The Secret to Creating Great Content

secrets-to-creating-great-content-instagram-facebookIt’s no big secret that the future of online marketing lies in creating great content.

Content is just a buzzword for “information”, and in the context of online marketing, that could come in the form of a blog, a tweet, a video clip, an image, a meme, or anything along those lines.

Unlike traditional, “old school” marketing, where a business would push out (advertise) information about their product and services, content marketing strives to attract an audience by giving away valuable information… for free.

Simply put, give something of value for free… attract business.

What a crazy concept.

And it’s getting less crazier by the minute.

Because it works.

Check out these statistics on content marketing (Source: DemandMetric):

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads
  • 90% of organizations market using content
  • 91% B2B marketers use content marketing
  • 86% B2C marketers use content marketing
  • 62% of companies outsource their content marketing
  • On average, marketers spend over 25% of their budget on content marketing

But… not all content is created equally.

Some content is bad.

Really, really bad.

Some business owners miss the mark when it comes to content marketing, simply because they don’t understand their businesses as well as they should before embarking on a content marketing strategy.

So what does it take to create great content?

Five deep, dark, secrets to creating great content…

Know your audience

Who is your audience? Who do you want to reach and engage? Who are these people who you’d eventually like to convert into paying clients or customers?

Don’t say “everybody.”

If you say “everybody” you are trying to be everything to everyone and you are diluting the impact of your message.

When you try to be everything to everyone, you end up losing your credibility.

(This is true in marketing, in business, and in life – but I digress).

People who drink Starbucks don’t want to hear about people who drink Tim Horton’s. You have to pick a side.

Know everything about your target audience. This includes your audience’s demographics, such as:

  • agebook-ad-fb-ig
  • gender
  • marital status
  • income
  • education level
  • occupation
  • geographical location
  • ethnicity

…as well as their psychographics, which include:

  • lifestyle
  • interests
  • hobbies
  • values
  • attitudes
  • behaviors

A good exercise is to envision your perfect client (it may be someone you actually work with, or it may be someone you haven’t met yet, like a celebrity, or it may be someone completely fictitious) and then go from there, sketching out an “ideal client profile” that will help you determine your perfect target audience.

Know what problem you solve for your audience

Now that you know who your target audience is, you need to identify what problem you solve for your audience.

The best content fixes your audience’s problems.

Every audience has problems – even if the problem is that they are bored.

Your content should address the specific needs of your audience. Not sure what those are?

Chances are, as a business owner, you get asked a lot of questions all the time from your clients or prospective clients. There are probably a bunch of questions that come up quite frequently… these are the questions you need to be addressing with your killer content!

If that tactic doesn’t do the trick, just ask them! Throw out a comment on social media, asking your audience what you can help them with today – you may be surprised at how many ideas for blog posts, infographics, and videos you’ll get.

Know what is unique about what you provide your audience

If you’re not the only person to deliver a particular product or service to a certain group, you’d better be doing it in a way that stands out.

This goes back to not trying to be everything to everyone. If you can figure out what makes your business, product, or service different from the rest, you can create content that will stand out from all the rest.

Because let’s be real… there is a LOT of content on the Internet – how are you going to stand out if you and your message is just like all the rest?

Know how to communicate with your audience

Knowing what to communicate with your audience is just as important as knowing how to communicate with them, and where.

Knowing how to communicate is to know what tone and language to adopt so that your audience can relate to you.

For instance, you may want to use industry jargon if it makes you look credible to your audience. On the other hand, depending on the situation, if using technical lingo goes over your audience’s heads and loses them, you might want to consider breaking down your content so that it’s easier for them to digest.

Knowing where to communicate means you have to know your platform. You have to know where your audience hangs out online, for instance on social media. Are they active on Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? LinkedIn? YouTube?

And finally, what format do they prefer to get their information?

Do they prefer written blogs? Some audiences prefer, long in-depth blog articles, while others prefer if you’d keep it brief. What length of blogs does your audience prefer?

Your audience might respond to videos or images better than they do to blogs.

By the way, just because one social media platform or one media format works today, doesn’t mean it’s still going to have traction down the road. Always be testing and adapting.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and stay a couple of steps ahead of your audience!

Have a call-to-action for your audience

It is hard to measure the effectiveness of your content if you don’t ask your audience to do anything.

Furthermore, if you don’t ask your audience to do anything or stay in touch, you’ve effectively wasted an opportunity.

