Content marketing has been on the rise for the last 10 years and for good reason. It helps businesses establish their authority, reach more people and build their audiences, so they can sell more of their products or services.
It’s an effective way to grow your business, whether that’s through articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, or social media… whatever your content style is.
As a content creator, you already know that one of the keys to success with publishing is being consistent.
You probably hear from “gurus” that you need to publish at least once a week, every single week.
If you follow Gary Vaynerchuck (CEO of Vayner Media), he tells you to publish multiple times per day, EVERYDAY and be on every social media platform!
If you’re a busy entrepreneur with a million things on your plate… who has time for that?!
Unfortunately, this is the type of advice that’s making service-based business owners, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs and freelancers feel deflated and defeated… before they even begin.
They feel like they have to create content to no end.
While staying consistent is the right advice — because consistency breeds trust and sets an expectation with your audience…. creating content consistently can be a little tricky, especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur or a small operation with limited resources having to do everything yourself to build and grow your business.
So this leads to mistake number one:
#1. Getting stuck on the “content treadmill”
The consequence of getting stuck in a hamster wheel is that business becomes less fun. You start burning out. Growing your business becomes hard and frustrating. A few years in… you find yourself working your ass off and business quickly becomes a “stress-fest”. It can suck!
The common approach to solve this problem is to “batch your content creation together”.
It’s common to hear how youtubers, podcasters and bloggers do all their content creation work in 2 to 3 days per month. They batch create content in advance so they have enough content to be scheduled out weeks or months in advance, in order to stay consistent with their publishing schedule.
This allows busy entrepreneurs to take time off or spend time working on other parts of their business without worrying about keeping up with their content creation schedule every week.
“Batching” is one of my all-time favourite productivity hacks.
However, in saying that… the “typical content marketing practice” of producing lots of content in order to succeed in business is absurd to me.
All it does is create a feeling of dread for people, especially if you’re already struggling to come up with topics to write about.
So guess what happens? If you’re dreading your business, then it becomes lame and hard. Like pushing a boulder up the hill.
There are so many entrepreneurs stuck in the content treadmill believing they need to produce a lot of content while they’re seeing very little results from what they produce.
The typical content marketing practice of playing the ‘volume game’ doesn’t give you a good Return on Effort (R.O.E.).
As an entrepreneur and business owner, I care about my R.O.E.
I’m only interested in spending as much of my time working on things that will give me leverage of my time down the track. My goal in business is not to “create a job” for myself that I can’t leave.
If your goal in business is to entertain, inform or share your ideas with your audience, then go to town and create lots and lots of content to your heart’s content. Nothing wrong with that.
However, if your goal in business is to move people down the sales cycle so they’re moving closer to making a decision to buy from you, then the typical content marketing practice focused on volume is not going to give you the results you want.
The problem is not the volume of content you create, the problem is your strategy and your copy.
You do not need a big volume of content to lead people down the sales cycle. You just need to start with ONE solid piece of strategic, high-leverage piece of content (a.k.a. marketing asset) for each of your products or services.
The 2nd mistake I see people make with their content is:
#2. Focusing on features and not benefits
This is a very common mistake. I’ve made this mistake many, many times over in my marketing career and it can be easy to miss.
As business owners, it’s easy for us to get excited about our own products and services we offer cus we know how awesome it is and how it can help people. So when we try to explain what we do or what we offer, we tend to focus on all the whizz-bang cool features.
The common mistake here is falling in love with our own stuff, instead of falling in love with our clients or customers.
Let me give you a quick example.
Pretend you’re thinking about buying a new phone, and I’m a tech nerd selling you an iPhone 11 Pro (the one with the 3 pro cameras — yes, the first iPhone to be called “Pro”, launched September 20, 2019).
So I tell you about the features like this:
- It’s got a Triple-camera system to take Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto photos
- It has up to 20 hours of video playback
- It’s water-resistant to a depth of 4 metres for up to 30 minutes
If you’re not an Apple fan or a tech nerd like me who understands what I just said… Your eyes have probably already glazed over the whizz-bang features or you’ve tuned out of my message all together.
Those features on it’s own essentially means nothing to you.
However, if I explained the benefits of iPhone 11 Pro to you like this:
- It’s got a Triple-camera system which allows you to take high quality, detailed photos with ‘Night mode’ like a pro so you’ll never miss an opportunity to capture special moments and memories with your loved ones in low light settings again.
- It has up to 20 hours of video playback which means you can binge watch your favourite shows or play your favourite games hours at a time, to keep you entertained while travelling without worrying about draining your battery or recharging your phone.
- It’s water-resistant, so you never have to worry about accidentally damaging your phone if your friend knocks a glass of juice over it at lunch or gettitng pushed into the pool by your friends at a pool party with your phone still in your pocket. You can even take underwater pictures on a snorkelling trip and show off your beautiful photos on Facebook.
Can you see how much more desirable the iPhone 11 Pro became when I emphasised the benefits and showed you what you really wanted from owning a swanky new iPhone?
I may have just accidentally enticed you to consider buying an iPhone 11 Pro… lol.
When you focus on the benefits, you appeal to the emotions of your prospects which is a critical factor in selling. In order to make a sale, you have to appeal to both the head and the heart.
Which leads us to mistake number #3:
#3. Not advancing the sale
This is by far the biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make with their content. This is a big problem if you’re relying on your content to help you get clients or attract the prospects you want.
The reality is that most content out there never gets their creators any clients. When content creators release their content out into the wild, most of the time they just hear crickets.
There is no real strategy behind it that naturally leads the reader to want what you’re offering. Most content doesn’t position a purchase, and that’s bad for business.
Here’s what to do instead…
When creating ALL of your content, keep these 2 goals in mind:
- create value
- advance the sale
That means, every piece of content you create should lead your prospects to buy your products.
How you lead your prospects to buy your stuff is dependent on how well you understand the sales cycle, and how your marketing strategy supports your sales process.
But wait… can’t you just leave the “selling” to the sales person? What does it have to do with marketing?
Here’s the thing… you can totally leave the selling to your sales guy if you have a hotshot sales person working for you in your business.
But if your sales person is still having to spend time weeding out unqualified, skeptical prospects, instead of closing sales? Then you, the business owner, is essentially paying them to waste their time. That's expensive!
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, then that means YOU are stuck wasting your time weeding out unqualified prospects instead of spending your time on activities that grow the business.
At the end of the day, you can’t grow effectively with inefficiencies in your sales and marketing systems. This is the biggest cause of the all-too-common feast and famine cycle (a.k.a. small business prison).
So… what you want is to have your content and marketing to do the heavy lifting for you, and help you sift and sort prospects before you even talk to them. You want your content to give you high leverage, and low touch where prospects come to you pre-interested, pre-motivated, pre-qualified and pre-sold.
Which means, the better you are at marketing, the less you need to be good at selling.
When you write content for your business, always ask yourself:
Is this likely to lead my prospects to buy what I’m selling?
If you want to learn how to create content that positions your authority and attract your perfect prospects who are ready to buy… Then I’m inviting you to join me for my “5 Day Everlasting Content Challenge“. The contest is hosted at JenKuo.com.
Learning ‘how to think strategically’ about the content you create is a profitable skill online entrepreneurs need when writing and marketing content for their businesses.