how you overcame them? If you make food products, talk about health challenges that you are looking to solve. A story about a person who had something that your product can assist with. These are the things you can share. If you support a cause, and the business is just a vehicle to share that. Occasionally, you can drop a sales pitch. 

Share behind the scenes footage 

The last thing is sharing your work, and what you do. Bring people behind the scenes. Show them the process of you making “your thing”. Do you have an interesting conversation with a customer t?  share the story. Sharing the process of how you do business gives persons an inside look at exactly how you can help them. Don’t worry about people copying your style because the people who care will still want to do business with you. 

Is there a technique that you’re using, share that. Is there a system that use to solve problems, share that. You get the idea by now. 

These are four areas that can help you maximise your social media channels, and drive positive results for your business.

3 mistakes businesses make when promoting their business online

One of the most frustrating situations I’ve faced when trying to get information from local business owners is googling them and finding nothing. Even worse finding a phone number that doesn’t work. The other thing is finding one big flyer with “everything under the sun” that they do, and no way to contact them. 

This is one experience I have ever so often, and it’s a frustrating situation to be in.

 You are ready to buy something, money in hand but you can’t get in touch with the business establishment because they are unreachable. That’s one of the reasons why companies like Amazon and other online stores profit. They make it easy for consumers to buy stuff. 

I remember going to a local computer store’s website to find out if they have a printer I wanted in stock. It was difficult to find that information on their website much more, to find the printer section. Calling was even worse. All the numbers rang without an answer, or are out of service. This problem can lead to many businesses losing paying customers without even knowing it. Here are 3 mistakes I see  business make online:

#1 Wrong contact information

This one is huge and also the most frustrating. Why would you put up a phone number or email address that is not working, or you no longer use? I’ve seen this with schools, government agencies, churches and business places. 

It is important to put correct contact details that are up to date, and functional. Persons who contact your business are closer to buying than you think. They are either comparing prices or checking the availability of a product. This puts them at the bottom of the funnel and reduces the chance of getting prospects for your business.

#2 No contact information

The next mistake is that there is no contact information. This is downright stupid. Having your contact information on hand makes it easier for persons to reach you with questions they have about your offer. This makes it easier for potential customers to reach you. It’s almost like these businesses are allergic to making money. It’s very hard for customers to find them. 

They are some business who are not listed in the yellow pages so facebook search or google is the natural places to look for them. They have a facebook page but no contact is on the page. The only option for me or persons looking for these type of services is to move on to someone else. 

#3 Right contact no answer

The other mistake I see businesses make is their failure to respond when contacted. This is worse compared to not having the right information or no information at all. Calling someone multiple times only for the phone to ring without an answer. No matter the time of day, this creates frustration for the customer, and you might end up getting blacklisted even if you do good work. 

The solution to these issues is to update your contact information so customers can reach you. Also, put a system in place to handle inquiries that come in. If they are frequent, put up information on your social media channels to answer those questions.

How to use landing pages to convert more podcast listeners into leads

You are creating consistent content for your podcast and your audience is starting to grow, but there’s one question that’s on your mind, how do I get podcast listeners to check out what I do? How do I know if any of them are potential customers? The answer to that question is to use n a call to action. The next question is where do you send them? A dedicated landing page is an answer. Why use a dedicated landing page?

A Distraction-free environment for your offer

A landing page is a dedicated webpage without navigation links, sidebars. There’s only just your offer. What this does, is it helps the reader focus only on your offer and has to decide whether to take it or leave it.  Using such a tool will help your cause of growing your business. There are multiple ways to design it but it all boils down to 2 options, a two-column layout with a form or a one-column layout.

Landing pages for free offers for list building

An email list is important to build your business, and a landing page is one of the tools used to achieve this. There is the two-column layout. One side has of the book or free gift and the other, the form and text explaining why they should get it. 

I like this layout simply because it makes the reader see everything at a glance. There is nothing to scroll down to as well. So nothing to distract the reader just everything they need to know to decide. 

Landing pages for selling

Single column layouts are one of the most common for sales offers. But it depends on what you are selling that will make its use effective. Courses, services, consultations, software, products are all the examples I have seen one column layout use.

The reason for this is for the purpose of filtering leads to the landing page. They can be long or short, and usually, there is the buy button multiple times on the page. 

Two-column layouts are effective for selling as well. For things like books and physical products. It looks cleaner and helps readers to see the offer at a glance.

As you can see from the pictures and examples using landing pages with your call to actions go hand in hand.