I was talking to a friend of mine recently and she said something that really gave me pause. She was really beating herself up over this and there was just no need. We were talking about my business, and the fact I spend all my time writing other people’s blogs for them. She commented that she hated blogging, absolutely hated it, and that she’d stopped blogging and started vlogging instead.
Before I could say what I was thinking, “That’s the smart thing to do if you hate blogging.” She said, “I’m just too lazy, so I make videos instead of blogging.”
That really made me stop and go, “Wait, what?”
Of all the things she could have said about her wonderful video content, telling me that creating it made her lazy was the last thing I was expecting to hear. Her content is awesome, it gives her audience real value and very clearly positions herself as an expert in her niche. It does everything that good content marketing should do, yet she felt guilty for doing it.
As entrepreneurs, we carry a LOT of guilt. As female entrepreneurs, I think this is often even more evident, especially if we’re also mothers. We have guilt for not spending enough time with our friends, family, children. We work and work yet always feel guilty for not working more.
When we aren’t earning enough money we feel guilty for failing to support ourselves and our loved ones. When we do earn enough money we feel guilty because it doesn’t feel like we ‘earned’ it.
We have guilt for not having a ‘proper’ job, for getting to work from home, for spending our time doing something we love and calling it work, for working in our pyjamas, or on the sofa, or in the garden.
The guilt of being an entrepreneur is seemingly endless, and most of it is totally misplaced. Feeling guilty for choosing to vlog rather than blog is a shining example of this.
Vlogging isn’t the lazyoption, it’s the smartoption. Here’s why…
Why Vlogging Isn’t The Lazy Option…
Anybody that’s ever vlogged will know that it’s not an easy thing to do. Vlogging takes time. It takes effort, planning, and preparation. You still have to think about what topics you’re going to talk about, and exactly what you’re going to say. In reality, vlogging isn’t that much different to blogging. There’s only difference is: if you’re not working off a script and just do everything off the cuff, straight into the camera (as I currently record my videos), then you don’t have to take the time to sit down and write your posts.
That really is the crux of the difference.
When you blog, you have to write a blog post.
But when you vlog, you can sit and talk at a camera until you get the words out, in a way that expresses what you’re trying to say, in a way that you’re happy with.
You can edit your videos after the fact, and add pretty little bells and whistles (intros, music, animations etc), but it’s essentially the same process as blogging. When you write a blog post you write it, then edit until you’re happy with it.
If you’re writing blog post, you write it, then edit until you’re happy with it.
And if you’re recording a vlog, you record a video and edit until you’re happy with it.
I found it really quite upsetting that my friend was doing herself down and thinking of herself as ‘lazy’ for choosing to vlog rather than blog.
“That’s not being lazy,” I told her. “That’s playing to your strengths.”
She sounded so relieved to hear me say that. To realise that she no longer had to think of herself as a lazy person for choosing to vlog rather than blog.
If you’re vlogging rather than blogging, you’re not being lazy.
If you hate blogging, and if you’re forcing yourself to write blog post after blog post, week after week, and you really cannot stand it, you have two choices.
If you find it easier to talk into a camera, and express your thoughts, opinions and expertise straight down the lens, rather than trying to find the written words, and take the time and energy to pour it all onto a page, go for it.
That’s not being lazy, that is playing to your strengths.
That is the smart way of running your business.
The Realities Of Content Marketing…
Content marketing takes an alarming amount of time, energy, and effort. It takes a lot of creative juices.
The key to good content marketing is to make sure that you do it in the way that best suits you. That may mean paying somebody else to do it for you – that’s fine! But it may mean doing it yourself. If that’s the case, you should be doing it in a way that you are most comfortable with. For my friend (and for a lot of other people), videos are the best medium. They are more comfortable talking into a camera than they are sitting down and trying to write. There are loads of great reasons to start a vlog. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…
Creating video content will give you so much more value than just creating written content alone.
If you’re recording your videos off scripts, then you already have a written version. If you’re not using scripts, you can simply get your videos transcribed, and you’ll end up with both a written and video version. Your video can be turned into podcasts, blog posts, social media posts, memes, Snapchat stories, Instagram stories, the list goes on…
Vlogging is the smart form of content marketing hands down: it’s so much more versatile and powerful than blogging alone.
Just to be absolutely clear, even if your sole reason for vlogging is that you hate blogging, that is one of the best reason to start a vlog.
If you are happy recording videos and you hate writing blog posts, which one do you think you’re going to be better at?
Which one do you think you’re going to do more frequently and more consistently? If you are comfortable in the medium that you’ve chosen to use for your content
If you are comfortable recording videos you are far more likely to do it. Your content creation will be more consistent, you will create higher quality content than you would if you were trying to write when you’re uncomfortable with writing, don’t like writing, bored with writing, or you just don’t have time to write.
You will end up with stronger content if you create it in the format you are most comfortable with than if you try to force yourself to create it in the format you think you should be using.
The Blogging Trap…
So many people get caught in the trap of thinking that they have to blog. There is a common belief in business that if you’re not physically writing a blog every week, you are somehow failing. In marketing that is what we are constantly told, “You have to be blogging. You have to be blogging. You have to be blogging.”
I’m not going to disagree with that sentiment. You should have regular content coming out on your blog.
But how you choose to create that content is entirely up to you.
The smart thing to do is to create your content in the way that suits you best. So if recording a video is easy for you and writing a blog post is a nightmare, record videos. If paying somebody else to do it for you, and totally take it off your hands, is what is going to make you most comfortable with content marketing, do it.
Do whatever makes you feel like you are in control, and that you can actually use content marketing successfully without breaking your brain…
The Smart Choice For People Who Hate Blogging…
Please, please do not think you are being lazy if you are recording video content. Video content is not the easy option, it’s not the lazy option, it is the smart option for so many reasons.
There are a million things in life that you can use to do yourself down, and make yourself feel crappy. We’re very self-critical, and nit-picking the way that you choose to do things, the way you live your life, the way you run your business is all too easy. There are so many reasons to be self-critical.
This is not one of them, I promise you.
Vlogging, not the lazy choice.
Vlogging is the smart choice.
Looking to start your own vlog? Download my free Vlogging Workflows now and get super productive in your video marketing efforts…
As entrepreneurs, we all have to deal with clients, customers, and other business owners. In order to ensure your success, a healthy work/life balance, and your sanity, it is really important that you have clear boundaries in place for interacting with other people in a professional capacity, and dealing with their requests.
It’s absolutely vital that you establish clear boundaries and enforce them.
Where exactly are the lines in your business?
What are you happy to do?
What makes you uncomfortable?
The Rookie Mistake All Entrepreneurs Make…
Like most entrepreneurs, when I started out in business, I really didn’t have any boundaries. I took on any and all work, no matter what it was. My focus was on bringing in some money. I wasn’t that particular about where that money came from, and a lot of the stuff that I ended up doing was really quite soul-destroying work. As a result, I put up with a lot of crap from customers in terms of what they expected from me, what they were willing to pay me, and whether they were willing to pay me at all.
In the early days, I was constantly inundated with emails. I had texts coming in late at night, people calling and texting me when they knew full well that I was on holiday. You name it, I had to deal with it. And that’s just the realities of being an entrepreneur to some extent; everybody has to deal with this sort of thing at some point. For most entrepreneurs, it’s a difficult issue, especially initially. You don’t know that it’s okay to set clear business boundaries at the start, it feels like a luxury you can’t afford. And so you end up completely swamped, just like I was…
Every time I logged onto Facebook I had to deal with a tsunami of messages. Work spilt over into my personal life, with requests from people I knew from my online business networks flooding my personal profile. Work swamped what my friends were doing, and Facebook stopped being something I did for fun, to catch up with people, and became just another aspect of work.
That is really draining.
The Business Boundary Epiphany…
At some point I had a bit of an epiphany.
The real problem wasn’t my clients, but me. I never actually told people when their expectations were unreasonable or attempted to stop unwanted behaviour.
Instead, I quietly brooded over their rudeness and increasingly unrealistic expectations. That feeling gradually grew worse, until finally, it drove me a bit mad. Overwhelm set in. I struggled to cope with the mounting pressures were being imposed upon me.
It’s Not You, It’s Me…
My clients weren’t treating me badly because they were bad people, they were simply exploring the limits of what they could ask of me. When they encountered no resistance, they pushed further. I never articulated my displeasure when they made unreasonable demands, refused their requests, or ignored their calls and texts. My response to their behaviour was telling them it was all okay.
That their expectations were reasonable and would be met.
In the end, all I needed was some clear boundaries.
I was really resistant to this. It felt rude of me to draw lines and refuse anything. There was also this immense fear that the second I tried to impose any kind of order, I would lose all my clients and my business would fail.
As it turned out, the opposite was true. Setting clear boundaries and learning to handle shit like a boss, and rule my tribe like an Empress, has seriously up-leveled my business. It’s left me with more clients, a constantly growing tribe, higher profits, more free time, and far less stress.
And the best part? All I had to do was impose three simple boundaries…
My New Business Boundaries…
In the last year I’ve really tightened up on my boundaries, what I am willing to let people get away with, and where I draw the lines and say, “Hang about, no, that’s not on.”
This includes some really practical lines, like…
Having payment terms in place that everybody has to sign before I start working for them.
Having a clear limit on the amount of email support that certain clients get.
Rewrite limits – very clear guidelines on what is an acceptable amount to expect me to rewrite, and what will incur an extra charge.
No Skype. I do not do Skype, which surprises a lot of people because I’m quite happy doing videos. It’s got nothing to do with me being seen on camera. I have a personal issue with Skype; I do not like it. Skype makes me very uncomfortable.
Everybody I work with signs either terms of conditions or a contract, depending on the nature of the work that I’m doing for them.
If a client doesn’t pay, I don’t work. Gone are the days I would happily keep working for people, even when they hadn’t paid me. This was usually on the promise that payment was coming, at some point. I have a lot of clients on monthly retainers who pay me a set amount monthly. If they don’t make their payments, even if there’s a perfectly understandable reason, and I’m totally fine holding off for a month or whatever is needed, I don’t do any other work in the interim. Work stops until they’re back on track with the payments.
The last was the one thing that felt like an unreasonable expectation on my part. I really had a bad money block surrounding the expectation that people pay me on time. It seemed acceptable to me, almost inevitable, that people wouldn’t make payments when they promised, and that they would still expect me to keep working, even if payment was absent. I’m really not sure where this comes from, as I detest being late making payments myself, and get terrible guilt when I am. I’d never expect a service to continue while I was behind on my payments.
Yet when it came to clients, I really struggled to hold them to the same standards.
I’ve since accepted that it’s reasonable to expect people to pay on time, and if they don’t pay on time, whatever work you’re doing for them has to pause until they have paid.
For the most part when it comes to imposing business boundaries, people are very understanding and accepting. They don’t generally bat an eyelid.
You let them know what the terms of working with you, and they simply accept that those are the terms under which you can work together. Most people will accept it, and most of those who don’t won’t kick up a fuss. As long as you’re clear with them at the outset they’ll simply say, “Oh, that’s not how I like to work. I’m looking for somebody that does it a little differently.” And that’s the end of it. They move on, you move on, and nobody comes to any harm over it.
Every business has expectations in terms of what the client can do and what the business can do, dos and don’ts.
All businesses have (or should have) boundaries.
People get really worried when it comes to enforcing boundaries because they’re convinced they’re going to lose all their clients, and won’t be able to attract more business. But from my personal experience (and from talking to other entrepreneurs and business owners), most people will be perfectly fine whatever boundaries you set.
The few who aren’t, you are better off without, and it’s not going to kill you to replace them with people who are happy to work with you on your terms.
