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SEO Basics: How to Use Keyword Research to Grow Your Business

SEO Basics: How to Use Keyword Research to Grow Your Business

As a copywriter and marketing expert, I’ve found SEO to be a really valuable tool. And that’s why I thought I’d put together this little step-by-step primer on SEO basics including using keyword research to grow your business .

But, first, let’s start with a little background on what SEO is and why it’s important.

SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” which is “the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results.”

The idea behind it is when your ideal clients are searching for your business on a search engine such as Google, Firefox, or Safari, you want your business to actually pop up in the search results.

The way that happens is to optimize your site for the search engines.

Now, there are some technical things you can do to help optimize your site (including paying attention to how fast your site loads and making sure it looks good on mobile devices), but really, the key is to make sure the search engines “know” your site is the best site for your ideal clients.

How do they know your site is precisely what your ideal clients are looking for?

Because you’re using the right keywords (which are the words and phrases your ideal clients are typing into the search engine to find you) on your site.

So, how do you know what those right keywords are?

That’s where this SEO basics primer comes in.

Ready? Let’s get started.

SEO Basics #1—Get clear on who your ideal clients are.

If you don’t know specifically who you’re trying to attract into your business, it’s going to be difficult to attract them. I have two articles here and here that can help.

SEO Basics 2—Get clear on the keywords your ideal clients are searching to find you.

For myself, this is a two-step process:

Step 1: Brainstorm all the words and phrases you think your ideal clients are using to find your products and services.

(It’s not necessary to spend a lot of time on this.)

Step 2: Use Google Keyword Planner for keyword research.

This is a free tool from Google, but you do have to sign up for an Adwords account (which is also free).

Once you do, look under the wrench icon:

Click on the wrench icon, then planner:

Now you can start your keyword research.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say one of the keywords you brainstormed was “cooking.” You would enter “cooking” like so:

 

Once you hit enter, this is the screen you see:

See all the suggestions? This is a great resource to find the precise words and phrases your ideal clients would use to find your business.

So, what you want look at is high (or high-ish) monthly searches with LOW competition, because the higher the number, the higher the number of searches using those words..

Like the phrase, “what to cook for dinner.”

Other good ones are “cooking sites,” “cooking videos,” and “cooking tips.”

If there is high competition, that means there are a lot of sites using that phrase (not to mention a lot of businesses spending advertising money using that phrase). This makes it difficult to actually rank your site using that keyword or keyword phrase.

So, in this scenario, I would say “kids cooking” would not be a phrase to use as a keyword.

But, what if your business IS around helping kids cook? That’s when you would want to do more specific research around kids cooking, to see if there are other phrases that would work.

SEO Basics #3—Do your own searches using those keywords.

Open up your favorite search engine browser and do some searches using those keywords to see what comes up.

This will help you verify whether or not your ideal clients really are using those keywords. (If you end up on websites that don’t look like they would appeal to your ideal clients at all, that may be a sign you’re on the wrong track with your keywords.)

If your ideal clients are using those keywords, then you also want to get some idea what they’re seeing when they’re searching for you.

SEO Basics #4—Best practices for using your keyword research.

For myself, I use this SEO research in a variety of ways:

  1. To get a sense of which products, services, and programs my ideal clients (or my client’s ideal clients) are looking for and what language or words they’re using. The more we can create the products and programs and services our ideal clients want, and then market it to them using the words and phrases they’re using, the easier it will be to inspire them to buy.
  2. To create content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.) to attract my ideal clients.
  3. To create marketing strategies that resonate with my ideal clients.

In a lot of ways, this type of research is really the backbone of any business.

And, if you’d like to dig more deeply into online marketing, including putting together an online marketing plan, my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book may be perfect for you.

[Video] Flip It! How Do You Build a Business Around Multiple Passions?

[Video] Flip It! How Do You Build a Business Around Multiple Passions?

Before I dive into walking you though how to build a business around multiple passions, I thought I’d back up a step and talk about whether or not this is even a good idea.

Conventional wisdom says no. Never build a business around multiple passions.

And for years, I, too, would also advise entrepreneurs not to do it, because it’s a lot of work.

You see, while in some cases, it’s possible to build multiple passions under one business roof, in most cases, you’re building separate businesses.

And, if you’re building separate businesses, there’s just no getting around it.

It’s a lot of work.

It may not be twice the work, but it’s probably pretty close.

However, I’ve had a change of heart around whether it’s a good idea or not. Yes, it’s still a lot of work. (And, as someone who is actively building two different and distinct brands, I can tell you for a fact this is true.)

BUT, if this is calling you, if this is your path, then you absolutely need to walk down it.

Work or no work.

You see, for years I didn’t believe I was a multi-passionate entrepreneur.

