When I can, I like to feature the expertise of other marketing professionals, and this week I'm delighted to introduce Diane Pauley, a brand and content strategist who helps businesses say what they do. Here is her story and her advice to small businesses.
My business started with one tweet in 2012.
Before I got certified as a life coach, before I decided on a business name, and before I started a blog - I got myself a Twitter account. And I tweeted every single day for a year.
I knew that before I “launched” anything, I needed an audience to launch to. I had to put some sort of message out into the online world to see how it landed. So I decided to be like Oprah and share inspirational messages with others. They were short posts, they were to the point and I believed the words that I wrote. Before I knew it, people started to resonate with my words too.
If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably trying to stay up-to-date on all of the latest marketing trends, but today I want to tell you about the only 2 things you need to create content that not only connects with an audience but converts them into clients.
1. A clear mission statement
Being able to stand out in a crowded marketplace isn’t easy, but it’s doable. To stand out, you need brand awareness. People need to see you, know you, and understand what you stand for. And that starts by telling them why you do what you do. It doesn’t mean that you disregard the problem you intend to solve for your clients - it just means that you go a little deeper.
Why this problem? Why this business? I believe, as a small business owner myself, we all get into business for a reason. Maybe we see a need in the market and we want to create a product to meet that need. Or maybe we want a particular service and none exists, so we create one ourselves. This is the stuff your potential audience wants to hear. They want to know why you got into business in the first place because they’re meeting you for the first time when they’re vulnerable. They’re experiencing a problem and they’re looking for a solution, and they don’t want to invest in just anyone. They want to invest in someone that they believe in and can trust. Maybe they even want to invest in someone who understands what they’re going through.
So go ahead and share. This is the moment for you to not only tell the world what you do, but why. This concept is so overlooked in business because we often don’t think that our story has anything to do with what we’re offering, but it matters to the people who want to hear from us.
Your story is the first piece of content you should introduce to people on your website, on your social media channels, and anywhere else people are meeting you for the first time and learning about your business. This is your first impression. My Oprah-like tweets were mine.
2. To speak their language
As small business owners, we have to remember that it’s not all about us. Everything we write, share and say needs to be done with our potential client in mind. We can’t just throw out content into the big online world and hope it sticks. We need to listen to what our audience is telling us they want to hear and give them that. As a business, we’re solving problems. We know what the solution is and sometimes that means we want to jump ahead and tell our potential clients that we know exactly what they need because we do. But we have to remember that our clients are still in problem-mode and they’re probably feeling overwhelmed. The last thing they need is to be told what they need to do. They want to be met where they are and they want to know what’s possible. They need you to paint a picture of what life can be like when their problem is solved.
Businesses can get wrapped up in talking all about the details of their products and services to justify the investment, but what actually gets a client to invest is the trust they have in you. Are you the business owner who understands what they’re going through and what they want, or are you the business owner trying to sell them on your latest product or service?
People want to know that they matter. People want to know that they’re being spoken to, not at. And the majority of people want to know that they’re more than a transaction. It’s about building up trust and building a relationship with them.
And there are going to be several pieces of content that get you there - blog posts, videos, ebooks, emails, you name it. But every piece you write should have your potential client in mind. You’re talking to them and building that relationship. You’re showing them that you know what they want and that you’re the person they want to invest in.
Diane is one of my favorite people to work with, to find out about some of my other people, check out my team page.
Building an audience that lasts
The audience I built from my tweeting days in 2012 has stuck around. Through my business pivots from 2013-2017 to my business hiatus from 2018-2019, they haven’t gone anywhere. I relaunched my business this year and I knew I still had an audience to launch to. It’s because in every piece of content I’ve written over the years, I’ve shared my story and I’ve spoken directly to the people I wanted to reach. We’ve gone on a journey together, and it’s still going.
I believe that businesses that take the time to align with their mission, and share it, ultimately reach the people they’re meant to serve in a truly meaningful way. And that’s what matters.
If you’re looking to create consistent content that connects with your audience and converts them into clients, look no further than your own story and who you’re talking to.
You’ll never wonder what to say (to whom) again.
About Diane Pauley
Diane Pauley is the brand and content strategist behind Gimme Sweet Words. She’s written the words for a number of brands and has helped clients gain clarity on what to say in their business.
These days, Diane helps business owners who are struggling to say what they do get a clear message that attracts clients. She believes everything comes down to making branding more personal, marketing more human, and creating content that connects. She’s also created a free resource to get business owners started on their journey of saying what they do here.
If you're looking for further writing inspiration, check out another of my other blogs (click the image):