The Benefits Of Setting Business Boundaries…
Getting rid of clients who are difficult to work with, even if you really, really love them, it’s an upsetting process. But at the end of it, you will find that your life is a lot less stressful for not having to deal with them anymore, and not having to contend with their unrealistic expectations.
In addition, I found that my profits shot up as a result of enforcing my business boundaries and getting rid of difficult clients, for two reasons:
I made sure that everyone was on my current pay scale. I put my prices up when I re-branded as The Write Copy Girl in 2016, but my existing clients remained at the prices that they signed up for. The only people who were paying my new prices were new clients. That all changed at the start of 2017 when I put everybody up to the new pricing scheme.
It created more time in my schedule and made me a lot more efficient. The best benefit of enforcing boundaries is how much better I’ve got at managing my time since I’ve put boundaries in place in my business. Curtailing unrealistic expectations and demands has allowed me to focus on doing what I do best – writing. I work fewer hours, and the hours I do spend working are far more productive, and far more in line with my zone of genius.
When People Raid Your Borders…
Just because I have boundaries in place doesn’t mean nobody ever pushes them. There are still times I get the odd raiding party crossing the border, smacking me upside the head with a coup stick, and running off doing a victory dance. People naturally push the boundaries, partly because it’s human nature to need to see how far you can go, and partly because a lot of the time, people don’t actually realise they are overstepping their bounds.
You may have told people a boundary is in place but until they actually step over it, they might not realise a particular action or request is crossing the line. A polite reminder is usually all it takes to get them back over that boundary and ensure that they don’t step over it again. Once they realise it’s not acceptable for them to do a certain thing, they don’t do it again.
Despite my wonderful new boundaries I still get people asking things that are, for me, over the line…
“Can you write my thesis for me?”
“I can’t actually afford to pay you, but working for me for free will be great for your business. It will really raise your profile, and you’ll gain loads of new clients.”
And (my personal favourite, and the inspiration for the title of this particular post)…
“I need you to test drive our new butt plug. I think the first-hand experience is going to really add authenticity to the piece.”
The Three Essential Business Boundaries…
I’ve chosen those three particular examples for a reason – each one exemplifies one of the main things that you will have to deal with when it comes to running your business like a boss (or as I prefer to think of it, when it comes to ruling your tribe like an empress). If you get crystal clear on these three boundaries, it will make it very easy for you to decide when a request or expectation is out of bounds, and enforce that decision.
#1 The Code…
In my first example, I mentioned that I occasionally get people asking me to write their own work for them. I do a lot of work as a ghostwriter, wherein I allow people to put their own name on my words, and pass them off as their own.
I’m perfectly happy with that arrangement, I have no issue with it. There are many reasons people need a ghostwriter, and I’m more than happy to let clients take the credit for my work. Discretion and confidentiality are part of the service.
But there are certain situations when I am not okay with that.
The best example is when it comes to academic work and a student approaches me asking, “Can you write my thesis for me?” or “Can you write an essay on this for me?”
And it is blindingly obvious they want to hand my work in at University as their own work.
That conflicts quite severely with my moral code. The concept of knowingly writing someone else’s work for them, and allowing them to hand it in so that they can gain their degree, off the back of work that is not their own, does not sit with me well morally.
I have a real ethical issue with that; it’s a line I just don’t cross.
What Is A Code?
Whether you are Dexter Morgan, Jack Sparrow, or Barney Stinson, you need a code.
A code is essentially just a set of guiding principles. Your niche may have specific ethics related to it, such as, the legal profession and medical professions have ethical guidelines. Depending on what your niche is certain things, from an ethical perspective, are legally required. But also, there are always going to be certain practises that you personally have an issue with.
Things that you can legally do as part of your business, but that you personally get the ick doing. You don’t like doing it.
This is the first boundary that you have to put in place: you need a code.
Explain it, and enforce it.
The second boundary you really need to get in place relates to respect.
Your time and expertise are valuable.
You are running a business, you are not running a charity (although you may have charitable elements to your business). You need to get paid for your time and work.
Now, you might decide to have certain things available for free – you might do pro bono work, such as, or it might simply be that you offer opt-in freebies, free worksheets, downloads, videos, and all your content is free.
There will be elements of your business that you are making freely available. But they are elements that you have decided ahead of time that you are going to create, and make available for free, as part of your overall business strategy, and you’re happy with that.
All of my content is available for free. I have a regular blog and a vlog with lots of free content on it. I have opt-in freebies available. In addition, I also give all new clients the option of having a completely free blog post to try out my service. That service is worth £55 and you get it totally free as a way of trying before you buy, because I believe that with the particular service I offer, it can be very difficult to make that leap of faith, and trust a writer to write for you.
You don’t know what their writing’s going to be like, you don’t know how well you’re going to work together, you’re not sure it’s going to be worth the money. There are various questions that potential clients have, which really can’t be answered by me reassuring them. It’s a lot easier (for them, and for me) if I show them what I can do and let them decide for themselves if it’s worth the investment.
So I quite happily work for free, in the sense that I will write one piece for free, to let people see how I work. But there are always going to be people who push that boundary…
They’ll come to me right off the bat and say, “I can’t afford to pay you to write my blog for me, but if you work for me there are loads of great benefits for you and your business. It’ll raise your profile, you’ll gain loads of new clients, you’ll get loads of new business. My business is really going places, if you get on board now, and help me develop it, I’ll be able to pay you in the future, once everything’s taken off. If you help me get there then that’ll be great for you.”
You’d be surprised how frequently people make that argument. They genuinely believe it’s in my best interest to work for them for free, or at a reduced price.
And they create a great patter; it sounds good when people pitch it to you, and it’s amazing how good an opportunity people can make working for them for free sound. They’ll throw statistics at you, numbers, promises of future payment, promises of all of their clients turning into your clients, and many other things.
And they’re empty promises. They have no way of guaranteeing what they’re saying will ever come to pass.
So you really need to be very clear on what you will willingly do for free, and what requires payment.
It can be as simple as people asking for advice on your specialist subject. You might happily give them a bit of advice. Maybe because you think they’re a potential client and you want to let them know how helpful you can be. Or perhaps because they’re a friend and they need help. But there always comes a point when you have to say, “I don’t actually have time to answer that, but if you go and check out this blog post, or this video, or this free ebook that I’ve created, it’ll answer all your questions.”
You need to be able to point people to content containing the information they want or say to them, “That’s actually part of this service I offer/part of a product I offer. You can check that out here.”
People will do one of two things when you say that to them: they will happily run off and check out the thing you’ve told them about, or they’ll get annoyed with you for expecting them to go and find the information themselves, or pay for the relevant product or service, rather than you giving it to them for free.
That is a very good barometer for telling whether someone is a good person to work with or not. If they’re willing to read/watch the content you point them to, or buy the product or service you’ve told them about, hen they usually turn out to be a good client.
If they kick up a fuss at that point, and expect you to take extra time to explain to them individually, in-depth, for free, even though they can easily read it elsewhere without taking up more of your time, that’s usually a good indication they’re not going to respect your boundaries. They’re not going to respect your time, or your value, and that (generally) they’re just never going to be a good client.
It can be a good thing to step out of your comfort zone occasionally. It pushes you, it encourages you to grow and learn new things, but when you do it really should be your decision.
You should be deciding to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. It shouldn’t be a client, potential client, or a member of your tribe, who has put you in a position where you are outside your comfort zone, not by choice, but because they have put you there.
There are always going to be certain things that you’re not comfortable with doing. Whether it’s doing a service in a particular way, offering particular products, or just communicating with people in a particular way. I mentioned before I don’t do Skype, that is well outside of my comfort zone. I’m not comfortable with it, so that is one of my boundaries.
But there will also be times when clients will ask you to do things that are perfectly reasonable. They’re not unreasonable requests, but for you, personally, they’re not something you’re comfortable doing.
I have one client who runs a sex toy site. They sell a range of different sex toys and I write their blog posts for them. That particular client always asks me for ridiculously fun posts… the differences between realistic and technical dildos, the wonder of breasts and how best to display and/or stimulate them, and most recent an awful lot about butt plugs. I’ve always been totally fine writing for them, I’ve never had an issue with it, up to a point, and they hit that point last week. But when they did, it wasn’t an issue, okay? I pointed out the line in the sand and said, “I’m quite happy writing for you up to a point, and this is that point.” And they said, “Oh, that’s fine, nothing to worry about.” And the suggestion was that I actually try it myself just to add that authentic note to the piece because they thought that a first person perspective would make the piece really authentic, and really good.
The differences between realistic and technical dildos… the wonder of breasts and how best to display and/or stimulate them, and most recent an awful lot about butt plugs. I’ve always been totally fine writing for them, I’ve never had an issue with it, up to a point, and they hit that point last week. But when they did, it wasn’t an issue, okay? I pointed out the line in the sand and said, “I’m quite happy writing for you up to a point, and this is that point.” And they said, “Oh, that’s fine, nothing to worry about.” And the suggestion was that I actually try it myself just to add that authentic note to the piece because they thought that a first person perspective would make the piece really authentic, and really good.
The wonder of breasts and how best to display and/or stimulate them… and most recent an awful lot about butt plugs. I’ve always been totally fine writing for them, I’ve never had an issue with it, up to a point, and they hit that point last week. But when they did, it wasn’t an issue, okay? I pointed out the line in the sand and said, “I’m quite happy writing for you up to a point, and this is that point.” And they said, “Oh, that’s fine, nothing to worry about.” And the suggestion was that I actually try it myself just to add that authentic note to the piece because they thought that a first person perspective would make the piece really authentic, and really good.
And most recently, an awful lot about butt plugs…
I love writing for this client, I’ve never had an issue with it…up to a point. And they hit that point last week.
But when they ran into my boundary, it wasn’t an issue, because I knew exactly where the line was, even if they didn’t. They asked me to do something, I thought about it, realised I was uncomfortable with it, and immediately drew a line.
I pointed to that line said, “I’m quite happy writing for you up to a point, and this is that point.”
They responded by saying, “Oh, that’s fine, nothing to worry about!”
The suggestion was that I actually try their new butt plug myself, just to add that authentic note to the piece.
Now, I have to admit, I have no problem with sex toys; I’ve got a drawer full of them, But there is a world of difference between being comfortable with something in your private life and being comfortable with it in your professional life. It would be a totally different scenario if I was writing a piece in my name, about my own personal experiences, and talking about things relating to sex in that context. I haven’t done it very often, but I have on occasion, if the occasion merits it and there’s really a good reason. I’m not averse to it. It doesn’t bother me. But there is a huge difference between being comfortable discussing your own sexual experiences as yourself and giving your sexual experiences to somebody else to pass off as their own.
For me that was just a bit awkward. I didn’t really like it.
But because I know that one of my boundaries is not agreeing to anything that puts me outside my confort zone, it’s very easy for me to decide what I will agree to. It’s easy for me to tell people when something is going too far, and I’m not willing to do a particular aspect of their request. Sometimes it’s a small element of a job, sometimes it’s the whole job and you have to turn down the client. In either case, there will always times when people ask you to do something which, for some people, might be perfectly acceptable. I’m sure there are writers out there who would quite happily do that and it wouldn’t bother them. But for me, it wasn’t comfortable, and I simply said so.
That boundary meant it really wasn’t a big deal. I actually found the whole thing hilariously funny, as did the client – we had a good giggle.
You just need to make people aware of where the lines are, and when they’ve stepped over them, so they can rein themselves back in, and know not to cross that particular line again.That’s all it takes.
That’s all it takes.
Ruling Your Tribe Like An Empress…
The reason I refer to using these boundaries as ruling like an empress is because there are three fundamental things an empress simply does not do.
