— October 16, 2017
Ever since I started blogging about blogging for business (how meta can you get??) I’ve attracted a lot of new business owners to my site — and that’s amazing. I think it’s so incredible that you’re already thinking about content marketing for your business!
But I have a secret for you: You may not need a blog or elaborate content marketing plan… yet.
Just recently, a lovely woman booked a call with me to talk about strategy for blogging for her business.
The only problem was… She didn’t actually have a business yet.
OK, that’s not true. She had done some consulting work here and there, but she really didn’t have the basics of her business model in place yet. And I told her as honestly as I could: I can’t help you until you have these things in place.
Why? Because content marketing is really about amplifying your message. But blogging out into the void, starting a Facebook page with just 3 likes from your mom, your sister, and your BFF, or recording a podcast without a plan is not the best way to start marketing your business.
What do you need to have before you start blogging or content marketing?
While it’s awesome to start thinking about how you’re going to promote your business as early as possible, there are a few business basics you have to have in place before you start pouring time and energy into a content marketing strategy. Just as I say that blogging without a plan is a waste of time, blogging — or any kind of content marketing — without these basics lined up is also a waste of time.
Because remember: Content marketing is a conversation with your potential customer that is headed toward a sale.
If you don’t have the infrastructure of your business set up to direct people to that sale, you’re putting the cart before the horse.
So what do you actually need before you start blogging? Well, clients. And to get clients, you need:
1. An offer
This may sound pretty basic, but you have to have something to sell! That means you need to know what you’re going to offer, how you will deliver it, and how much it will cost.
2. An ideal customer
All this means is that you have to know specifically who your offer is best for. It’s a newbie mistake to say your offer is for everyone — because it’s not. There’s not a product on this planet that is for everyone, not even Coca-Cola. So you have to be clear on who your offer is for, and the more specific, the better.
3. A way to talk about what you do
What I mean by this is that you have to be super clear on how what you do (or sell) solves your ideal customer’s most urgent problem.
Why their most urgent problem? Because we, as humans, are much more likely to take medicine than vitamins — meaning, we’re only motivated to solve the problems that are acutely painful to us. We’re much less likely to do anything preventative, even if we should.
And this is true no matter what you sell: art, jewelry, photography services, fashion styling — they all solve a painful problem for the customer. But it’s your job to figure out what that problem is and how to talk about it in a way that your customers will understand.
Now can I start a blog?
Even after you have all that stuff figured out (and BELIEVE ME, it can be challenging to figure that stuff out!), it may not be time for you to start a blog.
Because blogging is a form of mass communication, and when you’re just starting out, mass communication isn’t the fastest way to get clients. You want to work on getting customers one at a time.
I remember, when I first hung out my digital “shingle” as a ghostblogger, I got a couple of referrals from business acquaintances right away. Things were flowing along so smoothly! Everything was swell for like two months…
And then the bottom fell out.
I had a website and a blog and a lead magnet with a newsletter sign up, I had a Facebook page, I was sending out a weekly email… Even though I thought I was doing everything right, I had no new leads coming in.
I had built it, but nobody was coming.
It wasn’t until I went back to the “old school” method of networking, talking to people one-on-one, showing up where my ideal customers were hanging out to answer questions and be helpful that I started to get some traction again.
If you’re in a similar position and want to know how to stop screaming out into the void and start getting paying clients for your business, click here to check out a free video series on how to get clients!
These free videos will teach you:
- The 3 most important things you need to focus on now to start getting more clients
- The biggest mistakes you might be making and where most people get stuck
- How to research your market the easy way to find out exactly what they would buy from you
- 6 ways your market research can turn you into a client-getting machine