Asking your audience to do something for you is really easy AFTER you’ve given them great content – they’ll want to do something for you or stay in touch since you’ve helped them with your valuable information.

Never take for granted that your audience is automatically going to follow you on Facebook just because you gave them some great content – you have to ASK them to follow you on Facebook.

Asking your audience to do something is called having a call-to-action (or CTA). An effective CTA could include:

  • Download my ebook
  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel
  • Follow me on Instagram
  • Leave me a comment or ask me a question
  • Buy my program

Make your CTA easy to understand and follow. That means, not asking them to type out a lengthy and complicated URL – instead, provide them with a clickable link. Don’t make them fill out a long and complicated form, it should be more like “Click, click, here’s your ebook.”

By now, you’ve probably noticed an overall theme to creating great content… every one of the points above center around your audience. The biggest secret to creating great content is making it all about them (not you). Always be asking, is your content helping, inspiring, or entertaining the people you want to convert?

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (February 14, 2017)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

Welcome to our FAV 5… recommended reading/watching to help you obliterate your business goals!

How To Love Life’s Great Seasons [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

The two vocabularies (because there are two audiences)
Seth Godin

Are You A Coward? 3 Warning Signs [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

The Power of User Personas
Kerry Song – Robbins Research International

How to gain control of your free time [VIDEO]
Laura Vanderkam – TED Talks

Be amazing!

Nishi

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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What My Kid’s Kindergarten Class Taught Me About Social Media Marketing

what-my-kids-kindergarten-class-taught-me-about-social-media-marketing-facebook-instagramIt all happened so fast.

It started out as an average weekday, and I was dropping off my son at school.

We were running a little late, so the teacher, Mrs. T was already getting all the kids to sit on a floor mat in a big circle formation.

I discreetly helped my boy find his place in the circle and started making a stealth exit. I was already thinking of the thousand things I had to do that day.

Then Mrs. T noticed me.

Dang – I totally thought she couldn’t see me.

“Can I have a word with you, J’s Mommie?”

(They call me “J’s Mommie” at his school. It’s weird and it’s like having an alter-ego.)

Um – sure?

“I was wondering, J’s Mommie, if you could take part in our career week? You know, give a presentation and tell the children what you do for a living?”

Huh?

Sure, whatever. Sounds fun and uncomplicated. Count me in. I love this school. Call me later to schedule. Leave a message if I don’t pick up…

“Fantastic!” I had never seen Mrs. T so happy.

Then it happened.

Mrs. T turns to the circle of kindergartners and announces, “Class, we have a special surprise today. J’s Mommie is going to tell us all about her business.”

Wait. What? NOW!?

“This is very special, class. I want you to pay very close attention.”

Mrs. T then ushered me into the teacher’s chair at the apex of the circle of judgmental children. I literally had 27 seconds to come up with a riveting presentation to explain my business as a social media content creator and strategist to a roomful of kindergartners.

Meanwhile, most grown adults don’t even understand what it is I do for a living.

It’s not that I have a problem speaking to people – I’ve given tons of presentations, usually to rooms full of business owners. I’ve taught college courses, I’ve been grilled at business meetings, and I’ve been interviewed for podcasts… no problemmo.

But this – this was different. Nothing prepared me for this. This was kindergarten. This was terrifying.

Thirty sets of unblinking little eyes were staring at me. Judging me. Why did Mrs. T make me sit in this giant, conspicuous chair? I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in that scene from “Kindergarten Cop.”

Then it hit me.

Eureka.

Just as Arnold used his experiences as an undercover detective to relate to his kindergarten class, I used the basics of content-driven social media marketing strategies to win over a room full of munchkins.

Here’s how…

Identify and speak to your target audience’s priorities

The first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is knowing who your target audience is and understanding what it is that they really care about.

You need to speak to that target audience’s desires, priorities, needs, and personal values.

Remember, nobody actually cares about what it is you do, they care about what benefit you are to them.

In this situation, my target was a group of kindergartners. They care about their parents, cartoons, toys, and licking things.

Now how do I sell them the idea of my business?

I own a media company that produces online content, both written and visual.

Most of these kids couldn’t read yet. They know it’s important but it’s not a burning priority for them. For the purposes of engaging with my intended audience, writing blogs was not going to impress anyone.

Now visual online content, on the other hand…

“Who has an iPad?” I asked.

Hands shot up in the air. Kids love toys. iPads are toys.

“How many of you watch videos on your iPads?”