An empress does not, or rather should not, break the law, which is where your code comes in.
An empress always commands respect.
And an empress never demeans herself.
So these are the three core things that you have to keep in mind when it comes to boundaries in your business. Have a code, and stick to it; be respectful of your clients and expect them to respect you in return; and never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
What are your business boundaries? Comment below and let me know – are you successful at enforcing them?
I talk about the concept of soulful selling a lot, but I haven’t actually explained the term. This week I’m diving into the concept of soulful selling, and how you can use Soulful Selling to create a fabulous business that has your passion at its heart. This is the key to finally figuring out how to make your passion your paycheck, and you will be amazed by the transformative power soulful selling can have in your business.
The Hard Sell…
We’ve all been the victims or the hard sell at some point in our lives. You walk into a shop, quite content to browse a few things that you’re interested in, and you’re immediately accosted by a random stranger, who’s decided that you’re going to buy a specific product they are trying to sell. They proceed to shove that product down your throat. You likely have no interest in this item and, even if you did have an interest when you walked in the shop, you suddenly lose interest the second the sales rep start talking.
How about the cold calls that we all get? Out of the blue, on our personal mobiles, at peculiar times, from people expecting us to just hand over our money to a company we’ve never heard of before, and for a product or service, we know nothing about.
Even in the world of online marketing, we still get the hard sell. Random advertisements pop up for products that you’ve never expressed an interest in. You get emails from people you’ve never heard of before, never interacted with, and never seen. People who have scraped your email address off your website and randomly sent you a sales pitch. All of this is hard selling.
Yes, we’re talking about the age-old concept of courtship.
Courtship really is the heart and soul of marketing. If you want people to buy from you, to hand over their hard-earned cash, you need to have a relationship with them first. It’s very rare for people to buy things from a person or company they don’t know, or to purchase a product or service they have literally only just heard about at the point of purchase.
Your customers need to get to know, like and trust you before they will willingly part with their money and buy from you. That applies to products, services, low-cost items, high-cost items – it applies to everything. In the world of online marketing, it’s really easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that all you need to do is build a website, set up an advert to drive people to your landing page, and the sales will come rolling in.
It’s not that simple.
The problem with that method is that it is a hard sell. Unless you are only targeting an audience that already knows you with your adverts, the people looking at your adverts, clicking through and seeing your landing page, are doing so without ever having experienced you and what you can do before.
They don’t know you.
They might like your advert, but they don’t know you well enough to like you (or your company/product/service) yet. They certainly won’t trust you. Their entire opinion of you is based on one advert and one landing page. Even if you have the best landing page in the world, if you haven’t taken the time to build a relationship with the people you’re trying to sell to, you’re not going to get very far.
If you haven’t taken the time to introduce yourself and your business to your audience, and explain to them the value of what you’re asking them to pay for, you’re going to find it very, very difficult to sell to them. Soulful selling is the opposite of the hard sell. It doesn’t rely on you drawing in random people, who have never heard of you before and pitching a product or service to them. Instead, you take the time to create a place that your ideal clients are naturally drawn to.
You produce high quality, valuable content, completely free, targeted at a very specific audience – the people who you most want to work with. You grow an audience made up entirely of your ideal clients. Over time they get to know, like and trust you, through reading or watching your content. You have the opportunity to explain to them who you are, what you do, and why your products or services are valuable to them.
They come to understand the value your offerings will bring to their lives.
If you’re selling a particular product, explain to them what this product will do to transform their lives. Paint a vivid picture.If you’re selling them a service, especially a business service, you want to sell them on exactly what your service can do to transform their business, to earn them more money, to make their lives easier. These are all things that you cannot do on a hard sell. Once you get the hang of soulful selling, it actually becomes a very easy process, a very natural process. Your audience grows quite organically. You have to put a lot of effort into it, in the content creation. And in getting your content out there so the people know that it exists.
If you’re selling them a service, especially a business service, show them exactly what your service can do to transform their business, earn them more money, or make their lives easier. These are all things that you cannot do on a hard sell. Once you get the hang of soulful selling, it actually becomes a very easy process, a very natural process. Your audience grows quite organically. You have to put a lot of effort into it, in the content creation. And in getting your content out there so the people know that it exists.
It’s very difficult to create a vibrant, detailed, and believable picture when all you have to work with is a hard sales pitch.
How To Make Soulful Selling The Passionate Heart Of Your Business…
Once you get the hang of soulful selling, it becomes a very easy, very natural process. Your audience grows quite organically. Content creation requires a lot of energy, passion, creativity and time. Soulful selling is by no means the easy route. It’s also not enough to simply create fabulous content. You have to get your content out there, so people know that it exists.
But, once you start that ball rolling, you’ll find it snowballs quite quickly.
Compare the benefits of soulful selling to the spray and pray method of marketing. On the one hand, you have an ever-increasing tribe of ideal clients who know, like, and trust you and understand your value and the benefits of your products and services. They’re happy to hear your sales pitches when you make them, because the rest of the time you give them so much valuable content. On the other hand, your marketing rests on literally blasting out your message to everybody, and hoping that some of the people you reach are going to like you, even though they don’t know you.
By making soulful selling the passionate heart of your marketing, you can change your marketing message.
The hard sell is slightly cringe-worthy. It’s a random advert that might get clicked but is generally ignored, or quickly abandoned, because people don’t know you enough to care, or trust that you can deliver what you’re promising.
Soulful selling allows you to create a message that truly reflects your abilities and the benefits of your products and services. It’s a message your tribe anticipates and eagerly click on to learn more.
Make Your Passion Your Paycheck…
Soulful selling is the perfect way to infuse your marketing efforts with your own passion for your business. Your passion for your niche, for the one thing that you do, that nobody else can do quite like you do it. That, my friend, is what sells.
When people can see how invested you are in a particular subject, a particular area, a particular ‘thing’. Whatever your ‘thing’ is, let people can see how passionate you are about it, how much you love it, the depth of your understanding of it, and how invested you are in ensuring your business, products and services are the best they can possibly be. Let them see how invested you are in making sure that the members of your tribe have better lives as a result of your work.
Nothing compares to content marketing when it comes to achieving this.
Creating free content may at first seem like a bit of an oxymoron. Why would you give away your knowledge and expertise for free? It seems like you’re wasting your time, money, and resources, and spending and an awful lot of energy creating something that’s not really going to achieve anything for you. A lot of people think, “I can just run a Facebook ad. I can just run an email marketing campaign. I can just post some Tweets, and it will have exactly the same effect.”
But there’s a huge difference between creating a place that your ideal clients naturally come to, wanting more from you, and a sales pitch that you blast out and pray someone responds.
Now there’s more to soulful selling than just content marketing. There are concepts that run to the way you run your business, your ethos, your standards, your ways of delivering and ensuring that you’re always putting your customer first. But where marketing is concerned, when it comes to soulful selling, content marketing is the key to ensuring your marketing efforts are thoroughly soulful.
Soulful selling is the way you will propel your business forward and completely transform your marketing from spray and pray, hard sell, to a place that people just love to be, where they can’t get enough of you.
As you’ll probably know by now, I am all about content marketing here at The Write Copy Girl. Whether you are blogging, vlogging, podcasting or doing any other kind of content marketing, the one thing that you will need to do on a regular basis is produce content.
One of the questions I get asked more than anything else is, “Where do you find inspiration for your content?” It’s a really tricky question. How do you stay inspired as a marketer, as a blogger, as a vlogger, as a podcaster? How do you make sure that all your content is fresh, original, and exactly the kind of inspired wonderful content that your ideal clients want to be reading or watching or listening to?
Where Does Inspiration Come From?
Inspiration is a tricky thing to pin down. It’s really one of those things that you can’t clearly define. You know what it is when you see it, but you’re not quite sure what it is until you find it. You may often have found yourself in the position of sitting down and thinking, “Oh. I have to write a blog post for this week,” or, “I need to think of something to blog about for next week’s content.” Now, if you follow my advice, you’ll have a content schedule planned well in advance, but planning a schedule requires quite a bit of inspiration in and of itself, and even once you’ve decided on the topics and titles of every single post that you are going to have in your schedule, when you come to write them or record them, you still need to have that spark of inspiration to actually get it done.
Where exactly are you supposed to find all of that?
Where Do You Find Inspiration For Your Blog?
Like I said, people ask me is where I find my inspiration all the time. I decided that what I was going to write down every way I use to stay inspired for blogging, vlogging and all my content marketing. It turned into a monster post, which would be far too long to put it in a video or blog. Instead, I’ve turned it into a short eBook for you, which you can download here. It’s called The Big Book of Blogging Inspiration, and it contains 63 fabulous ways to stay inspired in your blogging!
If you have any ways of staying inspired that I’ve missed, or if there are any suggestions in the book that you use to stay inspired and keep the creative juices flowing, do please comment below, let me know. Otherwise, I hope it’s a really useful resource for you, and that it will help you stay, creative, inspired, and super productive in all your content marketing efforts!
If you find it helpful, do please give this post a share! I will be back really soon with more epic content. In the meantime…
If you’re using a laptop, place it on a flat surface and it will support itself. If you’re using a phone or tablet, you will need to prop it against something stable. For extra height, place on a stack of books.
Use natural light. Film in front of a bit bright window. Your camera ALWAYS needs to face AWAY from the window (or any light source), you need to face TOWARDS it!
Get outside in the sunshine!
An attractive wall in your house; a big bookcase; your desk/office; outdoors in nature.
THE LIGHT VERSION OF WHAT I USE - IT'S A GREAT VIDEO EDITOR, BUT DOESN'T COVERT, COMPRESS, SPLIT, RECORD YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN, CAPTURE FROM CAMERAS, VHS AND TV AND ALL THE OTHER COOL STUFF YOU GET WITH THE SUITE
For the most part you can use exactly the same setup for live video as static BUT your camera needs to be online! This usually means using Smartphone, tablet, or webcam , although GoPros and high end cameras now come with wifi too! If you're using your webcam, you can totally use your built in webcam, but if you want a really cool pro version, check out...,
...that's number two on the list, right below the Mevo!
Hire a professional videographer. You can do this in your home set up, or hire a professional studio to work in, which will have professional lighting, sound, and the ability to create any environment you like - you can even hire a set dresser and/or branding expert. If you're doing this, take full advantage - batch as much content as possible, and get plenty of extra footage of you doing your thing to use for intros etc. Also, you're in a professional studio - get some brand photos taken while you're there!
I dream of recording like this, after the manner of Marie Forleo and more recently Denise Duffield Thomas (yes, I know, I cite them a lot, I may be slightly obsessed!).
This week I’m sharing exactly how to start a vlog for your business. I’ve also got an awesome freebie for you; the workflows I use when I’m doing my own vlogging. You can see exactly what steps you need to take for each vlog that you make, and what steps you need to take to produce your vlog as a whole. So, make sure you download that…
Before we start I just want to mention that vlogging, like blogging, is an extensive topic and what I talk about today is going to touch on a lot of different subjects. They are too in-depth to cover in one post. I already have posts on a lot of them, however, so link in the related content – be sure to check it out…
The next thing you need to do is another unmissable step. I can’t stress how important it is. You need to make a plan.
Vlogging is a form of content marketing – the key word there being “marketing”. You are not just recording videos, willy-nilly, about whatever takes your fancy. You need to be very clear on the objective you have for each and every video you record. You need to have an overall strategy for your vlog as a whole, so that every single video you record builds to a greater purpose.
Your videos need to naturally feed in to your products and services so that you can promote them in a soulful manner. You also need to take into the need for content upgrades and freebies to include with your vlogs to get people on your list.
