Last week we talked about finding your niche and how by picking a niche you are able to focus your marketing efforts only on those people who are truly interested in your services. Proper marketing can answer the top questions of the prospects in your niche and you won’t be waffling all around trying to answer any question under the sun.
The central hub of your marketing effort should be your site. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, in fact I tell all my coaching clients who don’t yet have a site to purchase a theme from a reputable theme company and install it. Add an About and a Contact page. Put some of your work up on your site and then start writing about stuff your prospects have problems with.
I have one coaching client who spent 18 months working on their site. In that 18 months they did no marketing because the site wasn’t up. That’s 18 months of additional struggling in their business because clients couldn’t find them. Don’t waste that time.
On your site you should be writing at least once a week. Writing any less than that will work, but will just be much slower to reap any benefits to your business.
Should you get an email list? Yes you should. Get a MailChimp or a Drip account and send out your weekly blog post to your email list. You don’t need to do anything else at first. Just give prospects an opportunity to get to know you better so you can build more trust with them.
What about a content mix?
Most consultants fall into a trap when they start writing for their site. That trap is they write for their colleagues, not prospects. This is the developer writing about code or the designer talking in-depth design philosophy. Yes your colleagues will be interested in this, but many of your clients won’t be interested in it at all unless the post you write solves their problem exactly, and then they have more work which they bring to you.
Should you write for your colleagues? Yes you should, just not as much as most businesses do. The big benefit to writing for your colleagues is building name recognition in the industry. When I used to write about technical WordPress stuff I got to know many of the top people in the industry and I now get referrals from them. However, I focused way too much on writing about code when I started.
If you’re going to write to your colleagues then limit it to once a month. That means you write three things for potential clients and one thing that your colleagues would read and share.
If you’re a prolific writer then you may produce more than one post a week but that doesn’t mean you should publish twice on your own site. In fact, when you’re first getting started I think that it’s an error to publish more than once a week on your site.
At first your site has little to no audience and it’s going to take months on the short side to build an audience solely on your own site — unless you start posting content on the places where your prospects are already reading. You’ve already identified many of these places when you identified your niche, now it’s time to find their rules for accepting guest posts and pitch them some of your content.
When you’re looking to guest post for a site the first thing you need to do after reading their submission rules is find someone that started guest posting for the site you’re interested in. Then look at all the content they’ve written, and find the first post they got published. This is the post they pitched and is what you should look to for guidance on the type of content you should be writing. Don’t bother looking at the latest posts. Once you’ve been accepted as a writer you have much more leeway with the publication because they already trust you.
If the publication will let you, add a ‘connect more’ section to the end of every post you write for them once you’re established. It should look something like this:
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The goal of this section is to bring people back to your site so that you can engage with them over the long haul and build trust with your prospects.
What about Medium, LinkedIn or other platforms?
There are many content platforms out there like Medium or LinkedIn, but should you use them? It’s going to depend on your audience, really. If you’re trying to target recipe bloggers then you’re less likely to find LinkedIn a useful platform for you, while Medium might be.
You need to research your prospects and see where they are already, and if they’re on a new platform then it’s a viable option for you to publish content on.
That goes for any new platforms as well. Don’t bother with them until enough of your prospects are on them. Then spend some time figuring out how to use the platform with your content.
What if you’re not a writer?
I’ve got a solution for you if you’re not a writer and we’ll talk about that later this month. You’re not totally out of luck — there are ways to get your ideas out there in written form for people to read.
Now that you’ve got some form of writing in the bag we can talk about podcasting. Now now, don’t get worried — this doesn’t have to be some big hard thing. Podcasting can be really easy.
My podcast is only around five minutes long. I record it with Screenflow and I use a Blue Snowball to get better audio. I have a Logitech C920 USB camera to capture the video that goes along with publishing on YouTube.
None of those things is hugely expensive or hard to use. Sure, I could upgrade my video using my expensive dSLR or I could purchase a better microphone to clean up the audio a bit more. The question is, would doing either of those things bring me more listeners?
No they wouldn’t.
If you want to get into podcasting you can even just use a decent headset and record the audio off the microphone.
Again, with podcasts all you need to do is spend a few minutes talking about the problems you have seen your prospect talking about. Answer their questions and keep answering their questions weekly. Keep being there and building trust with them and they’ll look to you when they’re ready to spend money.
Once you’ve got some content on your site you’re ready for a short email course. All you need to do to get started is bundle up a few of your blog posts that answer key questions from your prospects and turn them into emails. The key change you want to make is to ask your prospects (students) questions to help them work through the problems your course addresses.
This is going to mean that you’ll get responses to the questions and have opportunities to interact with your prospects, which will in turn build more trust with them.
This type of course is also a great lead magnet to get people on your email list. Offer them the course for free and send it to them over the course of a few weeks, along with your regular blog posts on your publishing day.
How long will this take to bring in clients?
No, this will not be an overnight success for most of you. Many people start down this road and don’t see success in the first month — or second month or third month, and they give up. They swear that it doesn’t really work for them and everyone else is simply lucky.
Everyone else is not simply lucky — everyone else stayed the course for six months or 12 months. I wrote about WordPress development stuff for five years and built my reputation with colleagues and clients. Now I do little content generation for my WordPress development services and focus almost all my efforts on content generation which pushes my books and my coaching services. Even with no new WordPress specific content published in two years, I stay booked for months.
Yes I do essentially no advertising unless some other site asks me for some content and I have more leads than I know what to do with.
There are no quick fixes to building an awesome business that lets you live the life you want to live. It takes hard work and then more hard work. When things get hard, it takes more hard work. When your peers quit because it’s hard, you keep working at the hard work every day.
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Then you start to reap the rewards of a business that keeps bringing in leads regularly with little effort. Live like no one else today and do the hard work now so that you can live like no one else later and have leads coming in from every direction.