Take Action: 7 Tips to Attract Clients To Your Social Media Communities

A woman looks at her smartphone as images of people show up on the screen.

While it might be easy for you to build a following on social media, it’s challenging turning your fans into a loyal customer base. You want the transition to be seamless to keep everything running accordingly. Learn what your followers need from you to help you flourish! Here are some ways to turn your followers into clients.

A woman looks at her smartphone as images of people show up on the screen.
We’re excited to welcome Margie Heaneythe of Get Plus Followers as a guest contributor to the CCC blog!

Do Some Research On the Ideal Client

Even if you get targeted Instagram followers, you still need to turn them into loyal buyers. One of the first things to do is find the ideal client. You have to know your audience to understand their wants and needs.

Know their personalities, the things they enjoy, and everything in between. It can help you realize if you’re in the right direction for writing content and creating products for them. Also, it gives you a sense of the market in your niche.

Use this information as a way to monitor your audience’s activity. Do they stay on your social media page longer after implementing certain activities? It takes time to build consistency.

Create a Balance of Content

You don’t want to go straight to your clients for money. Think about creating more balance between your sales pitch and an environment that can lead to intriguing discussions. Remember, it’s called social media for a reason.

Make a natural transition between you and your following to help you rake in sales. You can start the beginning of your week by posting the regular content you give out to your followers. It keeps that familiarity there, and you don’t step away from your foundation.

Mid-week you want to start posting about your products and services in a more digestible manner. Keep in mind that you need to do so in a method that keeps their interest level high. You don’t want to start sounding like a robot.

Whether it’s a funny meme, video, or an interesting description, you want to mix things up to keep your audience from falling asleep. The last thing to do is become another social media account that sounds like a bot trying to spam its audience with a sales pitch.

Take a look at the strategies your competitors implement and how you can use them to be more creative. Change things up a bit to make it your own.

Increase Productivity

One of the hardest things about captivating your audience is productivity. It’s easy to fall off and have a week where you get behind on your posts.

One of the steps you can do is to post at specific times. Do you notice different times during the day when the activity increases? Take notes to help you find how you engage with your audience more.

Also, it’s a better idea to use an automated tool to help manage everything. You might have a busy week and can’t post everything manually. Choosing a program to get your posts out will save you time to focus on other things in your business, from product making to talking to your followers.

Additionally, you can start seeing the content that seems most relevant to them. Analyze your demographics to help you diversify your content from audio, video, and text. When you can increase productivity, it makes things much easier to stay on top of things.

The more productive you can make your time on social media, the better you can amplify your reach and get a more stable following. Have a balance between the free and valuable content and stuff you plan to sell.

Creating stability can help you sustain a lasting brand over your competitors.

Make Your Audience Feel Special

You must make your audience feel special throughout everything. Remember, your loyal followers are the ride-or-die people that support you from the ground up. It takes work to keep them satisfied with what you provide them.

One of the things you can do to make your audience feel like you care is doing a contest. You might want to build your following faster for a product rollout. Try to get as many eyes on your new item as possible.

You can have a prize package for your top three referrals. Providing incentives to your most loyal and hard-working people will make them feel that you appreciate their input. Also, they’ll help promote you because you gave them something they enjoyed.

Being more conscious of the icing on the cake can help you attract a targeted audience and keep them there.

Post Consistently

Find out a method to help you post consistently. When you don’t post for a couple of weeks, it makes your audience wander elsewhere to get what they need.

Find out a routine that can help you stay on point and keep you rejuvenated. Maybe you can post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’ll help you give your audience what they want, and you can rest in-between days to prevent burnout.

Maybe you can post a topic on Tuesday and do a live session event on Friday to discuss things and get the people involved. 

Have More Personal Contact

Personal connection is such a neglected aspect of building clientele. Remember, you want to be in touch with its needs to help you create better product conversions. Maybe you can look at a few of your loyal followers who happen to comment and create a better dialogue on your posts.

If there’s a common thing you enjoy, you can greet them and briefly speak on it. It’ll bring the human factor to your brand and create tremendous value for those that think you just run on nuts and bolts.

Additionally, you can use that information from the feedback to post questions or polls on your site. You get better interaction to help you strategize your next move.

Promote Your Followers

If your followers send you a direct message talking about a product or service they offer, listen to what they say. It might be something of value to your customer base. Ask them to create a pitch and a business plan that sounds great.

It helps promote them to your audience, and you might be able to parlay that into a joint venture.

Turning your social media following into a client base can take time but may yield favorable results for the long haul.