If you’re wondering how on earth you’re meant to do all of that, don’t worry, I’m in the final stages of working on a brand new free challenge for you which is going to help you do exactly that. It’s the Divine Blogging Challenge and it’s a taught version of my signature service, The Divine Blogging Design, and exactly how I plan content schedules for myself, and my clients.
You’re going to want to spend a little bit of time boosting your confidence and allaying any fears you might have around vlogging.
Some of you may be gung-ho, really confident, and quite happy to get on. Other people might be on the fence and not really sure what they’re doing. Some people might know that they should be vlogging, but the thought puts the fear of God in them.
Believe me, this is perfectly normal; I have experienced all three reactions at various points.
The key is defining exactly what your worries are surrounding the vlogging process, then finding practical ways to allay those fears.
My Biggest Hangup…
For example, one of the things that really bothered me before I started vlogging (and it’s going to sound utterly trivial, but it really messes with your head when you have a hang up like this) was my hair!
It may shock you to know this, or you may have already realised, but in all my vlogs I’m wearing a wig!
There is a really good reason for that. I am bipolar and for the last few years I’ve had to take some really strong medication to help me get better. I’m now coming off that thankfully, but it did serious damage to my hair. It all fell out at one point. It was so short it was buzz-cut. Since it’s grown back it’s not been very healthy!
My confidence in the way I look with my own hair is rock-bottom. I feel shitty. So, I just made the really simple decision to buy a reasonably good quality wig. I got it on Amazon for £12, not much. I just stick it on every time I am recording a post. It’s not perfect, it’s not as good as having my own fabulous natural hair, but it’ll do.
To be perfectly honest, even people that know me in real life haven’t realised I’m wearing a wig in my videos – they just think my hair recovered! So, if you’ve realised it’s a wig, you’re very on the ball, well done!
You can do things like that to allay all your fears. Even seemingly trivial concerns about how you look can have a significant impact on how well you come across in your videos, how successful they are, and your productivity as a vlogger.
If you’re not comfortable recording videos, you’re not going to want to do it.
And when you’re putting this amount of time and effort into starting a vlog, you really need to be comfortable doing it.
You need to be able to just get on with it; you can’t be stuck procrastinating about every single little detail, or you will never get started.
You need to be realistic about the time requirements for vlogging on a regular basis. This is going to depend very much on how often you want to do it. You may decide, when you start your vlog, that you’re only going to release one vlog a month. Perhaps even one vlog every two or three months. Once you’re up and running you can build from there to do it more regularly. Or, you may decide that you don’t need to do it more regularly, and stick the schedule you start with.
If you’re not vlogging very often, the time requirements aren’t too bad. But if, like make, you are going to be doing a weekly vlog, or even more frequent videos, you really need to be realistic about how much time that is going to take.
It is going to take you a lot of time.
A lot goes into a successful vlog, and when you start your vlog you need to carefully consider what you will do yourself, and what you will outsource. The more you do yourself, the more time it’s going to take you.
Components Of A Vlog…
There are a lot of pieces that go into the puzzle of vlogging. If you’re going to do all of it yourself – and you can do all of it yourself. For the first three months of running The Write Copy Girl vlog I did everythingmyself bar transcripts (which I’ll talk about in a minute). It’s completely possible to do it all yourself, but if you are doing, it all takes a phenomenal amount of time.
It’s actually ridiculous how much time it takes.
Autocues Vs. Off The Cuff…
It takes me even longer because I record everything off the cuff rather than having a script on an autocue. The level of technology and your equipment is something you need to factor into the time requirements.
If you have an autocue and you can read a written post straight off your autocue, the amount of time you spend editing (or the amount somebody else has to spend editing) is going to be an awful lot less. BUT you have to factor in the time it takes to actually write the script that you put on to the autocue.
I used to spend two to three hours a week writing my weekly blog post. That’s time I no longer spend writing because I record my main weekly post off the cuff. So, that’s two to three hours for each post that I don’t have to spend writing.
The flip side of that is that I spend at least an hour, usually two, editing each post because I’m talking freely. I babble. I screw up and have to go back and repeat things that I’ve said.
So, it’s a trade-off. If you have an autocue you’ll have to write the script for it; if you don’t have an autocue you’ll have to edit more.
Pin Down Your Process…
You need to really pin down the exact process that you’re going to use to start your vlog; how much you’re going to do yourself; how much you want to outsource to somebody else; and then you really need to assess how long it’s realistically going to take you.
Figure out whether you actually have that much time. If you don’t it’s no good thinking, “I’ll find the time somewhere.”
There’s a finite amount of time in anybody’s life.
You can’t make more time.
If your plan for vlogging is going to take more time than you have, you either need to outsource more or vlog less.
And it’s okay, either one of those things is perfectly okay. You can outsource as much or as little as you want; you can vlog as frequently as you have the time and inclination to.
Remember, you can always build on it. So if you don’t have time to do it often initially, that doesn’t mean that you’ll never have time to do it.
I’ve touched on this already but the next thing you really are going to have to consider is technology. This is the part where a lot of people get stuck, and it’s usually because they think they need to have a lot of fancy tech.
The truth is, you can start a vlog with nothing more than an iPhone, or any smart phone with a camera on it. You can do it with a laptop, or any computer that’s got a webcam on it. If you’ve got anything that is capable of recording reasonable quality videos you can start a vlog.
I do use a proper camera on a tripod, but that’s only because I already owned the camera and tripod. I didn’t buy that specifically to start a vlog, I had it anyway. If I hadn’t already had a DSLR camera, I would have used my webcam or my smartphone.
The thing with technology, like time, it’s best to start where you’re at. If you don’t have a DSLR camera, if all you have is your camera phone, or all you have is your webcam, that’s fine; start where you’re at.
If you are at all like, “Oh, but I can’t start a vlog like that! It’s not a proper vlog!” go and look at your favourite vlogs on YouTube.
Where equipment is concerned there are a few basic things that you need, but you can get these in various forms.
The two things you absolutely have to have are a camera capable of recording in video and sound so it needs to have a microphone on it.
You also need light. As I said, your camera can be any kind of camera. Your light does not have to be an actual light.
I have a professional photography light that I borrowed off a photographer friend, which is where all the light is coming from in my videos. Take a look at the vlog version of this post at the top of the page – it was pitch black dark outside when I recorded that! I record a lot of my content at night, because I’m busy on client work during the day.
The light in my videos is coming from a professional photography light. It’s is brilliant because it means I can record at any time of day or night and I always have enough light.
If you don’t have a light (and like I said, I borrowed this one, I didn’t buy it. Unless you happen to be a photographer you’re unlikely to have one already!), all you need is a very bright sunny day and a big window.
Or, you can go outside, which makes it even better; natural light is in many ways better than fake light.
Beyond that you might want a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod you can prop your camera up on anything that’s handy. If you’re using a webcam then it will prop up on your laptop or computer. If you’re using your camera or phone you might want to prop it up on some books, or anything that will keep it steady and keep it level.
You can hold your camera yourself, but I don’t advise doing that. Your picture will be shaky, and you’ll spend too much time worrying about where the camera is pointing, and not enough time thinking about what you’re saying.
You need something to keep your camera steady BUT it doesn’t have to be an actual tripod.
As mentioned above, you might want an autocue. I certainly would love an autocue, and I intend to buy one at some point. At the moment, that’s just not on my list of priorities. The reason for that is that they require a reasonably large investment to get an even semi-decent one. And the majority of reasonably priced autocues require you to have an iPad or tablet (which I don’t currently have, meaning I’d have to buy one of those too!). The only one that I could find that worked with my smartphone needs importing from overseas. While the actual autocue isn’t that expensive, the import fees would make it very expensive.
I decided very early on that I was just going to do without an autocue. For now, at least. I may buy one at some point in the future.
Your priorities where technology goes might be quite different to mine. If you are not capable (or comfortable) sitting, talking, and getting it all out on your own.
If you need a script to read off, then the autocue might be a vital investment for you. It may be that you genuinely can’t start a vlog without one. If that is the case Amazon do sell them. Just type in autocue and you will be able to find one – but I warn you, they are quite expensive.
Who will write your script?
If I was writing the script for my vlog I would write it myself. But I am a copywriter, that’s what I do!
If you are thinking that a vlog is a good way to get around having to hire a copywriter for your blog, you may actually be right.
If you can get in the flow and articulate things well enough to talk off the cuff into the camera, and still get your message and all the vital information out there, exactly as you want it, with all the details you need to include, then great. You’ve avoided the need for somebody to write your content for you, and you’re still not having to do it yourself – brilliant! You’re golden!
But if you need a script to work off, because you’re not confident enough, you don’t know the topic well enough, you can’t find the words to properly articulate exactly what you want to say, or you would simply get things done more efficiently if you were working off a script, then you might think about having somebody write it for you. If you haven’t already, claim your free blog post (don’t worry, they come ready-to-upload to your autocue. Just be sure to let me know you need a script, and what format is required!).
If you’re not working off a script you are going to have to get your vlogs transcribed. By that I mean you need to get somebody to produce a written version of everything you’ve said. This is really important; just because you’ve got it on video, doesn’t mean you don’t need to publish a written blog post version of it as well.
If you look at my posts here on The Write Copy Girl website, you’ll see that every week I a video with the written version below it. The reason you need to do this is that, this way, you have all the benefits of blogging as well as all the benefits of vlogging.
People can choose; they can read if they prefer; or they can watch if they prefer. It’s entirely up to them.
Don’t presume that everybody is going to want to watch.
Also, even if, in the unlikely event that absolutely everybody would rather watch than read, having the written post is still vital for your website’s SEO. You can’t just throw out all the tenets of blogging because you’re starting a vlog.
You still need to blog!
The good news is the fact that you have recorded the vlog means you’ve already got the content.
You shouldn’t be spending massive amounts of time creating two different versions of the same thing. Repurpose it!
Either write a blog post, put it on an autocue and record it based on a script. Or, do it off the cuff; record a video; edit it (or have someone edit it) to your liking, and get a transcript done.
Creating video content i a twofer. You get two in one. And if you’re really savvy you can do even more than two in one. You can convert your video into a podcast. You can chop up up the written blog and use it as posts on your social media. You can pull short quotes and create Tweets, or memes.
You can do so many different things once you have your content in video form.
That’s the key.
Record all your content in video form and you can turn it into anything else.
That being said, transcribing videos is a very time-consuming, tedious process. It’s just a black hole of nothing, and you can get it done on Fiverr for $11.
Where To Get Your Videos Transcribed…
My experience with Fiverr, I will admit, has been a bit hit and miss. The good transcribers that will do a vlog for $11 will only do vlogs of 20 minutes or less for that price. If you go over 20 minutes, the good transcribers will charge you $40-60. That’s a lot of money. There are a few sellers on there that do longer videos for less. I have found them to be incredibly unreliable. They either don’t deliver at all or what they do deliver is gibberish (usually because they use talk-to-text technology rather than actually listening to the words and writing them down).
If you want to avoid Fiverr for quality or length reasons, I can highly recommend Rev.com. They charge you $1 per minute for transcripts. Rev.com is also very good if you want captions to go on your video.
The other alternative is to outsource it to a VA which is what I’m in the process of doing now.
How Much Of My Vlog Should I Outsource?
As I mentioned, there are a lot of different elements involved in starting a vlog. Some of them you will be perfectly capable of doing yourself. You may be perfectly capable of doing all of them yourself, but that is very time consuming. Some of them, you might find, there are people who can do them better than you can.
For example, I’m sure there are video editors out there that can edit videos better than me. But at the moment I edit all mine myself.
At the time of writing this I’m doing everything for my vlog with the exception of getting them transcribed. I will, however, soon be upgrading that system to include more outsourcing.
