When I look at the websites of a lot of businesses the blog is normally a source of unspoken shame and embarrassment. Everyone was so excited when the site was being built and there was no shortage of people in the business putting their hand up to contribute content. Then the site went live and all those volunteers somehow found more important things to do now.
This is so normal. And it doesn’t get fixed when marketing agencies come on board either. Marketing agencies know that writing blog posts is hard work and in order for them to be effective, they have to come from a place where both passion and knowledge have a home. Agencies will also avoid your blog for the simple reason that they’re normally playing a short / medium term game.
There are three main strands to digital marketing strategy and one of the problems with the industry is that people, agencies possibly more than anyone, try to pretend this isn’t the case. Activities can be split into things that have short term impact, medium-term impact, and long term impact. The things which have the biggest long term impact are the things which most agencies just are not equipped to deliver for you. Certainly not on a small or medium sized businesses budget.
So the three strands of digital strategy start with :
Short term – Online Advertising.
This isn’t a post about advertising but in simple terms, if you start running ads today they will start working for you today. And they’ll continue working ( with some adjustments ) until you turn them off.
Medium term – Social Media, Social Networking, Active SEO
For a lot of people this is where digital marketing begins and ends. These activities tend to lead to results in around six months.
Long term – Blog, Podcast, Youtube
These three content types are doing something special. Think of the three strategy strands ( short, medium & long term ) as investment categories. The longer the term of the investment the higher the interest. These three formats ( Blog Podcast and Youtube ), in the order presented pay the highest interest. Blogging is an entry level, high interest content type with podcasting and Youtube paying much higher interest and greater dividends over time.
This long term component of a digital marketing strategy is one which a lot of agencies try to brush under the carpet and a big reason for this is that it’s nearly impossible to sub contract or delegate. When Gary Vaynerchuck speaks about the need for every business to be 80% whatever they do for money and 20% media company – this is what he meant. Like any long term investment they take discipline and the rewards for this discipline, over time, can be spectacular.
Three bad reasons to blog
So today I want to look at why you should blog. But before I get into the detail of the good reasons, let’s explore some really bad reasons to start blogging.
Bad reason number one : I’m going to blog to get famous.
The internet is saturated by blogs and unless your taking a much more intelligent approach to your total digital strategy and also have something to say which is amazing, this isn’t going to happen.
Bad reason number two : I’m going to blog and get rich.
A blog on its own isn’t going to be the thing which changes your world, but it can be an important component. Unless your topic is very popular and people are willing to spend a lot to reach your audience the blog on its own isn’t going to earn money.
Bad reason number three : I’m going to blog because someone said I should.
If you’re going to maintain the discipline to regularly contribute to a blog then unless you’re an idiot, you’ll need to know why. You need to understand how your efforts, sustained for months or years, contribute to the bigger picture.
So those are the bad reasons to blog. Now let’s look at the good reasons.
Good reason number one : It helps you kick start the creator habit.
Podcasting and Youtube do pay higher returns but they ask us for a very big commitment. This commitment isn’t just of time but of creative energy and often a level of personal exposure we’re just not prepared for. Starting with a blog allows us to start the creator habit or the habit of making something which we then put out into the world. With a blog, for most people, there is the least resistance.
Good reason number two : It elevates your social media content.
Social media without regular, good quality content is just noise. F – and businesses – noise is the standard approach to social media. If you want to stand out a blog gives you the opportunity to do just that. Blog content gives you the opportunity to let people go deeper with you on social media. It allows a conversation to start and for you to invite people into your content and really meet you.
Good reason number three : It invests in your search engine profile.
Good SEO consultants will tell you that the single biggest contributor to your search profile is good quality content being regularly added to your website. That sounds a lot like a blog to me. This is one of the less often talked about benefits of blogging. My company hosts hundreds of websites for all kinds of business and we track the traffic on all of them. My own data matches industry data and clearly shows that websites with blogs where content has been added consistently over time (a) rank better for chosen search terms and (b) see most inbound traffic generated by blog posts rather than the standard website pages.
Good reason number four : It builds your authority.
Regularly creating and sharing content on your topic of choice will, over time, position you as an authority in your field. This authority becomes a competitive advantage, again, over time. If becoming the expert who’s invited to speak at conferences or contribute in the press is something that would help your business then, in time, a blog can position you so this can happen.
A blog is what you might call the first step in the authority ladder, podcast, youtube channels, and even books are all on this ladder but the higher you climb, the more commitment you’ll need. However, the higher you climb, the less people are around you, the more impact you can have and the more visible you become.
Your business might do something you feel is boring or mundane. You might feel it’s nothing new or it’s so obscure nobody would be interested in. Some of that might be true. Have a look through the good reasons I’ve given you and if you can honestly say that none of them could apply to you then don’t bother with blogging. If you do manage to reach the conclusion that none of the benefits could apply to you then I also think – you’re probably wrong.
