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Finding Your Sweet Spot: Niche Marketing for Professional Services

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“Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising in the world.”– Milton S. Hershey

In the professional services industry, differentiation is among one of the most crucial, yet challenging, aspects of our marketing strategy. Whether you are marketing an accounting firm, law firm, or financial advisory firm, the services offered by competitors are virtually the same.  

These competitive pressures are commoditizing the professional services industry, meaning potential clients are reducing their buying decision to simply the price of your services.

Clients are no longer impressed by location, years of practice, or contacts—making it more difficult for firms to command premium prices for services.

According to the Hinge Research Institute, these were the business challenges professional service firms were facing in 2015:

For some, a continuing stream of one-off transactions on the quick and cheap may be the perfect marketing strategy. However, we don’t have to give in to these pressures by cheapening our offerings—instead we can shift the focus.

As Hershey Foods founder Milton Hershey states: “We give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising in the world.”

Quality vs. Quantity When Marketing for Professional Services

When marketing for professional services, we have a tendency to generalize our business offerings to target a wider range of prospective clients. We’re putting the focus on the number of services we provide to clients (quantity) to position ourselves to address all of their needs.  

We do this mainly because we fear that by eliminating offerings, we’ll lose potential business.  

We’re falling into the commodities trap by becoming a “jack of all trades” which is hurting our ability to stand out among the competition. As noted by Ben Franklin, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.”

Clients want the best (quality), and to get the best, they need to work with the people that specialize in a particular area. They need those who are truly the experts in their fields and can, therefore, offer the highest quality of services.  

When prospective clients are choosing a professional services firm, they are choosing the one who has expertise in the particular service they need. Potential clients want the professional who has knowledge and experience with their business type and with the industries in which they work.  

Can we blame them?

If you had a severe heart condition, wouldn’t you seek the expertise of a cardiologist? Or would you consider engaging a general practice physician that handles pediatrics on Monday, brain surgery on Tuesday, dermatology on Wednesday and maybe over the weekend he’ll figure out how to help you with your heart condition?

The fact is, to offer quality services, we can’t be all things to all people. Instead, we must focus on being the right thing for the right person through niche marketing.

What is Niche Marketing?

Niche marketing simply means identifying a particular segment of the market to focus your marketing efforts.

Think of each market space as a pie. You, and your competitors, are all hungry for a piece. To ensure you each get a taste of the sweet dessert we divide the pie up into four slices, eight slices, twelve slices—the smaller we cut each slice, the more we can serve.

Let’s look at the legal industry, for example. The litigation market is a huge market, but within that market, we can find niche markets. For instance, intellectual property litigators.

There are scores of general litigators in the litigation market; however, my company reduces the number of competitors by drilling the litigation market down to intellectual property, a smaller and more focused segment. So we’re a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Three Advantages to Niche Marketing for Professional Services

1. Targeted Marketing Spend

Interestingly enough, when there are multiple disciplines within a firm to market, we don’t get multiple budgets to allocate funds.

It’s a lot easier to spread our marketing budget across a clearly defined target rather than trying to spread it across multiple disciplines.

2. Trackability

When there’s a clearly defined goal, it’s much easier to track activities and determine where you’re getting a return on your marketing dollars.

3. Competitive Advantage.

Honing in on a specialty, communicating that specialty effectively to our audience, and emerging as the expert in our fields helps us stand out in the otherwise uniform professional services industry.

So, we understand that for marketers in the professional services space to compete effectively, we need to engage in niche marketing.

But the idea of breaking up our business model into small slices of pie, and choosing just a single slice to share with our clients or prospects is both scary and overwhelming. How do we decide which slice is the best slice?

Five Tips to Help you Find your Sweet Spot:

1. Figure out the “why”

Every business has a unique purpose, but very few businesses can articulate this purpose.

