It’s that time of year again, the end of year ‘what worked and what didn’t’ with our content marketing and what do I need to plan to do in 2018 that will make it all work so much better.’
Have you started to think like that yet, or is that a January activity for you?
I was working with a client last week on a website rebuild and one of the many things that we spoke about was a content marketing and social media plan and the previous lack thereof in their current digital strategy. My work had me liaising with the marketing communications specialist on their team, not the owner of the business.
As we were chatting, she remarked how hard it was to write in the industry that she was currently working in. I was a little surprised by that as she has quite a diverse communications background and has experience with many industries in this space, from hospitality to health and all points in between. She continued to elaborate on this with me outlining that some businesses just seem to have clearer focus on the reason that they existed. She didn’t specifically say that – but that is what she meant. There was a purpose behind the business and it was clearly outlined and visible to all who came into contact with the business. Everyone from the owner of the business, right down to the most junior staff member understood that message.
It wasn’t the health sector.
A bit scary really when you think about the $$$ spent on vision and mission messaging in large government organisations.
It was actually hospitality.
She remarked how there seemed to be so many more things to talk about in hospitality, so many more props she could use to convey the feeling of the business and why you might want to do business with them.
Often it can seem like that when planning out content for a campaign or just filling up your social media channels with relevant content. That only those accounts with gorgeous props win online – think coffee shops or clothes shops. Or only those businesses that are in the ‘feel good’ industry can write blogs that people read – think fitness or health businesses.
But that is not actually the case.
The reason that you see a great online account that draws you in or you stumble across a business whose content you read isn’t because their industry lends itself to those mediums. Rather you are drawn in because the people behind the scenes or who are responsible for preparing the content to share have been given a clear vision of why.
Why that business is in business.
Why that business loves to work in the area they work in, or serve the people they serve, or believe in the value and need that their product offers.
We all start our businesses for a reason. Good businesses survive and thrive because they are clear not just on what they do – but why they do it. As Simon Sinek so eloquently outlines in his book Start with Why, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”
So how does this translate into content marketing and social media posts?
For me, this is an easy thing to answer.
Go back to why you are in business. Think honestly about what you wanted to do when you started out. What inspired you, what motivated you to ‘do it better’.
And then think, is your team aware of that?
Are your customers aware of that?
If they aren’t, ask yourself Why?
When we lose sight of why we started if we can no longer articulate that message clearly and simply then we are making our content planning so much harder than it needs to be.
When I work with clients, I start with some key questions
- Who do you like working with
- Who do you like working with
- Why do you like working with them and- Why are you (or why is the business you are in) in business.
Can you answer these questions quickly?
Can your team?
If your team can’t answer them then you have a problem. If you as the business owner can’t then you have an even bigger problem.
Before you start thinking about your content plans for 2018, or reviewing your content from this year and especially before you engage a marketing strategist to create some kind of plan for you, STOP.
Stop and ask yourself why.
My client didn’t have a content marketing problem, they had a why are we doing this problem.
Solve that and the words and message will flow.
Solve that and your customers will start to pay attention to you again.