Writing a blog can have a big impact but it should always be seen as a long term investment. Like any long term investment, it’s power is in the compounding effect of interest over time. It won’t change your business in days or weeks. In a year or two, if you commit to regular content, you might look back and say it was the best thing you ever did for your business.
A lot of businesses are in a bit of a spin right now. The ways they’ve always done things just don’t work right now. If you’re a business owner you don’t need me to tell you. You’ll know all about our new reality.
What we have in simple terms, is an obstacle. There is an obstacle between us and our customers. These obstacles aren’t absolute. All they’ve done is block the path of least resistance between us and our traditional customers.
Now I know there’s less money in the economy. But what I’d like you to remember is that the current situation affects every business equally. Yours hasn’t been singled out. What this means is that if you can find a way around the obstacle and reconnect with customers – you have a business again.
We see this with restaurants starting to sell takeaway foods, but what if your business doesn’t have an obvious route to market. That’s what I want to explore here.
Something I’m hearing in the online space at the moment is that business owners should pivot to an online business model. Some businesses are well suited to this and the route to selling online is pretty obvious. But what if this isn’t the case for you?
Online business models are not all about selling things in online shops. If you have a shop then, by all means, open up online. But if you don’t sell physical products what are your options?
The first thing to remember with an online business model is that while you don’t have the easy access to your local customers like you used to, you do have access to the whole world. Don’t think with the same limitations – if you’re going to reimagine your business do it from the ground up.
There are a lot of frameworks people use when trying to understand how to optimise a business. There’s the business model canvas and the value proposition canvas and countless other lenses you can use to explore potential ways to tune your business model. For the purposes of this exercise I want to keep it simple and fall back to the classic 7 P’s of marketing.
The Seven P’s
Disclaimer. If you’re a marketing academic or an argumentative competitor – just go now. This is an interpretation of the 7P’s for the current situation. I’m trying to be helpful here.
Your product is value. When you sell it’s a value exchange. What your customers’ value might have changed. How you package your product might need to change in order to stay aligned with new needs. A big issue for some businesses is that their product doesn’t work at all in the current climate. That doesn’t mean they don’t have value to exchange. It means they’ll need to innovate.
You might need to look at pricing. I don’t necessarily mean cutting prices. What I mean is that you might need to look at leading with different products. Another perspective is that when you start reaching out to people online your net is much wider. It’s possible that by selling more of a lower priced item your revenues might stabilise or grow. Remember, online you don’t have the same geography and you can reach many more people.
When people come into your store or office they take an impression of who we are, how serious or competent we are. Our environment is part of our brand and affects trust. Online – you can’t take this advantage with you to the same extent. You’re going to need to tell your story online, share pictures of your people, products, place. You’re going to need to compensate.
You might have traded locally before but now we can’t. That gives you permission to reimagine the constraint of place. If you’re going to be trading online why limit yourself this way. Additionally – Because you can’t work with people directly a lot of people will have to completely rethink the value exchange which is their product.
To a large extent promotion is the easy part. Once you innovate your product and overcome the physical constraints of social distancing, you just need to connect to your audience. This is, for most people, marketing. Marketing is much more but here we’re talking social media, search marketing, online advertising, joint ventures and getting your brand and product in front of the most people you can.
A lot of businesses are defined by their processes and every business is unique. But one process has been interrupted more than any other. Delivery. So as we explore ways to innovate our value exchange we’re going to have to take this constraint into account and find ways to work around it.
This is all about community. Our staff, partners, customer and audience. Those business who’ve taken their people for granted are going to need to rethink things. Online is often thought to be about big numbers, ads and spreadsheet, but really it’s about people. Your ability to connect with people online and galvanise them as activists for your business can be a huge advantage. But you also need to make sure you’re properly leveraging your resources. Think incentives, recognition, shout outs, generosity, CRM systems and communicating more, not less. Think person to person. Not B2B.
The seven P’s are really just a few perspectives which allow us to steer a review of what we’re doing. It takes some imagination to understand how they might be applied in more traditional businesses so I’ll give you a few examples.
Example 1 – A Garden Centre
The best garden center in town never had to sell online. Those who knew, knew and they were always busy. Well that’s not how it ‘s working now. The garden center has to turn to it’s most loyal customers, who still have gardens and a lot of free time, with a rapidly produced PDF price list.
They’ve also reviewed products and put together some easy to buy kits for home veg growing. Everything you need from containers, netting, compost, seeds, and a watering can. They’re selling a lot of these around the country. They’ve promoted these in local buy and sell groups on Facebook where they found a ready army of activists with time on their hands and because their new product is meeting a need, business is better than ever.