Sure, I always knew I wanted to write fiction books. And, I was also over here on this side building a copywriting and marketing company. I also had nonfiction book ideas bubbling up.

But, for some reason, I never really saw that as having multiple business passions.

Instead, I saw them as separate. Fiction was over here, copywriting was over there, nonfiction books were in their own place, sort of close to the copywriting but kind of separate too.

And, because I saw them as separate, I also thought I could cut them off. I could simply not write fiction or nonfiction and it didn’t matter because these were all separate parts of me.

What I didn’t realize at the time was how unhealthy that was and how I was causing myself a lot of mental and emotional stress doing that.

I’m going to be sharing this journey to wholeness on my fiction blog, which is at MicheleParizaWacek.com if you want to read it from the creative side. But, what I want to do in this post is talk about HOW to build a business as a multi-passionate entrepreneur.

So, the first thing you need to do is accept there is quite a bit of work involved. That’s just the way it is. You’re going to have to commit to building two (or more) different businesses.

With that in mind, I want you to take a good, hard look at yourself and ask yourself this:

What do YOU need to do differently in order to have the energy, bandwidth, time and space to build multiple businesses?

Do you need to create systems?

Do you need to hire more team to support you?

Do you need to get ruthless around protecting your boundaries and your time?

Do you need to change your daily habits?

I also want you to take a good hard look at your current identity.

You see, I didn’t see myself as both a fiction author and an entrepreneur. Remember, I kept everything separate. So, I found it extremely exhausting bouncing between those two identities.

What I had to do is clear out the emotions and triggers so I could hold space for both identities AND they could both exist inside me without fighting with each other.

That meant giving myself space to feel all the emotions that came up for me. That also meant learning how to surrender and allow things to unfold in their own time rather than trying to push and force. Things are unfolding the way they are for a reason, and you have to trust the process and trust you’ll be taken care of throughout the process.

If you can do that, you’ll get to the place where you not only can hold both identities but where you’ll find it a joy to switch between them. And, yes, you’ll have more work on your plate, but you’re also getting a lot more done. (As a side note, in some ways, I’m putting in less hours working than I did as a freelance copywriter. I’m getting more done during work time, so I’m able to take focused time off as well).

If this is your path, it’s totally possible to do it. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but I will say it’s totally worth it.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Goals” book and my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

The Secret to Building a Business That Can Weather Any Storm … No Matter How Scary

The Secret to Building a Business That Can Weather Any Storm … No Matter How Scary

I was recently cleaning out some old papers I happened to find at the bottom of my desk, when I came across some teachings from Dan Kennedy.

If you haven’t heard of Dan Kennedy, he’s this old, grizzled marketing and copy guru and author of the No BS series of books. In the beginning of my career, I learned a lot about how to write traditional copy from him. (He was also the “Kennedy” in the Glazer-Kennedy Marketing company.)

I glanced through the papers and this Dan Kennedy quote caught my eye:

“If you’re still in the same business you were in 3-5 years ago, you have no business.”

I then looked at the date of the training and saw it was from 2012.

This really hit me, because, you see, my first thought when I read that quote was “how timely.” When really, Dan Kennedy wrote it six years ago.

For many entrepreneurs in the online information product industry (which includes the transformation industry), 2017 was a really rough year. That was the year we started to see how many of the business “truths” we thought were infallible were, in fact, very fallible.

And, for some entrepreneurs who had built businesses on those “infallible” truths, even big, multi-million-dollar businesses, were seeing massive cracks and their businesses crumble on what they thought was a pretty solid structure.

So, let’s start by acknowledging the truth: Yes, it can be scary. Very scary. If you’re worried or scared about the future of your business and you’re uncertain about what to do or which direction to go, you’re absolutely not alone. I  encourage you to feel whatever it is that wants to come up—just don’t let it stop you from taking action.

And let’s acknowledge another truth: It sucks.

Look, as humans, we are biologically wired to not like change. It’s in our DNA. Change can be dangerous to our very existence. So, as much as possible, our brains try to minimize change in order to keep us safe.

Which is why this idea of constantly looking at our businesses and seeing what we need to do differently is exhausting and overwhelming.

After all, don’t we want to just “set it and forget it”?

Wouldn’t it be nice to discover the “secret of success” and then finally stop looking?

Alas, if only it were that simple.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, I think first of all, acknowledge that it is both scary and daunting, AND decide to take action regardless.

Second, pay attention to your industry. Go to events, talk to friends and colleagues, follow people who follow trends and write about them (this blog can be a good place to start).

Third, know this:

Maybe it means that you tweak an existing product or service to better meet demand.

Maybe you change how you market.

Maybe you add a new product line or retire an old product line.