I’m in the process of finding a virtual assistant to transcribe everything for me, edit everything, put it all into my blog post, and then put it all into my newsletter. That is really taking everything off me apart from the actual recording, editing and uploading of the videos.
Start Where You’re At…
It’s okay to start doing everything yourself, and slowly add people to help you out; it’s okay to start off having somebody do absolutely everything for you, other than sit and talk to the camera.
Start where you’re at.
Start with what you are comfortable doing, but this is really key, start with what you can afford.
Bear in mind, one way or another, you’re going to have to invest a lot in a vlog like mine.
A regular weekly vlog will cost you a lot, either in time or in money.
If you do everything yourself that’s going to take you a lot of time. If you outsource some (or all) of it, that’s going to cost you a lot (I spend £15-£30 per week on my transcripts, depending on the length of the video for the week. And that’s the only thing I currently outsource. It soon adds up!).
I’m going to touch on how vlogs can help you earn more money in a minute, but that doesn’t happen straight away.
When you first start a vlog, it isn’t going to instantly start earning you money; it’s going to take time. If you’re spending money on vlogging right from the start (and that includes buying fancy equipment at the beginning), I would really advise you not to.
You don’t need to, you can start with whatever you’ve got.
And it’s better to wait until it’s earning you enough money to cover those costs – and some – than it is to expend resources that you’re not sure you’re going to get back. I can’t guarantee that your vlog is ever going to earn you money; I’m not in a position to make that guarantee.
So, if you put that money in initially, you need to do it knowing you might not get it back. That’s just a risk; why would you take it? You don’t need to. You can start simply and build on it.
Editing Your Vlog…
Once you’ve recorded your vlogs you are going to need to either edit them yourself or have a video editor do it for you.
I haven’t actually experimented with outsourcing editing at all, so I have no idea where you might do it or how much it might cost. It’s something that I prefer to do myself because I am a total control freak. I am capable of handing control for certain things over to other people; editing is not one of them! It’s my face, and I’m putting it out there, and it’s my words. I want them how I want them and I don’t want anybody else in control of that.
You may not have that issue. You may be completely comfortable handing it over to somebody else; you might be a total technophobe and the thought of having to actually edit these things yourself might bring you out in hives.
If you are doing it yourself I can highly recommend some software called Movavi. It’s very reasonably priced and I use it for all my videos. It’s got everything you need to edit, and also to compress your files so they’re a lot smaller, and you can upload them more easily.
Where Should I Publish My Vlog?
Speaking of uploading… The obvious place to publish your vlog is YouTube.
You are going to want to start your own YouTube channel when you start your vlog, even if you aren’t intending to use YouTube as your main platform.
Even if you want your videos on your website you still need somewhere that will host them for you. You upload them to YouTube and you can then embed them on your website really easily. When it comes to sharing your vlog, the simplest way to add them on most platforms is to embed them (as I have with the video for this post). YouTube gives you a code that you simply copy and paste for each of your videos. You can also link directly to the video on YouTube.
But, for certain platforms, you’re better off uploading your vlogs separately.
Facebook is the perfect example of this. Facebook have worked really hard in recent years to develop their own video platform and you will find your Facebook reach is phenomenal if you upload your videos directly to Facebook, rather than sharing YouTube links. That is simply because Facebook prioritise videos that are hosted on Facebook above other content.
Facebook will share your video more if you upload it to their site. Your organic reach will be a lot more for a video hosted on Facebook than it will be for a video hosted anywhere else.
It’s actually a good thing, because it’s building your content on your Facebook page. You have a video section on you Facebook page and all your videos will be on there. It gives people a lot more to look at when they’re on your Facebook page. Better yet, it makes your videos easier to find – rather than having to scroll all the way down your timeline, to look for any videos you’ve shared via a link, they are an intrinsic part of your page, right there at the top.
Batch your content as much as possible! If you’re recording one video, make sure you record at least two! Once you’ve gone to all the bother of setting it up, once you’ve got yourself in the zone, and you’re in the flow of recording, keep going as long as you have time, and as long as you are comfortable. The more you get done in one go, the more efficient you will be overall.
You NEED A System…
This may well be the most important thing I’ve said in this whole post.
You need to have a really finely tuned system that takes you step-by-step through everything that needs doing, for each and every video you make, and for your vlogging efforts as a whole.
The reason there are three is because I’ve done them based on different levels of outsourcing. The first is totally do-it-yourself. The second is a middle ground version, where you might want to start outsourcing the elements that tend to be better when done by others.
The final one is really an absolute #Girlboss method that involves you literally sitting and talking to a camera to record a video, and doing nothing else.
The Value Of Starting A Vlog
Just before I go, if you’re been reading and thinking “God! That sounds like a lot of work” you are right.
Vlogging is a lot of work.
But, any kind of concerted content marketing strategy is going to be a lot of work. Whether you are blogging or vlogging, if you’re doing this right, if you’re really serious about content marketing, it takes a lot of work but it is so worth it.
To give you a real world example of this. I recorded this post on April 3rd. At the time of writing this, I’ve been vlogging for three months, since the first week in January. For the month of January not a great deal happened. I put out four posts, and I got good feedback but, in terms of profit, nothing really changed.
In February, however, my profits doubled.
In March they increased again.
I can’t predict April’s income yet, but based on the amount of repeat monthly business I’ve signed in the last two months, and inquiries I’ve already received, I’m expecting it to increase yet again.
I’m not going to say that is exclusively down to the fact that I started a vlog. There were a couple of weeks where I was running an AdWords campaign – that resulted in a few little bits of business coming in. So a little bit of that extra profit was from elsewhere.
But the vast majority of that increase in profits was due solely to the fact that I started a vlog.
How Does Vlogging Earn You Money?
If you’re wondering exactly how vlogging resulted in profits, the answer is really, simple.
People get to know you, like you and trust you a lot more easily when they can see you. When they can hear you. When they feel like they’re actually interacting with you and getting to know you as a person and almost as a friend.
There are people who I have had in my networks on social media for years who have never expressed an interest in paying for any services from me before but they have known about me. Then, suddenly, I started vlogging and they became interested.
The vlog has been educating people about the value of my services and about the quality of my knowledge and capabilities. They have got more confidence in my ability to deliver what I promise.
Also, the vlog gets them really fired up and passionate about the possibilities of what they can do if they have the right copy for their business!
The vlog has already more than paid for itself. The amount of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears that I’ve poured into my vlog has more than paid for itself already. I’m anticipating that to continue into the future.
Vlogging is soworth it!
I have seen that result without any promotion of my videos. Without any advertising on my vlog. Without anything other than sharing it in my social networks and promoting it as much as I could for free.
I’ve sent it out to my list each week; I’ve shared it in networking groups that I’m in on Facebook; I’ve tweeted each video.
I haven’t done anything else.
So, month one, don’t expect much to happen; month two, you will start to see a shift; month three (because remember, it always takes at least three months for any new marketing to take effect), is where the magic is really going to start to happen.
Video marketing has been on the rise for several years now, but 2016 really saw it take off. Several of the big giants, like Twitter and Facebook, invested heavily in developing their own video platforms. They’ve integrated video into social media. As a result, video has become the solid core of all good content marketing plans.
That doesn’t mean blogging is obsolete in the slightest, not even slightly.
It does mean is that you will get a lot more mileage out of your content if you record it in video format, and present it in written blog format at the same time.
This isn’t an either/or thing, okay? It’snot, ‘You should do video instead of blogging.’ It’ is, ‘You should do vlogging as well as blogging.’
Don’t worry, that’s not going to take you twice as much time. Once you have your content in video format, you can get it transcribed and put into written format. Or alternatively, you can write your content like you normally would for your blog, put it on an autocue, and record it by reading it straight from that.
So it doesn’t have to double your workload. It will take you a bit more time overall, but it is so worth it. Here’s why…
Why Video Is The Perfect Medium For Marketing…
Simply put, video is the perfect medium to use when connecting with potential customers. Video marketing is the best and fastest way to build the Know, Like, and Trust factor. It’s excellent at forming really strong, lasting relationships with potential clients. It’s the best way to convert those potential clients into paying clients. It’s also the best way to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. Videos are also a great way to educate people on the importance and value of your products and services. It’s also how you educate people on your core values and beliefs, as a business, a thought leader, or just as a person.
The best way to get your message out there, whatever your message might be, is video marketing!
At the end of 2016, Syndicate put out up-to-date statistics that estimated that, of all the content online in 2017, 74% of it would be in video format.
Not only that, just including the word ‘video’ in the subject line of your newsletter will increase your open rate by 19%. It will boost your click through rate by 65%. That is insane! At the same time, (if that wasn’t an incentive enough to get vlogging and start doing all your content marketing in video format!), your unsubscribe rates plummet by 26% when you start using video.
That really is a no-brainer!
Those statistics alone should be enough to convince you that video marketing is the way forward. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Video is the way forward, people, join the revolution!
Exactly What Is So Powerful About Video Marketing?
Facebook were actually the ones that first tipped us off to the awesome power of video in terms of content marketing. They announced in 2015 that video view rates had more than doubled. It very quickly became obvious that the amount of interaction and organic reach that you got out of videos was massively superior to any other kind of content.
From an SEO perspective, video will hugely impact your rankings. Next to Google, YouTube is the biggest search engine going and it is entirely video-based. Not only that, it is owned by Google. If you have a YouTube channel with lots of good quality content on it, you are more likely to have your videos come up in search results than you are to have your website come up in search results.
Even if you have the videos embedded in your website, because of the way that Google algorithms work, they like to provide multimedia search results. If they can find videos that match a certain search criteria, they will show videos along with other media (posts, images, news etc.). You’re more likely to get your video on the first page of Google than you are your blog post, even if it contains that video.
If you want to rank highly, you need to be recording your content in video format.
The Growing Importance Of Video Marketing…
Given how quickly video marketing is escalating, how fast the integration of video marketing is improving, and how important video is becoming to marketing in general, the impact video marketing is going to have on your SEO is only going to grow. It currently has a huge impact on your SEO, and having a YouTube channel, and videos on your website is going to do wonders for your SEO. As time progresses that impact is just going to escalate.
In short, the sooner you start investing in creating regular video content the better.
The Lazy Factor…
One of the reasons video is so popular is the fact it provides people with easy viewing. You can sit back, relax and watch, rather than having to read.
Or why not watch or listen while you’re doing something else?
You can seriously multitask if you have content in video format, as opposed to blog posts, which require your full attention. A lot of people still love reading blog posts. Personally, I do both, I still read a lot of blog posts online, but I also watch a lot of video.
Vlogs Are Preferably To Blogs For Some Topics And People…
I don’t know about you, but there are certain people I follow who I wouldn’t follow if they didn’t have a vlog. The best example I can think of is Cupcake Jemma, who is one of my favourite YouTubers. She has an amazing YouTube channel and almost 1 million subscribers. She teaches you how to bake cupcakes and other amazing things.
Cupcake Jemma started her whole business through her YouTube channel. She has a bakery in Soho, London, which she set up and funded through her YouTube channel. She had no bank loan, she had nothing, she just started making videos. It took off and was so successful, and so popular, that she now has a thriving business in the heart of Soho.
That is the power of video.
But if she was blogging about cupcakes I would not take the time to read that blog. When it comes to written blog posts, the only ones I read anymore in written format are ones that relate to work. Even then, there are a LOT of newsletters that land in my inbox, snag me with an interesting title, then lose me when I realise ‘Urgh, I’ve got to read it!’
If it’s something vital to my business I’ll take the time to read it.
If it’s something that’s just for fun, or useful but not utterly essential, I very rarely read a post on it.