Understanding the driving forces, the “why” we do what we do—and being able to clearly explain that drive—is a critical step. Here are three questions you should consider:

  • What inspired the business?Obviously, the owners of the company didn’t just wake up one morning and say, “Gee, I think I’ll start a professional services company.”  So, what inspired the launch?Find out the story behind the founding of the firm, the core values, and the guiding principles.
  • What are the business strengths?Understanding the company’s greatest strengths and areas where it can add the most value can help marketers focus on the opportunities that will lead to growth.This is an important aspect of the “why” because it allows the company’s purpose to align with the company’s strengths.
  • How do you measure success?Figure out what criteria must be met to be considered a success. Highlight the areas that are the most important to the company, and it’s vision for success.The inspiration, the strengths, and the criteria for success together articulate the “why.”

2. Define your ideal client

Who is it that you want to work with regularly? Be as specific as possible.

Identify the geographic range, the industry, the personality, the career level, or even age and gender. If you’re unsure where to start, here are a few suggestions:

  • Look for similarities among your current list of clients.Consider each of the client traits on a scale of 1 (not worth my time) to 10 (love to work with you) and write down why you scored each one a certain way.
  • Spend time with your favorite clients—you know, those clients that are a pleasure to work with and regularly bring us business….  who wouldn’t want more of those? Take them to lunch, or buy them a cup of coffee—take the time to get to know them on a personal level, so you know what you are looking for in your prospects.

? It's astonishing how many people will read this, agree, and move on. Just because you understand this principle doesn't mean you are practicing it successfully. When people get comfortable spending their money with someone or something (a brand or organization) it becomes a valuable and profitable experience all at once. When you neglect the service and attention of your current customers, it becomes very hard to grow your business. Landing new customers only keeps your business alive. Keeping customers actually grows your business. Yet, all over the world, businesses are upset when current customers need their time and attention because they have bigger and better things to do…like land new business. Are you kidding me? If that's you, you need to fix that mindset before you go another day operating your business. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. Even to this day, it sometimes brings up resentful feelings because you can give customers ALL the time and attentino in the world..and for some…it's never enough. But YOU'RE the entrepreneur and they are the customer. Be the bigger person and always serve those who've taken their wallet our for you. • • • • • • • • • • #customer #customerservice #customers #client #clients #crm #relationships #business #businesses #businessman #businesstips #businessideas #smallbiz #smb #smallbusiness #smallbusinessowner #marketer #marketing #marketingdigital #digitalmarketing #onlinemarketing #growth #professionals #success #successful #entrepreneur #entrepreneurs #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship

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3. Identify client problems that you can solve  

After you’ve carefully outlined the most valuable traits of your ideal client, you are ready to consider what problems you can solve for that client.

Of course, you’ll have to know what problems they are facing in their respective industries to successfully view your solutions (services) through your clients’ eyes.

Attending industry-specific networking events, reading articles relating to your clients’ business, and following relevant influencers on social media are all great places to start.

Hope everyone had a fantastic day yesterday. We had friends from Ohio [where we used to live] at Myrtle beach, so we went and visited them yesterday. So I took a needed afternoon hiatus. Which brings me to this quote. How many of you know that this world we are marketing and selling to is broken? How many of you know that you are broken? How many of you know that you are hurt? Whether you know it or not, you are. I am too. We are all hurt and broken people. Why? Because it isn't a perfect world. So when you are writing content, like I am now…or you are advertising, or selling, or networking…are you taking this into consideration? I think you should. I think we should be a generation of business owners who understand not only how to put the human element back into business, but how to recognize the human element of the market as well. We aren't selling to perfect buyers that seamlessly go through the buyer journey step after step after step. Recognize that you are marketing and selling to hurt people because it will change the way you conduct business and market in general. That's the deepest form of connection and intimacy in business is understanding and leveling with the mind of your audience. They are humans, treat them like it.

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Understanding the client’s industry and the problems they are facing is an important aspect of finding and developing your niche. Proactively sharing solutions to issues your prospective clients face will pack a serious value-added punch.

Tell them about new regulations that might have emerged, if new technology has emerged that might streamline their processes, or if industry trends might affect their costs and bottom line.

