“If you don’t have something meaningful to say, don’t say anything at all.”
As a content strategist, I spend a lot of time working with clients to help them blog consistently. Blogging consistently produces results — there’s no question about it. It can help you grow your audience and become known as a thought leader in your industry. It also builds traffic to your website so you can convert more sales.
But even more important is being smart about when you ask for your audience’s attention.
If you don’t have something meaningful or helpful to share, blogging just to blog doesn’t do anything to help your audience. And at the end of the day, your blog is about them, not you.
Think about it this way — if someone who’s never heard of you before lands on your website today and sees your latest post, are they likely to read anything else you’ve written?
Going on a Blogging Hiatus
Over the last few months, I took a little blogging siesta. This break started as most business breaks do — with total and complete burnout. I was trapped in Content Development Groundhog Day and when I thought about writing my weekly blog post, the first thing that came to mind was a series of listicles (a.k.a. the lazy girl’s blogging strategy). That’s when I knew it was time to take a week off.
Just one week, I promised myself.
Then one week became two.
And two became…well, you know the rest.
As a content strategist, I know the data behind consistent blogging. There’s no doubt that it works, but that didn’t change the fact that I just wasn’t feeling it. So, instead of pounding out content just to prove to myself I could be consistent, I decided to experiment with something new. A few somethings, in fact.
Here are the four pieces of content I created this summer during my blogging hiatus.
Making Personalized Introductions
Making an introduction for your clients and colleagues is one of the most useful and personal pieces of content you’ll ever create — whether that means making an introduction to people they want to collaborate with, sharing new resources or tools that can simplify their business, or telling them about articles you think they’ll find useful.
When people know you are always on their mind and you are thinking about their business and their success every day, they tend to reciprocate. This strategy may not build website traffic, but it builds deeper relationships, loyalty and a strong foundation for referrals.
Making these connections took a fraction of the time it would have taken me to blog all summer long. Instead of writing listicles, I spent more time listening to the people around me and hearing what they needed…then connecting them with one of my colleagues who was a good fit to help them solve their problem.
Quick Tip for Making Meaningful introductions
Personalize every single introduction you make (or don’t make one). If you’re going to connect two people you know with one another, add a personal note about each of them explaining how you met them, what you love about their work and why you’d recommend them.
Anyone can fire off an impersonal email introduction, but only you know what needs to be said to make a genuine connection between the two people you’re introducing.
Playing with Instagram Captions
I’m a total sucker for Instagram. Well, me and about 300 Million other people.
One huge trend in my business over the last 12 months has been an exponential increase in requests for help with Instagram. We are now creating content for both product-based businesses and clients in the service sector. I have an incredible social media team working with me, but it was high time I figured for myself out what works (and what doesn’t) on this platform.
So this summer, I played around with it.
I used it for business a little bit.
And family a lot a bit.
I tried short captions and long ones.
I got crazy with hashtags and went hashtag free (ok, I never actually went hashtag free, but I got close a couple of times).
I even tried story style and get-to-the-fricking-point style.
What did I learn? Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform (duh). People want pretty pictures. But what I found surprising is that people are more likely to like, comment and repost when the copy is brilliant, too.
Pretty copy + pretty pictures = SLAM DUNK, IG-style.
I stopped using my Facebook business page months ago because it wasn’t performing, so I wasn’t expecting to get much traction from Instagram. But after three months of experimenting, color me surprised (and grateful) to know that Instagram is a platform where I can connect with some pretty amazing new clients.
Quick Tip for Instagram Captions
There’s no better playground than your personal Instagram account. If you want to figure out what works for your business, do a little trial and error testing on your personal account so you’re polished and ready when you start integrating business posts.
Psst…you can do this on Facebook too. See what gets the most traction on your personal profile. The same type of language, pictures and stories will often work on your business page, too!
Being Relentlessly Helpful
Tim Grahl, one of my mentors, always says marketing is about being relentlessly helpful. As you’re creating content for your audience, ask yourself if it’s useful.
You don’t need to blog every single week to effectively sell your services. Creating relentlessly helpful content for your audience could be as simple as answering client questions, Periscoping about a useful book you recently read, or recording your screen as you walk through a process your ideal clients use everyday.
Quick Tip for Being Relentlessly Helpful
When you create content, make sure it’s making your audience’s life better or making their businesses run more smoothly. Helpful content is the kind of thing people thank you for and remember.
Using Meaningful Words
The words you use on your website and in your blog are definitely considered content. But so are the inside words that you use with your team. For instance, I think we can all agree that no one wants to feel like they are just a number on a list. Yet many entrepreneurs refer to their email subscribers as their “list”.
I spent some time over the last few months redefining my “inside voice”. The words I use internally with my team matter just as much as the words I use with clients. In fact, they matter more.
And since I work intimately with a small number of clients, we know a lot about each other. I know my clients’ kids names, where they’re headed on their big vacation for the year and what they’re struggling with in their business. When you work with people this closely, “lists” don’t matter.
People matter. The results they’re achieving matter. And they way they feel about your word choice — that matters, too.
Quick Tip for Choosing Meaningful Words
Content Marketing is about creating a sense of belonging. Choose words that make people feel like an important part of what you’re doing and make sure everyone on your team is on board.
Now it’s your turn
What kind of unconventional content have you been working on lately? Share a link in the comments to the most useful piece of content you’ve created (or read) recently so we can learn from you!