Any business, whether it’s based online or not, needs a social media presence. That’s just the age we live in.Unfortunately, that means we’re hanging out in the same spaces as everyone else. Our competitors, our critics… they are all sharing regular updates too.
So being present is no longer enough. To thrive in our businesses we have to be able to stand out from all the noise. Consumers spend their days scrolling down news feeds and skimming over timelines – the real skill is making them stop to take note of what YOU have to say. And it’s not just about making them read something and then letting them go on their merry way – you need your people to take action.
You want your audience to click through to your site. You want your audience to engage with you. You want your audience to invest in your products or services. You want your audience to be your champions.And none of that will happen if you can’t create impactful content.
1. Write about the right stuff.
The first step is to figure out what you should be writing about. It’s so much more than just telling people about your business.
Creating killer digital content is not about just saying what you want to say, it’s about saying what they need to hear. Your content should be targeted to your consumers (or prospective consumers), so make it as useful as possible.
Take a look at your different channels and pull together a list of all the questions you see popping up. You inbox, your blog comments and your favourite social platforms are all great places to start looking.
Arrange a series of catch-ups with people you’ve worked with in the past, and see how they’re doing. What struggles have they been facing? What are they working on now? Which of these areas can you help with? All of this data can feed back into your content plan.
Think about where you were, 5, 10, 15 years ago. What challenges stood in your way? How did you overcome them? Flip back through old notebooks to see what you were working on back then. Think of your target clients as versions of the past you – sharing the insights you’ve picked up along the way can be incredibly valuable.
You should also monitor key industry updates and create content based on that. For example, if a new tool is released that would be PERFECT for your readers, learn as much as you can about it, and pass on that knowledge in an accessible way.
2. Write as you
Think about what sets you apart from everyone else in your field. Perhaps you’ve taken the scenic route into your business. Perhaps you made a massive life change based on an electrifying epiphany. Perhaps you have a life time’s worth of corporate experience. Perhaps you’re queen of the portfolio career. Perhaps you only work with a specific market. Perhaps you’ve been training for this, for years. Perhaps you’re juggling world domination with raising a family, channeling your inner Nigella and writing your memoirs.
No matter what your story is, it will help set you apart from the masses. Share your tale, and share it with integrity. Talk about the struggles, the failures, the obstacles. People want to see how you’ve succeeded despite the hurdles – they don’t want you to pretend it was a simple, bump-free journey.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Endless corporate “professional” chatter will not make you or your business stand out from everyone else, and it won’t help other people relate to you. Injecting a little personality into your posts is a surprisingly easy way to become more memorable. It could be as simple as adding a pop culture reference every now and then, using slang, or just writing in a less formal tone.
3. Avoid the chatter
Taking a “big picture” glance at what others in your industry are doing is a good thing. It helps you figure out how to boost your own business, and make your messaging more distinct.
However, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to start thinking that you should be on a particular platform, talking about a particular topic, working in a particular style. Please ignore that impulse. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, I want it to be that.
Don’t write about anything that doesn’t inspire you. You should create content around topics that light you up – topics you could talk about endlessly, if only you could find someone to listen. That enthusiasm is attractive to customers – we all want to work with people that care about what they do.
4. Build your own boundaries
“Authenticity” and “transparency” are huge buzzwords in the online business community, and while I agree that personality is a powerful way to boost your brand, you don’t have to air and share everything.
The very reason you are running your own business is because you want to do things your way, so remember that this applies to your digital content too.
If you’re not comfortable with sharing details of where you live, don’t. If you want to keep your family life private, feel free. If you want to swear, or not swear, or speak only in limericks… do it. You make your own rules.
The way you communicate will not resonate, but that is kind of the point. You want to attract the right kind of people to your business.
5. Stand out… even more
The one thing that grabs attention even more than those wacky, wonderful words of yours is, of course, visual content.
Attractive imagery is a fantastic way to stop those speedy scrollers from zipping past your stuff… and it doesn’t have to be tricky to create. Tools such as Canva come with easily customisable templates that you can brand up and share everywhere.
Live streams and pre-recorded videos also have great impact, visually, especially with Facebook’s algorithm prioritising video content. But being on camera isn’t for everyone. Again, this about establishing your own boundaries, and doing what feels comfortable.
No matter your niche, and no matter which platforms you prefer, you can create killer content for your business. You can use your posts to test the waters, to engage with your community, to sell your wares and more. You can build a massive following, you can slay your income goals, you can be as famous as you want to be.
It’s pretty exciting if you ask me – there are no limits to what you can do next.