To be honest, you might even welcome some of changes.

Because, along with the landscape changing, you yourself are changing, and your business (which while not “alive” in the traditional sense, is still a living entity) are also changing.

Listen to what wants to emerge. Be open to what wants to change. (It’s easier to surrender to what wants to happen than it is to fight it.)

Lastly, know some things really DON’T ever change.

For instance, a business is really about finding and connecting with your ideal clients. It’s about building relationships. It’s about giving value. It’s about making offers your ideal clients want to buy. Those things don’t change.

And if you keep those business truths in mind (not to mention actually building your business on those truths and not the slippery, cracked “truths” of whatever is hot in the moment), you’ll be able to weather any storm …

No matter how scary it might initially look.

If you’d like to dig more deeply into building your business on a solid foundation, my Love-Based Business books can help, specifically my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

[Video] Flip It! Do You Break Commitments to Yourself?

[Video] Flip It! Do You Break Commitments to Yourself?

During the years when I was building my copywriting and marketing company, I almost never broke a commitment I made to another person, whether that person was a partner or client.

Now, that didn’t mean I wouldn’t renegotiate commitments, I absolutely did that. But, one of my core values is integrity, and over the years I spent a lot of time and energy to live my life and run my business from a place of integrity.

I may not have always succeeded and I most definitely made mistakes, but I always did the best I could in the moment.

EXCEPT when it came to commitments to myself.

Those, I broke. A lot.

My commitment to my own writing and books? Dead last on the list. Even commitments to marketing my business or creating other income streams were close to the bottom of my to-do list.

At the time, I called it “giving myself a break.” Typically, how it would play out is I would get a big client project or a lot of client work would walk in the door, and I would start to feel super overwhelmed and anxious about everything I had to do. So, I would “give myself a break” by moving or cancelling my own projects.

I always told myself once this “crazy” period was over, I would pick up where I left off. And of course, I rarely did, except for select marketing activities.

What I was really doing was giving myself permission to break commitments to myself.

Now, how this ended up playing out for me is I kept doing it until one day something deep inside me started to revolt. About the same time my mother got sick with cancer, so I had both external and internal pressures to change. That combination finally did it.

So, let’s talk about you. How are you showing up for your dreams and goals? Are you sitting down each day to honor them, even if that means writing a book you’re not sure anyone will ever read or writing blog posts for a blog no one is visiting or marketing a business that’s doesn’t seem to get any traction?

It’s tough. I know. I’ve been there. But, here’s the truth. The more you let yourself off the hook or give yourself a break and not show up for yourself and your dreams and goals, the more you’re going to throttle your success.

While it’s true I built a pretty successful business breaking commitments to myself, I was also often stressed, overwhelmed and consumed with worry. I burned out multiple times building that company.

Now that I’ve made commitments to myself as non-negotiable as the commitments I make to other people, everything has shifted. I’m a lot less stressed and a lot less overwhelmed, even though I’m actually getting more work done every day. I’m also a lot happier and a lot more at peace.

And the best part?  I’m starting to see a lot more traction and momentum in my business, more than I experienced before.

If you’re feeling stuck and trapped in a cycle where nothing you’re doing is working, I’d love to encourage you to take a moment and see where you’re showing up for yourself and where you’re breaking commitments to yourself. You may also want to check out an earlier Flip It episode titled “A Simple Marketing Exercise that Could Transform Your Business” and see what happens when you do that exercise.

One of the reasons why it’s so easy to break commitments to yourself is because it’s not public. Only you really knows what you did.

But, shouldn’t your relationship to yourself be the most important one in your life?

I can tell you from experience, the more you show up for yourself, the more you’ll get everything you want.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

[Real World Analysis] How a Business with 12 Million Followers Went Bankrupt

[Real World Analysis] How a Business with 12 Million Followers Went Bankrupt

Before I get to the story about the business with 12 Million followers, I want to start by discussing a Facebook ad about the “truth around building an audience” that drives me bonkers every time I see it, so I decided to share my analysis around why I think it’s extremely misleading (and could even be dangerous to your financial and business health).

In a nutshell, the ad makes the claim that if you have a business, building an audience is a waste of time. You should immediately stop all of that blogging and podcasting and shooting videos nonsense, and instead, just follow this particular guru’s simple formula to immediately fill your business with high-paying clients. No audience required.

Simple as that. No mess, no fuss.

Now, a few disclaimers before I get into my analysis. First off, while yes, I’ve obviously read the ad, I have not actually watched this person’s webinar, so I don’t know what his simple formula actually is. If I were to guess, I would assume he teaches how to use some form of paid ads (most likely Facebook ads) to attract prospects into a funnel that ends in a sales call.

If that’s what he’s teaching, it’s perfectly legitimate, and I’m sure it does work.

