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What’s the biggest challenge facing online entrepreneurs?
If you said getting the attention of an audience or traffic to a website, you’d get no argument from me.
The problem is that with all the competition out there, it’s easy to feel like a little minnow trying to make a splash in an ocean filled with sharks, swordfish and the occasional octopus.
Not to mention the walruses and whales. It seems like they’ve got everything all locked up. Why would anyone want to listen to you?
Good question. We’re all inundated with information. It’s tough to get anyone to pay attention to what you have to say.
What’s a start up marketer to do?
Get rid of the old rules of engagement and try something new.
Become a Content Creator
The old way was to create a product and then try to find people to sell it to.
That can work. But there’s a better way.
Develop your audience first, by delivering great content that helps them answer real questions and solve real problems.
You’ll find people are coming to you. That’s when you can start to sell.
Because once you have your loyal fan base, you’re protected.
If Google changes their algorithm, your audience will still look for you.
If Facebook changes their rules, your audience will still seek you out.
And even if Gmail insists on sending your emails to the promotions tab, your audience will take the time to look for them and read them.
That loyal audience will like your posts and share your tweets and recommended your videos to others. They’ll be doing a lot of your work for you.
But how can you do this?
Joe Pulizzi has written a book that explains it all: Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses He outlines his six-step process for creating his own empire based around this content creation model.
Step 1: Discover Your Sweet Spot
Why do some people manage to create content that goes viral and others feel one reader is a success?
The answer is not that the successful know more about the topic or even care more about it.
What the successful marketers have done is they focus on the spot where their knowledge intersects with a skill or passion.
Then they write with their audience in mind.
Step 2: Tilt Your Content
The next thing to do is figure out what makes what you have to say on the topic unique. This twist or perspective is what is going to keep people coming back for more.
Have no idea what your unique content tilt is? No worries. Content Inc details tons of examples and has worksheets that help you figure it out.
Step 3: Build Up Your Base
It’s time to get down and dirty. Yes, there’s work involved. Create your killer content.
Pulizzi drives home the point that you will fail if you don’t focus on one platform at first. Pick it, master it. Don’t try to be everywhere and dilute your efforts.
In other words, if you’ve got a blog, blog. Or try YouTube. Or podcasts. But pick just one and go for it.
Concentrate on creating really good content written for your audience with your unique tilt.
Step 4: Harvest Your Audience
Now you want to start building some bonds with your audience. Collect their emails, connect with them on social media. Again, you want to focus on one thing, get good at it, and build that following.
Step 5: Diversify
Here’s the step I know you’ve been dying to get to. Now you can diversify.
It’s important not to do this while you are still learning your first platform and growing your base. You don’t want to sabotage your efforts and frustrate yourself.
But not that you’ve had some success, go ahead. Try some other platforms and expand your reach.
Step 6: Monetize
This is why we’re doing this in the first place, right? You need to have your plan in place early, so that when your audience is ready to buy, you’ll be ready to sell.
Give the 6 steps briefly…focus on why this will help them (not the how)
Do You Even Want to be a Content Creator?
Yes, content creation is a lot of work. But the reality is, any legitimate way to make money online is a lot of work.
You’ve just got to figure out what kind of work you want to be doing.
If you love shopping, then you could do well creating product reviews on a line of products you love to buy.
But if you hate the idea of writing anything, you could just set up an online store and sell these products you love.
So you need to decide if you want to be a content creator or not.
Why Content Inc Helped Me
I found this book to be a lifeline as I was drowning in the world of internet marketing. Sure, I’d learned a lot about blogging and Facebook ads and leveraging social media and nurturing an email list.
But what I hadn’t figured out was how to get the attention of the people I was trying to reach.
Content Inc. put it all together.
All the examples gave me different ways to think about what I’m doing, and could I borrow from other’s experience.
The templates and worksheets helped me (finally!) define the right audience and the right platform for what I was trying to do.
Which was leverage my content to provide solutions to people who needed them, who would then buy these solutions.
Now I feel like I’m not doomed to stay a minnow in the sea, but have a real system for growing my reach so I can swim with the bigger fish.
If you’ve been struggling to build an audience and don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, Content Inc. is for you.