Example 2 – A massage therapist
This therapist was faced with ruin. It’s ok for Joe Wicks to jump around on TV but that’s not going to work for a therapist that can’t touch you through the screen and doesn’t have enough money to buy an island already.
The therapist created a Facebook group for people thinking about job changing and put together s simple online course about how to sell massage therapy. He spent time in the Facebook group being as helpful as possible and very quickly had around 150 people around the world paying him £35 per month for support to plan the relaunch of their career. He’s working less hours and making more money than before. He also has the potential to scale five times more than any other therapist.
Example 3 – Telecom sales
While most telecoms companies are making people redundant one is retraining sales staff to operate online. People still need telecoms, now more than ever. But the ways this has always been done are not going to work now. This particular telecom has invested in virtual training in social selling .
Helping staff find new ways to prospect and connect in the new environment. Some simple changes have led to increased sales and new customers as competitors have gone into stasis and not risen to the challenge. The B2B telecom space isn’t bound by geography so sales teams are finding unexpected success with niche products around the world.
Each of these businesses had the same constraints and had to find new ways to connect value to the people who need it. First you need to reassess and audit your value and then the ways you bring that value to market.
The more imagination you bring to this process the more successful you can be. When you go online you don’t need to be mainstream. You can go as niche as you like because your market is comprised of seven billion people.
The pivot to an online business model is something that normally might be done over years. Right now you might need to address it very quickly. An online business model isn’t a license to print money or a ticket to a private island.
It’s just as much work. You’ll need to network like crazy, live on social media, create content all the time, be very high profile and get used to being visible in ways which might make you very uncomfortable. This is what it takes.
Remember that business is simple. It’s about value exchanges. If you can find ways to create value and connect that with people who want it – you’ll have a business.
If you have a business and it’s struggling right now then look to the seven P’s as one tool which might help you get that process started. If you want more inspiration then listen to my podcast where I’ve interviewed dozens of online business owners of every kind.
In times of crisis business owners have a dilemma. They have to balance the need to be seen as sensitive with the need to do everything they can to keep revenues coming in.
Right now, as we start the descent into the global Covid-19 crisis, I see this everywhere. Some businesses getting it right and others seemingly getting it wrong.
Crisis such as earthquakes, pandemics, extreme weather events and so forth bring out the best and the worst in people. People express extreme opinions on social media in ways they wouldn’t in public and that makes business owners fearful of a bad reaction to continued business promotion. Not everything is intentional and we’re all learning so it’s important to temper criticism with a little generosity.
We need to remember who we serve and what the mission of our business is. Out prime purpose isn’t to serve everyone. It’s to serve our audience and customers. Our secondary mission is to serve our community, normally through our tax contributions.
It’s your responsibility to be as helpful as you can whilst not putting yourself or your business in undue danger. Your ability to continue trading is as important for your community as the ability most other people have to contribute in other ways, such key workers staying at work.
So with that in mind, how can we continue to promote our business and sensitively cut through the noise in times of crisis.
A first general principle is to be as helpful as possible. Be as free as you can with advice and support to those you might be able to help, but not to the detriment of your core operations ( unless you’re sitting on substantial cash reserves. ).
Don’t compare your ability to help more widely in the community with that of other businesses. Larger businesses have different resources or may have decided to use being helpful in the crisis as a marketing event. Don’t be tempted to participate in that if it puts your livelihood at risk.
So what can we do to promote in times of crisis? Here are a few ideas. These would probably apply at any time but when you’re in a crisis you need to trim everything back to the fewest things which make the biggest impact.
1 – My first tip is content. Firstly you should consume way less content. The world is an overwhelming and noisy place. Stay as informed as you need to be to maintain your safety but avoid becoming a consumer.
Resources might become tighter and your ability to do things like networking, advertising or events will likely diminish. Your ability to create content doesn’t cost money and doesn’t need to be disrupted. Turn it up.
Content reaches beyond social isolation and it works while you don’t. It overcomes geography and allows you to connect with people who need to hear what you have to say.
Creating good content in written, audio or video form allows you to continue investing in your business while also being as helpful as you can to your audience and customer. It’s also building a legacy content foundation in your business which will allow a much faster recovery once the air clears and the dust settles.
2 – Go big on idea generation. One of the surest routes to survival in any crisis is creativity. A lot of people think they’re not creative and while I get that, I disagree. Creativity can be trained.
Crisis demands creativity. You’re going to face challenges and situations you never have before. Starting a few daily practises to build your creative and idea generation muscles will, I promise, give some very surprising results.
In James Althucher’s book ‘Choose Yourself’ he speaks about his daily practises. While I urge you to ready the whole book and consider all his daily practises, one in particular is something I use with clients all the time.
Buy a simple small notebook. One of those ring bound supermarket pocket sized ones. Every day write ten ideas in it. You can choose, every day, what the topic of the ideas is. One day it might be ten ideas for ways to say thank you to customers and the next day you might write ten ways to make your garden look nicer.