MORE hands shot up in the air (because apparently some kids didn’t listen to my first question). The hands that were already in the air started stretching and waving hysterically. Thirty sets of eyes lit up with interest.

I had them now.

“My company makes the videos you watch on your iPad.”

There was a collective “whoooaAAAAHHHHH!” from the Circle of Judgement.

Success. Target audience engaged.

Don’t waste their time

When creating online content or trying to engage an audience on social media, you need to get to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible.

A study conducted by Microsoft discovered that thanks to mobile technology and digital lifestyle, the average human’s attention span has withered down to about eight seconds – which is less than the attention span of a goldfish.

You need to grab them in less than eight seconds.

Write catchy headlines.  Sometimes, I spend more time on my headlines than I do writing my blogs.

Don’t bury the lead, get to your point quickly.

Write in short paragraphs. Better yet, present your content in the form of lists. Lists are easy to read and quick to digest.

Include eye-catching pictures – they make a huge difference. You don’t have to spend a whole lot on photography these days. Many stock photo sites will sell you great images at a very reasonable cost, and there are even several stock photo sites that will let you use their images for free.

Include clickable links! No one is going to take the time to type out a long URL to get to your web page. Some social media platforms make it a bit difficult to create clickable links, namely Instagram, but there are usually workarounds if you put in the extra effort.

Make sure your content is all killer and no filler. Offer real value. Don’t bore your audience to tears with a sales pitch. You will lose them. Be sincere in your efforts to help them, entertain them, and inspire them.

Make sure your call- to-action is easy to follow and to the point. If you want your audience to do something, make it easy for them to do! For instance, if you want them to download your new ebook, make it available to them in a few clicks (don’t make them fill out a lengthy form).

With that in mind, I didn’t bother introducing myself to the kindergarten class that day, namely because they didn’t care. I didn’t tell them what I did for a living or what my business was called either. All of that extraneous information would have gone straight over their heads.

I opened with asking them about a cool toy they could all relate to.

I jumped straight in because not only did I have to get their attention, I had to get it fast.

Have a strong WHY

When branding your business on social media, make sure you have a strong why.

Why does your company do what it does? And no, the answer isn’t, “to make money.” I mean it is, but it isn’t.

The “why” that drives your business is something bigger. What epic problem does your business solve? What belief system does it adhere to? How does it make the world a better place? How does it inspire others? Why would anyone want to follow your business on social media?

In order to be successful with a social media marketing campaign, your “why” needs to align with your audience’s values.

There’s this one girl in my son’s class. She’s a head taller than the other kids and she’s very bright. She’s kind of like the leader amongst the other kindergartners. She asks all the best questions.

“WHY DO YOU DO THIS?” asked Smart Girl. The smart kids always ask why. Just like the smart customers.

“Because it’s fun. I love what I do. And I love the people I work with. I don’t like working for a boss, I like to be my own boss. And because it’s my business, I get to work for amazing, interesting people I like, who also want to be fun and creative all the time. Every day is different, I’m always learning new things. Some people don’t like that, but I do. I think it’s fun to keep learning and challenging yourself. Work can be fun. Many people will tell you it isn’t but that’s a big lie. You just have to work harder and smarter, and then work will be fun.”

Smart Girl lit up. The amazing thing was, I wasn’t even lying. I wasn’t even exaggerating. It was true. These are the values I hold when running my business.

These values were probably with me since I was a Kindergartner.

These values lined up with the values of my audience that day (and every day).

Later that afternoon, when I was picking up my son to go home, Smart Girl tracked me down. “I like what you said this morning. I want to do what you do.”

That’s called conversion.

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (January 31, 2017)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

Welcome to our FAV 5… recommended reading/watching to help you obliterate your business goals!

The First Day of Your Best Life | Robin Sharma [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

Make believe problems
Seth Godin

How Pain Attracts Like-Minded People
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

Charging Clients, Personal Brand or Business Brand & Advice to a Senior in College [VIDEO]
Gary Vaynerchuk

How to Live Large with Tony Horton and Brendon Burchard
Brendon Burchard

Be amazing!

Nishi

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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5 Types of Blog Posts That Will Grow Your Audience

5-types-of-blog-posts-that-will-grow-your-audience-facebookIf you are an entrepreneur who has been business blogging for a while, it can become a challenge to keep things fresh and exciting.

It can start to get less fun.

But blogging with consistency is crucial if you want to attract and maintain an engaged audience.

So you have to keep at it. If you get stuck, think outside of the box.