4. Research your competition 

Your competitors can offer key insights into increasing your profit margins. Look into what areas they are focusing on—and find a way to narrow that focus even further to stand out and differentiate.

Often times, I hear business owners confused about competition and their unique position against their competitors. I work hard to do competitive benchmarking with my clients and it's always a struggle to get people to understand how to TRULY compete with other industry players. – Stop trying to compare and compete on a budget and resource level. Unless you have a huge investment, a ton of capital or you've been in business 30 years. If you want ANY share of the market, you have to learn how to compete for attention. – You can only do that through the creation and distribution of content on social media. I am talking about macro distribution of the unique messaging and value your brand has to offer in efforts to captivate a niche or segment of a market. – When small players out perform bigger players (which always has happen and always will happen as industries are disrupted) it's because they were consistent with just that. – Distribution. – Distribution is the game that most small business lose at. Your value is great, your social is great, your content is great…we get it. But you have no distribution skills. Work on distribution this week. Spread your nets and cast wide.

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5. Find the Sweet Spot

Once you’ve determined your passion, defined your ideal client, identified solutions to problems facing those clients, and researched how your competition is addressing those issues (and how you can address them better) you are now ready to bring it all together, narrow your focus, and quickly identify your ideal marketing niche.

??? Your mindset in marketing needs to change from 'reaching as many people as possible' to 'reaching as many of the right people as possible.' Too many of us run Facebook ads, write content, post on social media, send newsletters, etc., with a general tone and value proposition. So what ends up happening is the entire message is only about half as effective to everyone, instead of being 100% effective to the right people. Are you a student of your audience? Do you know your buyer persona? Do you know the variations of that persona? Because at the end of the day, it's not hard to find and reach those people if you first know who they are. The easiest way to develop a baseline is to take the last 5-10 customers you have had and write down their characteristics, behaviors, demographics, and see where the common threads are. Then, the next time you write and email, post on social media, run an ad or write a piece of content, the message is 100% on target for the right people.

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The Key Take-Away: We don’t have to accept the commoditization (read: cheapening) of the professional services industry.

We can approach our clients with solutions to complex problems; we can approach our clients with specific knowledge and experience that they can trust; and we can cultivate a relationship to encourage our clients to continuously approach us.

Remember, “Give them quality”… through a clearly defined niche, “That’s the best advertising in the world.”

Denise is the Director of Marketing for the NYC law firm, Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti LLP. Denise has been specializing in the legal marketing space for over 10 years. She is the mother of 3 amazing people and the wife of the luckiest man on earth. You can also find her on Twitter (@heydeniselee) or on LinkedIn.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. William3

    June 7, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Hi, do you allow guest posting on themodernmarketer.org ? 🙂 Please let me know on my e-mail

    • Shauna Armitage

      June 7, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Hi William, we do not accept guest posts. However, you can apply for a contributor spot if you are interested. Best of luck!

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Content Marketing

How to Jack Attention from News & Trends

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the dos and donts of newsjacking

What is newsjacking?

Newsjacking is the process of following the topics and trends that are happening in industries relative to your business so that you can tap into audiences that are already interested in something that’s happening now.

One of the things we talk a lot about as marketers is “keywords.”

We all want to know what people are typing into that search bar on Google so that we can connect them first.

That’s what SEO and SEM is all about.

But what we don’t talk about as much are the topics and trends that are happening so fast that Google, SEMrush, BuzzSumo, Alexa, or whatever keyword tracking tool you may be using isn’t tracking on it.

They’ve already missed it.

That’s where newsjacking comes into play.

If you’re paying attention to what’s happening on the news—or trending on Google, Twitter and Facebook—there’s an opportunity here to grab attention that a keyword tracker won’t be quick enough to show you.

If your brand has a relevant stance or positioning on a specific topic or trend that’s happening right now and you can provide legit content around that topic, then you can tap into new audiences.

Audiences that would never find you if you hadn’t showed up in their search query about that topic or trend.

Newsjacking, or trendjacking as some call it, is a lot like influencer marketing.