The only exception to that is The Bloggess, who is an awesome author that I’ve been following for years.
Video is really easy viewing. It gives people the chance to take in content they otherwise wouldn’t prioritise. They might not have time to sit and read your blog post, but they can listen to your vlog (or podcast) while they’re doing the dishes; they can watch your vlog while they’re relaxing on their lunch break, having a coffee, or before they go to bed.
Video gives people a really easy way into your content. It makes it far more likely they will actually go to the bother of looking at your content than they would if it was in written format.
That is simply because, people are fundamentally quite lazy. The easier you make things for them, the more likely they are to do it.
The other amazing thing about video is its virality. I do mean virality not virility (that’s a whole different thing!). I’m talking about the likelihood of a piece of content going viral.
If you post a written post on Facebook, and a video post on Facebook, with exactly the same information in it, watch the organic reach of both posts. You will see exactly what I mean. The video will get a lot more organic reach than the written post.
You don’t have to advertise it, you don’t have to do anything with it. Just stick them up and watch what happens.
Videos naturally get far further than any other kind of content. If you add advertising to that, and advertise your video content, its reach is phenomenal.
Conclusion: Video Marketing Is Awesome…
In short, video is a phenomenally powerful tool when it comes to marketing. It raises awareness of you and your business. It raises your engagement level. It drives sign-ups and sales. It promotes confidence and gives you an air of trustworthiness. It improves your Know, Like, and Trust factor no end. And it converts people into paying clients, and often dedicated members of your tribe, who will come back to you again and again.
Now, if you’re sat there thinking, “God, I want in on this action. How do I start vlogging?” Don’t worry, I’m going to be back next Tuesday with another post that will teach you exactly how to set up a powerful vlog for your business. You can also download my brand new freebie, which includes all the workflows I use in my own vlogging. It takes you through, step by step, the exact process you need to follow to set up a really powerful vlog.
This week I wanted to take some time out to discuss a topic I absolutely love: entrepreneurship.
Life as a female entrepreneur can be tough.
We pour our hearts and souls into our businesses, work long hours, and often (at least initially) have little tangible to show for it. Our To Do Lists are unending. Our friends rarely see us. We have no time for our hobbies, and even less time for self-care. The learning curve is incredibly steep, and seemingly unending.
On top of that, many of us are juggling families, children, and other commitments.
It all takes time, energy, and mental bandwidth.
So how do we cope? How do we build the business we constantly dream of, and create the products and services we know, right down to our very core, we were born to bring into the world?
I’ve been at this a while now, and along the way I’ve put in place eight rules to ensure my life as an entrepreneur is utterly awesome…
Rule #1: Be True To You…
You will find me saying this in a lot of different posts for a lot of different topics, and that’s why it is my rule number one.
Be true to you.
I’ve used this quote before and I’m going to use it again. It’s my favourite quote from Dr Seuss… “Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one alive who is youer than you.”
When it comes to business and being an entrepreneur that is so important thing to remember.
The most successful entrepreneurs are the people who threw themselves into their work, whole heartedly, as their own true (usually slightly demented) selves. They were consistently true to themselves and their vision of what they wanted to do.
And it pays off.
Why It Works…
People get behind authenticity. They get behind that someone they sense is being authentic, being genuine, being true to themselves. They can relate to people better when they believe that they are relating to a real person. You will find that they like you a lot more, and a lot more easily, if you are just being yourself.
The thing you really have to remember is that you started your business. You do things your way. That is your vision. There is literally nobody else alive who could have thought to do things the way you’re doing them, who could have built the business that you are building.
And that’s so important because it’s that unique quality, it’s that total bespoke approach to the world that is going to build you a tribe, build you a business, and make you successful.
So this is rule number one, and it is unbreakable. Unbreakable.
Be true to you.
Rule #2: Don’t Allow Yourself To Be Limited By The Limited Imaginations Of Others…
This is related to rule number one: don’t allow yourself to be limited by the limited imagination of others. By that, I mean you will often have a vision of what you want to do, an idea of where you’re going with your business, of services that you want to provide, and products you want to create. You will have a dream. You will be absolutely adamant that you can do it, and it will be your obsession. You will be following it and chasing it…
And then somebody will say to you, “That’ll never work. Nobody’s gonna want that. Why would you even bother? Is that even a thing? What, are you a con man? Are you conning people? Is that real? You can’t have an online business….you can’t have a blog…what’s a blog? A blog’s not a business. That’s just you talking to yourself, that’s just narcissism. That’s what a blog is, a blog is narcissism, you’re just a narcissist.”
Their Issues, Not Yours…
This is not an issue with you!
You are running into trouble because other people have limited imaginations. They don’t have your vision. They can’t see things the way that you’re seeing them. They can’t envision the world the way you’re envisioning it. And that’s a failure on their part not on your part.
The fact that other people can’t get behind your vision, and can’t believe in what you’re seeing, is not really their fault either.
It’s just that they don’t see it, for whatever reason. It might be because their areas of interest are elsewhere, it might be because their expertise is elsewhere, it might be because they have no frame of reference to understand what you’re doing. But for whatever reason they’re just not getting it. And that’s because their imaginations are limited to the expanse of their own world, their own vision.
That should not limit you.
Don’t ever curtail your vision, don’t ever curtail your dream. Don’t ever stop and say, “Oh god, maybe I shouldn’t go down that road. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. Maybe I shouldn’t do it that way because they don’t get it. They don’t see it.”
“So and so says it’s not going to work!”
Rule #3: Stop Seeking Permission and Looking for Validation from Other People…
That’s not to say you shouldn’t surround yourself with people who are totally on board with what you’re doing; who are at the same place as you in life; who can encourage you.
But you need to stop looking for that kind of support in people who aren’t able to give it you.
The Problem With My Mum…
God love her. I adore her. My mum’s incredibly supportive of me, and my business. But a lot of the time I try and explain what I’m doing and she gets confused. Not because I’m talking nonsense, but because she has no frame of reference: she’s not got a background in business, she doesn’t understand marketing, she’s got no idea what content marketing is.
The other day I was really excited because I’d just signed a new client. I was telling her all about them and what I was going to do for them: content marketing. I said, “I’m going to be writing their blog, to build a tribe, and help them find new clients.”
And she was like, “Oh…isn’t that what you just paid Simon to do for you?”
She was referring to was the fact that I’ve recently started doing an AdWords campaign. When I decided to do that, I hired somebody that knew what they were doing with AdWords, and got him to run it for me.
To her mind, those two things were the same. She then couldn’t understand how I was paying somebody to do something that other people were paying me to do.
When you have people in your life who are (in the nicest possible sense) ‘challenged’ in that way, in that they don’t understand what you’re doing, you can’t look to them for validation.
They’re Not There For Support…
Look to them for encouragement, but you shouldn’t rely on them for the support that you need.
For one thing, you will spend half your life trying to explain what you’re doing and hitting a brick wall. For another, their lack of understanding of what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what you’re trying to achieve, will come out in quite negative ways.
They might not mean to, but they will often be a bit, “Oh, well that’s not going to work because…”
And it’s not that it’s ‘not going to work’, it’s just that they can’t understand how it can work, because they don’t understand it.
That really ties back to asking for permission. And this is a huge problem for female entrepreneurs.
Female Entrepreneurs: Looking for Permission in All The Wrong Places…
How many female entrepreneurs have husbands, partners, wives, parents, even children, who make us feel like we can’t act unless we have their permission. We can’t do anything big with our lives without their permission. We have to run it past them first, and make sure they think it’s okay.
Especially if there’s a financial element to it.
I know a lot of female entrepreneurs who are just starting out building their businesses, many of them after they’ve taken time off to have children. Their husbands/partners are normally the breadwinner. They are normally the person in charge of the finances. They usually have a say in everything related to money. When these women started their business, they often found they needed money from their Other Half to help get their business going, and support them. Because of that, even after they’ve reached a point where they’re making money on their own, they still find themselves constantly checking with their Other Half. Asking if it’s okay for them to do this.
Especially if it involves spending money. They won’t take a course unless the Other Half has signed off on it. They won’t invest in advertising unless the Other Half thinks it’s going to work.
And that’s fine, if the person you’re asking permission from understands what you’re doing and has a really good idea of what will and won’t work. But if they are, for example, like my mother and have absolutely no clue, asking them for permission is counterproductive, because they will often be quite cautious on your behalf. They don’t want to see you make mistakes, they don’t want to see you go wrong.
If they can’t understand how something can work, they will caution you against it, they will withhold that permission, they will tell you not to do it, and they won’t support you in it. Not because they’re being unsupportive, but because they’re trying to protect you, and they don’t have enough understanding to comprehend they’ve made the wrong call, and what they should be doing is telling you to go for it full throttle.
You need to seek permission from people who are in a position to give an informed opinion. That’s so important. This is why having mastermind groups and surrounding yourself by people who are in the same boat you’re in is so important. They might be in a slightly different business, it might be a slightly different niche, but they’re in a similar position. They know what you’re going through. They understand the things you need to make decisions about.
Rule #4: Make Your Passion Your Paycheck
I love this one. It’s so important. It’s a simple concept but so many people get it wrong.
If you’re building your own business, starting something from scratch, pouring your heart, soul, and so much time, and often money and resources into something, you really need to make sure it’s something you love.
You will go completely stir crazy if you put all of that into something that you don’t absolutely love. When you really love something, when you’re working on your passion, it’s not really like work because you’re loving doing it. Even the difficult bits. Even the tedious bits. You know it’s for a greater good. If your business is based on something you don’t love (I don’t mean it’s something that you hate, just something you don’t love. You don’t live and breathe it) you’re in trouble. If it’s not something that you wake up in the morning and immediately want to get started doing, you’re going to flounder, you’re going to quickly fall down.
Make sure you are using your passion for your paycheck.
Even if what you love doesn’t sound like a real thing. Even if you’re sitting there thinking, “But I can’t make money doing that. That’s not something people pay you to do. That’s something I love doing.”
You can always find a way of turning the thing you love into a business, if you get really creative with it. Make sure your business is based on your passion.
#Rule 5: Find Your Niche…
Your niche is the one thing you can spend all day doing and be perfectly happy.
Because you are going to have to spend all day doing it, at least initially.
You need to keep niche-ing down. You’ll think “Yes, I’ve found my niche! I’m going to be a writer.”
And then you think about it for a bit longer and you realise that there are millions of different kinds of writers, and that’s not niche-ing enough.
That’s not even a niche, that’s an industry.
Make sure your niche is actually a niche and not an industry or a big sector masquerading as a niche.
Rule #6: Don’t Skimp on Your Planning…
This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours planning things in immaculate detail. It just means that you need to have a plan. It can take lots of different forms. But certainly where content marketing is concerned, planning is the thing that lets people down more than anything else.
They don’t plan. They spit out blog post after blog post, but they have no method to it, they have no design, they have no plan.
And they sort of get it to work for them, but it’s never as powerful as it could have been if they planned it properly.
I use that as a metaphor for business as a whole. You can muddle through without a plan, but when you have a plan, and plan properly, everything will work a lot better and you’ll be a lot more successful than you would have been without the plan.
How I Plan…
Every December I get my Leonie Dawson planner. I go through it and look at the year that’s just gone, and I plan the year that’s to come. I often write notes and things to do, even further ahead than that. But I always make sure that I’ve spent some time planning.
I haven’t actually filled all of my planner in. It’s April now, and I really haven’t filled in all of it.
I’ve used the parts I needed, the parts that were helpful, and I left the other parts there.
I’m sure they’ll be very helpful to other people, and I’m sure I did fill the whole thing in from start to finish it would be helpful. But you don’t have to spend massive amounts of time planning
You just have to make sure you plan.