I’m also a big believer that businesses should be profitable and make money for their owner. If his system works as advertised, the fact that he’s selling it isn’t the problem.

It drives me bonkers because it’s incomplete. And because the claim the ad makes is incomplete, it has the potential to hurt entrepreneurs.

Here’s the truth:

In order to have a successful, profitable business, you need both long-term and short-term marketing strategies.

Long-term marketing strategies are for audience and platform building. That includes those pesky tactics such as blogging and list building.

Short-term strategies are to generate cash now. So, any type of sale emails or, in the case of this Facebook ad, a paid advertising strategy designed to generate prospects so you can close them on a sales call.

Focusing mostly on long-term strategies (especially before you’ve built up a big platform) could lead to big time cash flow challenges.

Focusing on short-term strategies could lead to a massive feast/famine financial cycle. Plus, if your short-term marketing strategy stops working for some reason, you could lose your entire business.

The Internet is littered with stories about entrepreneurs who built their platform around (or had most of their income coming from) one source, and when that source dried up, their business tanked—sometimes as fast as overnight.

This is especially true if your short-term marketing strategy is linked to something you don’t control. For instance, let’s look at this strategy of using Facebook ads to close high-ticket clients.

* What if Facebook suddenly jacks up the rate of those ads overnight. How will you then get a high enough return on your investment, to make this particular strategy worth it? (Yes, I’ve seen this happen.)

* What if Facebook bans you from advertising? (Yes, I’ve seen this happen.)

* What if something happens to Facebook? (As I write this, Mark Zuckenburg is testifying in front of Congress about Facebook’s privacy policy. What if Congress decides to regulate? What if Facebook becomes less popular?)

Now, maybe none of these “what ifs” actually happen, but the point here is that you don’t know.

Things change at lightning speed in the age of the Internet, which means if you aren’t spending time building your presence on a platform you control (such as a blog or website) in addition to building your audience and growing your subscriber list, the more vulnerable you are.

It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of followers on your Facebook page or YouTube channel. You have no way of contacting them if Facebook or YouTube changes the rules.

Which means, if the rules DO get changed, you’ve just lost your audience.

For example, there was once a little publishing company that built up a Facebook following of 12 MILLION followers. They posted daily videos that were liked and shared and followed.

Then one day, Facebook changed their algorithms to show more posts from personal contacts than businesses, and they lost over 75% of their organic traffic.

Just. Like. That.

That little publishing company didn’t recover. It went out of business.

The worst part of this story is it didn’t have to happen. This company had a ton of content. Why wasn’t it posted on YouTube? (At least then there would have been a second platform to turn to.) Why wasn’t it posted on a company blog?

In this case, the work was already done. It wouldn’t have taken much effort at all to put a little love into building up a couple of other platforms. It wouldn’t have taken much to invite their Facebook fans to opt in to an email list.

But, it wasn’t a priority for them to build a platform outside of Facebook. Likely, the owners never even considered that Facebook would change the rules overnight. Maybe they even thought it was a waste of time and energy to do anything else, when they were getting so much traction and momentum from Facebook.

Anyway, let’s get back to you.

As a busy entrepreneur (who maybe doesn’t even like marketing all that much), you may be reading this right now while experiencing sinking feeling in your stomach.

Where will you find the time and energy to create both long-term AND short-term marketing strategies?

Well, here’s my answer—you get help.

I’m a big believer in focusing your time, energy, and love on what you most enjoy. Find the marketing tactic you love and do that. (My “Love-Based Online Marketing” book includes a “Love Your Marketing Assessment” that can help.)

You also may need to put some time into the cash flow part of your business as well, to make sure it’s running smoothly.

Then, hire a team member (or members) to help with the long-term marketing strategies.

You don’t have to do it fast, or dedicate a lot of time to it. If all you can handle right now is a weekly article, then do a weekly article (or a weekly podcast or video).

Commit to what you can. And budget what you can to get help.

And, take a deep breath. You’re in this for the long haul, right? So, know the long-term marketing strategy may take a little longer to see results, but at the end of the day, you WILL have a stronger, more stable and more profitable business because of it.

And, if you’d like to dig more deeply into online marketing, including putting together an online marketing plan, my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book may be perfect for you.

[Video] Your Success: Are You Taking it For Granted?

[Video] Your Success: Are You Taking it For Granted?

As many of you may know, we just had the Winter Olympics, and the US women’s hockey team beat the odds and won the gold.

So, because I live in America, there are inevitable references to that famous Miracle on Ice game.

If you don’t know the story, here’s the cliff notes version. In 1980, the US men’s hockey team beat the Russians. Now, that may not sound like a big deal, but at the time, the US men’s hockey team was something of a longstanding joke.

