Are you creating content as a means to an end? In other words, are you creating content for the sake of content, as a kind of grudge task that has to be done, but you don’t really enjoy it?
Too many companies spend their time (a finite resource) trying to do it all on every channel: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, you name it… The problem is if you approach your content as a necessary evil, it’s going to reflect in the work.
Success in content marketing often comes down to a simple shift in mindset: creating content is not about making the sale today; it’s about building relationships over a long period of time to drive future sales for many tomorrows.
Effective content marketing means playing the long game – every piece of content is an interaction that adds to the relationship you’re trying to build. It’s an investment in a future payoff.
Would you rather be a fox or a hedgehog?
Jim Collins created the Hedgehog Concept in his book, Good to Great. It’s based on an essay by Isaiah Berlin and an ancient Greek parable: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
Basically, the fox uses many different strategies to try to catch the hedgehog (sneaking, pouncing, playing dead, etc.), but always ends up defeated. While the fox is scattered, inconsistent, and unfocused, trying many different things, the hedgehog knows how to do one big thing perfectly: defend itself.
Small business owners are often foxes, with varied skillsets and the ability to multitask and wear many hats within their business. When it comes to your content creation though, you may want to ‘be more hedgehog’. Hedgehogs know what they’re good at and are able to narrow their focus to one big idea.
Building long-term relationships
Semibold is the brand created by the freelance website designer, Todd Pitcher, from Norfolk. He has taken a very simple approach to content marketing, tailored to his capability and capacity, and delivered consistently. He’s narrowed his focus to Facebook and LinkedIn, and all of his content is centred around:
- Website tips that are not only educational but helpful as well, providing empowering, actionable advice and value.
- 5-star customer reviews that provide real-life social proof of his great work and work ethic, building trust over time.
- Website launches that highlight his skills and ability to deliver, assuring prospective clients that he’s worth working with.
- Plus the occasional picture with his cat, which helps build a personal connection.
There’s no hard sell in Todd’s content – there doesn’t need to be. He knows what he’s good at and has honed in on the four things that are easy for him to talk about.
By building trust, providing value, and consistently delivering, Todd is able to promote his service without being overly sales-y. And each piece of content is connected to his work, so Semibold will be top of mind when clients are ready (it’s a long-term investment, remember).
What’s your one big thing?
That’s the power of simplicity. With so much noise online, it’s hard to get noticed, but it’s possible to succeed by focusing on the one big thing that you do really well, instead of attempting to do everything and doing it poorly.
When it comes to content strategy, you have to keep it simple and keep it consistent. Make sure your content is connected to your work, and that it provides value. Work through the following questions to narrow your content focus down to what really matters:
- What is the one big thing that you do really well?
The topic that you know inside out, back to front…you get the picture. What does your business do best?
- What do your customers come to you for?
As a web designer who builds websites that get more sales, enquiries, and bookings, Todd from Semibold knows that his customers are interested in his expertise, his previous work, and his ability to deliver.
- When you know what your ‘one big thing’ is, what three angles could you take to talk about that one big thing?
These could be helpful tips, customer reviews, examples of your work or pictures of your product, behind-the-scenes photos, video tutorials, funny stories, informative blog posts, work-in-progress pictures…the list goes on.
- Which topic or angle would you always have something to say about?
For example, as a website designer, Todd will likely never run out of tips for better websites. He also doesn’t focus on big flashy websites, which is a key part of his appeal.
- What is the purpose of the content you create?
Do you want to inform, teach, inspire, or entertain? Do you want to start a conversation or share industry knowledge? Know your purpose before you start creating content. And remember to address your customers’ problems and needs from their perspective.
What are the minimum steps you could commit to for the next few months?
How do you stick to doing something consistently, rather than moving from place to place? Hedgehog thinking relies on consistency, even if it’s small.
Be more hedgehog
If you need a helping hand to hone in on the one big thing that your business does best, sign up for our 1-2-1 guided coaching sessions. Or, if you’re not sure how to get started, take our content marketing challenge. Content marketing doesn’t have to feel like a chore – you just have to find your focus.