By Rebecca Pay, Regular Columnist.
Want to improve the effectiveness your content? Here’s what you should know from A to Z:
- Authenticity, much as this word is now overused! – be you and be real. Don’t worry about putting people off, if they don’t like the real you then they weren’t the right client for you in the first place.
- Bold – be bold and have an opinion. You don’t have to be divisive all the time (unless that is your natural persona) but don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.
- Consistency – Keep posting – every day on every platform when possible, scheduling can really help with this.
- Don’t give up – it is a long game you are playing so don’t give in when the sales don’t roll in or your posts lack engagement. Keep at it!
- Eat the frog – do the worst job first – if you hate videos, do them early in the week, if you hate planning all the content, do it before the week starts, if you hate writing your monthly blog do it at the start of the month.. etc.
- Facebook – Farcebook as I like to call it – it doesn’t suit everyone, but most businesses have a presence on there now because of the 2.38 billion users. Having a group on Facebook can be a good way to gather a target market and give value and create sales, in a non-direct way. It still has to be a helpful group or people will quit!
- Grow your network – don’t just think about targeting potential clients, but connect with people who you could collaborate with not compete with, or even people who you can just be friends with.
- Help people – whatever you sell or offer as a service you are helping someone. Focus on that when you are writing about your business offerings. Find the pain points and give solutions to them.
- Instagram – it’s the fastest growing social media platform and is set to be one of the top places for shopping in the future. If your business is very visual or sells products you should be on here doing it already. My top tip for Insta is make your profile target market friendly, say who you help and HOW.
- Just do it! – sorry for the Nike quote, but the fact is we often procrastinate about posting, especially videos, and spend ages thinking or trying to perfect something. Get it out there. Nothing will happen if you don’t and no one is perfect so even a typo won’t destroy your whole business model (I am talking to myself as much as anyone else here, as I am a proofreader!)
- Keep it real – don’t be afraid to say if you’ve had a bad day or made a mistake. You don’t need to air all your dirty laundry online (please don’t!) but it is good to show your life isn’t perfect. Plus, we learn so much from our mistakes and that means others do too. Ultimately, they get to know you better and people buy people, people also use their emotions when they buy.
- LinkedIn – my absolute favourite! I have grown my connections organically from 200 to 1000 in 3 months and I am now getting work from LinkedIn. It’s a long-term strategy. I don’t believe in cold calling or messaging or trying to sell my services. That bores and alienates people in my opinion, as I personally hate it. Give value whenever you can, help people, be kind, and most of all be yourself and the right people will be drawn to you. Engaging on other people’s posts in a valuable way really gives your profile a lot of exposure and regularly posting alongside this will build your connections. Obviously talking about and to the people you are targeting with your business is very important but don’t discount those who seem like they won’t be your clients, they might get to know you and refer people to you, every connection is a valuable one if it is real.
- Meaningful – make sure you are genuine and mean what you say. I exclude sarcasm from this as clearly that is hilarious! As humans we are wired to spot insincerity and it stands out as we are built for self-preservation, so if someone feels a bit off, we sense it, don’t be that someone.
- Nurture – look after your growing community of people and followers, give them value in your posts, give away free guides, eBooks or training videos, whatever is relevant to you. This is what will keep them engaged and interested in you. Take a genuine interest in people and what is happening for them, I have had several clients come from connections I started months or even years before, and then when the time is right, and they needed my service, they chose me straight away.
- Original – it takes longer but come up with your own content. Yes, sharing the odd viral video can increase your reach, but it is unlikely it is reaching the right people, don’t get drawn in by the vanity metrics.
- Plan ahead – plan your content, weekly if you can. Monthly content plans work well if you have a focus or event for the month you are building up to. It makes sense to think about it and work out when you will be posting and what about.
- Quiet – don’t be scared if you need to have a quiet week, in fact tell people about it and/or post about it afterwards. Lessen the pressure on yourself and just do your best, remember you need to do this long term, burning out is not an option.
- Review – look back at least once a month, weekly is even better, at your social media and how it is going. Which posts did best? There are lots of parameters you can track, so choose the most pertinent ones to you and use them to see where you might want to improve or what has gone well. That’s the only way to progress and it will help you plan for the next batch of content.
- Schedule it – not all your content and not all the time but I find scheduling helps me have a plan of content that will be out every day/week consistently. I can then add to it daily, using Insta or FB stories and LinkedIn posts but at least I know the main posts are there and my presence is consistent. Remember to make time to go back and engage with responses regularly and also don’t schedule into Twitter hours, that is about being there and interacting in real time.
- Twitter – the place I met my husband! It can be great for keeping it real as Twitter tends to be a more opinionated, honest and controversial place where people definitely do not respond to sales tactics, in my opinion anyway! It is hashtag heaven though and there are hours that you can get involved with, e.g. #indiewritershour which is at a set time every week, or local ones like #covhour. Look out for ones in your industry or area and try and set one up if it’s not there.
- Understand your audience – yes, they want to get to know you, but they also want to see that you understand them. For example, if you were targeting new mums, posting about how beneficial eight hours sleep is will alienate them immediately and also wind them up if they are anything like me, as my children still don’t sleep through at the ages of five and two! A much cleverer post might be tips on how to cope when you are sleep deprived, life hacks perhaps. You will never please everyone, so try and picture that ideal client when you create content, and how they will react.
- Video – love it or hate it, video is now everywhere. Silver star if you use it already, gold star if you put captions on! It is said that 85% of people watch videos on FB without sound and it is similar on all platforms, so put that little bit of effort in to add captions with Rev or Quicc and your views and engagement will increase.
- Why – remember why you are doing all this. Why are you in business? Why are you posting on social media? Why are you helping people by doing what you do? These answers will not only give you a better sense of focus they will actually be good subjects for content as well. It will help people get to know you and relate to you.
- EXperiment – don’t be afraid to try something different and see what happens. Whether it is a live video or a different kind of post that is out of your comfort zone.
- Yesterday – talking about what you have done and where you have come from is a useful tool to have. Don’t be afraid to tell your story or even talk about the last conversation you had with a client, if it can be used for purposeful content.
- Z-A – or A-Z if you prefer. This method of making a point for every letter or maybe doing the ‘top ten things’ is a great way to style and structure content.
Rebecca Pay is a UK-based, professionally qualified proofreader, sub-editor and copywriter. She loves words and has a real flair for writing copy. She runs a business called Pay for Precision that aims to support other small or medium-sized businesses with blog writing/editing, web copy and proofreading. Find out more at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/payforprecision/?originalSubdomain=uk