Let’s be honest — irrespective of your objective, if you’re looking for information you can find it in a matter of seconds. Consider this:
More than 500 hours of content is being uploaded to YouTube right this minute!
There are over 17 million active podcasts right now.
Close to 600 million blogs exist of which, there are 31 million active bloggers in the US alone! And over 2 billion blog posts are being published each year worldwide!
And you mentioned something about having a content marketing? Understand that odds are against you to strike out on your business’ fate relies only on your content marketing strategy. Content has become a commodity. You’ve got to think beyond the normal to win at this.
Right now, I see four types of entreprenuers with different objectives but similar gameplan (as far as content is concerned):
- The side-hustlers: who are investing hours after hours (after their day job) to build their small businesses. These could be traditional brick-and-mortar businesses or completely online (like a digital marketing agency) but the focus is on providing value to people who’re really looking for a solution. Their marketing strategy is pretty simple — create content that’s useful to their audience and hopefully some of them are going to swing by their offices. If you’re nodding your head, you’re right, it will take a long time before they’re breaking even, let alone successful.
- The wantreprenuers: who fall in the trap of creating $9 ebooks and $399 courses… hoping they’ll magically turn into millionaires like their “mentors” who sold them a $1,000 course on creating a digital product. They deal with multiple challenges — lack of credibility and under constant pressure to sell or try something new to push their products into the market.
- The life-coaches: who’re promising nirvana along with a “well-balanced life” full of positivity and joy. Look, I don’t have anything against these people but they just don’t have the credibility, skill, or even knowledge to understand how screwed up people’s lives are at the moment. They post ocassionally talking about their business or the usual positive, self-improvement, or motivational stuff. Also, they’re on a constant hunt for clients. And most of their potential clients don’t know if they need a coach! Or don’t want to spend money even if they do. Why? They think they can resolve their issues by watching a random YouTube video!
- The “influencers”: I don’t quite know how to define them except that they live in (and for) Instagram or Facebook. They survive and thrive on attention. Also, they introduce themselves as an influencer. I meant that literally. We had one person check out our jiu-jitsu dojo earlier this year. She said she wanted to join the group. I asked her, “what do you do for a living?” She said, “I’m an influencer…” And as if to prove a point, she took out her phone and shot a selfie with the jiujitseras were sparring in the background. I think the goal is to become the next cultural icon with contracts from some of the most valuable brands on the planet. And their content is mostly related to what they do, eat, sleep, dream, and poop all day.
Anyway, let’s get real.
The above also happen to be the four most common approaches most entreprenuers take. And irrespective of what you think, the hustler would win because he’s focused on the long-game. You see, creating and sharing content as you build your credibility, live within your means, and boostrap your business has been a formula people have been following for ages. Yes, times have changed, but the principle remains the same — educate the market, create value, and slowly grow your business.
Of course, he can use a better content strategy to market his business. But he better not be creating yet another e-course on whatever problem his business solves because nobody wants to pay for information that can be available for free! Unless, you’re rich and famous already.
The hustler is better off creating and promoting useful (as in organised and systematic) content for free and have people pay a premium to buy his products. And that could very well be an e-course or personal access. But he’s leading with highly-valuable content that the audience can put to use immediately. Do it over time (a minimum of 6 to 18 months) and you can’t help but build credibility. And that’s when people will acknowledge and respond to your offers.
A blog like this can be part of a content strategy but that isn’t enough. I’ve got to be producing content in video, audio, powerpoint presentations, and float it around the internet. Something that I’m not doing right now but intend to because nothing else makes sense to me as a marketer, creator, and an executive coach.
Listen, FREE is possibly the most valuable offer you can make as an entreprenuer. That could be free services or content that’s so valuable that you would guilt people into paying you the next time you come up with an offer. I personally like an alternative business model where one creates and gives away ultra-valuable content for free but charges a premium for presonal access. Something that coaches (life or otherwise) and consultants can embrace but choose not to because they are insecure.
I think leading with value is the only sane marketing strategy that’s effective in an age of information overload. Valuabe content stands out and helps you build credibilty quicker than the other routes. The ROI is great, if you are consistent with it. The key is to not overthink this but start creating and keep at it until people are asking you for your “premium” stuff.