Blogging

You have more to say than you realize

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

There's a common piece of advice given by big name marketers that says you should only write when you have something to say. It's meant to be applied everywhere - your blog, your newsletter, and social networks. In theory, it makes sense: Don't overload/bore/waste your audience's time with content that you share just to have content to share.

For a small business, with a small audience, that's trying to build up engagement, this is not good advice. Here's why:

1) It requires a critical mass of engaged followers/subscribers.

The marketers who say this have all done their time, building up a good sized audience that trusts their expertise. They have loyal followings that look for their content and interact with it when it comes. As a small business owner, it takes time to build that kind of relationship with your audience. To remain successful with a "write when you have something to say" strategy, you need a critical mass following you. Can your business grow if 50% of your followers convert to paying customers? Depending on the size of your audience and what you do, many can say yes to that. The reality is that most businesses won't convert nearly that many people. So, how many people would it take to build your business to the level you want to reach? Now, you'll likely have to grow an audience that is at least 20 times that size (or more!). That's why it's important that you know that when content isn't delivered regularly, your audience will not grow consistently or as fast.

2) Credibility starts with visibility.

The point of posting content regularly is to keep your business and expert content top of mind with your audience. If they don't see or hear from you on a regular basis, they can't learn to trust what you have to say. Whether you're sending a newsletter, writing a blog post, or posting to social media, each of those touch points is an opportunity to provide value that builds your credibility as an expert in your field. As your audience sees the information you share, they will respond in various ways: by filtering it out or ignoring it, reading it, taking some kind of action - like, comment, share, tweet, or apply it to their work. Each of these responses is important - some can be measured and give valuable insight to you for future content. Stay visible with your content by delivering consistent 

3) You have more to say than you realize.

Has anyone ever said, "There's a reason we have two ears and one mouth," to you? Human nature is that we like to talk and some people need a gentle reminder that listening is important too. It's a rare person who truly doesn't like or want to talk. Posting content without thought or for the sake of putting something out there isn't valuable to you or anyone else. But if you think about the interactions you have with your customers and clients each day, how many times did you find you had nothing to say to them? What about associates? 

On January 13, 2015, Lara and I are leading a Content Mindset Workshop that will help you see how much content you truly have. Whether you've been creating content for many years or you're just starting out, we have some exciting plans for this day that will help you look at the creation of content from a different angle. We're going to spend time teaching about various types of content, and tools and tactics that can help you create more effective content. You'll walk away at the end of day with content to use for your business. We strongly believe that you have more to say and this workshop is designed to draw those things out of you - for the benefit of your audience and your business.

Join us - I promise you won't regret it!

Blogging: a story is worth repeating

Lately, everything I write feels stale (sort of like the writer’s block I had in the Fall).  I’ve written so many blog posts on so many topics that I keep having deja vu every time I start writing.  So today I am going to write a post reminding myself of all the things that I tell my clients about why you can write about the same topic repeatedly without it being a problem.

a story is worth repeating (2).png

1) Not everyone has seen every blog post you’ve written

Your audience changes, and it grows. On top of all the new readers you probably didn’t have last time you wrote about a subject, not everyone actually sees and reads everything you write, and not everyone remembers everything they’ve read.  In the end, how many people will actually think “she’s written this before!” and even more importantly, mind? The answer is, not many.

2) Things change

Even if you’ve written about something before, chances are quite high that you’re now coming at it from a different angle as you revisit it.  You have new experience and new knowledge, and whatever prompted you to write about the topic is probably different than it was the last time you wrote about it.  That changes the perspective, the facts, and the overall tone and message of the post.

3) Repeat repeat repeat

Just because people have heard something before doesn’t mean they couldn’t get something valuable out of hearing it again. Repetition is important.  I know that I often need to hear something a few times before I start taking it seriously or take any action.

So what does all of this mean for you and your content?

It means that not only should you be OK with writing about topics you’ve written about before, but that you can actually go through your old posts and your analytics to see what topics were particularly popular and plan to write about them again. Instead of being held back, you’ve now got more to write about!

A nice bonus is that the more you write great content on a subject, the more likely Google is to rank you as a credible source on that topic.  It’s win win.

So on that note, over the coming weeks you can look forward to some old topics coming back again.  If you have any preferences on which topics, leave me a comment and let me know!

Are you creating the right kind of content?

We’ve talked about whom you should be talking to and how you should be talking to them in the past, but today I want to talk about what you should be saying to your audience.

What does your audience want to know?

Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is you need to make sure that the content that you’re creating is what they actually want to be receiving. 

This can be far more difficult than it sounds because most of us have a tendency to explain things as if we’re talking to our peers.  However, our potential customers aren’t our peers and that usually means we need to take at least two giant steps back before we start trying to explain anything.

Start at the beginning

While this isn’t true for every client base, a lot of the time what you need to do when creating content for your audience is make sure that you’re breaking things down for them into easy to understand and digestible pieces of information.

If you are a personal trainer you may want to explain the reasons why exercise can help a person feel better, stronger, and healthier instead of talking about the science behind how a body will feel better when consistently active.  Most people ready to make a change would feel intimidated (or bored) by anything too scientific.

If you’re a web site designer who works with business owners who don’t feel comfortable with technology, you may want to talk about the merits of different kinds of sites, the importance of having a web site at all, or how to make simple changes to your own site but you wouldn’t want to create tutorials on how to do code your own web site.