The 10 ideas a day practise might sound simple but it quickly stimulates the unconscious into understanding that you value ideas and when you need them they come more easily.
3 – Reassess your level of courage. Crisis demands courage. When times are easy we get complacent and it’s easy to coast. In a crisis, what worked before stops working or just isn’t available. If you want to survive you’re going to need to do things you did’t do before.
There’s a formula at work in digital marketing which I see working very often. Your returns go up and costs go down in direct proportion to your willingness to be visible and express yourself. For a very small number of people that’s easy. For the rest of us it triggers fear.
Professional rescuers and those for whom extreme situations are more routine know that through training, practise and experience, fear can be managed. You need to bring this attitude to your business marketing and start stretching your comfort zone.
I have a bonus suggestion for you as well.
4 – In times of crisis you need knowledge, so take your learning in hand. We’re in for a tough time ahead and while, what you know got you so far in business, don’t make the mistake of being complacent and assume it will continue to do so.
Things are likely to get very competitive and survival skills matter. I’d argue that your ability to connect with your customer just became a survival skill and assuming you have all the answers might just be fatal for your business.
So in conclusion, we need to rethink our business models, certainly, but we also need to rethink how we’re connecting to customers. The world is too noisy and everyone is so busy watching the world burn that it takes more to turn their head.
You might object to the idea of content by saying your business is boring and there’s nothing to say. If that’s how you feel you’re probably in the wrong business or you just need to start working on your idea generation muscle.
We become complacent to our own glamour. We see pictures from inside other people’s business or from other locations and we can’t help but be interested. So why do we assume that same interest won’t be directed towards us. It makes no sense at all.
You need to start working out what you can share. You need to connect with your creativity and courage as this is what will unlock your ability to become a beacon in this current crisis.
Everything I’ve described above might sound like it’s time-consuming. So are eating, sleeping and going to the bathroom. That’s how normal this stuff needs to become for you if you want your business to survive and continue to make a contribution to the world.
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As marketers we all want to be seen and heard. We want people to choose us, our products and services. We want to connect with people and stand out. But it’s hard.
There’s a lot of noise online. Everyone’s shouting and cutting through that seems like an impossible task.
One answer to this problem is to turn up the volume. To add to the noise with more and more content but this just leads to burn out. And for our audience it leads to tune out.
This post assumes two things.
1 – You actually care about your business.
2 – You are actually into whatever you do for a living.
Creating content without a plan often feels like trying to push water uphill. It’s not fun and that shows in how it connects with your audience.
This week’s podcast goes was Pascal Fintoni. Pascal spoke about the three qualities of great content marketing. A previous guest, Mike Kim, talked about his personal branding trinity.
In this post I want to show how by combining these you can discover both the map and the compass to great content marketing with much less resistance.
Pascals three qualities.
So Pascal spoke of three qualities of great content marketing and I’ll expand on them here a little.
1 – Be curios. The quality of curiosity is important because by sharing your curiosity, by taking people on your journey with you allows you to flip from creator, to documentor.
You simply need to record what you’re thinking about, working on, learning about or discovering.
By taking the role of the researcher you generate great content as a by product of your activity instead of it becoming an additional activity.
2 – Be helpful. Sharing your discoveries and helping other people see your world through your eyes allows you to connect your curiosity with others who are on the same path.
Become a tutor or a way finder, helping others who are’t as far along the particular road you’re on as you are. Be a friend or companion, tutoring and sharing what you know.
3 – Be present. Posting on social media gets you seen but it doesn’t build relationships. Posting on social media is like turning up at event. Some people might see you but they won’t engage with you. Engagement is where relationships are built.
Give a little thought to how many platforms you publish on. It might be none or it might be *all* of them. If you’re active on many platforms you can’t hope to be fully present on them all. Decide on where you’re going to spend ‘quality time’ and then make sure you do.
This can be expanded out into Facebook and Linkedin groups. Simply dabbling in them takes time. Decide on where you’re going to be present and then make sure you schedule time do be there.
Presence is about having conversations. Too many people forget good manners on social media. Don’t be the guy who does the social media equivalent of drive by networking. Don’t be the guy who sprays business cards into everyones pocket but never asks about you. Take time to get to know people.
As the old saying goes. ‘People won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel’. Take time for people on social media and you’ll amplify the effect of qualities one and two tenfold.
Small business owners get very bad advice when it comes to content marketing and social media. Social media calendars, post templates and all the other hacks will only take you so far ( and that’s not far. ).
These three qualities offer a really useful map. They make it easy to visualise a landscape and make sense of things. You can imagine yourself there but without a compass it will be hard to navigate.
The three circles of personal branding.
