How have they built the kind of Authority that has people lining up to do business with them?
And … how can you do the same?
Do you want to know the truth?
It’s not complicated AND there’s nothing secret about it.
There are more than a few, um A-listers I follow and they all practice the following …
1. Create a lasting connection with your audience.
To me, this is the the golden rule.
It seems so obvious, right? But here is what many anxious bloggers do: They go for that first, hard kiss before thinking it over. You get your audience to like, know and trust you by courting them over time and wait for it … helping them.
Amazing relationships don’t happen overnight. And don’t you want a long, drawn out love affair that will get you to third base and beyond for all the right reasons?
All good things take time and the online world is no exception.
I can think of no better example of this than Mark Schaefer. He’ll hate me for this, but he really is an A-List blogger, influencer, and social media rock star.
Mark consults with big brands, writes best-selling books, and good lord, the guy is a college professor.
Oh yeah, he also trains, speaks, podcasts, and authors an AdAge 150 blog. He even has his own Wikipedia page. To say he’s busy is an understatement, but he clearly understands the importance of creating lasting connections.
And trust me I know. I’ve emailed him, called him, and talked to him in person and he always took time to offer me advice. Not sugary, “you’re so wonderful,” Pollyanna-like advice. No. It’s more like constructive guidance.
Part of online marketing done right is knowing your audience. The other? Giving.
2. A firm foundation is a must.
You might be thinking, gee, thanks genius, but please pay attention …
Foundational content is NOT you bragging about your accomplishments. No, it’s the expertise and depth of what you’ve done over time infused in your content.
It turns the gears, builds the brand, and educates your audience.
It’s the bedrock everything else is built upon.
And it’s why people return.
She does this so well, but it’s an art form you can master. Watching James operate might be the best place to start.
As her bio states, “… she’s partial to strong coffee and fine Shiraz. She loves the color blue, ice skating, Nike sneakers and her two wonderful daughters,” but she also loves her clients. Of this, I am convinced.
Why do I know this? She’s really good at what she does, but she also delivers value-packed, engaging and consistent content — the solid ground the Men With Pens brand is build upon.
Is your expertise fused into your site in a clear and consistent way?
3. Embrace the power of story.
I’ve repeated this ad nauseam, but this is modern content marketing. Taking bits and pieces of your bedrock content and delivering it so people not only pay attention, they fall head over heels in love and can’t wait to share what they’ve learned.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. You build a consistent narrative, a specific tone, and work daily to …
2. Tell that story on your platform. It’s a story crafted to help the reader (your ideal customer) get past a particular problem.
3. Be informative. Be entertaining and distribute your cohesive storyline across all media.
Do you want great examples?
Helpful and consistent, yes?
Erika Napoletano has built a rock-solid brand based on the power of Unpopular.
They each have their own way of doing things but what does each storyline have in common?
Helpful. Story-like. Extremely consistent.
Models to emulate.
So … how’s your storyline, kid?
4. Think like a professor (not like a marketer).
Take a deep dive into your client’s world and treat them like a hero and realize your blog can be an invaluable resource, available 24/7 to help them blow past a problem.
In a nutshell: Be great at selling by not selling … kapish?
Gini Dietrich is one of the hardest working people I know. She’s also a very patient teacher.
If you follow her around social media, you’ll soon discover a few things:
She’s self-effacing, has a great sense of humor, and is extremely helpful when it comes to dispensing advice.
The “very helpful” part is a long-term strategy that’s paid off, but it’s not the least bit calculated.
So, stop pushing. If you can’t, it might benefit you to see how this business-minded, but generous blogger operates.
5. Pay attention.
Do. Learn. Keep repeating. Do again. (this is caveman speak for blogging done right)
Be Agile and adapt. Over-deliver and keep refining how you do it.
Don’t ignore your potential clients. Study your audience and take feedback from your readers.
The work to deliver the best services, products, advice.
Stop focusing on meaningless metrics. Instead work to focus on the data that can actually help you get better.
Through data you can find your ideal persona, find where they live online, and start to build content inline with their wants and needs.
Like Danny Brown told me – your potential customers are out there sharing their preferences, buying signals and showing you (through data) what impacts them to make the big decision. Work to get better at this or just read Danny’s blog and learn from one of the best.
If you have an email list and a community of commenters, why not analyze and utilize what they have to say? Take advantage of their smarts and constructive advice to improve your business.
How well are you watching and listening?
So, to sum it all up, let’s call these practices, five steps to a healthy client list.
That customer you seek has a problem, something they must get past, a point of pain.
Work daily to master the art of framing those points so your desired customer finds them and then comes back for more.
Really work to connect with your audience.
Have a firm foundation.
Embrace the power of story.
Think like a teacher.
And please pay attention. That is all for today.
p.s. All the fine folks mentioned above are in my upcoming eBook. If you want in just use the handy dandy sign-up form above, under that giant red book.
Craig McBreen is Principal of McBreen Design. A Puget Sound area branding and visual design firm which helps small companies bring their purpose to life with branding, graphic design, content marketing and web design services. Get in touch.