There’s no time for cereals in entrepreneurship! No Nesquik, no Cornflakes! Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but there certainly isn’t any time for serials. No ‘Walking Dead’, no ‘Breaking Bad’. For the lovers of ‘Game of Thrones’ or any of the like, it’s sad to say that you have to put out the flame.
In fact, I managed to watch the 4th season of ‘House of Cards’. After having started my business, I got wind that there is going to be a season 5. I’ve had to wrestle my temptations but now I know that if I’m ever going to be serious, really serious about having any success, I have to make some sacrifices.
Kindling a start-up is hard work and time consuming. It involves hours of blood and sweat into the hours of the night you never even knew existed.
If you’re starting up your own company and trying to market your brand or product on a low budget, time and patience are your tools.
That’s it. We’re lucky to be living in an age where sky-high TV ads isn’t the only route to popularising your brand and product. Thanks to the rise of social media, advertising is in fact almost free, but it takes time. It takes time…
I’m talking about content marketing.
Rather than a sprint of extremely expensive advertising, you – or anyone else – can advertise almost for free, but it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
Remember that Forrest Gump didn’t get a following when he started running until his beard grew long. It’ll take weeks, months and even years to build an audience, but as long as you’re consistent and relevant to your target audience, you will – yes, you will – build a customer base who will – yes, they will – buy your product and perhaps by word-of-mouth they’ll popularise your brand.
The kind of content
The kind of content you put out there can be anything like a written blog or videos, interviews, info graphics etc. Most importantly, they have to be relevant to your topic and audience, and they have to be put out regularly and consistently: it could be everyday, once a week or twice a month etc.
One more thing, consistently produce one type of content: if it’s a blog, write a blog post on a regular basis so that your audience will learn to expect the timing of the next blog post to appear. That way your audience will learn to follow you over a period of time. And the longer the better. One way of speeding up the process are the use of some very helpful tools on the internet which can track and display trends and shareability of any chosen type of content.
And just one more thing – but this is key – be passionate about your content. Love what you produce and know your stuff. If you write about how to grow grass and write about it with passion and determination, you will find somewhere out there those who will follow your content and love it. If you’re not passionate about your content, the fire will extinguish because you’ll lose patience and interest. You need to do what you love and love what you do.
Great advice came from a book I read recently, written by millionaire businessman, Gary Vaynerchuk. In his (audio)book ‘Crush It!’ he gives his top secret to the ‘best marketing strategy ever!’. This is chapter 9 of his book:
Chapter 9: The greatest marketing strategy ever. Are you guys ready? Are you ready for this? Because here it comes: The greatest marketing strategy ever. Chapter 9. The chapter I’ve been most emailed about since this book came out in October. Are you ready? Here it is. Let’s get into the chapter. Care. That’s it. We’re moving onto chapter 10. The greatest marketing strategy ever is care.
If you care about your audience, you will never ever lose. Not bullshit caring, real caring; actually really, really caring. Going the extra mile, going the extra 40 miles. Having a real relationship with your audience. That is 1000% the game.
And with the rise of social media, you have the chance to truly and genuinely engage with your audience, on a personal level. But this means hours and hours of your time spent responding to each and every post, tweet, comment and question that gets thrown at you.
Is that a problem?
It shouldn’t be, not if your passionate about what you’re doing. Not if your audience are engaged in you and your passion. Speak to them, not at them. And everybody’s different. If you’re interest is in them, as human beings and not as monetized transactions, you will want to spend that time engaging with them rather than being hooked on the next best serial.