Business owners are time poor. I get it. So am I. We’ve all heard the expression “Working in the business and not on the business”. I’m laughing to myself now because I can’t believe I’m the one now throwing out these old and worn out sayings. They may be relevant, but you do get sick of hearing them.
Anyway back on topic. It is very true that we get caught up in the day to day running of our businesses. Each day you slog away at that ever-growing list of tasks. But then comes the day where you realise you're not gaining the traction you had expected. Or the customers, followers, clients (whatever it relevant to you), are not banging down your door.
And you wonder why. Usually, it’s because you have become so focused on the “DOING” you don’t even see what else needs to be done on. The working “ON” the business has been neglected.
But like most businesses, particularly small businesses, the marketing budget is tight. So how do you start to make a difference? How do you stand out?
You get out there online, where everyone is hanging out these days.
With social media platforms and apps, there is an abundance of information coming at us.
Here is the official explanation for Feedly –
Feedly is like a firehouse turned on full. It offers an easy and convenient way to follow your favourite news sites and blogs and helps users build personalised news feeds of their favourite topics and sites. This strips out all the sidebars and ads from sites, leaving the text, videos and graphics in a simple interface to ensure that users enjoy a distraction-free reading experience. In case you prefer reading content in other apps, you can subscribe to Feedly Pro which lets you save content to bookmarking and read later apps such as Dropbox, Evernote and Pocket.
Feedly is just one of the ways people consume their information these days, and if you don’t jump into that playground, you are going to get left behind.
Let’s Talk Video
Video is huge as a marketing tool. You only need to scroll through your favourite social media feed to see a multitude of videos being created.
I am going to be blunt here.
There seems to be a school of thought out there in the business world that you should just do it. Stop procrastinating and just jump right in. But what happens when people who are neither ready or know what to say about their message, branding or what they stand for, just jump in and do it? They end up filling your social media feed with more white noise.
And in my opinion (small as that is) they run the risk of boring the pants off their followers who in the future will be reluctant ever to watch their videos again. Which is a crying shame. Because most business owners that I know are great at what they do. They are passionate about their businesses and are a wealth of knowledge and experience. And they usually bring to the table information and experiences unique to them. But by just jumping in and doing they can be detrimental to gaining followers down the track.
Look I get the saying, Done Better than Perfect (wow I’m really trotting them out now). But that’s a little different. To me, this means they have worked hard at putting something worthwhile together. There has been thought and effort. But like most business owners (read control freaks and perfectionists) we could be tweaking the end product until the cows come home. In this case, I agree, just get it out there. Just do it.
BUT the difference here is that you have thought about it, thought about the end game and the outcome you want to achieve (or at least I hope you have) and worked accordingly.
But please don’t think for a minute that by just getting yourself a selfie stick and jumping in front of your phone that you are going to step onto centre stage and be heard. Nope sorry you are going to have to do better than that.
So when you do decide to shoot a video ask yourself these questions first:
- What is my message?
- What do I stand for?
- What’s my Call to Action?
- Why would someone want to hear this?
- How will this help my audience? What take homes am I giving them?
- Is this about my audience or me? (Because guess who it should be about?)
And then write it down.
Then read it out loud.
The create a loose script.
Then practice, practice and practice.
And then shoot the video!
And don’t worry about being perfect. Your audience doesn’t care if you are perfect or not. But if what you are delivering is authentic, valuable and maybe even entertaining, they will watch you over and over again. And not care that your lighting isn’t great, or your camera angle could be better, or you stumble on a few words. But also remember, that practice makes perfect, so it doesn’t matter if you have to practice a lot in the beginning.
Now Let's Talk Blogging
Why should you blog? I bet you think blogging is a waste of time. That who in this world has time to write a blog?
And you’re right. Blogging done the correct way is a lot of hard work. But to answer the first question, Why should you blog? Well, my question is, Why aren’t you blogging?
Blogging is one of the best (and mostly free) marketing tools you can use that builds authority, shows who you are, your expertise and gives readers an insight into the person behind the company. Into the uniqueness, you bring to your industry.
You’ve heard the saying “People buy from people” (OMG I did it again!) Well in the online world we can buy a million things and never meet the person we are buying from. So when it comes to connecting with people, particularly if you are trying to sell big ticket items or services, what better way is there than blogging, for people to learn who you are and what you do. Blogging allows you to build an online presence and following.
And this is the place for you to shine.
Now the same goes for blogging as it does for video. In fact, it should be the same for everything you do in business. It needs to be meaningful and valuable. If you waffle on with 350 words of boring crap, no one is going to come back. I know because that’s exactly how I started out.