Mike kim spoke about this on the podcast and it really sunk in for me. Imagine an old school ver diagram or three intersecting circles.
1 – What pisses you off.
What makes you angry about your industry, service, customers, competitors, lack of knowledge, what you’ve learned. Simply put, what pisses you off about whatever it is you’re into.
2 – What breaks your heart?
Who needs what you have? Who needs to know what you know? Where is there a right you can wrong.
3 – What problems do you solve?
What are your expertise and how can you help? What skills do you have?
The point where each of these three intersects is where you’ll find your superpower. It’s where you find the magnetic north of your personal brand. It’s where you’ll find your *mission*.
If you’re using your imagination then you might be worrying that this compass of the three circles might actually get a negative reaction. And you’d be right. I guarantee it.
You can’t get a strong positive reaction without an equally strong negative. Polarising an audience isn’t a tactic I’d advise of to’s own accord, but here it’s a by product. A polarised audience is one which is reacting and as personal branding legend Chris Dicker says, “..you need to market like a magnet – to attract the best – and repel the rest.”
If you want to stand out online, and I’m sure you do, then it comes down to working for it. You need to be truly into what you do because you can’t fake passion. More than that you need to make time for it.
Garry Vaynerchuk wrote that every business should be 80% whatever it is they do for money and 20% media company. Everybody wants you to delegate or subcontract that 20%. You can’t. It won’t work. You need to take responsibility for your own content mission.
First off, feel free to jump to the end of this post. I’m going to give you a lot of ‘why’ before I get to the ‘how’ of things. This post is as much about getting your head right for video marketing as it is about some practical advice. If you’re hear looking for some quick tech tips – you’re in the wrong post.
I started the Amplify podcast back in October 2018. My goals for the show were to make a start with content marketing and then build a business around that.
Some of the best things about starting the podcast weren’t what I thought they’d be and many of the benefits were unexpected.
Besides the outward success the show’s had, here’s what happened.
1 – It’s transformed my network. Because my show is guest based I need to reach out to people I think will add value to my audience every week. I’m spending time with them we get to know each other and guests often become friends or at least acquaintances.
Living in a fairly remote location, my network isn’t now limited to the people I ‘happen’ to meet. I get to choose who I meet. And because I have a podcast and need guests I have all the reason I need to reach out to anyone I want and actually offer them some value.
2 – It’s transformed my knowledge and perspective. Spending so much time with the smartest marketers, experts, coaches, consultants, and creatives has completely transformed my own knowledge and practice. Real insight into any issue only comes when you shine a light on it and work through it with teachers. Many guests have gone on to be informal mentors.
3 – It’s changed the nature of my business. I have to pinch myself to think that the podcast started just over a year ago. So much has changed in my business. Things are different on every level. I’ve achieved more in the last eighteen months than I did in the last ten years. I’m making more money now with a small virtual team than I ever did with a big team and a traditional agency. Not only that, I’m doing work I like – for people I like.
4 – At the risk of going a bit Ron Burgundy. Another benefit is that the first shoots of industry ‘authority’ slowly showing. Because I host the show I’m approached daily by people who want to be guests. Guests talk to each other and because I have a platform ( and I’m a nice guy ), people help me out. I’m understating this whole ‘nano-influencer’ thing because nobody likes a show-off but opportunities are starting to come which I’d never normally be in the path of.
5 – I’m much more confident in my own competence. When you spend time with the smartest people in and around your industry and you hold your own, it’s great for your confidence. When the best in the business tells you to try something, you try it. A lot of my old competitors must think I’ve lost my mind because while they’re all busy doing the same old thing, crazy Bob is walking off in a completely different direction. And I’m fine with that now.
So that all sounds great and now I’ve written it I can see why I don’t want to change the show at all. I might smarten up the intro and get some Hollywood actor to introduce me with dramatic music over the top, but other than that, I don’t want to change it.
But – it’s not enough. Because it’s a guest based show it’s not really helping drive my business they way a solo platform would. I don’t want to change it but it feels like it’s time to graduate and add something new.
In all the interviews I’ve done some themes have emerged. One of the most obvious has been that video builds your personal brand better than anything else. Coupled with this is the compounding effect of a Youtube channel.
I’m not writing a post about why video is good or why Youtube, in particular, is a very good bet. They just are. I’ve spoken to lot’s of people like Gavin Bell, Amy Landino, Chris Ducker, Philip VanDusen and Joe Burnich who’ve all said the same thing. It’s hard, uncomfortable and people will think you’re crazy. But they also say it’s been the single most powerful thing they’ve done for their business and after a time, drives most new opportunity.
Gavin Bell, in particular, spoke about video as allowing him to build relationships ‘at scale’ through video content. This is a tricky thing to get your head around but reflect on how you feel about anyone you regularly see on screen.
