I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween.
I’ve never really understood why people get dressed up and go to the homes of strangers who are then supposed to give them candy. Can’t you just buy it?
And the town I live in says Halloween has to start at some ridiculous time like 5pm.
I’m supposed to stop working early because strangers are at my door and they want free candy?
Makes no sense to me.
Which is why, when I was 8 years old, I told my parents I wasn’t doing it.
The candy was where I was already. I didn’t have to go get more.
But one thing I do love is decorating for Halloween.
Since we moved, I don’t decorate as elaborately as I used to. But I still love to put my favorite pieces out.
This week, as I was putting out my Halloween classic monster beanies, it dawned on me that many of us have content strategies that are aligned with classic Hollywood monsters.
So with all due respect to the various copyright holders, let’s see which classic monster you’re most like when it comes to your content creation, delivery, and marketing.
Wolfman. We all remember this story. A guy gets bitten by a wolf that’s actually a wolfman. The next time the full moon rises, he shows up and starts attacking.
Your monster avatar is Wolfman if you only create and distribute content once in a full….scratch that…blue moon.
Building a brand that solidly positions you as the obvious, trusted authority that creates desire in your audience to learn more and work only with you requires putting out great content on a consistent basis. The absolute minimum is once a month in my opinion. I think it’s reasonable to create something twice a month. So if you’re not sending out regular communications — more than once every 28 days — then it’s time to ask yourself why and create a plan to step it up.
Frankenstein’s Monster. The poor monster maker, Dr. Frankenstein, got overshadowed by his creation and we don’t refer to the monster as his credit says in the movie (“the monster”…how original). Instead we refer to the monster by the doc’s last name.
You have the Monster as an avatar if your content is a hodge-podge of topics, themes, and messages. At least you’re putting out SOMETHING…but since you don’t have a clear and consistent message then your content doesn’t get people too excited. You actually confuse people about what you do and what you’re the expert at. And we all know “a confused mind never buys.”
You’re not building a strong brand that sets you apart as the go-to person so you’re hard to find and even harder to refer. Without strong positioning as a go-to authority, potential clients or students are likely to waste money on big, expensive programs that don’t meet their needs because the person selling it has a bigger “name” than you do. When you finally do talk to people or put in proposals, you have to work harder for the person to say yes.
Mummy. Maybe you put out content pretty regularly. And the content is good. But once you publish it you never share it again. In effect, it’s buried. Just like Imhotep, the original mummy played by the legendary Boris Karloff.
Your solid piece of content sits on your website but it might as well be buried inside a tomb. The web visitor had to work hard to find the content and you. Maybe Google and the other search engines have to work hard to find your content to have it appear in the search results because, without the right elements and without consistent, unified content, what you create might as well be inside a sarcophagus deep inside a pyramid.
Ghost. The first ghost that comes into my mind isn’t really scary. It’s Casper. Hey, he’s a friendly ghost right (boy am I dating myself or what?)? The problem is Casper only appears to certain people. He’s a scaredy-ghost.
Your monster avatar is Casper if you only create content for “friends”…People who are on your list or otherwise already in your community. You don’t provide that “top of the funnel” sort of content that a new audience member would find helpful to introduce you and your approach.
You’re also a Casper if you create content that doesn’t invite people to take the next step, whether that’s take a quiz, attend an event, or more importantly work with you or otherwise go deeper to achieve the transformation they want and that you provide.
Casper was too nice. He just wanted people to be his friend. Which is nice, but you want a list of people who are highly engaged and ready to take action to get to the next level.
Skeleton. OK, skeletons aren’t exactly scary but you can still have one as your content monster avatar.
You’re represented by this monster if you only send out super thin content.
Your articles might share tips but they never have the kind of “meaty” detail that would help them truly understand the action to take.
Maybe you’re stuck in the mindset that “if I share my best tips and how-to’s no one will hire me.” That’s flat out wrong. Someone on a webinar made a great analogy: You still go to a movie even though you saw the trailer, right? Content that’s meaty and longer does a great job of solidly positioning you as the knowledgeable expert authority while it educates the reader (or viewer…or listener….of whatever). Meaty copy (1600 words) is actually what people want and gets consumed.
People want real value. And as long as your content addresses an important problem and shares how to fix it, your audience will read it.