Speak Up

Are you ready to take action to attract clients to your social media communities? How have you used any of Margie’s tips to land new business? Do you have any advice to add? Leave your feedback or questions in the comments below, or connect with Margie to continue the conversation.

Headshot of Margie Heaneythe

Margie Heaneythe, Get Plus Followers

Social Media Strategist & Content Creator

Read more blog articles by Margie

Email Margie: margie@getplusfollowers.com

(Video) Clearly Conveyed Communications Turns 10: A Decade of Conversation

Clearly Conveyed Communications turns 10

10 years. Clearly Conveyed Communications has been giving brands and businesses, large and small, a voice for a decade. How did we get here?!

Transcript:

Wow, 10 years. This month my business, Clearly Conveyed Communications, turned 10 years old and it blows my mind. I never saw this coming in a million years, 10 years ago when I started out.

I saw that the traditional gift for a 10-year anniversary is tin or aluminum, which makes sense, because you’re celebrating the resilience and durability of the anniversary, whether it’s your relationship or your business or anything else.

So, I would never have made it this far without steadfast support from so many people: loyal clients, people who have lended a hand when I needed it or even offered an encouraging word during a bad day, which we all know those happen when you run a business.

So a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has contributed to Clearly Conveyed Communications or me personally over the past 10 years to help me stand here today and thank you on our 10-year anniversary.

So cheers to 10 more or one more and we’ll see what the future holds, but thank you. I appreciate everyone.

Cheers to 10 years—and you!

Jaime

Let’s chat (about small business life, your marketing needs or what you’re celebrating):

Why Updating Your Existing Content Is So Important (And How To Do It)

Why Updating Your Existing Content Is So Important (And How To Do It)

Creating an effective content strategy is fundamental to your marketing efforts, but it’s usually about creating new content. Yet, your existing content may be even more important than creating new content because existing pages already have unique data, including rankings and on-page engagement. It’s much more effective to use your own data than relying on third-party numbers that your competitors have the same access to as you.

On March 15th, I was honored to be the guest host of the #VCBuzz marketing Twitter chat for the second time! Our discussion was focused on the benefits of updating your existing or older content and how to go about doing it. So, how do you create a content updating strategy or include updating your current content in your content strategy? Let’s discuss!

Why Updating Existing Content Is So Important

Q2 Why is updating old content so important and why do so many brands fail to do that?

Creating quality content is challenging and time-consuming, so you want to extract as much value out of it as you can. Your older content is a gold mine of benefits, which you’ve already spent time, energy and resources on, so don’t forget about it.

Updating your older content delivers a better user experience, so visitors find value on your site or blog, stay longer and show interest in your products and services. This includes visitors referred by backlinks, which will help boost your site’s SEO.

Updating older content and fixing broken links will also strengthen your site’s SEO by welcoming search engine crawlers and helping them index your site, boosting your rankings. Dead links stop search engine crawlers in their tracks.

Our society tends to focus on what’s new, which is why brands often fail to update older content. Once content is published and initially distributed, it’s put on a back shelf and forgotten about. Don’t do this and lose so many benefits!

Updating older content will also give you fresh ideas for new content! Approach a topic you previously blogged about from a different perspective, or explore a previous topic more in-depth by creating a series.

How To Identify Content That Needs Updating

Q3 How to identify content that needs updating? How to get better organized with content updates to turn it into an on-going process?

Use a tool like DeadLinkChecker to find broken links that may be damaging your rankings and usability. There’s a free tool, Multi Check (for multiple websites) and Auto Check (which runs on a regular basis and emails you reports).

Also, visit your website regularly! Before you create new content, look at older content you’ve already published on the same topic. Check popular posts to see if they need updated or can be enhanced with fresh information. Check pages before sharing!

Moving forward, include your older content in your content strategy. Dedicate time and resources to updating older content, refreshing your blog/site and cleaning up broken links on a regular basis. Make it an equal priority with creating new content!

Key Elements of a Successful Content Update

Q4 How to update content? What are the key elements of a good content update?

First, check for broken links, missing videos, corrupt images or loading issues. Are your images optimized or are they slowing down the page from loading? Have you used images without permission? Get permission, or replace them with appropriate ones.

Next, look at the copy. Is the headline drawing traffic, or can it be improved? Reread the article and captions. Is the content still relevant or does it need to be refreshed? Add any new information that will bring the content up-to-date.

Make sure your content is readable (and skimmable) with appropriate visuals, short paragraphs and different sections, or headings. White space and proper formatting are your friends on screen. Add relevant videos, GIFs, polls or other media!