Rule #7: Invest Wisely in Yourself and Your Business….
This sounds like a bit of a no brainer, but I think there is a tendency when you’re first starting out in business to want to try everything.
You throw everything and the kitchen sink at the problem, and hope that something sticks.
In doing so you end up wasting a lot of money on things that really don’t work, and if you’d stopped and thought about it a little bit more, you’d probably have realised they were never going to work.
My Biggest Investment Mistake…
When I first published my novel, Chasing Azrael, I did lots of work on my ideal client and determined that my ideal clients for my novel read, amongst other things, Gothic Beauty Magazine. I valiantly purchased advertising space in four issues of Gothic Beauty Magazine. It cost me… I don’t even want to tell you how much it cost me. It’s terrifying. it cost me hundreds and hundreds of pounds, and I did not get a single sale.
I did not get one single book sale from hundreds of pounds worth of advertising.
And that’s not because it’s a bad magazine, or my ideal clients aren’t reading the magazine, it is just because, for one thing, print marketing for books that aren’t already well known is never particularly successful. Somewhere in my head, I actually knew that, I just didn’t think about it. But also, the reasons that people read Gothic Beauty Magazine have absolutely nothing to do with fiction.
They’re not used to seeing adverts for fiction books. They’re used to seeing clothes, jewellery, and makeup.
Technically, I was right in terms of my target market, my ideal client, and my demographics etc. But if I’d actually stopped and thought about it I would have realised very quickly that it just wasn’t going to work and saved myself a lot of money.
The Importance of Realising Your Mistakes…
After, I might have thought that the problem was the magazine rather than the medium. So I might have gone and spent a load more money on print advertising in a different magazine, thinking it would have a different effect, and wasting a load more money.
Fortunately I realised what the problem was (wrong medium), and switched to online advertising.
Other things I’ve invested in I really wish I hadn’t… There are some courses I’ve done that I had niggling doubts about before I paid for them. I was second guessing myself and thinking, “Should I? Shouldn’t I? I don’t know whether it’s going to be worth it. I’m worried about this aspect… I’m not sure it’s going to cover exactly what want. But I just need to invest in myself, I need to invest in my business, I need to invest in something.”
It’s that initial fear, I suppose, that you don’t know enough, that you need more knowledge and you need to get knowledge from everywhere. It makes you impulsively invest in things that aren’t really the best fit for you.
Some of the courses I’ve bought have been absolutely wonderful, really worth every single penny.
Some of them have been okay, but I probably could have found something that was a better fit for me specifically.
Some of them have just been a total unmitigated waste of an awful lot of money.
Your investments might not be advertising or courses. It might something like your website…
I know loads of people who have invested an absolutely massive amount of money in their website, at a point in their business when they weren’t quite sure who they were or what they were doing yet.
They’ve reach a stage and realised they’ve got a phenomenally good website that looks great, it’s got all the bells and whistles, but it doesn’t do what they need it to, or it’s targeted at the wrong ideal client.
The last rule, but it is by no means the least, is to practise gratitude.
I’m going to be completely honest, this is something that I learnt in therapy. You may or may not know that I have bipolar disorder. So I spend an awful lot of time keeping myself on a nice even keel and making sure that I’m fine. One of the ways I do keeping a Gratitude Journal.
Every day I write down something that I’m grateful for.
Some days these turn into essay-long rants about the wonderful people in my life, or a dog I met in the park, or the fact that I saw a rainbow. Things like that.
Sometimes it’s just a one liner that says “I’m not dead.”
I’m not joking. Some days I’m simply grateful for is the fact that I’m still alive.
The Bipolarity of Business…
The way I look at business is that it is a lot like (if you’ll bear with me) being bipolar…
When you’re bipolar you have big ups, you have big downs, and you have lots of days in between when you’re kind of a little up or a little down. And it’s really easy, especially when you’re on the ‘down days’, to get stuck in this, “Oh my god, it’s all going wrong, it’s all too hard, I’m so tired, I haven’t got any time, I’m so stressed, I’ve got so much to do!” mentality. It’s really easy to get overwhelmed.
And if you get overwhelmed, the overwhelm snowballs and very quickly becomes worse. So those little dips can quickly turn into great big dips that leave you incapable of doing anything for days, and even weeks.
You really need to kind of keep a handle on that.
Similarly, there are the ‘up days’, where everything’s going absolutely perfectly, everything’s working exactly as you want it to, and you’re on top of the world.
The Ups and Downs…
You can get a bit carried away. You think, “Oh, I’ve just got this new client, so I’m going to have loads of new money coming in, and I’ll have loads more clients, so I can afford to do this, that and the other…”
You get ahead of yourself a little bit. And you can over-commit, in terms of time, or finances, or just energy, the amount of energy you have to put into something.
You can over commit.
You’re so excited, you’re in such a great place, and everything is going so well…you just get lost in it.
Practicing gratitude every day is really just checking in with yourself, where you’re at in your business. It doesn’t have to take long, it can be one line, or it can be an essay. If you prefer to do it in your head, you can; you don’t need to write it down. But try and think of everything in your business that you’re grateful for on a daily basis.
The thing that I am grateful for every single day in my business are my clients, because without my clients I would not have a business, and I do not delude myself into thinking that there is any plausible way that I would be here without them.
So you can grateful for your clients, for a particular piece of software that makes our life easier, a coach that’s helping you, a community that’s supporting you, a bank loan that came at the exact right time, it really doesn’t matter…it’s as varied in business as it is in life.
The important thing is to focus on the good and to make sure that you have something that keeps you tethered. You need to avoid getting over-excited, or sinking into overwhelm. It’s important you find ways to avoid losing yourself in thoughts like,“Oh my God, it’s so hard!”
Because it is hard. Running a business is hardand there are going to be days where you’re like that.
You need to manage the ups and downs in your business the same way that I need to manage the ups and downs in my mood. Because if you don’t keep on top of it, it gets away from you. You can either end up on top of the world, or in a really deep hole. And when you’re in those states, things go very wrong very quickly…
Until Next Week…
That’s it from me for this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed my rules and they are helpful to you. If you have any comments or questions do please pop them below, otherwise like this post, share this post, and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss fabulous videos from me and Dexter…
If you’ve been following the vlog for a while, you’ll know I spent quite a lot of time talking about content marketing and how powerful it can be in your business. Content marketing is a brilliant way of growing a tribe, but a lot of people ask me, “Exactly how does content marketing grow your tribe?”
It’s a really good question. How exactly does producing high-quality content grow your tribe? Well, it’s a two-part answer…
The Mechanics Of Using Content Marketing To Grow Your Tribe…
Content Marketing can grow you a tribe of people who are interested in your specific Zone of Genius, your specific niche, because you are actively putting out content that is about that one specific thing.
People are looking for information about your Zone of Genius because they’re interested in that specific subject. They find your content and therefore they find you. They become a part of your tribe, and the more content you put out, the more people find you and the bigger your tribe becomes.
It’s a simple concept, but it take a lot of careful planning to get it right.
How To Target Content To Grow Your Tribe Of Ideal Clients…
The second part of the answer and the part most people are really interested in: exactly how do you get your content to grow a true tribe; a group of people that you are specifically targeting.
We’re talking ideal clients.
What people really want to know is not ‘How does content marketing work?’ but ‘Exactly how do I use content marketing to target the right people, to form a tribe that is right for me and my business?’
That’s really crucial. If you don’t have a strategy, if you don’t have a plan and a really clear idea of the tribe that you’re trying to build, you can end up with a generic tribe that won’t do you any good.
A really good example of how this happens is publishing content on lots of different topics that you are interested in. You just like writing about lots of different things. That’s great. If you’re running a personal blog, an interest blog, or a hobby blog, that’s a brilliant outlet for your creativity. You can write about whatever you want. But if you’re running a business, changing your topics around and talking about lots of different things week to week lacks any kind of cohesion. It lacks consistency. And it also makes it incredibly difficult to grow your tribe, because the people coming to your blog are always going to be very varied.
One week attract one type of person, the next you’ll be attracting a totally different type of person. The people you’re attracting also aren’t necessarily going to be interested in your business. They might be interested in what you’re talking about in a particular blog post, or even several blog posts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to wanting to buy what you sell. And that’s the name of the game: building a tribe who want to buy exactly what you are selling.
8 Ways Content Can Grow An Insanely Powerful Tribe…
Today I’m going to go through eight ways you can use content marketing to grow your tribe by being crystal clear and strategic about who you target with that content. A huge part of this is knowing your ideal client. I talk an awful lot about ideal clients in other blogs, so I’m not going to go into that today, but do check those out. Certainly have a look at how I use archetypes to hone down exactly who your ideal client is so you know what you’re aiming for. So for these eight tips to work, you need to know who your ideal client is, okay? So this is assuming you already know that, all right?
The first way to use content marketing to grow your tribe of dedicated ideal clients is one a lot of female entrepreneurs use: passion.
If you share your passion for the very specific thing you do, and you share it in such a way that ignites that passion in others, you will quickly grow your tribe of like-minded individuals, who are equally passionate about the same thing. The key is to ensure the passion you’re pouring into your content is a passion for your very specific niche, so the people you’re attracting are people who will be really passionate about what you can do for them, and they will therefore want what you have to offer.
Whether it’s products, services, coaching, whatever you’re doing, make sure you find a way to work in your passion in such a way that it gets them really fired up about what you have to offer.
Denise is astonishingly passionate about the topic of money and making money and manifesting money. It really shines through in all her content: she cares, not just about the topic of money, but of the actual process of making more money for yourself and living the life of your dreams, whatever that life may be.
As a result, Denise has quickly been able to build a phenomenally powerful and dedicated tribe of followers who share her passion for manifesting money, and who are interested in exactly what it is she is teaching.
Just like her, they want to be able to release their money blocks, and find a way to manifest the money that they need to live the life of their dreams. Denise has used content marketing absolutely perfectly to grow a powerful tribe of her ideal clients, and it’s resulted in a multi-million dollar business.
That’s what you’re aiming for.
You don’t have to be teaching money, you don’t have to be teaching anything. Just find a way to tie your passion for what you do into your ideal client’s passion for what you sell.
Be The Inspiration That Motivates Them…
The second way to use your content to grow your tribe is to actually be the inspiration that motivates people. If you are, for example, a dieting expert, a health coach, a nutritionalist, if you’re teaching people how to live healthier lives, eat better, lose weight, or increase their fitness, it’s really helpful if you’ve already been on the journey that they are about to embark on.
Ar Weight-Watchers meetings or Slimming World, the leaders of the groups are very often people who used to be dieters. They started off as the average-Joe, walking in off the street, wanting to lose weight. They got on board with the system, lost a shed-load of weight, and were so invested in it that they went on to set up their own business, teaching other people how to do what they did.
I’ve been to Weight-Watchers meetings and even a few slimming world ones, and they very often have before and after photos of themselves, right there at the front. It screams loud and clear: “This is what I used to be, this is what I am now. This is how I did it, you can do it too!”
So you actually become the inspiration that motivates people. That’s really important, especially if you’re doing something like fitness or health, or anything involving a particularly difficult personal journey. That can be anything really. Building a business of your own is a phenomenally difficult journey. But if you can be the thing that inspires your ideal clients, that actually motivates them to get started and to keep going, that’s a phenomenally powerful way to grow your tribe.
People need motivation and they need inspiration; if you can be both at the same time then you’re golden.
You can also grow your tribe by using your content to tap into a particular phase in life your ideal client is going. We all have stages in life, whether it’s childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, menopause, there are age-related phases, mood-related phases, mentality-related phases, and phases that relate to your career, hobbies, or what do in your spare time.