That’s because if you were a professional athlete, you were barred from competing in the Olympics. So, no NHL players. Instead, the US would field a team of a bunch of college kids.

The Russians, however, for all practical purposes had their professional hockey team in the Olympics. Yes they weren’t technically professionals, but Russia had found a way to get around that rule.

This particular Russian team was really good. All it did was win. The players had been together for years and they had won virtually every game they played.

Until they ran into the buzzsaw of those college kids in the Olympics.

You may have seen some of the pictures from that Olympics, specifically the famous Sports Illustrated cover that showed the pure chaotic joy of the players celebrating on the ice.

But, what isn’t talked about as much is what the Russians were doing.

They had gathered together on their side of the ice and were standing there watching the Americans lose their minds.

I saw a documentary about the Miracle on Ice, and filmmakers had interviewed one of the Russian players. They asked him what he, and the rest of the team, was thinking at the time.

The player said, and I’m paraphrasing, they were watching the Americans because they had won so often and for so long, it had become expected. They no longer felt joy when they won a game. They had forgotten the joy of winning and watching the Americans brought that back to them.

Now, I’d like to bring this back to you and your business. Is there some successful part of your business that has become so expected, so routine, you’re taking it for granted?

I’m not talking about your entire business, just one part. For instance, maybe you get a crazy high open rate. Or maybe you have really good organic traffic to your blog. Or maybe you have a popular podcast with a lot of downloads.

Never mind if you’ve figured out how to monetize it yet. Are you seeing some level of success that you’re now expecting and taking for granted and no longer celebrating when it happens?

If we’re forever stuck in this energy of “not enough” or “well sure this is good but look at this other list of everything that sucks,” how can we possibly open ourselves up to receive bigger levels of success?

In fact, that’s one of the secrets of a gratitude practice. Being grateful for what you have opens you up to receive even more.

So, I’d like to encourage you to take a moment and celebrate the small successes of your business. Especially anything you used to celebrate and you don’t anymore because it’s happened so often you are now taking it for granted.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

[Video] Flip It! Are You Trading Your Success For Safety?

[Video] Flip It! Are You Trading Your Success For Safety?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay safe. The problem comes in when wanting to stay safe starts to interfere with your dreams.

I started this conversation on this episode of Flip It! called “A Simple Marketing Exercise That Could Transform Your Business.” There, I talk about committing to consistently taking action on one marketing tactic for a year and see what demons and triggers come up for you.

Chances are, your head will be full of excuses about why you can’t possibly do that, plus your fear-based emotions will likely raise their ugly heads so you’ll feel like absolute crap.

And, if that wasn’t enough, you may find other things happening to sabotage you, such as family dramas suddenly increasing or maybe you end up sick or so overwhelmed and stressed you’re not able to get much done.

The reason why all of that happens is because your brain, both your ego and your subconscious, are trying to keep you safe.

Not happy. Safe.

You see, if you are taking frequent and consistent marketing action, I don’t care what marketing action that is, but if that’s what you’re doing, something will change.

It could be a huge change. Or it could be something smaller.

But, your business and life WILL shift.

And, change can mean danger.

Right now, you’re safe. Relatively speaking. Clearly, something could happen that’s out of the blue and completely unexpected, but barring that, you’re safe.

And, if you stay in your comfort zone, you will likely stay relatively safe.

Your ego and subconscious have done their job.

But, just because you’re safe, doesn’t mean you’re happy. It also doesn’t mean you’re successful.

So, if you want to become more successful than you are right now, you have to get outside your comfort zone. You have to do things differently.

You have to take risks.

And, you’re likely going to feel awful while it’s happening. Your inner critic is going to criticize you and all sorts of uncomfortable emotions such as fear, anger, resentment, guilt, shame and even grief, will be triggered.

Your job is to both feel your emotions and not listen to your inner critic.

And, keep moving forward.

Because, if you stop, you’re choosing safety. That’s what your ego and your subconscious want. They want you to stop so you stay safe.

They’re not trying to make you feel bad because they’re being mean or they’re evil or something. They’re doing it because they have your best interests in mind. They want you to be safe! What more could you possibly want?

But, if you push through, that’s the place where all your dreams live.

The best part? Your subconscious and your ego WILL adjust and eventually even success will become your new comfort level.

Until you’re ready to move to the next level of success, that is.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book and my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

3 Crucial Steps to Take BEFORE Creating a Content Marketing Plan

3 Crucial Steps to Take BEFORE Creating a Content Marketing Plan

When creating a content marketing plan, a lot of entrepreneurs I know do it backwards.