The only difference is there’s not a third party involved.

The topic itself is the influencer.

The topic has that attention.

What you’re really doing is attention jacking.

But here’s the thing about newsjacking: It can work really great for bringing traffic to your business, but it can also go horribly wrong if you’re not careful.

There’s a lot of factors at play when you’re hopping on a trend, so you have to be wary of your timing, your message, and your context. There’s a fine line you have to walk for newsjacking to work for you.

I’m going to break this down for you with some do’s and don’t’s of newsjacking so you can understand where that line is.

Let’s get it.

DO Your Research

You have to keep in mind that trending topics, particularly ones in the news cycle, are always developing stories.

So when a story first breaks, that’s only a part of it.

Most of the time, it’s better to wait a bit until there’s more information out there before you write about a news topic.

do your research

Otherwise, if you’re too quick to publish, you could miss out on some critical information that drops later—information that could have been even more useful for your content had you known it before publishing.

Avoid “more later…as it develops” type of talk.

You really want to get as much information as possible before writing. In this day and age where everyone’s wary of fake news, it’s important to get your facts straight and to be as accurate as possible. Or else you risk losing credibility with your audience.

So spend some time browsing the news sites, the comments sections, and talk to other people about the topic. Sometimes people in your immediate circles have some insight on the topic you may not have thought about before.

DON’T Write Without Providing Context

If a topic isn’t relative to your industry and you write about it anyway, it’s really not going to make sense. Maybe you’re passionate about that topic and you have thoughts about it, but it’s not going to do you any favors within the context of your business.

Sorry, but your audience doesn’t care about news topics unless it affects them.

On the other side of the coin, you always have to keep in mind who you’re writing for (or speaking to, if it’s on video or audio). A topic you’re covering could be relevant to your industry, but if it’s not filtered into a context that makes sense for who you’re trying to sell to, it doesn’t make sense for your business.

Always keep your buyer persona in mind. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a news topic or trend to cover:

  • Is this relevant to my industry?
  • Could my buyer persona connect to this topic?
  • Can I bridge this topic directly to value that my business can provide?

DO Provide Value

Here’s the thing about trending topics: a lot of people have something to say about them.

That’s why they’re trending.

Your objective in newsjacking is finding a way to offer some new thoughts on the given topic. Something unique.

provide something unique

It can be difficult, particularly if there are already a flood of thoughts out there on the matter. But it comes easiest if a topic comes up that you find yourself passionate about. Chances are if you’re passionate about it, you have some value to offer on that topic.

You know we’re all about value over everything.

With newsjacking, it’s no different.

When you’re writing or speaking about a topic, your goal first and foremost needs to be to provide some sort of value.

DON’T Newsjack Just to be Heard

Look, consistency in producing content is important. And newsjacking may look like a shining opportunity to add to your growing archive of content, but if you’re just doing it to check off a box you’re not going to get the results you want.

Just like with any content you produce, it has to provide value. If your newsjacking just adds to the noise out there, you’re wasting your time and effort.

Plenty of people produce content to get attention. But nobody will be interested in your content if it’s lacking of substance. Give people a reason to read or watch or listen to your newsjacked content.

Ask yourself: Why would people want to read this as opposed to any other thoughts on this trend? What does it offer that other content doesn’t?

DO Captivate People

Some people are reluctant when it comes to newsjacking, particularly if there’s a political element to the given topic. But a lot of times, controversial topics are the ones that really grab people’s attention.

And you want that attention. You want to engage people and get them going. You want that discussion. And sometimes, a little controversy can be good.

You can go to far

As long as you can engage people in a relevant way that makes sense for your brand, that’s good attention.

However, be warned: You can go too far…

DON’T Be So Controversial that you Divide your Audience

Yes, engagement and discussion and attention are all good things.

But if you’re not careful about what you’re writing or saying, you can end up dividing your audience and losing attention.

With political topics especially, you have to be aware that people in your audience have hard set opinions. And if you challenge these opinions too much, your newsjacking efforts will backfire.