Recommended Writing & SEO Tools

Q5 What are your favorite writing and SEO tools?

My favorite writing and SEO tools are Headline Studio and Email Subject Line Tester by CoSchedule, Microsoft Word, EvernoteWordPress.com and DeadLinkChecker.

Review the entire How to Update Your Old Content chat, and join future #VCBuzz marketing Twitter chats on Tuesdays at Noon ET.

Tweet Us (Or Leave Your Feedback in the Comments)

How does updating your existing content currently fit in your content strategy?

Do you delete content from your blog, or is everything worth keeping?

What are your favorite writing and SEO tools?

CCC’s Chief Content Marketing Officer,
Jaime

Speak Up: How To Grow Your Business With Podcasts and Audio Assets

We’re excited to welcome Sue-Ann Bubacz, host of the MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS Podcast, as a guest contributor to the CCC blog!

Having a podcast for your business allows you to reach out to people on a different level. Podcasts help humanize your company, adding brand flavor while amplifying your voice. 

Like other forms of content, the podcasts you produce, publish, and share are an opportunity to: 

Most importantly, you can communicate candidly and directly with people through your podcast. A podcast allows people access to your business’s core values and gives a glimpse into its personality. 

Plus, go ahead and showcase thought leadership while helping listeners with information and resources. Sharing a mix of what you know and what you are learning means you have an eternal field of possible topics to explore. 

Podcasts help humanize your company, adding brand flavor while amplifying your voice. 

Create Awareness

Awareness of your business happens in phases when you add an audio component to your digital content mix. These phases represent a path to gain awareness and attention for your business. And by creating valuable audio content touchpoints for new audiences, you increase your content reach and drive newly engaged traffic to your website.

Remember as you go, however, all roads are geared to make deeper connections between your business and potential customers. 

Working the awareness stage with your audio content is as simple as recording quick audio clips. Create mini audio content campaigns to introduce content to invite people to check out your newest blog posts, for example, or promote an upcoming event. 

Borrow immediate content by using your existing written content repurposed into audio episodes. Or, create batches of episodes around one or more of the core topics pertaining to your business. Further, answering most-asked questions around your business makes a good starter series to quickly get your audio message off the ground. 

Using the content suggestions above on your way to creating awareness allows you to understand yourself, too. Pinpointing your business focus to produce the appropriate podcast content helps you gain insight into developing a more advanced audio strategy. 

And, you can start now. 

By creating valuable audio content touchpoints for new audiences, you increase your content reach and drive newly engaged traffic to your website.

Platforms like anchor.fm are user-oriented and more straightforward than you imagine. I love the Anchor App and have been introducing it as a free-to-use solution to many businesses and bloggers over the years. Try it out to experiment and dip your feet into podcasting to see if it’s a good fit before investing more.

For more advanced solutions, Spotify is growing in terms of user size and services. In fact, it is now the parent company of Anchor. 


The most established and highly recommended professional audio platform is Libsyn.

Reach New Audiences

However, there are many platforms to select from, and they offer a plethora of options for services. 

Notably, most platforms connect your podcast feed to the likes of Apple Podcasts* and Google Play, along with a slew of others. The availability of this RSS feed sharing system gives you a big step up for reaching new listeners. Again, like most content assets you create, gaining reach and finding new audiences through awareness requires amplification and distribution. (*Note: this is currently changing with Anchor and will be up to you to set this up for yourself.

So, in addition to getting reach via these podcasting platforms, implement a social media marketing component into your audio strategy. Listeners turn into followers, and followers turn into sales. 

You can also work on reach by promoting your shows, paying close attention to creating enticing titles and descriptions, for example. And don’t forget to promote to your email list, letting people know when a new episode is published. 

Further, collaboration offers a chance to reach new audiences simply by “borrowing” them from your collaborators. Of course, at the same time, you share your audience right back. As an added bonus, you get to meet and make new friends and business connections in the process. 

Networking is always part of meeting new people and making business connections. Your podcast is another doorway to networking. Plus, audience reach grows when you interact with listeners. Make sure to reply to comments and thank people who share your podcasts on social. 

Because podcast listeners enjoy the ability to listen on their terms—anytime and anywhere they like—audio content is one of the most user-friendly types of media. On top of that, podcast listenership continues to grow, as illustrated in the infographic below by musinoomph.com.

Podcast Statistics Infographic by MusicOomph.com

Infographic by: MusicOomph.com

Stand Out in Your Field or Community 

One way to stand out in your field is to interview interesting people for your podcast; select guests to talk about your key topics or topics related to what you do. Try to find guests offering new information or a unique spin to add to the discussion. Remember, it’s all about your audience, so it doesn’t hurt if you find guests with a bit of sparkling personality to go along with the first-rate info.

