We all want to build a content strategy that keeps us top-of-mind for potential clients.
But does marketing effort always lead to outcome?
In other words, is the juice worth the squeeze?
Not always, in my experience as a marketer.
Here’s the problem.
You want marketing to open doors for your business.
Ideas often aren’t the issue. Most marketers I know have got notebooks full of ideas.
The problem is something else. It’s affected me too.
Marketers suffer from the Curse of Knowledge. With so many options, sometimes you don’t even know where to begin. That means action happens in fits and starts. And lack of certainty about what to say leads to inconsistency.
Before you know, you’re on mute!
What happens to your content strategy when you’re on mute?
Have you ever felt lost for words as a marketer when you’re writing content for yourself?
Or when someone asks what you do?
If so, you’re in fine company.
It’s surprisingly common for other marketers (and even copywriters) to feel exactly like this about creating their own content. Just because you provide content writing services for clients doesn’t mean it’s easy to do the same for your own business.
And second-guessing what you say obviously costs you time and money.
But it also means missing valuable intell.
You know those business conversations where you’re so focused on what to say next that you’re only half-listening? Hands up, I’ve been there too.
Your brain power is side-tracked to rehearsing your next words, instead of picking up cues from the other person (who could be a potential client).
When you stop stressing about WHAT to say, you notice HOW your potential clients speak and the problems they’re trying to solve.
Sorting your messaging won’t turn you into a jargon-spouting robot.
In fact, your marketing will become MORE conversational because you’re free to focus on listening.
Is your content strategy missing essential ingredients?
If you’re not clear on the basic ingredients of your message, potential customers haven’t a hope of focusing on you. They can’t even SEE you properly if you’re not consistent.
So every time you switch focus in your content and chase a new idea, you water down your message.
How to find your marketing message
Instead you need to talk about the fundamentals of your business in a clear, persuasive way.
Getting clear about your business message is one easy way to overcome this problem.
Mastering your messaging helps keep you top of mind when potential customers make buying decisions.
3 signs your content strategy needs a jumpstart
If you feel lost for words or muddled about your content, that’s a sure sign that you’re ready for a jumpstart.
But there are a few other subtle clues –
Your content strategy is not attracting your ideal clients to your business.
You might not have defined your niche clearly enough. You might also need to sharpen up your message, so you’re speaking to people who need your services.
Your business has evolved/scaled recently.
Congrats on your progress! Remember to revisit your message and make sure it still fits.
People aren’t curious or excited when you answer that question – “what do you do?”
Your content strategy goal: clear, persuasive, repeatable
Why does it seem easy for other people to talk confidently about their work?
It’s probably because they’ve embraced what’s unique about themselves and aren’t afraid to express it.
In well thought-out words.
Getting your core marketing message clear unscrambles ALL your marketing. It’s like a content declutter.
That’s why it looks easy for some people to introduce their work to a group. Usually they’ve found their marketing mantra. It works its magic because it’s catchy, repeatable and sticky.
Content strategy & the familiarity principle in psychology
Psychologically, repeating your message makes you more familiar.
That’s important because of a simple shortcut that all our brains use. It’s called the Mere Exposure Effect (also known as the Familiarity Principle).
In other words, the more we see you, the more we like you. Simple as that!
If you need justification for being visible and consistently ‘on message’, the Familiarity Principle is your sign.
When I started learning about behavioural economics, a lightbulb moment changed everything.
Understanding the mental shortcuts we ALL take when making decisions transformed my thinking about marketing.
You can profile your ideal customer’s demographics all day. But it’s easier to understand the psychological shortcuts that we all use, rather than pin your marketing hopes on shifting lifestyle traits.
As a marketer, you shouldn’t miss out on applying the big brand research to your own businesses.
It all starts with the Familiarity Principle and a clear, repeatable message.
Craft once, then repeat
Lots of your marketing content can and should be crafted once, then repeated and repurposed many times.
This is the one thing I wish I’d learnt earlier in my business.
Honestly, I made a LOT of mistakes when I started marketing my own business online during the pandemic (after nearly 20 years of finding clients locally through word-of-mouth).
Here’s what I once did with my content strategy –
- Overcomplicated stuff. Tick.