Coming up with topics and new spins to re-invent your message can feel next to impossible if you lock yourself in to doing the same thing, the same way, all the time.

Don’t be afraid to shake things up when it comes to business blogging, and know that there are many different approaches that you can take.

Certain types of blog posts are going to work better for you than others. It depends on your blogging style, the nature of your business, your industry – and of course, your audience.

Here are 5 types of blog posts that will help you get more followers…

The Guest Post

Getting someone else to write a post for your business blog presents itself with one obvious benefit – you just got someone else to do your work for you!

But wait. Don’t be easily seduced.

I know – so tempting.

You want to enlist guest bloggers strategically. Don’t go all willy-nilly accepting blogs from just anybody.

Be selective.

Make it a goal to forge meaningful relationships with other business bloggers – and not in a grabby, self-serving way, but in a way where it’s a win-win-win situation.

What I mean by a win-win-win situation is this…

First and foremost, your audience has to win.

In other words, the guest post cannot just be a sales pitch. When your business blog gains some momentum, or one of your posts goes viral, you will inevitably get messages from random companies saying that they would love to provide you with wonderful blog content for absolutely free.

Be careful of this deal.

While this isn’t necessarily a horrible idea, understand that letting someone else turn your platform into a self-serving billboard is going to cheapen your blog, hurt your brand, and cost you your audience.

Always make sure the audience wins.

Then, make sure you win.

Guest bloggers should be people you can see yourself working with, referring business to, and collaborating with in the future. Use the guest blogging experience to grow your network.

Enlisting a guest blogger will benefit you only if they can provide meaningful content that is in line with your brand and add to the value that your blog brings to its audience.

Ideally, the guest blogger has a following of their own, on their own blog and social media platforms, and they’ll be able to share their guest post with their audience as well. By doing this, they will help you expand your reach and grow your audience (and subsequently your business).

And finally, last but not least, this collaborative effort should be a win for the guest blogger.

It should make sense for you to reciprocate and guest blog for them, for all the same reasons you would have them guest blog for you.

When executed properly, enlisting guest bloggers benefits your audience (win), benefits you (win), and benefits your guest blogger (win).

Win-win-win.

The Review

Reviews are an excellent way to position yourself as an expert in your field while showing that you are current on the latest and greatest in your field.

You can review a product (for example, review the latest iPhone if you are a tech blogger), or a software (such as the latest editing software upgrade if you are a video producer), or the latest app that might help your target audience.

You can also do a review of a shop or business if it pertains to your audience. Consider doing an interview-style profile of a business (online or geographically local) or entrepreneur that could benefit your following.

You can even review someone else’s content. Maybe you have some professional insights on a viral video, meme, or article that is being circulated within your industry.

Your audience depends on you to keep them on top of industry trends and announcements, don’t let them down! For instance, if you’re an interior decorator, talk about how Pantone’s Color of the Year is going to influence design. Your audience will love getting your professional perspective.

The Answer to an Important Question

As a business owner, you will notice that many of the same questions will come up again and again from your clients and prospective clients.

Do not ignore these common questions.

These are in fact THE questions that would make the best launch points for your online content.

Answer these questions in the form of blog posts.

If you’re stuck wondering what to blog about, my favorite go-to solution is to just throw out a query on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

(By the way, asking on social media platforms also happens to be great for engagement and improving your social media ranking.)

You don’t need to be fancy. Just blatantly ask your followers, “What questions do you have for me? What do you think about XYZ? What’s holding you back right now? How can I help you?”

Asking your followers for their questions will not only give you tons of ideas on what to blog about, but it will also show that you sincerely care about their needs.

You will gain valuable insight on what your audience is thinking and needing. You might be amazed to find how much you take for granted as an expert in your field.

You might even forget from time to time, that you are indeed an expert in your industry – not just a business owner, not just a service provider – but an expert with a wealth of knowledge that people are eager to tap into.

At the very least – and I mean at the VERY least – answering these questions on a public platform will grow your confidence as a competent professional who has much to offer.

The List

The easiest, fastest way to throw a blog together is to compile a list.

Lists are sometimes poo-poo’d by “serious writers” who don’t want to regard them as real writing.

Well, guess what? Lists are easy to read, easy to absorb, and are an effective way to condense and communicate dense amounts of information.

Audiences love lists, that’s all that counts. You won’t win a Pulitzer Prize (maybe), but you’ll win your audience.

