A bold announcement that surfaced on my very own LinkedIn profile and strangely enough, an episode of the old HBO series The Newsroom got me thinking recently about content assets and the art of telling better business stories, especially in the fast-paced online environment. My clients often ask “How much of myself do I have to put out there?” My answer to small business owners is pretty much the same, “Your products and services are great, but not necessarily unique. YOU are definitely what’s unique about your business. Let people know why choosing YOU will benefit them.”
So how do you determine what personal and business assets make good content for your business story? That’s where The Newsroom clip hit me as applicable to the thought-process behind building a better business story. The gist of the clip is to question the trend that sensationalism, entertainment or simply encouraging engagement is a means to an end in most social media strategies.
When the character says, “People don’t read this with the expectation that what they’re reading is true…” I revisited a series of questions I ask myself regularly.
- How DO people view the content a business puts out into the digital world? What do they believe and what do they pass off as a sales pitch or a meaningless attempt to get attention?
- How does a business decide what content builds the best business story and what will get people through the doors or to their website?
- What content builds trust, leverages assets and establishes relationships in an increasingly fractured digital marketplace?
- What is a content asset?
The number of years a business has existed is a great example of a potential content asset. When LinkedIn declared I was celebrating my 10th year in business, it was tempting to jump on that asset and use across other channels as well. And while the 10 years is a true statement, it’s not one I normally lead with. Why? Because although I did start my business in 2006, it was a part-time endeavor at that time and did not become a full-fledged agency until 2012. Although some people might consider that stretch acceptable, I don’t routinely use it because it’s a slight misrepresentation of reality and not truly relevant to my business story at this time.
So that leads to the question “When determining content assets, what is relevant, what is misleading and what is downright counterproductive?” In helping businesses develop content plans that work, I emphasize relevancy, authenticity, expertise and customer service elements rather than flashy, and ultimately empty attention-getting tactics. While some splashy promotions can definitely be a part of a well-researched and executed marketing campaign, short-cuts and stunts are not. Done outside of a plan, they may get spikes in followers or likes, but they seldom get people in the door or to your website.
So using myself as an example, what parts of my story and the KLCreative Media story are more relevant than crossing the 10-year mark? Some thoughts:
- I’M LIKE YOU. I am a small business owner similar to those I serve. I have an intimate understanding of the difficulties of running a small business day-in-and-day-out. I will never minimize the challenges my clients face, however I will challenge them to be better and to work smarter from a place that honors their own personality and values. Authenticity is crucial!
- I UNDERSTAND CAPACITY. What sets me apart from other marketing/PR agencies is that I GET operational capacity. Instead of serving up a high-priced campaign or offering advice about all the tasks you need to ADD to your currently maxed out capacity, I become part of the team. By identify and maximize existing assets, KLCM creates a functional digital marketing system that fits right into your operation to help it communicate and grow whether or not you continue using my services over the long haul.
- I PARTNER UP. My business philosophy includes being part of a community and using win-win partnerships as a way of leveraging assets.
- I USE WHAT I’VE GOT. I believe in empowering my clients to reach their goals by identifying existing assets and leveraging them for success.
- I RESEARCH. PLAN. EXECUTE. I am adamant about research, planning and manageable execution. I advocate for incremental success towards accomplishment of a bigger vision. Dream, research, plan, then DO. Rinse and repeat when necessary! My business is a great example of this process.
- I STRIVE TO KEEP BUILDING A BETTER BUSINESS STORY. I have worked in a wide-range of business situations, public and private, which offers a well-rounded perspective and allows me to customize strategies for specific industries. One size does not fit all, but a flexible methodology can build a better business story that reaches the right audience. My story may not always be as clearly communicated as I like, but I strive to keep refining and telling it as sincerely as possible.
- THE PROOF IS IN MY CUSTOMERS. Dozens of satisfied clients I have served over the years would recommend my company to other small businesses and organizations. My clients are my greatest asset!
What do you think? Do good old-fashioned methods work in the digital world?
I try hard to practice what I preach, to take the time to carefully identify my target market, determine what channels they frequent, do an honest inventory of my personal and business assets, then broadcast them in thoughtful ways. I’ve learned what works for me, and encourage my clients to do the same. Sometimes I hit the mark, sometimes I don’t. But overall I think the clients I have served in 4 years of full-time business will agree that I’m I offer a solid, worthwhile and DIFFERENT option in the marketing/PR marketplace. And that is a business success story if I ever heard one.
KLCreative Media is here to help small businesses and organizations sort through all the hype to choose just the right channels, strategies and messaging to help you build a better business story. Call us for a free 30 minute consultation about the options. firstname.lastname@example.org 540.466.0059