If you look at my first post, you’ll see how much this blog has changed.
To be honest, I had a problem back then. I was focusing on all the wrong things: Comment count, social shares and meaningless metrics.
I was sucked head-first into the mighty social vortex, and my dopamine center was lighting up like a pinball machine.
I was obsessing and writing scattershot because I was letting my emotions lead the way.
I also bought into something I like to call the six-figure blogging mythology. Now, I agree with Chris and think many are weaving their own tale of blogging riches.
As a long-time business owner I should have known this, but I was slamming shots of endorphin-laced blogging Kool-Aid.
My business is helping companies and organizations clarify their branding, but my messaging and storyline were diluted. The writing flowed, but I didn’t have the focus I needed.
But that was then.
So now I’m on a mission: To stay on point, but more importantly, help you clarify your mission, brand and story. To do it right, like the fine peeps in my coming eBook.
As a solopreneur, the blogging world can be enchanting, but somewhat treacherous. Quickly lost in the woods, you’re wondering why you started on this grand venture in the first place.
If you’re running a small business, you simply want to know where to start.
So, what about your plans?
Feel like you’re caught up in the game of chasing meaningless numbers?
Putting all your time into practices that bring little to no return on investment?
As you plan, outline and implement, are you thinking about an individual or organization on the other end in need of help? Or are you focusing on yourself?
Are you crafting content based on what your ideal clients want and need? Or are you looking for that one viral post?
Do you have clear goals, or are you following someone else’s?
Well, mass attention seldom has anything to do with good business, and you’ll be treading water without a destination in mind.
For months I felt like I was banging my head against an impenetrable barrier. Step one was simply stopping to refocus and look beyond the wall. To get past it I needed a less fractured, more streamlined approach.
I’m now less obsessive and more focused. And my daily practices are fully inline with a laser-focused vision.
So How Can You Make “it” Happen?
1. Have a client strategy.
Is your ideal client an individual, small business or large company? And if it is a company, is there a specific department or person within you’re looking to connect with?
Where are they hanging out online? What do they need help with? Are they trying to grow their business? Get fit? Working to find a meaningful relationship?
You don’t need to “niche down” but you do need a specific audience in mind or you’ll continually drift off course. Trust me, I speak from experience.
2. Solve a problem.
Those people above. What problems do they need to get past? What are their pain points?
Is there something you can provide that will bring more meaning to their lives? Can you dramatically improve their marketing? Help them make more money?
Your content needs to be built on this foundation of problem-solving. Write and share content that addresses these problems.
But take the time to dive deep, by getting out there and asking the right questions over and over and over, so you can deliver proper solutions.
As you develop an audience keep asking and keep refining. Blogging and content marketing is an ongoing process. Continually test, refine and deliver, but keep your eyes on the problem and don’t lose focus.
3. Build trust.
How do you do this? By giving away helpful information as often as you can, in your own unique way. Just be you and continually share your best stuff with those clients you love.
Be consistent and give, give, give. Have a little honest fun along the way and see what develops.
Your audience will get to know you, your experience, your wicked and amazing sense of humor, and how you might change their world. They’ll educate themselves and you’ll slowly, but surely become an authority.
4. Be useful.
Create amazing value and stop telling the world how wonderful you are. In fact, your content should be so useful that prospect will gladly pay for it.
The more you share helpful, actionable material the better off your clients will be, and you just might see your business take off.
Like Jay Baer says, “Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype.” This is how modern content marketing works.
This should go without saying, but I’m going to SHOUT IT OUT LOUD! OVER-DELIVER!
6. Stop pushing.
You’re no longer in the marketing stone age, where pushing rules.
Remember: you help potential clients by telling an ongoing story focused on solving their problems.
It’s a golden age for the consumer, and you must deliver solutions to a specific audience by consistently creating, curating and delivering the content they’ll savor. In a nutshell: It’s how they’ll decide to work with you.
If you run a business think about the possibilities: Blogging, whitepapers, YouTube videos, eBooks, case studies.
6. But make it clear.
What do you want them to do?
Your content should be crafted to promote understanding, participation, and action.
Like I mentioned above, the social vortex can pull you under. You can also get caught up in the dance of a feel-good community of fans that feed your ego, but don’t put food on the table.
I’ll borrow a quote from Amy Harrison (contained in my upcoming ebook), because she sums this up so well:
“Your blog is a landing base, a credibility tool, an SEO tool and a funnel into the newsletter. Whenever I see an influx of customers, it’s because I’ve created an offer or event and promoted it with content off my site (guest posts / interviews / webinars etc).
When you create offers and build (useful) content to promote them, you’re seen as a trusted business, not just a friendly blogger. That sets a great tone for new prospects.”
And that, my friends, sums it up perfectly.
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.