When you are starting a new business, there is so much to do and so much to learn and, sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know. We’ve asked our expert team to give you their top five tips for new businesses. Some tips are from their own experience as business owners and some are from their own area of expertise.
This week, it’s Cate Caruth’s turn, to give you her top five tips for Content Creation.
Tip 1 – Know who your Content is for
Whatever content you are creating – be it a blog, a podcast, a video, a printed article or anything else – it needs to add value to the audience. That means the most important thing to get clear on is who that audience is.
All content is a conversation and it will be different depending on who you are having that conversation with, what they need to know and how well they know you.
The tone will differ depending on what you are creating too. If you are writing the home page of your website, your audience might not know that much about you so your homepage should be targeted at having that first conversation. Someone receiving your regular newsletter, however, will know enough about you to want to hear more – they are already interested in what you have to say.
Tip 2 – Don’t “We” all over the Place!
This is my favourite tip (and certainly the most memorable).
Imagine you are at a party and you meet someone new. You start your introductions, but then all of a sudden, they take over the conversation and talk endlessly about who they are and what they do. So, you begin to scan the room for the drinks table and make your excuses, relieved you have escaped the bombardment. It’s an unpleasant experience at the best of times – so why do it with your content?
Now, imagine you’ve moved to the drinks table where you meet someone and you strike up a conversation. The other person is immediately interested in what you do and the conversation is easy and interesting. They find out a lot about you and you feel listened to and understood. Applying the same listening principle to your content means showing that you understand the challenges, wants and needs of the audience rather than a list of “We do…”
For a business example, put yourself in the position of someone looking for a painter and decorator and decide which of these is more attractive to you:
Fill your home with colour and style – with the latest in designs and sustainable materials
We provide painting and decorating services with a wide range of paints and wallpapers.
The first creates an emotional response – the conversation, the second gives facts – the bore who cornered you.
Take a look at your website and count up how often you “We”. Then look at ways to switch things up to be about what your customer is looking for, rather than what you do.
Tip 3 – Get a Second Pair of Eyes on Everything
When it comes to content (actually, when it comes to ANYTHING in your business) a second opinion is always valuable. I use this principle in my business all the time.
When you are starting your business, buddy up with another business owner or a friend who knows what you want, or when budget allows, invest in a coach, mentor or expert. When you create content, have them cast a critical eye over it – to spot typos and mistakes and to be sure everything makes sense. This process can also spark ideas on even better ways to present your content.
And don’t forget to reciprocate to help someone else out in a similar way. It never harms you or your business to support others when you can and it is amazing what you learn in the process.
Tip 4 – Talk about your Values and what is Important to you
According to research, over 65% of a customer’s buying decision is based on the values of the business they are buying from. And yet, many businesses spend a lot of time talking about products and features and prices. The bore at the party has raised their ugly head again!
Of course, your products, features and prices matter, but not nearly as much as your values.
In fact, the second most visited page on your website is your ‘About’ page. It isn’t the second place a visitor might go but, once they’ve seen the product or service, they keep coming back to who you are and how you operate.
So, look after your ‘About’ page. Express what matters to you and use it to build a relationship with those who think and act like you. They will be the ones who become your dream customers because their values align with yours.
Tip 5 – Know the Value of your Time
This was the biggest learning for me in my first year as a business owner and when you start up it can be difficult to put a value on what you do. My time wasn’t hard to calculate – I charge by the hour – but even if you are selling physical products, work out what you make per hour when you are working on your business.
Why does this matter?
Because it means you can decide when it is worth using someone else’s expertise to support you.
Let me explain with a really simple example:
Suppose your business is making and selling handmade wooden toys. You know that you make five toys an hour and they sell for £15 each. That makes the value of your time worth £75 an hour.
Now suppose it takes you three hours a week to clean your house. You hate doing it and it takes you away from the things you love doing in your business. If you hire a cleaner, it will cost you £20 per hour and they can clean your home beautifully in just two hours a week.
So, by spending £40 a week you are able to free up three extra hours to make £225. Having someone help and support you to make more money makes business sense and it gives work to another small business owner too. A win-win!
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