So, for example, new mums are going through a phase. I don’t mean that in a condescending sense, I mean the period of being a new mum is a phase in your life. Changing careers, that’s a phase. Anything that requires you to experience a particular thing for a set period of time.
Phases are things that happens in your life for a finite amount of time.
During that time you often need a lot of help, people who understand what you’re going through and have been there, and can relate and can support you.
If you can tap into a phase your ideal client is experiencing, that is very specific to your ideal client, and related to your products or services you’re selling, then you can grow your tribe based on that need for community.
The need for support, familiarity, and people that know what you’re going through and can help you through it.
Life events are a lot more specific, and usually a lot shorter-lived than phases. Think weddings, birthdays, promotions, retirement, pregnancy, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one.
Are your ideal clients are experiencing a major milestone that has quite a profound effect on you? Things like graduating from university, your first job, or a change in career.
In a very similar way to phases, if you can hone in on a specific live event your ideal client is going through that’s an excellent way to grow your tribe.
Not everybody will have one. My ideal clients do not have a common life event I can tap into. It doesn’t work for everyone. These methods don’t work universally for all ideal clients, so you need to find the one that suits you. But if, for example, you are a wedding planner or a wedding photographer, or a wedding cake maker, then the obvious life event your ideal clients are sharing is weddings.
You can grow your tribe by tapping into the fact they are planning their wedding.
Say you make wedding cakes. Most of your ideal clients aren’t going to want to know exactly how you make wedding cakes. They like seeing the pictures of the finished cakes, but they’re not really that bothered about how you get there most of the time. What they are interested in, however, is absolutely everything else related to weddings.
They’re planning their wedding, they’re looking for caterers, photographers, tips, the perfect dress.
So make your content focused on weddings, and how to have the perfect wedding, and you will rapidly grow your tribe into a community of people who are planning their wedding, and looking for somebody to make their wedding cake. And there you are, just sat there waiting to do it for them!
The thing I will say about this form of tribe though, it’s transitional.
So if you build a tribe based solely on an event like a wedding, you have a very high turnover in your tribe because people really only want a wedding cake once in their lives. Unless something goes catastrophically wrong and they end up getting married again, it’s going to be a one-off thing. They’re only going to buy it from you once.
You might keep them in your tribe because they follow you out of interest or nostalgia, but they’re never going to buy a cake from you again.
You need to be aware of that if you’re basing your business on a life event. You need to engineer your content in such a way that it’s constantly current, it’s constantly ”now’, so that it’s always attracting new people who are newly interested in the event that you’re dealing with, who will be newly needing what you’re selling.
Build A Community Around A Product Or Services…
The fifth way is to use your product or service you are selling as the core of your tribe. You then build your whole tribe around that product or service.
I discovered Leonie Dawson a few years ago when I was first starting out in business. I was looking for help setting everything up and getting going. I was really learning about how you run a business. One of the first things that I invested in, in terms of my own development as a business owner, was Leonie Dawson’s planners. This was several years ago now, but I’ve bought one every year since.
When I first bought it, it was just one book, now it’s three. I get all of them. Every year. Without fail.
If that’s not a genius marketing strategy, I don’t know what is.
I pre-order it as soon as it is available.
I’m a member of the Facebook group.
I have been to get-togethers with other local entrepreneurs where we’ve sat around with our planners planning stuff.
Leonie has built a fabulous community that is specific to her ideal client, which is creative entrepreneurs building a business, but is focused on one small product, rather than her academy training course.
The majority of her marketing isn’t geared towards getting you to buy into the academy, it’s geared towards getting you to buy a planner. That’s a much easier sell!
I think they cost me about £30 this year for the whole lot, but you can get them individually for about £10-£15.
It’s a very small investment to make, and with that investment you not only got a really powerful tool to help you in your business, you got this massive community of like-minded individuals who can support you, and travel with you on your journey as you plan your business.
That’s really what’s made Leonie so successful, her huge dedicated tribe of planner addicts. But a side-effect of all of that, is that a lot of the people buying her planners go on to do the academy, and that’s a big-ticket item.
As a business model this works really well. If you can find a product, especially a low-ticket item that you can get people really fired up and interested in, and that you can build a community around, your content should be geared to that product and helping people with related subjects. You can get people doing group activities and having conversations about it.
If you can do that, you will build a tribe a lot more quickly than you would if you were trying to get people interested in an abstract concept, or a very expensive item that they’re not sure they’re ever going to be able to afford to buy.
Tie Your Content To Your Geographic Location…
Number six is geography. I don’t mean that in the boring sort of schoolroom sense of what you learned in school. I mean that in the literal sense. If your business is local, so specific to a very small area or a particular region, then the easiest way to focus and build your tribe is to target people in your specific area. Now you need to be a bit clever with this one, because if you’re not careful you end up with a group of people who are all from one area, but they’re not all interested in what you have. So I don’t advise you using this one on its own, I advise you tying it in with one of the others. But you can still very easily target people who are specifically interested in what you’re doing, but are also in your geographic region. And the way to do this is to actually tie your content into local events, local places, local things that are of interest to people.
For me, I don’t actually do this at the moment because I don’t work locally, I work internationally, but if I were going to do it, I’m just down the road from Knutsford, and Knutsford has a phenomenal number of things that happen like the flower show, it’s got Tatton Park, it’s got farmers markets and all sorts of things like that. So if I were ever to niche down and target just local people to me, I would tie all of my content into what was happening locally, and news events and things like that. So that when people were searching for non-business topics, they ended up reading things that were tangentially related to business because they were looking for news about the local area.
The good thing about that is that people will automatically filter themselves out, so it can be a bit of a spray and pray technique, geography, but once you’ve got people who are in your local region interested and looking at your website and reading your stuff, they’ll very quickly realise what you do, or at least they should if you’ve got your branding right, realise what you do, and if they’re not interested in what you do they will just count themselves out. They’ll take themselves away, and that’s done in a very nice, non-negative manner. It’s just a case of, “This is me, this is what I do and this is what I’m going to be talking about” and they’ll automatically go, “Oh well, I’m not interested in that” and go. So you won’t end up with a load of people who are local to you but not interested in what you’re doing, because they will automatically count themselves out, but they will only do that if you tie the two together, okay? So you have to tie what you’re doing to your geographic place.
Number seven is demographics, and this works a lot like geography in the sense that you have to tie the demographic or demographics that you’re using to something that is very, very specific to what you’re doing. Probably the best example of how people do this is to say that they’re going to target female entrepreneurs. So that’s a very specific demographic in the sense that one, they are entrepreneurs, and two, they are female. Now you might niche that down even further and say, “I’m going to target female entrepreneurs between the ages of 20 and 40.” Or 40 and 60. You might decide you are only going to target a particular nationality of female entrepreneurs between those ages, because your product or your service is of particular value to them.
This is one of those things where you really have to know who your ideal client is. You need to know exactly what kind of things they’re interested in so that you can target them based on their interest, but you must, must, must, must, must tie it to what you do, okay? You really must.
The last one is generations, and no I don’t mean the really crappy Star Trek film. Hello. Yes, yes, [Creambum 00:20:30] we don’t like the ice cream then do we? No.
Generationally speaking, people have very different attitudes, very different values, very different lifestyles and stages of life, and if you know that your ideal client is in a specific generation. So for example, the majority of my clients are millennials, like me. So that makes it very, very easy to target them because there are certain things I know about millennials that can be targeted. Like we are very interested in technology. We tend to be liberal and very tolerant. We really like our music and our pop culture, and we also tend to be quite interested in clothes. I don’t know why, but we are. So if you’re targeting millennials, and for the record that’s anyone born between 1977 and 1995, you can use that knowledge of how millennials think and what they like to actually target your content to them and build your tribe around the specific things that they are really, really interested in.
Now the topic of how to target generationally is absolutely massive and there is no plausible way that I can go through it all now, but really what I just wanted to do was demonstrate how you can draw distinctions between age groups. You can actually tailor your whole brand and not just your content, but your whole brand to target your ideal client. So you can see the way I am, is clearly targeted at my generation. That’s not to say that I don’t love working with people from other generations, I do, it’s just the majority of my clients are from my generation, so my branding and my content is aimed at that particular age group, at that particular generation and the demographics that go with them.
There you have it, there’s my eight ways to grow your tribe using your content, and I hope you’ve enjoyed that and you found it useful. If you have any tips of your own on how to grow your tribe, I would love, love, love to hear them, and if you have any questions then do please comment below, or email me, or head on over to the website and have a look at the other content that I’ve got there because that might help you out. Also do please like and share this post and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to ensure you never miss a post…
Balancing full-time employment around trying to make your business work in the background is by no means no easy feat. So firstly, if this is you, I want to say give yourself a massive pat on your back. Often as we get more focused on our goals and our business grows the tasks needed to be all things to all people can get a little overwhelming to say the least. At 1 Less Stress Connect we work with clients daily on productivity secrets and how to build a business that works and can grow around a job family and their commitments effectively (believe me it is possible).
Simply put, if you are not finding great ways to make it all work then chances are overwhelm is creeping in, and a confused mind will often walks away or procrastinates. Now I do not want any of those two things to be the path you take so I am going to share my top 5 secrets to help you build your business around employment and more importantly make it work. Before I get on with this guest blog for The Write Copy Girl, I encourage you to get your pen and paper to the ready and more importantly get ready to start implementing.
Setting Clear Business Goals
Building a business around employment requires a lot of focus to make it work, however without clear goals your focus will be somewhat blurred. Think of driving a cart and looking through a smeared windscreen it will take you a lot longer to reach your journey. This is why you need to set clear goals with clear time frames and chunk it down by adding milestones that you can measure your progress. You would be surprised how many clients we speak to that do not even know how much they want their business to bring in income wise on a monthly basis. This is the start of not having clear business goals. Without clear goals you will be easily taken off course and come the end of the year feel like you have made little progress.
Value-Rank Your Ideas
As entrepreneurs, we often have an idea a minute well if you are anything like me. Sometimes these ideas are brilliant, but everything has to be in it’s season. Jumping from project to project will take you off course and result in you not giving your focus to any one thing. As they say focus goes where energy goes, so if your focus is split all over the place you will never master anything. Our tip is to value rank your ideas and place them in what we call an ideas bucket. I have this in my notes on my phone and my online business system and revisit when the time is right.
Have Themed Mini Days
It is so hard to stay on track and efficient when you have a multitude of tasks and commitments. What we suggest is have themed days that will enable you to have set days to complete specific days. i.e. Monday: admin day, Tuesday: new client lead generation day and so on to meet your business model and objectives. Having themed days will ensure all areas of your business are being given time and ensure productivity reducing that all easy trap of being busy but not productive.
Free Up Your Time By Automating Certain Areas Of Your Business
We used do a lot of manual tasks that take hours every week. One of them was tracking performance of our products. However, now we have built in automated systems in our website which has these key functions to keep tabs on all our products and the analytics behind it to give us more informed insights which helps steer future projects or new releases. Have great automated sales funnels in place help ensure clients come to you instead of the other way around, this will save you lots of time.
Consider Hiring Or Outsourcing Certain Tasks
This might not be for everybody. But for those of you who are bogged down with a lot of repetitive work, you might be losing valuable time that you can instead invest in more strategic matters or just time to re-energise yourself.
Try hiring somebody to take a lot of your manual work and you can focus on generating more income for the company. There are many websites that you can find freelancers like UpWork, PeoplePerHour, Fiver (we promise you will feel so much better in the long run).
Take some time out weekly to work ON your business and not IN your business to start getting the jigsaw pieces of your life and commitments fitting perfectly together, do this and you will be well on your way. If you would like further help on maximising your efficiency in your lunch hour then download our free e-guide…