My blog posts were a boring meander about the lessons I had learnt in life. INSERT BIG FAT YAWN HERE. Of course, it was meaningful to me. And I obviously thought someone would think my mind-numbing, pearls of wisdom life changing. (Hopefully, my blog posts are much more interesting now).
So if that sounds like you, stop it. Stop it now! People don’t want to hear about you. They want information for themselves. What can you give them that will help them?
Is there free information that you give away? Perhaps there is something they can take away and use, or implement, or order now that is going to make their lives easier, better, happier?
What can you give them that will solve one of their problems? Can you give them something that will ease their burden, even for the tiniest bit, right now? By all means, share a personal experience if it helps convey the message, people love stories, and it also helps them get to know you, but always, always make sure it ties in with the value you are giving them
I’m not going to beat around the bush; blogging is hard work. It takes practice (doesn’t everything) to be good at it, and it is something you should be continually working on. But done the right way, people will turn to you for information. When they have a question about something in your industry, they will check your blog first.
Coming up with ideas for blogging and video can be hard sometimes. You know those times when your brain just seems to seize. And other times your creative juices are flowing, and you can’t keep up with the tidal wave of thoughts. But if you need a kick start here are some examples of what these businesses could be blogging about. And we do have a guide you can download below – 3 Easy Ways to Creating Unlimited Content to get you started.
It’s important to put yourself in your client’s shoes. What do they want to know?
Here are some examples of different businesses and blog ideas they could use:
Café specialising in healthy/organic coffee and food
- In season produce
- The benefits of growing your own food
- The different types of organic coffee
- The difference between organic and mainstream coffee
- The health benefits of coffee
- Healthy Juice Recipes
- Share Gluten Free Recipes
- What types and brands of brushes to use
- The different types of painting mediums
- Favourite painting subject and why you love it
- Artists you admire
- Paper or Canvases to use
- How to store and look after your paints and equipment
- Computer equipment big companies should use
- Essential computer requirements for the sole trader
- 10 Most Common IT problems
- 5 Quick fixes to try before calling your IT guy
- Preferred brands we recommend and why
And please, please, please don’t write a great blog post to end it with this call to action, “And we can do all this for you. Call me on blah, blah, blah!” So frustrating. Give value and then give more value. Don't hold out that tiny piece of carrot only to yank it back.
Yes, have a Call to Action. You should but please not that. If you don’t know what to do then find entrepreneurs and business people you admire and see what they do. (Maybe a valuable download, or a free webinar to sign up for.) Trust me they won’t mind you checking out their stuff and mimicking (not copying) how they do things. Take it and change it to suit you and see how it works, tweak it and keep tweaking it until you find your magic formula. Most of these business owners are sharing their knowledge and templates and experiences. So take it and make the most of it.
And no, by just publishing your blog post on your Facebook Page you are not going to get the hordes clambering in search of your website. It takes time. And effort. And education.
The Part that Social Media Plays
There are different social media platforms that are better for blog and video than others. Find the ones that suit (hint, Pinterest is great for blogging) and then learn how to maximise your effort.
Be consistent with publishing and content. Knocking out a brilliant blog post every few months is not worth the effort. You need to have a constant presence and great content. You cannot fill the gaps in between brilliant posts or videos with dribble; people will turn away and find someone else to follow. People are fickle, not very loyal these days I’m afraid.
So back to the title of this blog post, Should you Blog or shoot Video? Well, the answer if fairly obvious I think. You need to do both.
But my advice is to start with blogging. Here are my reasons why:
- It will get you used to researching information and putting it into a consumable format
- Blogging teaches you to find content matter and look at topics in a way you can deliver them
- Start blogging and see what information your followers want and prefer
So start blogging and find out what your audience wants to hear. Then summarise your blog posts into video scripts and fire away.
We can help you get started with the writing process with our friend, Troy Dean’s Content Framework which you can download here. It’s fantastic to start you on the path to writing blog posts, video scripts and presentations.
Just because you have delivered the information in one format doesn’t mean that you can’t deliver it in another, in fact, you should be republishing and sharing your good content all the time.
There’s another topic we love to cover in Content Kitchen which we are passionate about, Recycling and Repurposing. But that’s for another post soon. But be warned, we love it so much the biggest problem you will have is not should you read it, but which brilliant idea should you try first! Now the pressures on the deliver.
Oh and we do have a few magic tricks up our sleeve if you don’t actually want to blog yourself and still be brilliant (obviously not free). But I’m not sure if I want to give away all our secrets just yet. Keeping checking back in with us and see if we change our mind.
And if you haven't already done it, don't forget to download the 3 Easy Steps to Creating Unlimited Content to kick start those ideas.