Our world is noisy, seemingly full of blatant advertising; self-adulation by some and let’s not forget the countless, questionable, claims of success.
Showing your true worth is probably the most powerful way to get noticed in your marketing. Communicating your insights and expertise shows depth in what you know and are passionate about. Advertising and blatant selling is an easy tactic but can be an incredibly shallow approach. There’s usually no creativity required. Anyone can promote. That’s why most do it. It’s hit and miss.
We really shouldn’t be in business if we can’t write anything interesting about what we do and how we can help others.
Shortly after I started my business, I came across a video. In it, Silicon Valley tech blogger Louis Gray shared the following: “If your company isn’t interesting to write about, then you shouldn’t be in business.” My initial reaction on hearing it was that it was rather harsh. My thoughts were quickly superseded by the belief that he is, in fact, absolutely right. We really shouldn’t be in business if we can’t write anything interesting about what we do and how we can help others. I despair when I hear others mutter “I don’t know what I should write about.” To me, that sort of talk lacks imagination and creativity. It’s a lazy response. What do these people say when their prospects and customers ask them in person then? I’m hardly going to introduce those who show that kind of attitude to my contacts, that’s for sure.
I didn’t excel in my studies in my school years. In fact, I was never seen to be creative at many things except how to get to and from the pub without being caught. (Well, on most occasions anyway!) I always loved the outdoors and books were always things I felt would tie me down. Without realising it at the time, I have always had a rather short attention span. Despite that, I knew that deep inside, I had something to share.
After starting my own business, I started blogging and got noticed. Sure, nothing near the level of following of the likes of business experts such as Sir Richard Branson, but I was realistic with my expectations. On reflection, I don’t think I had any. I just thought I’d share.
Speaking opportunities followed, an Amazon bestselling book, more speaking and then a break from it all. Today, I enjoy writing more than I ever have. Dennis Pitocco, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of BIZCATALYST 360°, invited me to write for his global media digest. Would you believe I initially declined? There were a few reasons for that. It just wasn’t the right time for me as I was too preoccupied with overcoming some unrelated challenges. Nearly two years later, he spotted one of my blogs. Yes, I started writing again. My articles quickly regained traction. I accepted a role as Contributor and became a Columnist after writing a few articles. I was subsequently invited to join his Editorial Circle of Excellence team. What? Me? The boy who had to miss playtime for extra reading lessons due to my broken English? (My upbringing in Singapore was incredible and was by no means a conventional one).
Be yourself when writing. Use a tool like Grammarly if you’re looking to refine things, however, whatever you do, avoid ghostwriters unless you are going to be upfront by declaring you have used one.
I’m quite a private person. As well as my marketing consultancy, I also run a business network, however, although outgoing, I can be protective of my private life. Sharing a snippet of my personal side is a big deal to me. Despite that, I briefly share my background and challenges in writing in the hope that – assuming you don’t already write – you can overcome whatever may be holding you back too. Be yourself when writing. Use a tool like Grammarly if you’re looking to refine things, however, whatever you do, avoid ghostwriters unless you are going to be upfront by declaring you have used one. Better to write yourself. It shows authenticity and it will have more meaning anyway. Don’t seek perfection. It will either weigh you down or you may not ever publish much if anything at all.
Content marketing is an effective approach. Although what I have shared so far largely relates to this, a lot of the advice by many digital gurus is hyped in my view. Yes, use some keywords but people will buy into what you stand for more if you write as you speak than sounding clinical. Who are you writing for anyway? Faceless Google or your valued network?
Ok, so writing is just not your thing. That’s fine, I understand. Writing is just one way you can provide value in business. There are other means by which you can share your expertise and thought leadership.
Vlogging is not for me. It may be for you though. I’m fine with speaking to a live audience of hundreds of attendees in a room but loathe speaking at close proximity to a camera. Yes, bizarre, I know! You, on the other hand, may have no problem with doing so, so what’s stopping you? Vlog away! Share and support others.
What about mentoring? It’s one of the most rewarding things you’ll probably do in the business world at least. Believe me, it gives one a real sense of achievement knowing you have helped those who value your guidance. It will boost your credibility too. (By the way, you do have a mentor, right? If not, why not? Everybody can do with help).
There’s podcasting; hosting webinars; being interviewed both offline and online; speaking at business events; delivering private workshops, etc. The opportunities are certainly there.
Whatever you do, don’t just sell. You’ll just be one of a huge crowd making a load of noise. Sharing other people’s content helps. It’s a form of giving but what about your insights and expertise? We want to hear what you believe in, your values and learn from you too. Constantly selling is shallow marketing. Promote on occasion but marketing is not about simply selling of course. Most of us hate being bombarded with promotions so why add rubbish and noise to the ‘sales pot?’ There’s nothing special about it.
On the other hand, sharing your expertise has depth. Join the minority of business owners who make a positive effort by adding to the ‘value vase.’ Your insights may well become a useful legacy for others too.
Constantly adding to the sales pot is senseless. Contributing to the value vase is priceless.
Which marketing approach will you choose?