A component of my publishing philosophy is:
“Wanting to write something does not guarantee that someone will want to read it.”
And it comes into play when you write the first marketing materials for your business — many new marketers get excited about a type of writing that doesn’t turn out to be engaging.
The type of writing I’m talking about is not necessarily a mistake, but it could slow you down.
Are you talking to the wrong person?
A common goal when starting a new business is getting the word out about what you do.
To that effect, you might write about why your business is important in attempt to convince someone to care about what you offer.
It makes sense that you’d want to produce these go-to publicity statements, and they can even help you become a likable expert in your niche. Again, nothing I’ve mentioned is a mistake.
But what happens next? Do you keep trying to convince people that what you do matters?
If you do, this approach can become limiting because you’re communicating with people who are not already interested in what your business offers; they’re further away from making a purchase in your niche.
Meet prospects on the path to what you offer
To start diversifying your content, get clear about the people you want to attract.
When you do, you recognize that a lot of other people are never going to care about what you offer, no matter how excited you are about it … and that’s okay.
To move your business forward, you can produce educational content that demonstrates why you’re the best choice for your ideal prospect.
Your focus shifts to convincing someone who is already interested in what you do that choosing your business would be smarter than choosing your competition.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your company makes sweaters for kittens. You’d shift from writing about why sweaters for kittens are important (the wrong prospects will never agree) to producing content that helps Lisa decide to get Nibbles a new sweater from your company.
If your marketing materials only focus on why sweaters for kittens matter, you miss out on opportunities to speak directly to a person who is actively looking to buy a new sweater for their kitten.
That person already knows why sweaters for kittens matter. Now make your product stand out.
I’m speaking from personal experience …
I’ve never sold sweaters for kittens, but I learned this lesson when I had my own writing and editing business.
My initial marketing materials were heavily focused on explaining the benefits of hiring a professional writer or editor for your business.
It was a reasonable place to start, but I didn’t experience a lot of growth until I started using my content marketing to speak to people who were already looking for a professional writer or editor.
Prospects who already knew the value of a professional writer or editor were easier to convert to clients.
When you don’t have to first convince them that they need what you offer, you eliminate an extra hurdle.
My content’s job became to educate readers on topics they were interested in while showing them that I was the right person to hire if they needed extra help.
Try this quick positioning exercise
Write down the details that someone — who is actively looking for what you offer — needs to know to choose your business.
If they performed a side-by-side comparison of your product or service with one of your competitors, what would you want to show them?
What would persuade that person to forget about the other offers? How can you educate them on topics they care about to demonstrate your expertise and unique value?
Then, reference your notes when you create new, memorable content that forms deep connections with your audience members.
Differentiate to dominate
Content marketing takes time because building trust takes time.
But you can cultivate patience while you wait, and also take continual steps to get crystal clear about your prospects’ needs and how you can serve them.
There’s a difference between waiting and waiting in line.
Wait outside the lines.