So why am I talking about this now? Well over the last year or so I’ve learned a lot about what works and what does’t. The way I deliver value to clients has also changed in that time and walking the walk has become very important me. I have to be seen to do the things I’m advising others to do. The things which I know work. And it often comes back to video.
I’ve seen first hand what kind of business you can create when you reach beyond your geographic catchment area through video marketing. How it can free you from doing the same as everyone else and allow you to focus on the value which you, uniquely bring to the world. I know now that’s the kind of business I want but the price of admission is an acceptance that you have to live on the edge of what’s comfortable.
So what stopped me?
If you’ve listened to my podcast or spent any time speaking to people in the online marketing world you’ll hear the word ‘niche’ a lot. The theory goes that the more specific you are about who you serve the more compelling you become for that person. There’s a whole lot more to it but in the industry there’s a huge drive towards niching. For a lot of people it’s the right thing and quite natural although for me it’s been a struggle.
Your niche is what ultimately informs your audience ‘Avatar’. This is detailed picture of your ideal audience member. Ideally you have just one Avatar and all your content is created with that one person in mind. I’ve found this impossible and it paralysed me for a long time.
I knew that to move forward I’d have to tackle this head on. It wasn’t easy but and I’ll not go into it here but I’ve done it now.
The bigger issue
There are some people who don’t give the idea of appearing in video on social media a second thought. I don’t get it but I know these people exist. I’m not one of them. Working with my clients I know that most people feel the same. I think I’m happier to speak in front of a room full of people than I am about being on video.
So let’s break down what’s going on in my head, and maybe yours too.
What are the mental barriers to video marketing?
This is a general umbrella term which describes inexperience and a fear of the unknown. It’s a primal response to any significant action where we can’t anticipate the consequences ( how badly hurt we’ll be when it goes wrong. ).
I ran a survey a while back where over 80% of respondents claimed to be introverts. Clearly that’s nonsense but we all use introversion as an excuse. While I’m a genuine introvert who fantasises about the kind of alone time you’ll only get on a solo mars mission. I now it’s not a real barrier to video marketing because you do it alone but I did use it as an excuse for a long time.
This is a bigger deal than you’d think. Any creative will tell you the same thing. By the time they’ve completed any work all they can see are it’s flaws. It’s a universal constant and is always present. You will always get better but you can’t wait for that day to show your work.
I’m probably not going to make any friends with this one but the truth is most of us aren’t as smart as we’d like and don’t look or sound like we wish we did. If you’re twenty one you probably wish you were older and had more authority. If you’re forty five you probably wish you were younger and had more hair. Vanity has no place in business. This is work.
OMG this is the real deal. It’s easy to be the expert in your own head where nobody is watching but as soon as you do it in public, especially where peers or competitors might see, you start worrying. Someone is going to call us out. I don’t think imposter syndrome can be fixed. I’ve come to look at it as an effect of being in the right place. If you’re stretching yourself, and you should be, then imposter syndrome will be there with you. I think it’s a survival mechanism which can be managed.
A word on discomfort.
A lot of our reactions in life are primal and hard wired. We like to think we’re rational and intelligent people but the majority of our actions and reactions are governed either by habit or instinct. Our unconscious self hates change and will work like a bitch to preserve what it think normal and safe should look like. If you do anything which triggers any kind of anxiety your brain goes into overdrive to tell you to run away.
For the last 5 million years it was super helpful. For your video marketing – not so much.
So I’ve got all that going on. I’m starting to sound a little neurotic but it’s the truth and I know if you want to overcome anything or improve at anything then you have to spend a little time really getting to know yourself and what might get in the way.
The truth is my video marketing is going to be awkward, some people will make fun, some might call me out, I will get things wrong and it might just be a bit crap for a while and that just has to be ok.
So what’s my plan?
Think about the campaign and not the battle
I’m not going to worry too much about the effect of any one video. A campaign is made up of many battles and you can’t win every single one.
Take regular exercise
Comfort zones are like muscles. The more time you spend stretching them the more elastic they become and the bigger they get. Todays crazy challenge will become tomorrows normal.
Focus on marginal gains
A little thing done frequently can have a big impact. Marginal gains compound over time and the effect is often greater than the sum of it’s causes.
Start really small
Don’t try and jump right in to the big leagues. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the goal, it just means you have to earn your stripes and learn the ropes.
Something Philip VanDusen told me about video marketing is never far from my thoughts and applies to so many areas of life, clearly not just content marketing.
‘If you want to be a pro tennis play then you can read books about tennis, speak to pro tennis players, watch them play and buy the gear pro tennis players use. But until you start playing tennis you’ll never be a good tennis player.’
So now we know what all the barriers are what are my tactics for dealing with them?