It takes longer-ish copy for you to pre-sell your POV, and inspire your consumer enough to take action when you invite them to do so (in other words action on your call to action).
Dracula. I grew up watching Dark Shadows. Yes, the ORIGINAL one. And no I didn’t watch the reruns.
I ran home from school every day to see it.
I ended up so scared every SINGLE night that I slept with the covers pulled up around my throat until I started having hot flashes 40 years later.
Listen, I know you hate selling. That’s actually a big part of the problem. You’re so terrified of becoming like “them” that you avoid putting out content and when you do put something out you can’t bring yourself to make an offer for fear that people will think you’re salesy.
But…you DO have to eat and you DO have to keep the electricity and Internet on.
So Dracula is your Content Monster Avatar if you only send out content when you want something. When you (your content) shows up, people KNOW an offer is coming and to be honest, they’re not really interested because you’re never around sharing useful information that educates them while elevating you in their eyes and heart. Then you go into hiding again because you’re disgusted by acting like a taker (like Drac…he’s the ultimate taker).
And of course if you act like one of these monsters your business isn’t growing, your brand isn’t growing, and you have to work harder than you want to or feel you should.
This is why a content strategy and content calendar are so important.
Quick Tips to Use Content to Position and Pre-Sell You
Here are some quick tips to really leverage content to position and pre-sell you and make it easier for great clients to say yes to working or learning from you:
Identify your core message, your sub-messages, and stick to them. Remember, your objective is to be seen as the go-to person in the eyes of those you serve.
You can only do that when you continuously share content that’s consistently on-message.
Know what your offerings are and when you’ll promote them. Whether you provide custom solutions all year or you have courses you offer, naturally you want everything to be bought all the time.
But to effectively manage your time and leverage it well you must focus on certain offerings at certain times. Create a calendar – even if it means ballparking what you’ll promote in quarters – and then start mapping out content topics that will inspire and invite the content consumer to take the next step.
You can plan to fill in gaps in your calendar with related topics that may simply inspire people to stay in or join your community. You don’t need to have an explicit call to action to buy or do something.
About 6 to 8 weeks before you launch, start sharing educationally-focused content tied directly to the problem addressed by your offering.
Get people excited about the next content piece in the process. Help them see that this is a series and encourage them to keep an eye out for the next piece. Share a couple of bullet points with them to get them interested in it.
Identify themes and events then tie them to your content. That’s what I did here. I capitalized on the holiday of Halloween and used what was in my house. This helps inspiration show up for work and do her job.
Create a calendar and schedule the work. This is one that I’m still working on myself.
To make sure our work has as much impact as possible, we need to map out our schedule to include time every day to work on the small pieces of content (like articles or short videos) and the big pieces of content (white papers, books, or video series for example).
Micro steps are the best way to do it. Just a few minutes every day where you capture your thoughts on your content will get you farther than trying to block out an entire day or even an hour to get something done.
Publish, share, share again. Sure you posted the article on your blog and maybe shared it on your other social sites, but do you have it automated through a tool like Hoot Suite to go out periodically?
Re-sharing content is a very smart move, especially if your content is evergreen.
Content creation doesn’t have to be scary.
It’s exactly the best strategy for someone like you who hates to sell and isn’t crazy about marketing.
The word Sell comes from the word Sellan which means to give.
So embrace that original definition and the formula, Educate => Elevate => Inspire => Invite. Then you’ll be on your way to position and presell yourself as the go-to trusted authority for your best clients.
Upcoming Content Strategy Workshop: The Write Plan
Ready to create a simple content plan you can stick to, that positions and pre-sells you as the trusted authority you are? Then come to my upcoming workshop The Write Plan. In this interactive workshop taught live over two half-days, you’ll…
- Focus your message
- Create a content strategy
- Plan an editorial calendar that warms up your audience and supports your offerings
- Plan your work schedule so you know what to create, when to create it, and do it without killing
How the course is taught
The course is taught live and you’ll have access to the recordings, get the handouts, and templates. And I’ll be hosting open Q&A calls as a way to support you through the implementation process for at least 3 months after the event.
Who the course is for
The program is specifically for coaches, consultants, and other solo service providers who hate selling (aren’t crazy about marketing) and who want to position themselves as the clear solution to their audience’s problem.
The early-bird price for the course is $147 and goes up to $197 at 5pm on Monday, October 16th. Click this link to register.