All this talk of two-way conversations, building trust, and giving our customers what they want has made us forget what our real purpose is: to solve our customers’ problems. Yes, it’s important to inspire, educate and intrigue.
But why is it no longer OK to encourage our clients to take action?
And I’m not talking about signing an online petition here. I’m talking about encouraging people to make a commitment, to buy a product or invest in a service. If you have a great offering that you know is going to change the lives of your clients you need to do more than just share it.
For some reason content marketing now = telling stories. But we forget that we tell stories not to just fill up our editorial calendar but because stories are the best way to share a key learning and provide an outcome or takeaway.
So next time you produce a piece of content ask yourself “what do I want my reader to do next?” Because if you believe your purpose is to just inspire, you’ve wasted a big opportunity.
Here are four articles that will show you why you need to turn inspiration into action.
“Business owners often rely on feel-good, generally motivating or inspirational messages on social media and blog posts rather than messages that explicitly tie back to our products and services, or solve customer problems in a concrete way.”
Kyla Roma gives it to us straight in her latest blog post. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked by clients to drop the call to action or next steps section because they don’t want to feel pushy, and want to only provide content that shares knowledge, inspires and motivates.
The problem is; just like with my clients, your customers don’t have a motivation problem. Customers want their problems solved. And unless you can prove that your services and products are the solution you won’t ever convince them that investing in you is worth their time and money.
Your content doesn’t have to be all about selling. Kyla shows you how to produce relevant content that still feels good to create.
“If you’re a new freelancer with little to no work, you simply have no excuse to not put every hour of freelancing time into marketing. That is all you should be doing all day, every day for as many hours as you can afford to. In between the marketing, write essays and humour pieces and work on that novel, but all that has to come after the marketing, not instead of it.”
I love this advice from Mridu Khullar Relph. When I first started running my business all I did was marketing and networking. Now, even though I have more regular work I still market my business just as much, if not more. Why? Because I know how quickly things can change and I don’t want to end up with no clients.
I set aside time to do specific marketing activities I know bring me work, like every Monday I plan my social media content, on Sunday night I respond to people’s requests on Facebook for content writers or content marketing advice, and I spend 5-20 minutes each day responding to call outs for writers.
If you’re not making the income you want, Mridu’s post will help you figure out why.
“There are lots of different things you can do to create a community around your work and writing! And lots of non-gross ways to network with peers! In fact, you can create awesome content that does all the community-building and networking for you!”
One of my fav bloggers Sarah Von Bargen shows you how to find your people and build an online community your way. Interested in doing interviews, guest posts or group challenges? Sarah explains how to do them right.
Sarah also explains how easy and effective link roundup pieces are – which is exactly what this blog post is. I’ve been doing link roundup posts once a month for a while now. I love this post format because I get to share awesome work from my amazing peers around the world. Plus, they are super easy and quick to pull together.
If you’re struggling to build an online community and aren’t sure what type of posts work best, I suggest you give the ideas in this post a whirl.
“We tend to believe there is a quick fix for most things, but the artist Jennifer Lovemore-Reed, another TEDx speaker, believes suffering is not the enemy. In her view, comfort is not the way to truly live, and the culture of instant gratification and materialism that is so easy to fall into at home and in the workplace can cause us to become demotivated and depressed.”
These days we want to know what skills we need to be successful and how we can develop them as quickly as possible. But in the lead-up to TEDWomen 2016, TEDx speakers shared which of their current skills had taken a long time to master but had paid off the most.
And if you’re hoping they share advice on how to be more productive or become an influencer, you’re going to be disappointed. Making time for self-care is number one on the list. I wish I’d learnt this sooner.
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Featured image from Pexels.