If you want to stand out in your local community, pair up your content with local happenings. Get creative and discover cross-over subject matter to enrich content, and participate in local events. Cross-promotions are often good business drivers, and the addition of an audio asset gives you a new level of reach. 

Think about a way to “go live” with your podcast and involve your customers in some way, or interview people attending a local event giving you networking opportunities onsite and off. Invite your neighborhood businesses to your podcast to talk about what they do or how you work together. Maybe each one can share their history of operating in the local community. 

The more visible you are in a community, and the more you are willing to network and promote, the more people get to know you and want to do business with you. Your podcast is a great talking point and a way to invite collaborators into your community.

Your podcast is a great talking point and a way to invite collaborators into your community.

Increase Reputation and Build Authority

When you’re the one initiating things and stirring up interest, promoting others, and staying visible, your reputation and authority grow. People look to you to participate, solve problems, and come up with new ideas. Helping in this way works in the digital space as well as in your local community. 

Keeping your word and acting on it proves you’re honest and reliable, a trusted business member and resource, solidifying your reputation, and continuing to grow your authority. Just remember, everything you do in business reflects on you and your reputation and builds (or destroys) trustworthiness. 

Podcasting helps you show people who you are as a business—your core values, company culture, and attitudes toward business—and listeners get to know you and learn your beliefs about doing good business.

Establish and Grow Credibility in Your Industry

Another part of growing your authority is also the key to gaining credibility. And the question is, of course, do you know your stuff? Not only is it great to be a go-to resource in your community, but you also need to go a step further and prove you’re the best-in-the-business for whatever it is you do! 

Taking your credibility higher in your industry requires you to stay updated and on top of exciting new developments and any changes. Go ahead and take a leadership role working towards innovation while staying on the cutting-edge. You can’t rest on your laurels as you strive to improve continually. I want to be the best in the world at whatever I am doing, so I just keep striving to improve. For business purposes, this attitude works, helping to propel you forward. 

Psst, this article is starting to feel like a podcast! 

Growing your credibility means finding teachable moments all around you and applying them to developing thoughtful and high-quality content for podcasting. The best kind of credibility comes after you are a proven entity backed by successes, wins and happy customers galore. You’ll know when you’ve built credibility from your podcast and your actions when customers refer business to you. The goal is to never have to sell again. How? By consistently receiving referrals because you’re already in demand! 

Yes, your podcast is part of your content and inbound marketing plan. 

Repurpose Top Content to Communicate Your Core Values

The core values you provide in business need to be a common thread skillfully woven throughout your communications consistently. On top of that, your business needs to offer multiple touchpoints for people to notice you, and repurposing your content does the trick.

Repurposing allows you to share the same or similar content via various formats to satisfy the different ways people like to consume content. Soooo repurposing content helps you extend content to new audiences while allowing you to communicate a message in more than one way.

Repurposing content helps you extend content to new audiences while allowing you to communicate a message in more than one way.

Initiate New Relationships and Nurture Your Community Towards Sales

There’s no doubt, creating and maintaining good business relationships lead to sales and growth for your business. But building and fostering those relationships starts with connecting with the people who are interested in your services. It’s about reaching people who resonate with your core communications and need precisely the things you do. 

Podcasting is a content and media form consumers enjoy and, at the same time, cuts layers away from nurturing the know/like/trust formula over time. Lending an actual voice to your content gives you a shortcut to impact your audience. Allowing listener input for show topics offers you another opportunity to shorten connection time and build genuine relationships. 

Like all marketing now, two-way communications rule. Listening to and including the people you interact with or who interact with your audio content matters. You’ll find podcasting interactions organically spread across your channels, so engaging with comments, shares, and feedback is vital to your growth. Although you may think of audio as a one-to-many format, it’s the one-to-one interactions that help you grow your brand and reputation.  

Produce Unique, Creative Audio Content in Simpler or Complex Varieties

Everyone likes to talk about short attention spans. Instead, why not focus on producing valuable content assets spotlighting important information, updates, tips, and more that clients need to know. You see, people have selective attention spans and all you need to do is captivate them with your sparkling audio content. Therefore, the message—and not its length—is what makes a difference and where your best efforts belong. Of course, that’s easier said than done, right? 

As I mentioned earlier, there’re a lot of ways to get started quickly for producing valuable audio content. Still, making some decisions in advance helps to clarify what you want to communicate and how, who it’s for, and more. Naming, branding, tagline, and design considerations including logo, colors, and thumbnails are items to pre-plan for a smoother start. 

