When it comes to marketing, I've tried it all.
I've read pretty much everything marketing-related, followed the experts and influencers, and practiced what I learned to help brands grow. I'm still learning and growing, but recently I noticed something curious. When I looked at all the things I've done, I could pinpoint ONE THING - and one thing alone - that worked consistently.
SEO? No. Social media? Blogging? Yes... and no.
Let's just say it's something individual and evergreen. And if you make it to the end of this post, I'll help you leverage the hell out of it. Deal?
Let's talk strategy.
I'll tell you in a second. First, a disclaimer: When you start thinking about marketing, the first word that pops into your head should be "strategy". Doing marketing without a strategy is like running a business without a business plan. (tweet it)
It's just a very bad idea that won't get you far. So now that you know you need a strategy, I can tell you what the ONE THING that always works is...
Ugh. Spare me. (I can hear you. you know.)
OK, for the sake of the argument, let's forget the wishy-washy aspect of it. Let's not talk about how great it feels or even mention the word "authentic" (oops, I did it again). Instead, let's see the practical benefits that come with it:
- Since you're unique, you automatically stand out from the crowd. (And you need that seeing as every industry is over-saturated by now.)
- When you're being yourself, you bet on your natural strengths and delegate when you hit a weakness. You also know your own productivity cycles - you know when to do what in order to get the job done - so you're at peak performance 24/7.
- When you're being yourself, you attract the right people, a.k.a. the people who are like you and like you for who you are. Those are your ideal clients.
- Finally, you're no longer comparing yourself to others or trying to imitate them because you've accepted your awesomeness and let it shine online.
I just spent 5 minutes thinking about the benefits, so imagine what we could come up with together if we brainstormed for 30 minutes!
How exactly do I leverage... me?
Good question! It's not really about what you say or put on your site. It's not even about the colors you choose (sorry, branding/design peeps). It's about 3 things:
- Knowing yourself.
- Using the channels that fit.
- Having direction.
If you're clear on the pyramid, you're ready to start your business or at least start promoting yourself and growing your audience.
This is the biggest point here, and that's because you can't promote yourself properly if you don't know what strengths you have, what your motivations for doing things are, and what values and beliefs you hold dearly. (Read this for details.)
For example, I'm not very good at some things so I outsource them, but I'm a strong networker so I do this myself. When it comes to values, I steer clear from black hat techniques and favor things that genuinely help people. And finally, my motivation can be flimsy, so I have to monitor how motivated I am at all times.
If you look closely at your online heroes, you'll notice they all do what comes naturally and act from a place of self-awareness.
2. Your V/D Channel
Now you can pick the value/distribution channel that work best for you. The value part is the way in which you're going to provide value and the format that goes with it - e.g. helping [someone] by blogging [about it], curating [things your people need], etc. You know it as "content marketing". The distribution part is making sure that your value reaches the right people. In most cases, we're talking social platforms.
My primary V/D channel is blogging + twitter. Yours might be vlogging + facebook or DIY + Pinterest or apps + reddit, and so on.
(Once you grow your initial channel, you can expand later.)
Finally, after knowing yourself and your channel, you also need to know where you're going. I've gone without direction for many years, and that only made it harder for my personality to shine through and afford me the life I'm living now.
So sit down and really think about the direction you want to take (this will depend on your purpose or WHY you're doing what you do).
What are the results?
Here's what "being you" might get you:
- In a month, you will notice that people notice you.
- In 2 months, you'll have formed some cool connections.
- In 3 months, you will start getting job opportunities.
- In 4 months, people will share your content without being asked.
- In 5 months, people will start asking you for your products and services.
- In 6 months, you'll find yourself in expert lists and traffic to your site will skyrocket.
- In 7 months, you'll come up with a business plan to monetize all this.
- In 8 months, you'll have saved up enough money to start your own business.
- In 9 months you'll be in the dumps, wondering if people need it...
You want a guarantee? What am I, a toothpaste brand?!
Seriously tho, this was my journey, and because we're different people, yours will be different. And maybe you've already started your business. And yes, this is exactly what happened in the past 9 months (to the day!), and looking back, I'm so glad I started putting myself out there again. (After I almost gave up on marketing.)
How are you being yourself in your business and marketing?