Be careful when you’re taking a stance on a certain topic. The more context you provide, the more viewpoints you can write or speak about in relation to the topic, the better your chance of not dividing people.

Or, don’t bring in any viewpoints and just use the topic as a jumping off point to talk about something more relevant to your brand.

So represent as many perspectives as possible, or represent none of them.

Don’t speak to divide, speak to unite around your brand value.

DO Make it Evergreen, If you Can

We talk a lot about evergreen content, and producing value that is useful months or even years into the future—not just right now. That can be difficult with newsjacked content since it’s specifically about a topic or trend that’s happening right now.

But if you can take that topic and create value around it that outlasts the relevancy of that topic, that content will still be useful after everyone’s forgot about the topic.
make evergreen content

That’s a powerful thing—being able to immortalize a topic by providing a context of evergreen value around it.

It’s not an easy thing to do by any means. You can still provide value with newsjacked content without making it evergreen, but it’s far more valuable if you do.

DON’T Wait Too Long to Publish your Content

Trends can be here today and gone tomorrow.

If you’re sitting on some content that you wrote on a particular trending topic and you’re waiting to see if any new information will come out about it, you could lose your window of relevancy.

It’s a tricky thing.

You don’t want to publish too soon and risk your credibility, but you also don’t want to publish too late and miss the relevancy of the trend altogether. That’s the point of newsjacking after all— to ride a brief but strong wave of relevancy.

So how do you know when the time is right to publish? When you feel like the trending topic has developed and you have enough information to provide some real contextual value, it’s time to publish.

The value comes from your brand, not from the topic. So publish it once you can provide real value from your brand!

DO Atomize, Break it Down, and Promote It

You want to get as many eyes on your content as possible while the newsjacked topic is still relevant. So like with any content, you have to optimize it for all your platforms.

If you write an article, you can take a quote from it and put it on top of an image for an Instagram post. You can also tweet that quote.

You can make a video about that article and just talk it out. Or if you do a video first, take notes from your video and turn it into an article.

promote your content while it's still relevant

There are tons of ways to break down your content and make it work for any given platform. But whatever you do, make sure you promote it while it’s still relevant. This is a good opportunity to justify some Facebook ad dollars!

DON’T Just Publish the Content and Move On

You may think after you’ve published your content, atomized it, and promoted it, that you’ve done all you can and it’s time to move onto the next piece of content.

Nope. It’s not over. Just because you’ve put your thoughts out there on the topic or trend doesn’t mean the discussion is over. You have to keep monitoring the discussions and engage with others on the topic.

You have made yourself a part of the conversation on that topic, now you need to engage in the conversation until it dies out to get the most out of that window of relevancy.

Make the most out of your content. Engage with others about it.

Conclusion

Newsjacking can be tricky. You have to be careful, and there’s not always a clear right answer to the what, the how, and the when of newsjacking. It can be hard to decide what trends or topics are relevant to your brand, how you’ll provide value in the context of a given trend or topic, and when to publish that content.

But the good news is that the who, the where, and the why are always clear with newsjacking.

Who you’re writing for is always your buyer persona. Where you’re publishing your content is all of your channels (in the format that makes the most sense for that platform). And why you’re newsjacking should always be to provide some unique value or insight from your brand voice.

One thing is for sure: newsjacking takes practice. The more comfortable you get with it, the better you will understand how to successfully newsjack.

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Content Marketing

Growth Hacking 101: How to Make People Take Action Using ‘Context’

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Growth Hacking 101- How to Make People Take Action Using Context

Guys, it’s no secret: we put out all our best information on The Modern Marketer.

We preach Value Over Everything because we truly believe in providing value above any business agenda. People can be suspicious of that and wonder how the heck we make any money if we’re giving away our value for free.

You may even wonder yourself how creating content could possibly benefit your business or brand.

I get it, it’s different. I come from a sales background and I understand that there’s no point in doing something if it’s not going to be profitable for your business.