If you’re stuck for a topic, think about what lists you can compile:

  • The best…
  • The worst…
  • 10 ways to…
  • 10 awesome websites that will help you to…
  • 10 biggest mistakes people make when…
  • 10 red flags you’re about to…
  • 10 myths about…
  • 10 trends for the next year in…
  • 10 trends on their way out in….
  • 10 golden rules for…

Once you have your list, all you have to do is put together an introduction, tie it up with your conclusions and a call-to-action, and BOOM… blog post written.

Just like that.

The Story

Everyone loves a great story.

If you are comfortable opening up about personal experiences on your business blog (keep it in context and always be professional, of course), storytelling is a great way to get your ideas across.

In your story, be the hero who screws up, gets back up again, and learns something valuable. Then share your experience with your followers so that they may grow as well.

Don’t forget to wrap things up with a heartfelt takeaway that is both actionable and memorable.

What types of blogs work best for you and your business? Tell me in a comment below.

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (January 17, 2017)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

Welcome to our FAV 5… recommended reading/watching to help you obliterate your business goals!

How The Masters Get New Year’s Dreams Done
Robin Sharma

Levelling up in 2017
Seth Godin

Protect Your Goals From Distracting People [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

If You Lack Optimism, It’s Game Over [VIDEO]
Gary Vaynerchuk

What I learned from 100 days of rejection [VIDEO]
Jia Jiang – TED Talk

Be amazing!

Nishi

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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Posted in Blog, business, entrepreneur, Favorite Five, LinkedIn, Twitter, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Comes First? Branding Or Social Media?

social-media-branding-instagramPop quiz…

When it comes to your business, does social media build your brand, or does your brand shape your social media presence?

What comes first?

Branding or social media?

Chicken or egg?

The answer to either question is simple – BOTH.

(Just kidding. If you’d like to know the answer to the chicken-egg question, skip to the end. The social-media-branding question is more complicated, so keep reading.)

Let’s break it down further.

How to manage your brand on social media, in 3 easy steps, in no particular order (you’ll see what I mean by this later)…

Know your brand

Every entrepreneur knows that branding is everything.

Your brand is literally your reputation. It’s what people think of when they think of your business (NOT what YOU think of your business).

Before you do anything – be it on social media or otherwise – make sure you know your business brand inside-out.

That means you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What problem does your product or service solve?
  • Who benefits from this product?
  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What content effectively engages your desired audience on social media?

You cannot launch an impactful social media marketing campaign without putting a lot of thought into your branding.

Don’t take a step further before you’ve got your branding down, it will save you a lot of grief and wasted resources down the road.

Launch your brand on social media before you’re ready

Many entrepreneurs tend to be perfectionists.

They kind of have to be – perfectionism gives them edge they need in order to compete with other businesses.

However, the Dark Side of perfectionism rears its ugly head in this case.

It pains me to say this (believe me), but when it comes to branding, things will never be perfect.

Take a deep breath.

It’ll be okay.

Just get your branding as close to 100% as you can and then launch your business on social media.

Whatever you do, DO NOT allow your perfectionism to stop you from launching. You won’t always know what works on social media and what doesn’t until you try it out.

At some point, you will have to bite the bullet and trust that you know all that you can at this stage of the game.

The rest will come later. Really.

Take care to avoid the common pitfalls of social media marketing and launch.

 

Revisit your branding

There’s a bit of a misconception where once you’ve solidified your branding, it just stays the same forever.

But branding changes over time.

And being on social media will further push your brand to change.

Your brand will change based on feedback you get on social media. Pay close attention to what’s working and what’s not working on social media. Engage with your following and observe what comes up in conversations and comments.

Even bad feedback is helpful – just think of it as an opportunity to hone your brand.

Keep the two-way lines of communication open – this is where the true beauty of social media marketing lies. When else and where else are you as a business owner given the opportunity to get this close to your target audience and their experiences with your business?

Use social media engagement to hone your message and your branding.

Stand your ground, but be open to new possibilities.

Then, go back to the beginning – knowing your brand – and go through the cycle again.

Whatever you do, don’t feel like some kind of failure because you want to revamp your branding from time to time. It’s supposed to change.

Change is good.

Change means you’re growing.

Change means your business is evolving.

Hope you found that useful!

(P.S. As for the answer to the chicken-and-egg question, the answer is the egg came first. Because crocodiles lay eggs and they walked the Earth before chickens even existed. Sorry, chickens.)

I’ve got something else for you. Download my ebook “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” FOR FREE now. Click here.

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