Well, like anything else, once you have a map things get a bit easier. Once you know all those trolls in your head aren’t real they get a bit easier to deal with. There’s still the reality of our human reactions to discomfort and basic biology. It’s still not easy.
Knowing your WHY.
If you’re going to break through all the mental and emotional issues I described then you’re going to need to know why you’re doing it. Your WHY needs to be compelling enough to power you through some discomfort.
The baby steps.
I have no intention of jumping into high production value Youtube videos. I will post videos on Youtube but building an audience there isn’t the priority right away. That will come with time. My priority is getting comfortable with video.
If you’ve never been on video simply seeing yourself on screen can be a startling experience. I work with clients through video chat every day and I can see for some of them it’s a disconcerting experience at first. It’s so easy to forget that just because something is normal for me, doesn’t make it normal for someone else. If you’ve never been on camera at all start by making FaceTime, Skype or Facebook messenger calls where you might have used the phone.
A step up from video calls where you chat in real time is video messaging. Here your brain is doing something different. You have to record a message and then send it to someone. This can be done using most messaging platforms. Where video chat is getting you used to being on camera and seeing yourself there, video messaging is getting you used to recording something which another person will watch back. You have to actually hit the record button and then give it to one other person to watch. Use this when you might otherwise send a text message.
Once you’ve become comfortable with being on camera and having others watch something you recorded, the next natural step is live social video. At first glance this might seem crazy but actually I found it makes a lot of sense. In live video on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter people don’t expect high production values or any editing at all. Raw is expected. Once you get your head around this, going LIVE is actually a really smart move from a training perspective because you’ll get used to larger numbers of people seeing you on video.
One time social video.
Much like live video, nobody expects Instagram or Facebook Story videos to be polished. They’re only around for twenty four hours and then they’re deleted. Stories are a great way to ease into being seen on recorded video by more people.
Whenever I read this in other people’s content I always have a reflux reaction but accountability is a powerful thing. It’s the antidote to the brains inate resistance. Ask me to do something scary and I might do it. ‘Dare’ me to do it with you and the chances of action shoot up. Accountability can work a bit like that. For me Chris Duckers Youpreneur community and more recently his incubator program has become my accountability group and I’ve become an accountability convert.
I’m making video my top priority for 2020 because I have a very strong WHY, I know who it’s for, what impact I want to have and I’m clear about what it can do for my business. In addition I’ve spent a lot of time and effort understanding why I find it so difficult and developing a plan to help me overcome those challenges.
Being confident on video is not normal, despite what you might think when you watch Youtube. I’ve spoken to many people who, if you watch them today, look polished and successful, but it wasn’t always that way for them. They had to work for it and I expect I’ll have to work for it as well.
My investment in podcasting is starting to pay off in ways I never expected. It was really difficult at the start but became natural and normal very quickly. I know video will be the same and I’m happy to go through the pain of getting used to it. Truthfully, I think I’m pretty much through the real pain now and I’m starting to enjoy it. Like podcasting, video marketing, and Youtube in particular is a long term investment.
People are wildly different on the inside. My challenges and goals are not yours but if this resonates with you then high five for reading this far. Reach out and tell me more.
You have a clear marketing goal defined and a marketing strategy ready to go. Well done! However, if you want to make sure you reach your goal, you need to make sure that your team is all on the same page. If your team members’ individual priorities don’t align with your overall priorities or there are differences in opinion on how things should be done, this can cause conflict and derail your big plan.
Here are some best practices for keeping everyone in your team on the same page.
Articulate Your Goals
Make sure that every team member fully understands your goals. Articulate why the goal you’ve chosen is the first priority, as well as the reasons for the way you’ve prioritized your tasks. Seek questions and comments and ask your team members for feedback. They may have valid suggestions on how to do things differently.
Help Team Members Manage Individual Priorities
Meet with your team members one-on-one and help them manage their own individual priorities. They may have trouble doing this by themselves and may need your guidance as a mentor. If a team member is having problems, they may not feel comfortable approaching you about it. But if you have regular coaching sessions, you can make sure they’re on track.
Transparency and Visibility
Make everything completely visible to everyone. In addition to clearly stating goals and priorities at the outset, you should also have reference materials for team members to refer to. Goals, priorities, and progress should be posted in high visibility areas. Create a collaborative environment based around this shared information.
Use Software Tools
Use a team management software program like Asana, GetFlow, or Trello to help organize the project. Your team can communicate through the tool, as well as charting each member’s individual progress and the progress of the team as a whole in a way that’s easily visible to all.
Make every effort to create an environment of open communication where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions and asking questions. Create this environment virtually through online communication tools, in meetings, and in one-on-one sessions with individual team members.
Offer Continual Training and Coaching
If a team member feels that a task is not suitable for them or has problems, it may just be a matter of training. Through regular check-ins with your team members, try to find these weak areas and offer whatever training they might need.