And that’s exactly why I’m such a huge advocate for content creation. Not because it makes profit, but because it’s a vehicle for profit. A necessary tool.

I’m about to break down why creating all this content and distributing it for free leads to profitability. It all comes down to context…

Content vs Context

So you probably understand that content carries the ideas that we as business leaders and entrepreneurs stand behind. This is the substance with which we conduct our business.

Whether you’re a service-based business or you sell products, you have to put your best information out there to establish your credibility. But here’s where the difference comes in between content and context.

Your content can be very helpful, inspirational, even game-changing. But what you can’t give away is how that content applies directly into an individual’s life.

You put your best content out there to get people to pay for the context.

You can’t just put your best context out there. It’s impossible. Because context isn’t the same for any two individuals. People want context specific to their lives, for their story. And they will pay to be able to understand how your content is relevant to them.

Your audience has problems, your content has solutions, but they want to know how your solutions will solve their specific problems.

Once you understand that, it becomes a lot easier to identify who your content is for. When you distribute that content on social platforms, the people who reach out to your for that context are your buyer persona. Knowing that buyer persona will reinforce your content strategy.

But know this: while context is what pays the bills, it all starts with content. You simply cannot have context to sell people without first providing the content. Build the credibility, build the connections, then you can sell the context.

you can sell the context

The Best Calls-to-Action = Context

Ultimately when we write content for landing pages, we want people to be persuaded to take some sort of action towards the step of buying, right?

So many marketers publish content about the best words or phrases to use, the best sales copy, the best times to post, the best types of posts— as if there’s some universal answer to creating effective calls-to-action.

But the truth is there is no universal, one-size-fits-all solution for creating effective calls-to-action.

Every single person who will come across your content is an unique individual who is inspired and motivated by different things. Sure, there will be groups of people who are called to action by similar content, but you’ll never find a singular call-to-action to motivate everybody.

So what should you do to drive people to take action?

My advice to you is to treat your calls-to-action as if they’re normal interactions. It’s so easy to forget when we’re writing our content that we’re trying to persuade actual humans to take action.

Awhile back I ran into a guy at the supermarket who asked where I got my hat from (you all know I love my hats). We started chatting right there in the supermarket and ended up deciding to have coffee sometime to talk about entrepreneurship and business.

So we made a call-to-action for each other based on the interaction we just had in the supermarket. If there wasn’t any value there, no relevance— no context —it doesn’t matter which way I would have asked to have coffee because it wouldn’t have happened.

It’s the context that drives the action, and that context is created through connection. Had the guy not connected with me in the supermarket about my hat, there would be no connection, there would be no context.

This is why there’s no singular, universal solution to creating calls-to-action. People are called to action through context, through making an unique connection to your content.

people are called to action through context

Since there’s no way to create individual connections with every single person that fits your buyer persona, you have to constantly split test and refine your landing page content. 95% of my clients have extremely high clickthrough rates and conversions because I’m always split testing and refining.

It’s a process.

But there are plenty of tools out there to help you find what yields the best response from your audiences…

  • Unbounce – a landing page creation service with overlays that feature specifically targeted calls-to-action
  • Hotjar – a program that uses heat maps to visually represent users clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior, allowing you to understand what users want and care about on a page
  • Crazy Egg – similar to Hotjar, a program that uses heat maps to show user activity, and additionally shows where the users come from and what they click the most
  • ClickFunnels – a sales funnel creation service that streamlines the sales process online for users

It’s all about testing and adjusting until you can find the calls-to-action that resonate strongest with your audiences. Context is key.

Start thinking about your calls-to-action as attempts to make connections with people, rather than pushing someone to buy. Be patient with the process. Testing and refining your content takes time.

Doing Your Job AND Creating Content

So at this point you probably understand the important role that content plays in driving sales. It is a catalyst for context, an enzyme for connection.

Without content out there, you don’t have an out-stretched hand for a buyer to grab onto and make that connection. You don’t have that same opportunity to sell.

But how do you make the time to create content while doing your job? Growing your business means creating and distributing content, but how do you do that and serve your clients?