They sit down and start brainstorming a bunch of topics. Which can work. But, it can also be a big time waster (especially if the entrepreneurs get stuck and have no idea what they want to create). There’s also a high likelihood they don’t end up creating content their ideal client wants to consume. (Which is the whole point of putting a content marketing plan together in the first place.)

Or, in some cases, they skip the plan altogether and simply jump in and create whatever tickles their fancy that day.

Again, this can sometimes be successful strategy. (It wasn’t for me.) But, I think in most cases what you typically end up is a content marketing plan that’s hit or miss. (Truthfully, more miss than hit.)

So, is there a better way to create a content marketing plan? Why yes! And, where it starts is by making sure you have a solid foundation in place.

Not only are you more likely to create a successful blog or podcast or video channel or whatever you’re creating because you’ve focused on building a solid foundation, but it’s also going to be soooo much easier for you to create content on a regular and consistent basis (which really is the key to creating momentum and results around your marketing).

Plus, just sitting down and creating a content marketing plan for a year (or even for the next quarter) can feel overwhelming. That’s why I think taking a few steps back and getting your foundation in place BEFORE you create a content marketing plan is so essential.

And, the best part? Having this foundation in place will help focus ALL of your marketing efforts, not just creating a content marketing plan.

Without further ado, let’s dive into these three crucial steps.

1. Be clear on precisely what your expertise is (and isn’t).

If you’re a new entrepreneur or new to whatever it is you’re doing, this can feel daunting. It can also feel daunting if you are like me and have a bad case of “fraud” syndrome, or “I have to read one more book or get one more certification before I’m an expert” syndrome.

I’m not going to give you the same advice you may have heard from other gurus, which is if you know 80% more than your ideal client, you’re an expert.

While technically that may be true, in practice that’s a horrid platform to build your content marketing plan on.

Your ideal prospects are NOT (let me repeat NOT) looking for the same, watered- down content everyone else and their brother who are also “80% experts” are putting out. They are NOT looking for content that is basically regurgitated from a book or a program.

They are looking for solid, high-quality content that either educates them or entertains them, or both.

So, what DO you do then, if you’re new to your business and you don’t have the level of expertise as other experts who have been out there for a decade or more?

First off, there’s no law that says your content marketing plan can only include content YOU create. What about using other people’s expertise? You could start a podcast and interview other experts. You could write blog posts that quote posts and books from other experts (giving full credit of course).

Over time, as you grow your business, you’ll start to find your voice and your style of teaching., and as you do, you can start creating content from your voice.

And, quite honestly, THAT’S what your ideal prospects are looking for. They’re looking for you because they want to hear how YOU perceive the content and YOUR angles and how you interpret it from YOUR unique life experiences and stories.

There are very few things that are “brand new” right now. But, what IS new is your unique spin on similar ideas. Right now, you may not be feeling brave enough or comfortable enough to truly step into your unique voice. That’s okay. While you’re developing that, see what you can do to leverage other people’s expertise.

2. Be clear on precisely who you’re serving.

Your ideal client is going to influence how you present your content.

For instance, let’s say you’re a money expert. You’re going to present content around money very differently depending on whether you’d rather work with entrepreneurs or employees.

What if you’re a relationship expert? You’re going to see things through completely different angles depending on whether you’re working with men or women, and whether your ideal clients are 20-year-old women or 50-year-old divorcees.

That’s why getting clear on who your ideal clients are and what is keeping them up at night—and making sure the content you’re creating is relevant to them (not to mention something they want to consume)—is super important.

3. Be clear on precisely what you offer them that no one else is, and why they should come to you.

Again, if you’re new, you may find this one a little scary.

But, here’s the thing: If you can’t communicate what makes you unique, you WILL struggle in your business.

Your ideal clients are going to want to know why they should plunk down their hard-earned money to work with you versus someone else. And, if you can’t tell them, they may wonder if they can get what you offer cheaper somewhere else.

Because, you see, if you aren’t able to explain to them your value, they’re going to make their buying decision based on whether or not they feel like they can afford what you’re charging.

If you make it clear what your value is and how what you do is different from everyone else, then price becomes less of an issue. You can’t be price-shopped, because no one else offers the same value you are providing.

If you struggle with this, this article walks you through my formula on how to craft your message so it resonates with your ideal client.

Once you know this, you’ll have a much better idea of the sort of content that will resonate most with your ideal client. (This doesn’t mean you won’t want to do some testing on the best content for your ideal clients, but you’ll definitely have a solid place to start with your content marketing plan.)

So, you may have noticed that all three of these steps have one thing in common, which is … (drum roll)

Clarity!

To me, clarity is one of those things that just doesn’t sound all that sexy, but yet, the more clear your are, the easier everything is.

I know for myself I prefer the “just jump in and figure it out later” approach. However, I’ve definitely had mixed results with that. Some things have worked out great and others … not so much.

