Coveted Consultant Survey Results – September 2014

By Alzay Calhoun

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Given your survey results, I’ve got some new material coming soon. In the meantime, I’ve pulled together some great content to help shape your thoughts. 

 

Resources to Develop Your Company’s Positioning

This Is The Secret Ingredient of Content Marketing via Convince and Covert and Jay Baer- If you have been a bit nervous about putting yourself “out there” this is where you should start. Unfortunately, to explain why I included this article I have to give away it’s punchline. Courage is “the usually absent secret ingredient of content marketing”. You cannot make any legitimate connections with your audience with content that looks, feels, and sounds like everyone else. At best it sets you up for conventional (run-of-the-mill, standard, boring) positioning. It takes courage to connect in this new way and Jay Baer explains it well.

If Your Content Marketing is for Everybody, It’s for Nobody via Content Marketing Institute and Joe Pulizzi – This is another good starting point before you do any heavy lifting in regards to your company’s message. It’s one of the simplest (most broken) rules when it comes to crafting a message and targeting an audience. You cannot serve everyone. It can be very, very difficult to say “no” to one audience and “yes” to another, but it is mandatory if you are going to attract the BEST clients to your business. The article gives two good examples of companies who focus on an audience and create content just for them.

How To Create Your Personal Brand Vision – The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand via Quicksprout, Neil Patel, and Aaron Agius – This is a very thorough guide on how to create a personal brand. The focus is for those who plan to brand themselves first and a company second.  The fundamentals contained in the guide are sound and much effort has gone into making it as complete as possible. At the bottom of this link (chapter 1) you get some examples of people who have built strong personal brands online.  In addition, you will also get some perspectives on what these people would do if they started over again.  There is a lot to takeaway from this article. Either break your reading up in sections or dedicate a block of time to appreciate it in it’s full glory.

Don’t Sell A Product Sell A New Way of Thinking via Harvard Business Review and Mark Bonchek  – This is an article after my own heart! If “conventional” thinking clings to the status quo, then “coveted” thinking inspires a paradigm shift to create something new.  If you are going to go through the effort of establishing strong positioning and creating content to support it…then you might as change the industry.  Am I right?

 

Resources to Develop Content Stories Around Your Company’s Positioning

How Content Marketing Success is Blocked by Antiquated Beliefs via Content Marketing Institute and Robert Rose – The concepts of content marketing are not new to business leaders, but the formats, metrics, and speed can be quite overwhelming. If you try to apply yesterday’s strategies to today’s marketplace you are going to experience pain. In this article, the final paragraph is the strongest part. You (along with the rest of us) have to become a media company. It IS our new reality.

How to Prepare Your Brand for Business Storytelling Success via Content Marketing Institute and Mike Murray – This article is a good primer to prepare yourself (and your company) before you begin the content marketing adventure.  Just give yourself a couple of minutes, follow the sub-headlines, and ask the questions out loud. It will help you figure out how prepared you are to consistently produce high-level content on behalf of your organization.

How to Find Your Social Media Marketing Voice and Tone via Buffer and Kevan Lee  – The article is targeted toward larger companies where the responsibilities of content marketing will be shared across different functional groups. This article separates voice from tone by describing them in this way, “Voice is a mission statement. Tone is the application of that mission. Essentially, there is one voice for your brand and many tones that refine that voice.” There are a few different models in this article on how a voice/tone are crafted. There are also a couple of good examples of good voice/tone in action.

How to Tell a Great Story via Harvard Business Review and Carolyn O’Hara  – The focus of this article is on executives of large companies, but the fundamentals here is important for all of us. Specifically, I chose this article to remind us not to make yourself the hero of the story. It’s “too easy”. It feels “salesy”. Most importantly, it takes the focus off of your BEST client’s journey. Can you include yourself in the story? Sure. Use this article for guidance.

The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool via Harvard Business Review and Harrison Monarth – This article provides a structure for storytelling that you can use over and over. It’s a framework that can be traced back as far as Shakespeare and Aristotle (I think it’s safe to say it works.) Once you’ve established your positioning as a company, frameworks like this one go a long way in helping you navigate how to tell your story through the various channels available.

 

What’s Next?

 

Each of these articles is strong and as a group they help frame the importance, value, and challenge of establishing your company’s position in the market.

And as I was doing the research to put this post together, I noticed a gap that presents a next level opportunity in how to truly leverage the power of content marketing.

Developing clear, well-understood positioning is hard. Yes, you can “make something up”. Yes, you can “copy” what you see a competitor doing. Yes, you can “sell harder” by using more of your personal energy and charisma to attract people to your business. But each is just a way to compensate for the fact that you really aren’t sure what you stand for and when you are finally “found out”…there is pain.

There should be a step-by-step process to help you find your “voice” as a company. The current advice available boils down to statements like “think about your beliefs”, “write out your values”, and “create a mission statement”. But this just creates a list of what you think makes you special. There has to be a way to seamlessly sync what your BEST client wants with your values as a company.

Here is the bottom line and all experts agree: You cannot create compelling, client attracting content around your core concept if you are not sure what your core concept is. 

In my mind there should be ONE process that:

This is what I want for you. This is the process I’m working on.  Stay tuned. Clearer content and better conversions are yet to come!

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In the meantime, are there any other special requests? Is there any other important survey feedback I should consider? Post below.

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