First you have to understand that creating content for content’s sake is not going to be helpful to you. You have to know why you’re creating content in the first place.

So before you begin to write, or record, or design, or edit, you have to be in the mindset of where you’re going rather than where you are. That’s an important piece of the puzzle.

There’s been many times where I’ve started to create content then stopped because I lost sight of why I was creating the content at all. It’s disheartening to get stuck like that, but it’s even more disheartening to put time and energy into creating content only for it to not be engaged with.

If you don’t know why you’re creating your content, if you don’t know the purpose behind it, your audience won’t know either.

I want to get to the point where 80% or more of my income is coming from writing and speaking. For me to do that, focusing on clients, to-do lists, working with employees and subcontractors, and expecting any result other than growing a client base is very naive.

The only way to grow your business from content creation is by intentionally scheduling time to make those things happen. There are times I will not accept new business, not have sales meetings, and not have execution time for clients, because I know I need to create content to get to where I’m going.

intentionally schedule time for content creation

The only way you’ll have time for both your job and creating content is by making the time.

But it doesn’t have to be as tedious as you might think. You don’t always have to create content from the ground up because already have content from your interactions with people.

Repurpose your interactions. As a marketer and a consultant, I’m always having interactions with people— casual conversations, email exchanges, strategizing, phone calls, etc. 95% of my posts are from interactions that I’ve had, repurposed to fit the context of the platform.

Skim through your emails. Look through your texts. Flip through your journal. You have content there already, you just need to put it all together.

Conclusion

On the surface level, creating content may seem futile. But once you begin to understand that content is the foundation on which to not only build your business but make connections with people, the benefit becomes more clear.

Always be forward-thinking with your content and remember that your content should always be evolving to produce unique contexts for each of the people it resonates with. You can put all your best information out there, because people will come to you for the context.

That context, the connection, is what will sell. Not your product, not your service, but the context you can build from connection.

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Marketing Strategy

4 Social Media Mindsets to Ditch in 2018

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4 social media mindsets to ditch in 2018

Content marketing is great. It gets your voice out there and demonstrates your authority and capacity for thought leadership in a given industry.

But the truth is that your content marketing means nothing if that content never makes an impact on people.

In this day and age, we can’t simply rely on Google to organically get our content in front of people. There are just too many players in the game for your content to be able to stand out. And at this point, even paying Google to get our content out there is highly competitive.

So what can we do?

Well, we have to get creative about distributing our content, and mechanically promoting it on social media isn’t enough. Treating social media as a means to an end is as about as useful as putting your car on cruise control but letting go of the steering wheel.

In order to get the most out of social media for your business, you must treat it as a culture to contribute to rather than a tool to get what you want out of it.

1. Social Distribution is About Native Value, Not Leveraging

Think about scrolling through your social media accounts. How often do you intentionally click on something to leave the platform you’re on and go to a completely different app or website? I bet it’s not very often.

So if you really want your target market to interact with your content, why would you try to leverage them off the platform?

According to a statistic by Social Media Today, an average person spends a total of 5 years and 4 months of their lifetime on social media— compared to only 3 years and 5 months of their lifetime eating and drinking.

Time spent on social media

If people spend more of their time on social, we marketers should be trying to capture that attention native to those social platforms rather than trying to take the attention away. People won’t go out of their way just to consume your content.

That’s why it’s imperative for you to change the way you think social media plays a role in your business, and start creating forward-facing content. In other words, you need to create content that doesn’t require any navigation away from a platform to consume.

We’re now in a realm of marketing where when you want to consume something, you’re going to a place where you can consume it without being disrupted. For example, if you’re scrolling through Facebook and want to watch a video, you don’t have to leave Facebook in order to watch it. It all happens right there.

Consider how you can make your content more forward-facing and consumable. If you find yourself using the phrase “go check out my _____” to promote your content and it requires the user to leave the platform, your content is not native enough.

So how do you know where to create native content?