While I think you can also go the other way and spend TOO much time in research and preparation and “getting ready to get ready,” I also think there’s a happy medium between getting clear and just getting started.

If you want to see my specific strategy on how I got clear before creating my second blog, I walk you through it here.

And, if you’d like to dig more deeply into online marketing, including putting together an online marketing plan, my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book may be perfect for you.

[Video] Flip It! A Simple Marketing Exercise that Could Transform Your Business

[Video] Flip It! A Simple Marketing Exercise that Could Transform Your Business

If you’re ready to transform your business, this simple marketing exercise may help.

But before I tell you what this marketing exercise is, let me share the inspiration behind it. Recently I wrote a blog post called “Not Happy with Your Marketing Results? Maybe You Haven’t Picked the RIGHT Marketing Tactic for You” where I make the case that you should only start a new marketing tactic if you commit to two things:

  1. You will consistently and frequently use it — and by consistently and frequently, I mean a minimum of once a week. (So, for instance, if you decide to start a blog, you commit to posting a minimum of one blog post a week.)
  2. You stick with this strategy for at least one year.

Now, the point of this marketing exercise isn’t to lock you into something you absolutely can’t stand. Clearly there are circumstances where stopping a marketing tactic or strategy is warranted. For instance, if you’re spending a ton of money on Facebook ads and getting zero return and are quickly going broke, yeah, you may want to reconsider.

But, what if you took option of quitting off the table? What if you decided no matter what, you were committing to this particular marketing tactic for one year? What if it was acceptable to tweak the strategy to improve your results, but you couldn’t quit for at least a year?

How does that feel?

Does it make you more cautious? For instance, maybe rather than jumping into this week’s hot new can’t-miss marketing strategy, you pause and consider if it’s something you actually can commit to frequently doing for at least a year?

Does it make you want to research the marketing tactic more? To see if it is a good fit for you and your specific business?

Does it make you not want to do any marketing at all? Because it’s way too scary to commit for a year?

Are you busy listing excuses in your head how this “wouldn’t work for you?” After all, you’re a creative soul! You can’t possibly commit to doing something for a year. You might get bored and uninspired and then your marketing would suck. No, you need to keep your options open. Besides, you’re busy. What if it takes more time and energy than you have? What if your kids get sick or something happens in your personal life? Or what if you realize you need a team and you can’t afford one?

Or, maybe, maybe, what’s coming up is something deeper and darker. Maybe you’ve failed before and you don’t want to set yourself up for failure again. Or maybe you don’t want to make that commitment to yourself because you have a history of breaking commitments and promises to yourself in the past and you don’t want to do it again.

Ouch.

Okay, so let me circle back to the point of this exercise, which actually isn’t to convince you to commit to regularly and frequently using a marketing tactic for a year. Yes, I do happen to believe that’s the best way to get results with your marketing, but that’s not the point.

The point is to see what comes up for you. Because, whatever you’re telling yourself right now and however you’re resisting is likely the reason you’re not as successful as you could be.

And, if you decide you’re ready to break this nasty little mindset block so you can step into your greatness, I invite you to actually commit to a marketing tactic for a year. And then do it. And see what comes up for you and what tries to stop you.

What I’m suggesting isn’t easy. But, if you choose to do it, it could end up being your biggest breakthrough yet.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book and my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

Is YouTube on the Way Out?

Is YouTube on the Way Out?

I recently came across two contradictory articles about the effectiveness of YouTube.

First, the bad. In December, 2017, Business Insider had an article about how many (but not all) of the biggest stars on YouTube are seeing both their followers and their video views dwindle.

Now, the good. In January, 2018, a popular blog called IncomeMediary had an article about 8 SEO trends and listed YouTube as being the place where it’s at. (According to that site, YouTube is the second most searched platform on the Web.)

So, what’s the truth?

My suspicion is, like anything, the truth is what personally works for you. For some people, YouTube will always work great even if the overall trend shows it’s less and less effective. For others, YouTube will never work no matter how hot of a platform it is.

But, as that’s not the most helpful advice, I did a little research on my own on the YouTube experts I follow.

While I can’t be sure about the diminished followers part, I will say that overall watches in 2017 were down compared to previous years.

I will also say that some of the claims around video I found in the IncomeMediary post directly contradicted the stats I’ve seen on video watching over the years. Now, that doesn’t mean IncomeMediary is lying or being otherwise untruthful. It may very well be that the site is pulling data from other industries that I’m not as familiar with.

Which, brings me back to my earlier point, which is different marketing strategies are going to work or not work for different people regardless of what the overall trend is. Not to mention different marketing strategies and tactics are going to work better or differently depending on the industry and the specific ideal client group you’re trying to attract.

