Marketing can mean many different strategies, plus, everyone has an opinion of what qualifies as "strategic marketing" based off of our own experiences, successes and failures.
It's no wonder us creative folks would rather procrastinate by redesigning our website or get lost scrolling through Instagram.
When there are so many options, it's difficult to make a concrete decision.
There are a variety of tactics when it comes to marketing. Creating content, curating content, paid advertising, email marketing, social media, the list goes on.
If you're anything like me, it can feel overwhelming - besides having endless options, everything appears to work!
You see income reports from people who podcast, or blog, have huge email lists or massive social media followings...The truth is, every marketing tactic out there probably COULD work for you. But what happens is, we get bogged down trying all the things, that we can't focus our efforts on effectively executing one strategy.
Here's the dealio, if it feels like you're throwing spaghetti at the wall, and nothin sticks - it's time to simplify.
Crafting your marketing strategy
For now, let's keep things simple. You could start doing Facebook ads or sponsored posts, maybe try influencer marketing. But most of those tactics mean spending money.
That's why we're going to focus on organic content marketing. It's arguably the best way to build authentic relationships with people, plus for the most part it's free. You may have to pay for hosting costs.
"BUT I HATE BLOGGING!" A few of you have mentioned to me that you don't want to blog. Have no fear, content marketing works with whatever medium you decide to commit to, sound good?
AWESOME, LET'S GET STARTED:
our main goal...
Our primary goal with content marketing, is building your MVA (Most Viable Audience). Why? Often times, we try to create products or services based off of what we THINK people need based off of assumptions instead of actually solving their real-life problems.
After you spend time building your audience, then you can start promoting products and services tailored to their needs.
(I first picked up on this idea from this podcast. It's a click baity title but still interesting.)
Okay great, so your primary goal for doing this is to build an audience. From there, how about we set a couple more (measurable) goals.
- Goals will act as the framework/foundation for your strategy.
- Goals will keep you motivated. (Define your WHY).
- Make your goals results oriented. What do you have control over? By setting goals that rely on you SHOWING up, it helps you stick with it when it gets harder.
A lot of us set metric goals such as, "I want 10k followers on Instagram" (we can't control who decides to follow us).
here's A FEW RESULTS-ORIENTED GOALS instead:
- I want to post daily on Instagram for 30 days
- Implement a scheduling process to make it more manageable
- Leave "organic" comments on 5 posts a day. (Organic meaning, you're not using bots to do this!)
I'm a big fan of setting up to 2-3 results oriented goals for my content marketing channel, because it helps me stay accountable, keeps me motivated and I can keep track of what's working (or not working).
Here are a few more examples
- Instead of, "I want to make five figures a month freelancing". Set a goal of "I want to reach out to 5 potential clients a week and offer free discovery calls".
- Instead of "I want to reach 100,000 hits on my blog a month". Set a goal of "I want to publish 100 posts to the blog by next year."
You may have heard of "SMART" goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. Try not to set too many goals for yourself, or you'll get distracted and overwhelemd. Remember you're doing this to grow your MVA (Most viable audience). If you're a goal setting junkie, throw in 1 or 2 SMART goals to keep yourself motivated.
CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY: Create or curate content that provides VALUE to your audience
According to a recent survey I sent ya'll, many of you aren't interested in starting a blog. No problemo, but we still need to figure out our content platform.
You need a way to interact with folks, period. You can blog, make videos, start a podcast, instagram, do live videos (webinars), write on Medium, WHATEVER you like to do best. It really does not matter.
The key, is to choose one and COMMIT to posting at least once/week (except for Instagram and other shorter form media, you might need to be more active).
You can also be a curator of content. It can be a little difficult to grow a dedicated audience. To be successful here, it helps to have a strong point of view. I'm thinking of the Modern Desk.
When we talk about "value" what are we talking about? "Providing value" essentially means you're making someone's life better in some way by sharing your content.
It can be useful information, tutorials, case studies, something funny, something pretty, something motivational. What matters most is that you LIKE it, because than you're more likely to stick with it.
If you're starting at 0 and feeling bummed, good news! I started at 0! And I know a lot of other people that have too. They just keep showin' up and their audience keeps growin'.
Anyway, starting at zero is great - this is your time for full on experimentation. Test out platforms, share a variety of content that interests you. Give yourself TIME to figure out what you like best. Let's call this, the dating with content period.
I wish I could give you clear timelines, but it's different for everyone. Expect things to take at least several weeks. How about you commit to showing up to your content platform consistently for the next 3 months. Track your progress, before you know it, people will start hopping on your band wagon in droves.
What if you're beyond the dating stage? Perhaps you have a few hundred email subscribers or you just hit 1k Instagram followers - congrats!
How is your engagement? Do your followers ask questions? Do you send surveys? Have you personally reached out to your email subscribers 1 by 1?
What are they struggling with? What do they want more of? What do they want less of? Overtime, you'll get to know your audience better and you can better focus your content.
After you start growing your audience and understand them better, you can start the process of creating products/services for them (based around the content you create).
"Help! I have a hard time staying consistent!"
I hear you, it can be tough. It may be that you're not producing content that you really enjoy. Or maybe try to implement some processes to make it easier for yourself (batch it!). If for whatever reason you fall off track, don't sweat it and just get back in the game. In my experience, the more consistent you are, the quicker you see results. But if you're not perfect, that's okay to. Overtime, your body of work will get the job done.
- Choose your platform. Fully commit to that platform. Let's give yourself 6-8 weeks to consistently post weekly (videos/podcasts/blog), or Monday thru Friday (if it's shorter form, like Instagram)
- Every time someone follows you, comments, shares your content - send them a message, connect with them. Maybe they'll be interested in chatting - maybe not. If you're not getting any engagement - spend the rest of your time that you're not creating your weekly content by hopping in Facebook groups and helping people (whatever your expertise is). Or join a twitter chat. Or comment on other blogs/instagram. Find ways that you enjoy connecting with other people.
- After a few weeks - track your stats. Has your audience grown? Have you had an increase in traffic? What was your most popular post? What did you ENJOY the most (enjoying the process helps keep you motivated). Now pivot if you want, or continue with what you're doing.