2. The Right Social Platforms for you are Based on your Business Objectives, Not Trends

As I mentioned in my article about the Power 120 when it comes to social media marketing you just can’t use every single platform. You can’t just spray your content across multiple platforms and expect that to work.

In order to truly harness the attention that’s on social media, you need to invest deeply into one or two platforms.

We all know that in this digital era, audio and video are the most engaging media you can use. So no matter what your business objectives are, the execution of that objective should involve engaging people with interactive media.

Therefore the ideal platforms to choose are the ones that have the ability to use the most native interactive media. There are two platforms in 2018 that do this well: Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook has more than just textual posts— it has photos, videos, live video, gifs, and now it even has Facebook stories. Instagram has all those same features with a format that’s even more dedicated to visuals. Both platforms have so much potential value to offer simply for how interactive they are.

If a platform cannot support that level of value, it’s not right for you. YouTube, for example, is great but it has major limitations— it only does video. Pinterest is cool too, but it’s only really a catalog of ideas rather than an interactive platform.

At the end of the day, you need to be intentionally offering value where the attention is and sticking with it. Period.

offer value on social media

The great thing about being consistent and going deep on a platform is that it frees up your ability to create without any expectation of leverage. Because the second you think you need to leverage a call-to-action, the second it’s going to bottleneck your ability to distribute content.

Make it your mission to master the one or two platforms you’re on first, using all of the features and really getting creative with your content. Then and only then you can reverse engineer back to leveraging calls-to-action.

3. Social Distribution is About Positioning your Content, not About Reach

Inbound marketing experts have a tendency to make social media marketing seem like a strategy for making your brand voice louder. But everyone and their mothers (literally) are on social media now— so if you’re on it just to make your voice louder, it’s going to get lost in a lot of noise.

Social distribution is not a matter of numbers. It’s not about how many people you can reach, how many likes you get, or how many views you can rack up. It’s a matter of strategy and positioning your voice where it’s actually getting consumed.  

Social platforms are the same as any other marketing platform out there. Just like the traditional platforms— TV, radio, print —you can’t just put your message up there and expect to get customers when there are thousands of other brands out there just like yours.

You have to make your brand stand out for your content to be consumed.

So get creative on how you present your content. Find ways to position it that hasn’t been done before.

The Modern Marketer has found a way to do this by essentially turning our Instagram into a digital magazine. Our profile looks like a magazine with photosets of 3, 6, 9, or sometimes 12 making up a larger image, but when you click on each individual image it offers a post with value relevant to the image in the text.

Think about how you can position your brand and your voice in a unique way on your social platform. In the end, that uniqueness is what will cause your content to have impact— not how many people you can reach.

4. Creating a Culture of Value Will Prevent You from Being Disruptive

Of course, the entire reason for using social media as a business is so that you can ultimately access more customers.

But how do you avoid being disruptive when you’re trying to promote your products or services?

There’s no perfect balance between providing value and promoting products or services. There’s not some formula that will prevent you from ever being considered disruptive on social media.

However, if you have good intentions and create a precedent for always providing some value when you finally do ask for something from your audience it’s not going to be seen as disruptive. It comes down to providing enough value that people feel nurtured enough into engaging with your calls-to-action.

One specific way of doing this is tailoring your content for specific platforms. If you have a blog post, for example, that you feel is really valuable and want to promote it on your Instagram account. Instead of posting about it and telling people to go visit the link in your bio, post an image with a quote from the article and some further explanation in the text.

Repurpose your content.

Nurturing your audience native to the platform that they’re on is what will win them over in your calls-to-action. So be sure to upcycle, atomize, and repurpose the content that you already have to make the most out of it on the platforms you use.

nurture your audience on social media

Conclusion

Social distribution may seem like a logical and analytical concept, but if your mind is on distributing content for the sake of numbers you will not find success in social media marketing. Instead, your social distribution efforts need to revolve around the platforms that you’re using.

Create native and intentional content that people don’t have to go out of their way to interact with. The more you nurture your audience with value where their attention already is, the more willing they will be to buy from you.

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