Content? The infamous word on the tip of everyone’s tongue right now and ironically; it doesn’t refer to your internal happinessometer or greater feeling of wellbeing. Instead; it’s becoming more and more responsible for feelings of overwhelm or anxiety, particularly for service based businesses.

Unlike our counterparts who sell physical product, anyone in the land of ‘service’ – let’s talk my immediate niche of architects, designers, stylists, renovators – have to play a long game in order to articulate their worth (notice I didn’t use the word convince – not a fan!).

Quality content is paramount in our communications and here’s where the anxiety kicks in – it has to be really fff-ing good to get your anywhere. Now, in the greater yardstick of bad to good the spectrum is not only massive but highly interpretive. What makes someone like your content or not is as easy to answer as to why some scrunch and some fold – who knows?

As you have all likely come to realise about me, I love marketing but more importantly the psychology behind it. More so, and this is my long-game, I don’t often see things the same way as mainstream marketers / creative coaches do (notice I’m a ‘creative’ coach, a fusion of traditional methods, but contemporary thinking).

Here’s what mainstream marketers will tell you and here’s my take on those hot tips:

1.     you need to know your market really well Vs you need to know YOU really well

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been hammered with know your target, due diligence, customer avatars, competitor research speak.  It works and is a solid foundation for anyone trying to keep their content game on highlight reel….BUT there’s underlying pressure here for non-marketers to know it all and all the time.  How many workshops can you do? So much so they fall into the trap of marketing to each other before understanding their own values and unique offering first.

Understanding your values isn’t a crystal ball nor is it the herbal tea to a good cup of coffee (coffee lovers you know what I mean, tea lovers, it’s OK!) – it’s smart. Why? Because knowing WHAT you stand for first, knowing what really MEANS something to acts as your backbone in all other channels that you implement. It means you feel a greater sense of comfort when putting together a marketing plan, an action plan or a strategy of any variety. It’s playing to your strengths. It also discounts those avenues that don’t resonate which means, finding and understanding your target market just became a little more bottle of champagne in haystack rather than the proverbial needle (becomes a farmer immediately!!!).

One of the biggest drivers behind what I do sits smack bang in the values camp. Designed for those who need to connect with your greater and more soulful ‘why’ – ‘the roomer’ might just be your jam -

2.     content content content content Vs less is more

Again; pushed with the ideology that multiple channels, multiple times per day, using multiple apps, referencing multiple sources, running multiple accounts, accessing multiple markets, undertaking multiple collaborations and creating multiple opportunities;  it’s no damn wonder there are MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES running rife in our business periphery.

I’m not sure about you but it’s all too scatter gun for me to appreciate and far too saturated to the point of dilution (like that one - yup, always with the cool metaphors). What the actual crap is going on? I like to stay relevant as much as the next person, but save for competing the in the national ‘burn out’ competition (that is not a reference to fast cars and ridiculous blowing out of tyres) I wonder who finds any of this enjoyable?

Instead the JOY of being in business is being sucked out of our overworked pores. Let’s pause for a second (did anyone find that champagne in the haystack, it might be time to pop that cork!) and ask ourselves, what do you LIKE about what you do?

Once you’ve considered this question, my method moving forward here is so simple it makes me want more haystacks. 3 steps people! That’s right 3. Content strategy that is digestible and ‘sustainable’ looks like this:

·         Values – what’s important as a business and how can you tell us about it?

·         Who – literally; where are they, and what do they like?

·         How – without trying to sell me a fry pan, alleviate their pain points.

Once these are in play (and I’d regular revise at least quarterly) you can expand on 3 platforms to use (i.e. FB, Insta, Blog), creating posts in groups of 3 (not necessarily posting in groups of 3 but it keeps thought processes cohesive), and sourcing / creating across the 3 platforms (again, not necessarily posting them in that order), using 3 different methods (video, blog, imagery). Why? 3 works!! BEGINNING . MIDDLE. END - always makes the best stories right?

@zahracreative for

@zahracreative for

3.     Get someone else to create your content Vs Get someone to strategise + create your content

Two major differences here and that is in the strategy, it also then plays into ‘whom’ you hire. Content creators are a dime a dozen (not even a baker’s dozen) so it really does pay to research their past work, credibility and ability to really resonate on a unique level the story behind the brand you’re trying to grow.

Is it as simple as point and shoot? If it were we wouldn’t be outsourcing in the first place. Sadly no is the answer. You can be trained or untrained in photography, that’s not the big issue here, the grey area is expertise (and that can come from industry training or a degree). There really needs to be DEPTH to who you hire, so if you’re looking for a photographer or an iphoneographer, or a marketer / social media manager, you should really take a good look at what they output themselves, how original their content is (even if they regram – is the support content GOOD quality?) and if they resonate with you.

Content strategy isn’t really as much of a guts-ache as some would have you believe. Honestly; it’s no different than following a recipe. You know if you put too much bi-carb in it’s not only going to blow out but it’s going to taste a bit salty! Take out the complication and follow and method. It saves times, creates cohesion and means you nail the outcome.  It also means, that not every piece of content you see out there is the same. Not everything has to contain nuts!

Deb xx