Have you noticed there’s a new tone in todays business?
In this new age of social media, content marketing and the internet explosion, the way people buy services has changed… for good.
These are challenging times. But for those smart micro business owners who adapt and respond to the new world where the customer is firmly in charge, the rewards are plenty.
But how do you do that?
You need to think like a publisher.
In short that involves creating and curating quality content that’s relevant, engaging and helps your prospective customer at the place they’re at.
This may be a scary thought. The idea of being a publisher may take you out of your comfort zone and you could be left wondering how on earth you can fit that in along with everything else you currently juggle.
But dismiss the opportunity at your peril.
You see, customers now demand a whole lot more than a simple description of your services.
They expect information, advice and knowledge to inform their decision making and to help them decide who to work with.
In this new age, your target customer will research before they enquire, and if you don’t provide the information they are looking for, you’ll miss out.
So let’s take a closer look at what becoming a publisher actually involves…
Tie it to your business model
Your customer can afford to be more demanding.
They are less likely to respond to traditional interruption marketing. In fact, it can actually be a big turn off. Instead the customer wants information and solid proof that you know what you are talking about.
They want to work with an expert who talks their language, who understands their needs and and who has the know, like, trust factor.
Here’s how content can contribute to your business model:
- Content attracts customers – they’re researching anyway long before they buy. Be in it to win it
- Offer free content – see it as your marketing, not just waste of time freebies. After all the right content can be a powerful front end hook for the services you provided.
- Build your brand and authority status – Customers want proof before they buy that you know their stuff. Use well placed content to prove your expertise.
- Generate income – publish the right content, and you’ll make it easier for customers to choose you over your competitors.
Publish content that stands out
For sure this simple statement conceals a very tricky act.
Publishing content that hooks and engages your target customer is not easy. It takes time, attention and commitment. Unfortunately many micro businesses mistake quantity over quality. They pump out anything and put a tick beside their content strategy.
But here’s the issue. The Internet is swamped with “quality” content. In fact, if you post something new today you’ll compete with over “1.5 billion new pieces of content, more than 200 million tweets and 1.5 million new YouTube videos” (source: Jeff Bullas).
If you want to stand out amongst that lot you have to:
- Get close to your ideal customer so you say the right things
- Grow a passionate audience of fans who want to read your content
- Build the authority of your website through quality links
- Be interesting, relevant, useful, engaging, different…
Publish the right content
Again this isn’t easy. And I can’t give you a straight answer here because what you create depends on who you customers are and what they are looking for.
It goes back to getting intimately connected with your target customer. In addition to knowing their age, gender, occupation and lifestyle, you have to figure out what motivates and drives them? What keeps them up at night? What they are looking for? And to do that you have to ask. Set up interviews. Search social media. Trawl blog comments. Listen at networking meetings. I can’t tell you just how important this stuff is.
That said here are three strategies you can use to get you started.
- Blog. Pick the five most pressing problems your customers face and write a series of blog posts that solves them. List and how to headlines work well.
- Create an incentive such as a free eBook or download that entices potential customers to subscribe to your email list. Email subscribers are like gold dust. They enable you communicate to prospects through their inbox and build stronger relationships.
- Create an autoresponder.This is simply a series of emails that gets sent out in a prescribed sequence. Use it to build contact with people who have shown an interest in your service and turn a warm lead into a hot one.
Read this before you take action
If you are to become successful with publishing you need to do it with strategy.
Please don’t rush off after reading this post and create a random blog.
You see if you don’t have direction, you’ll soon run out of stream and get frustrated that your efforts didn’t pay off.
If you are to benefit as a publisher, you have to be in it for the long-haul. It takes time to:
- Figure out the type of content you need to publish
- Lay down a network of quality information
- Attract a readership to discover you
- Convert an audience into paying customers
But if you do, your business will reap the rewards.
Careful planning prevents (um) poor performance
Careful planning of your content will pay off in the long run. Don’t rush into publishing blind. Instead figure out your approach first. These questions will help.
- What do you want your publication strategy to achieve (e.g. more email sign-ups, more followers, comments, customers?) Get specific with how you will measure your results. That way you can monitor your progress and figure out what you need to tweak along the way.
- Decide how often will you publish and plan time into your schedule. And if you don’t feel you have enough time, read this book.
- Research the topics your customers want to learn about.
- From this identify themes and topics and turn these into blog post titles, eBook ideas, email letter themes etc.
- Plan a publication schedule. Don’t make this haphazard, instead figure out the journey you want your reader to take.
- Take action. You won’t see results until you actually get stuff out there and learn from how your audience responds.
What do you think?
I get it. Becoming a publisher requires a new way of thinking about your business. But increasingly it’s becoming a necessity.
So what’s putting you off? What benefits can you see to this approach? Please let me know in the comments below.
P.S: If one of the turn-offs is you have no idea where to start or you don’t have the time, skill or inclination to create content, I can help. Why not contact me to discuss my copywriting, content marketing consultancy or ghost blogging services. I’d love to hear from you.