- Over-researched strategy instead of taking action. Double tick.
- Tinkered with all the social media platforms – that too.
Lots of this was trial, learning, then doing it better next time. And I’ve made my peace with that process.
But the one thing I wish I hadn’t spent so long doing?
Creating content from scratch most days. Writing blog posts and social media captions. Tweaking my website.
I could kick myself now, but I didn’t need to waste time doing it like this.
Instead I needed to be my own mentor and get cloudless-sky-clear on my message.
Then pick my most persuasive words.
Same for you.
The solution: your Content Vault
Now my clients have a Content Vault to pull gems from. It means they’re never starting from zero.
What are examples of good content strategy?
Start building your Content Vault right now and you never need start your marketing from scratch again.
Repeat, repeat, repeat: where to repurpose your Content Vault
If you’re all about the application, how about these specific places you can repurpose your messaging content?
- Social media bios.
- Intro slides in a pitch deck.
- PR pitch.
- LinkedIn cover story.
- When someone asks “what do you do?”
- Speaker intro.
- Founder bio.
- About page.
- Sales page.
- Twitter Spaces.
- Business card.
- Video script opener.
- Media pack.
- Client proposals.
- Zoom intros.
How’s that for time-saving? Think once, then recycle with purpose.
4 simple questions to get started on your message
Answering these 4 questions will make it easier for you to communicate and create a content strategy.
And easier for your audience to notice and remember you.
Think about these for your business as a whole, or just start with a single service you offer.
1 Who’s my message for?
2 What do they want/need to know?
3 What are they focusing on that might be holding them back?
4 What’s my solution that works better than what they’re doing right now?
Once you’ve got answers to those 4 questions above, you can plan these 3 pieces of content for every service you offer, as well as for your business as a whole.
It gives shape to your message and stops you watering down what you’re saying.
Here are 3 juicy topics for your content strategy –
A repeatable phrase & catchy reminder of what your business/service is all about.MANTRA
It could be a picture in words to say what you’re all about. It might be something else.
The point is, it’s unique to you.
Mine goes like this – It’s easier to push an open door.
How you casually or quickly explain what you do.ELEVATOR PITCH
Or how you introduce your business to someone new.
You don’t have be on Dragon’s Den to need one of these.
Think about how you’d describe your business to someone as you wait in a coffee queue. No jargon.
Talk about your results, not your process. If you can, end with a question to keep conversation flowing.
These let you have easy conversations about your work.TALKING POINTS
You can also use them as prompts when you’re commenting on other people’s content.
What other gold should you squirrel away in your Content Vault?
The other 8 essential items are on my free Content Checklist. It’s called 11 Messaging Must-Haves to get eyes on your business.
Perfect if you need to add some timesaving strategy to your content plan.
I’ve seen the value of working on these 11 juicy things, for me and my clients. No more overthinking or watering down.
When to hire a messaging expert for your content strategy
When you work alone, it’s a challenge to craft a message that stands out.
Psychologically, our brains are wired to check out what everyone else is doing. That’s how social proof works. So we do competitor research and look for shortcuts.
We might chase trends on social media.
Download templates, listen to podcasts, gather more info.
On top of that, when you work alone, you don’t have team spirit to fall back on when you put yourself out there.
You don’t have team feedback about how you’re getting your message across.
So you end up treading a thin line between doing what’s been proven by others to work and blending into the background.
That’s where working on your own unique message with someone else can help.
It can stop you wobbling under the weight of all that looking, learning and research.
Would you like my help with content strategy?
Want to save yourself hours of time?
Creating a vault of repeatable content will do exactly that.
Firstly, get my full Checklist of 11 Messaging Must-Haves to get eyes on your business by clicking here.
Then check out my 1:1 Messaging Intensive.
I’m a UK marketing consultant for small businesses, specialising in work with other marketers, creatives and copywriters.
I hate the corporate-speak of the word deliverables. But here they are.
This is what you get with my 4-week Messaging service –
- Elevator pitch
- Content pillars
- Talking points
I can help you build trust and connection with your clients through persuasive content. And save you hours of time every week.
Find out more about my Messaging service here.