Chances are as a business owner — especially a service-oriented business — you have something to offer beyond your core service that people want, maybe even need. But you’re not giving or selling that information or wisdom.
Think about your typical day and all the actions you take, the opinions you have, the advice you give, the troubles you troubleshoot. We all have blinds spots when it comes to what comes naturally. We don’t realize there is value in that pool of deep knowledge or interest we’ve spent years cultivating. We don’t think that sharing or selling that advice or information is a possibility. You might be thinking, “It’s just how I do my job.” Or, “Who would want to know that?”
• Have you ever been put through the ringer and lived to tell about it? People want to learn from your mistakes.
• Can you teach someone what you know (without fearing you’ll lose a potential customer)?
• Do you know a few things about industries that sit just outside yours that you can share with customers or prospects?
You’ve probably heard of content marketing. It’s a way of marketing that gives (or sells) relevant and well-crafted information to customers and prospects as a way of building loyalty. It’s based on the belief that a well-educated customer is a good one. It can also mean engaging customers in a way that invites participation.
The opposite of content marketing is solely selling one’s products or services to the exclusion of any useful information that informs or entertains. It can sometimes mean bludgeoning people to death with ads and promos.
Content marketing is about a slower trickle of good information and conversation leading to better and maybe repeat customers down the road. It might take longer but it’s worth it. This happens by establishing yourself as a go-to person. Before you discount yourself as an industry go-to person (or thought leader), remember that you only have to reach who you want to reach. People are hungry for help and information, and having relationships with businesses they buy from.
What comes back to you might travel a wacky, indirect path. It’s about putting something out into the universe and not being sure how you’ll reap the reward.
It’s not a new concept, but it’s one that’s taken hold and made easier by social media and other online tools that allow you to reach anyone, anywhere. That’s the best part; it’s democratic. Anyone can play because there is little to no financial barrier to entry. It only requires:
• believing in and capturing your vast body of knowledge (see below)
• setting up the systems that work for you
• creating a voice that fits with your brand and being consistent about output
Businesses are doing this through social media sites, webinars, telecalls, e-newsletters and much more. It does not have to be complicated.
You can start small and add to your effort.
If this is new to you or the technology or systems seem daunting to set up, start by keeping a list, and throughout your day, make note of the following:
• Compliments you receive
• Things you’re always educating people about
• Things that bother you about your profession
• Systems or processes you’ve set up that work well for you
• Struggles you’ve encountered in your life and work, and how you overcame them
• What you hear others say about their own challenges
• What’s missing out there as you search for help or information
• Examples of businesses outside your profession that are thought leaders
Don’t edit yourself. Once you start a list like this, you will keep adding to it. You’ll stop taking for granted all the things you know and do and can offer the world. And you’ll begin to see ways that you can extend your current services to start engaging people on a different level.
Have questions about how you can implement this stuff? Let me know.