Keep Priorities Flexible
Although you need a definitive plan with priorities in place, don’t be afraid to make changes if necessary. The conditions surrounding your progress may make this necessary. For example, you may find that you have a deficit in certain resources which makes a particular task difficult to complete at present. You can then bring another task up in your list of priorities and save this for later for when it’s more feasible.
Keep Long-Term Goals in Mind
Along with the one goal you’re working towards now, keep your long-term goals on the horizon as well. Clearly state to the other members of your organization your five or ten-year plan as well as the goal at hand.
Have you ever had a boss, manager, or co-worker say this about you? It sounds like a great compliment but it could be a sign that you’ve got a problem. We consider multitasking a virtue in the business world, but we are dead wrong. Multitasking isn’t a virtue; focusing on one thing at a time is. Here are the reasons why multitasking might be killing your productivity.
Our Brains Aren’t Designed to Multitask
You may feel like you’re productive when you’re multitasking, but you’re actually putting a great deal of strain on your brain. The human brain isn’t designed to switch between multiple tasks at once. Although it may seem seamless, you’re actually shifting gears slightly every time you move to another task. This gives your brain more to do, and this is the reason why multitasking burns you out.
Paying Attention Is Productive
We mistakenly think that multitasking is more productive. You’re doing more stuff at once, so you’re getting more done, right? But the truth is that narrowing your focus and zeroing in on one task at a time makes that task go faster and more smoothly. It will take more time to do multiple tasks at once than it would to do them in order.
Multitasking Multiplies Errors
You may not have noticed, but when you multitask, you make small errors you wouldn’t usually make. Go back over your work and check. Chances are you’ll find tiny mistakes which are the result of not giving the work the full attention it deserves. Focus on one task at a time and you’ll see higher quality work without the mistakes.
When you start off with your multiple tasks, you might feel that you’re highly productive and getting things done. But it’s likely that after a while, a feeling of stress and burnout will descend upon you, and you’ll find your nerves frazzled, snapping at your team members, and feeling like your computer could use a sound drop-kick. Multitasking causes stress, and this is why productivity experts and psychologists warn against it.
Prioritizing to the Rescue
There’s never any need to multitask when you know how to prioritize. Let’s say that you have five things to do. Why not do them all at once? Because instead, you can take each task and assign a level of priority to it. Now, you have five items on a list that goes from most important to least important. The truth is, you always have some tasks that are more important than others. If you prioritize, you’ll get the most important things done quickly and right.
Rub Your Tummy and Pat Your Head
Now, rub your stomach while patting your head and, if you really want to see why multitasking doesn’t work, whistle the melody of the last song you heard on the radio. You’ll find these three simple things exceedingly hard to do and this is a clear demonstration of why multitasking isn’t a good way to work.
Goal setting is important for any business, but your goals are likely to change as you grow from a small to a mid-sized or large business. If you learn good goal-setting habits early on in the life of your business, this will help you adapt as your organization starts to scale up.
Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
It’s always useful to have a variety of both short-term and long-term goals. Right now, you’re probably thinking mostly in the short-term. You want your business to grow. You need to grow your list or social media following; you have specific sales goals you need to reach; you want to launch your new product.
But what happens once you reach this short-term goal? You may find yourself adrift wondering what to tackle next. This is why it’s important to look to the long-term as well.
Think about where your organization will be in five or ten years. What does success look like years down the road? What will be different then versus now?
Although you should focus on just one short-term goal at a time, keep a list of long-term goals as well to clarify the direction you want your business to go.
When prioritizing goals right now, don’t be afraid to think small. In fact, it’s a good idea to set small, relatively easily attainable goals for the present. Don’t try to take on too much at once.
Small goals are great because: They’re attainable. Huge, lofty goals are likely to only frustrate and discourage a small business.
The attainment of each goal is a learning process. You can learn from your small successes and failures.
Manageable goals that you can reach keep motivation and morale high. Tackling small goals builds momentum that you can then put to bigger and better things.
You have many goals, both short-term and long-term, but you need to focus on just one at a time. How do you do this? The best way is to assess the impact.
Which of your goals will have the greatest impact on your business in the near future? This should be the one that you focus on first.
A few other things to consider are:
Chronology. You may have one particular goal that logically comes ahead of other goals. For example, you want to build your email list before you start boosting sales through it.
Resources. You may have resources at your disposal now that make a specific goal viable; for example, a new software program for social media marketing may motivate you to work on your goal of boosting your social media presence.
Lack of resources. Likewise, a lack of resources may make one particular goal ideal rather than another. You may need tech help for a particular goal but currently, you don’t know anyone who can provide it. You can set this goal on the back burner for now while you work on other things.
Always set goals and employ marketing strategies with your larger, long-term goals in mind. This will help to keep your business on track as you tackle various projects.