So, where does that leave us with YouTube? And if Business Insider is correct, why is the overall watches and followers dropping?

Well, the Business Insider article didn’t really have an answer for why this was happening, so I thought I’d take a stab at it.

Is the problem the videos themselves? In other words, are fewer people watching videos these days?

I’ve seen no evidence that this is the case. People still appear to be watching as many videos online as they ever did. In the U.S. alone, 85% of the Internet audience watches videos online, which is likely why there are so many platforms for watching them. For example, on Facebook, you can both upload existing videos and create Facebook Lives, Twitter has Periscope, Instagram allows for videos, and let’s not forget Snapchat, which is all about videos.

And, if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, using videos as part of your overall marketing strategy makes sense. One statistic I’ve seen claims that business that use video grow their revenue 49% faster than non-video users.

However, it’s important to note that not EVERYONE likes to watch videos (at least in regard to educational purposes—it’s a lot higher than that when we’re talking watching a movie or an episode of Game of Thrones). Only about 25% of your customers prefer watching videos over audio or reading.

BUT, people who DO watch videos are far more likely to become buyers, which is why it makes sense to integrate videos into your overall marketing strategy.

So, taking all of that into consideration, my suspicion as to what’s affecting YouTube is the number of options we now have for viewing videos online. Years ago, there was only YouTube. So, if you wanted to watch a video, you went to YouTube.

And, while you can certainly comment and like videos on YouTube, it’s not precisely a social networking platform. YouTube is about watching videos. Period. Commenting and liking is secondary.

Whereas if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, you’re there for the networking and the connection. So, if you can also get your video “fix” there, why wouldn’t you?

People are busy. Going to YouTube to watch a video is an additional step and an additional distraction in a busy day.

People are also lazy. Going to YouTube to watch a video is an additional step they may not feel like taking.

So, as an entrepreneur, what makes sense for you?

Let’s start with videos. Should you or should you not use them in your marketing?

I believe you absolutely SHOULD and here’s why:

1. Yes, only about 25% PREFER learning via video, that doesn’t meant only 25% will WATCH.

It’s been my experience that far more folks than that will at least take a quick peek at your videos. Even if it’s only one to two videos total.  (IncomeMediary says 55% of online users watch videos every day, and that is a stat I can believe, although let’s keep in mind that stat likely includes people wasting time watching cat videos.)

Video is also great for creating connection. People will get a much faster sense of who you are and if they want to learn from you via video than any other medium. So, a lot of people will watch from time to time, even if it’s not their preferred method, and if they like your energy and how you present yourself on video, they’re more likely to stick around (and maybe even eventually buy something).

2. If you want people to consume your marketing materials, it helps if you provide them options so they can choose HOW they prefer to consume it.

Just like in your paid training, people have their favorite way to learn whether it’s via reading, listening, watching videos, or interacting with the training in some way. That’s why giving people choices of watching videos, listening to audio, or reading a transcript is a great way to serve all learning styles.

And, if you want to market more effectively, it’s nice to do the same for your marketing materials. Give your audience options on how they choose to learn from you, even if it’s completely free on your blog, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

3. If you’re interested in expanding your marketing reach and visibility, creating videos gives you more options.

If you’re willing to do videos, you can have a presence on Snapchat and on YouTube. You can also expand the presence you have on platforms like Facebook if you start using videos. Those may be smart marketing moves.

Now, let’s look at YouTube. Should you build up your presence there or not?

Only if you’re planning on shooting stand-alone videos. If you are, then sure, why not load them up on YouTube as well. But, if your video strategy right now is to focus on something like Facebook Lives, I wouldn’t bother.

It’s early yet and things could turn around for YouTube, but right now, it’s sure looking like becoming a YouTube star isn’t what it used to be.

Speaking of YouTube stars, this is yet another great reminder about how all of these social network platforms are great to have a presence on, because they’re likely where your ideal clients, customers, and buyers are, BUT building your entire brand and platform on someone else’s site is (ahem) foolish. Your focus when you use these sites should always be to connect and encourage people to follow you to your blog or website, or some other platform you 100% control. (Personally, blogs are my fave.)

If your entire audience is on YouTube and you have no subscriber list and no blog and no following outside of YouTube, then the only way you can “talk” to your audience is by posting a video. But, what happens if the video is a dud? Or what if something technical happens and your audience doesn’t get the notification you posted a new video? Or what if your audience stops hanging around YouTube (as what appears to be happening now)? Or what if YouTube decides to ban you or shut down your account for some reason?

That’s why building your own brand on your own platform that you control is soooo important. Use YouTube as the tool it is, not as a substitute for building your own business.

If you liked this post, you may also like my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.