Stop us if you've read this subject line before:
"You can FINALLY build your dream life"
"Confront your fears and commit yourself to success!"
"Learn the secret to being a special snowflake in just 10 easy steps"
If you've ever encountered any websites, blogs, books, podcasts or emails about entrepreneurship and business-building, you've seen subject lines like these, with short paragraphs of carefully-formatted fluff underneath.
For example, the key to "building your dream life" (and this is from a real email) is to think about what you love.
That's it? Just think it over?
Emails like this leave us feeling duped. Taken advantage of. Like someone didn't want to give us real advice, but instead just wanted our email address... so they could get us into a dizzying sales funnel of e-books, coaching sessions and 6-week digital courses to "put us on the path to SUCCESS."
Content marketing, or creating content that doesn't look like an ad but is meant to get your target customer excited about you, is eeeverywhere. And it can be awesome! But truly awesome content marketing is hard, because it takes a real understanding of what your audience needs, and a commitment to providing value—not just fluff.
In fact, that's what we strive for in the Weekly Slice: to give you something each week to help you communicate and market yourself and your products a little bit better. Hopefully it's not just feel-good fluff, although we do want to make you smile!
Content marketing tells customers who you are, shows that you can provide something worthy, and demonstrates why they should work with you. When a customer can search and find 10 options for every product or service you already provide, it's not only important to catch a customer's eye with something shiny, but to give them something they actually need.
That's why a swimsuit business might offer a free virtual fitting room, so customers can comfortably and privately try things on. It's why a child therapist might offer parenting tips, to show parents that a calm and happy home IS possible. It's why one of our amazing clients, Just Simply... Cuisine, started a podcast to help home cooks be confident and relaxed in their kitchens. (It's the best, and you can listen to the first episode here.)
So when you're considering what to offer, ask yourself:
- Why do you want customers? The answer is not "to take their money." What problem are you really solving through your product or service? We fully acknowledge that we’re a broken record when it comes to asking why, but you would be surprised by how few people answer this question. For a refresher course on the power of "why" (and for twice the Slice), read this and find your real motivation.
- What can you offer for free, that's valuable to your customer? Recently, we got an email from a business coach that was short and sweet. It told us to “Be bold. Dream big. Do the thing." While that gives us some warm fuzzies, it doesn’t exactly help our business grow. Put value over fuzzies.
- Can you keep your promises? Really good content marketers—the ones that have email subscribers or Twitter followers who have been with them for years—follow through on what they say they will. Consider what you or your business can manage to provide, and then actually do it. Even better if you can under-promise and over-deliver.
- How consistently can you keep them? You know how we send you this every Friday (and it’s, like, one of the best parts of your Friday, right?). That’s intentional. Consistency helps readers know what to expect, and consistency over time builds trust.
We believe in you, you special snowflake!