Or maybe in the middle 

I’m not suggesting that everything needs to be dumbed down. If what you specialize in requires people to have a certain level of knowledge, then you don’t have to start at the beginning, but chances are, you need to still take a few steps back from where you currently are.  

If you are a lawyer who deals in real estate law and you are creating content for realtors, then you know that you can use the language that realtors know, but you shouldn’t use legal language because your audience isn’t lawyers.

What do you want them to know? 

You want to create content that demonstrates your expertise and help lead your potential clients towards purchasing what you sell.  With that in mind, what kind of content can you create that will help you do those things? 

Think about the things you get asked when people are inquiring about your business.  Think about all the information you think people need to know before making a decision about whether or not to work with you.  Jot down 4-5 things.  If the answers to those questions aren’t on your web site right now, you have the topics for four or five blog posts or videos (at least) and the answers you give people to those questions are your draft content.

What do you think your audience wants to hear about?

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending March 9

Over the week we go through a lot of content - news and blog posts, how tos and conceptual posts on the state of the internet.  Every Sunday we share some of our favourites with you.

Check out the links and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you read any great posts this week!

Lara

I’m back and had a great time on my first real family vacation! Karen did a great job making sure you all still got great content to check out while I was gone! :)

Sesame Street is the first non-profit to hit 1 billion views on YouTube. I can’t say I’m surprised - theirs is one of the few channels I subscribe to and watch not only with my kids but on my own on a regular basis.  So much fun content! I love how they celebrated the milestone! (Here’s another one of my favourites)

When I think about the future of technology I can’t believe what people expect to be on it’s way down the pipeline. (via Twist Image)

Facebook advertising can be a tricky thing, but also a really good thing. Amy Porterfield is an amazing resource for all things Facebook and I especially find her Facebook ad information very informative.  This week she shared 7 tips on Facebook ads.

Karen

There are some who believe so strongly in creating evergreen content that they have started to exclude the date from the posts on their website. I’m gonna go with Adam Singer on this and say it’s not a good idea. (Future Buzz)

I couldn’t help but laugh at the title of this one: Is the Harlem Shake Stupid? (Social Fresh) I don’t think the answer to that question is hard. I am so tired of this meme and I don’t want to see it anymore, but Jason Keath makes some really interesting points that businesses can use going forward.

It was a week of big changes. In the case of Google+, the changes are enormous (ReadWrite). But let’s be honest - there really isn’t a huge number of people who care about the changes Google+ made. It’s the changes to Facebook Newsfeed that are the really big news of this week. We’re going to write about the newsfeed announcement this week, but Jon Loomer’s overview will give you a good idea of what’s coming.

Speaking of Facebook - it’s a common practice that people ask for a like or a share. Sometimes, it’s easier to simply design your content to be appropriate for one or the other. This is what is meant by that vague instruction to “be engaging”. 

The most obvious number that shows up in Facebook Metrics is reach. Unfortunately, its value is definitely up for debate. Check out what Danny Brown has to say about reach. I think it’s worth considering.

The Media Mesh

What you might have missed this week on the Media Mesh:

Anna Belanger conquers Facebook

Back to basics: three steps to using LinkedIn more effectively

Being successful as a woman in business

App of the Week

This one is web-based, so it’s operating system agnostic. And I think it’s my latest favourite website. It’s called Content Idea Generator and I think it’s brilliant. Even if it doesn’t work precisely, I love that I can come up with ideas faster thanks to the push this nifty little tool gives me.

Leave us a comment and tell us what some of your favourite reads were this week!

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending Feb 23

Over the week we go through a lot of content - news and blog posts, how tos and conceptual posts on the state of the internet.  Every Sunday we share some of our favourites with you.

Check out the links and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you read any great posts this week!

For this week and next, I’m on my own since Lara decided to take a much-deserved vacation.

Karen

I love when “boring” businesses call us for help. Because often, they aren’t nearly as boring as anyone thinks on the surface. Seeing businesses that show personality regardless of the product’s sex appeal is always great to see. (Hubspot)

We learned as kids not to judge a book by its cover, but your website/blog design really will get you judged. Here are a few rules to take into consideration when you’re considering your blog layout. (BloggingPro)

The nice thing about being a small business owner is that we don’t have to wade through the mire of corporate red tape before we decide to post to any social network. We just have to stay tuned in consistently enough to respond to the unexpected. (SmartBlog on Social Media)

I’ve had some interesting discussions this week around post-level insights on Facebook. There were extensive discrepancies in the numbers being reported. Then I found out that Facebook announced that there was a bug affecting insights. Here’s hoping this clears up the muddle.

Do you ever wonder how to make your content more interesting and memorable as a business? Learn to be a storyteller. (Web Ink Now)

The Media Mesh

Here’s what you might have missed from us this week:

Social Capital is looking for Speakers and Sponsors!

Writing bios that connect

Skip the gimmicks, share engaging content, and don’t annoy your fans

Chris Hadfield and the amazing world of technology

App of the Week

I used to highlight a different app each week that I enjoy using and this week I’m going to re-introduce the feature. The app I’m currently relying on heavily is Dropbox. I’ve finally got a place where all my data and files are backed up. Additionally, the syncing and sharing have been invaluable to Lara and me. We’ve dramatically reduced our use of Google Docs, which doesn’t have the more robust capabilities we need as a business that we can get from Microsoft Office.