But the richness in your audio productions lies in the content you create. Its uniqueness, relevance, point-of-view, and helpfulness are all factors, among others. Delivering audio clearly is the most important measure for your listeners, so focus on the quality of your sound first. But after you master the technical component for quality sound and have the administrative and overarching show theme design in place, your original content takes center stage. 

Remember, the content you create remains in the spotlight for successful podcasting. However, just as you recreate written and other content forms into audio presentations, audio content easily transforms into written content for blog posts, guest posts, and web copy, for example. How-to’s, product reviews, and adding your two cents to trending topics work for on-the-fly audio subjects that reboot well in other formats to repurpose and extend visibility for audio.

The ability to reach new or extended audiences, increase visibility, awareness, traffic, and most importantly, to directly connect with people, makes audio content attractive. Ready to podcast? 

The ability to reach new or extended audiences, increase visibility, awareness, traffic, and most importantly, to directly connect with people, makes audio content attractive. Ready to podcast? 

Sound Off

What do you think? Are you ready to podcast? Already host a podcast? Drop your feedback, questions or podcast link(s) in the comments below, or share your thoughts with us on social! (Sue-Ann’s social media links are below.)

Sue-Ann Bubacz

Write Mix for Business

Content Creator for Business

Podcast: MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS

Connect with Sue-Ann

(Video) Clearly Conveyed Communications Turns 9: Still Giving You A Voice

Nine years. It’s hard to believe that Clearly Conveyed Communications has been giving brands and businesses a voice for nine years.

When I started this journey, I never dreamed of nine years down the road. I was trying so hard to get through each day (and still am, in some ways) that looking this far into the future seemed crazy.

I think I’ve aged 10 years in the last year plus, and I definitely have a few more gray hairs. But Clearly Conveyed Communications is still here, and I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported my little dream along the way.

I’m blessed to work with some of the best clients in the world and collaborate with fellow small business owners, creators, movers and shakers.

I’m going to take a minute to soak in this moment and celebrate before getting back to work. Thank you again to everyone who has supported the CCC journey in every way, large and small. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Cheers to the future!

THANK YOU for your support,

Jaime

Let’s chat (about small business life, your marketing needs or what you’re celebrating):

Vlog Update: Why Have We Been Quiet? Repurposing Content & More

Why Have We Been Quiet? Repurposing Content & More | A Vlog Update

Hello! It’s been a minute (or over six months) since we’ve published new content, so I wanted to jump on with an update. Watch the video below, or scroll down for more.

While we haven’t been publishing new content, we have been updating a lot of our older content. It’s so important to do that to make sure that your content is continuing to deliver value to your audience. Remember to keep an eye on your older content, especially if you see posts generating traffic or you plan to share an older post on social media. Revisit the post to see if it needs updated to continue to be relevant.

Part of the reason we’ve been focusing on updating our older content is one of our goals for 2020—to focus more on distribution while reusing and repurposing our content. It’s time-consuming to create quality content, so we wanted to focus on the distribution and promotion of our content even more, which we accomplished. So, we’ve been going back and resharing a lot of older content, which is still relevant, or updating it in order to still be relevant.

You can share older content in its entirety or take individual tips out of it to share. For example, pull a key point out of a blog article to tweet to your community or share in an Instagram Story. This tactic will allow you to continue to promote and share your content long after you initially create it.

Updating older content on your blog will help your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, too. Refreshing older articles and posts will draw search engine crawlers to your site.

We are going to publish new content on the CCC blog while continuing to update our older content. Catch all of our new posts by subscribing via the signup box on top of the sidebar on the righthand side of the screen. Scroll down the sidebar to check out recent posts, popular content, categories and keywords. The latter two options will help you find content on a specific topic in addition to the search box in the top righthand corner.

As we create new content, we’d love to hear from you. What topics would you like covered in marketing, writing, social media or small business/entrepreneurship? Maybe you’d like to see a fresh take on a topic we covered previously, or you may be interested in something new. Comment on this post or contact us with topics you’d like to see!

We’re also looking for guest bloggers. We would love to hear your ideas on marketing, writing or social media-related posts, or you could share your small business or entrepreneurial experience for our audience. Reach out, so we can share your story!

Thanks for stopping by. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Cheers,

Jaime

Let’s get social:

Writing (& More) for Small Businesses Delivers Big Opportunities

I’ve always loved to write.

While most kids were playing with blocks or dolls, I was publishing magazines or newspapers with feature articles, ads, sports box scores and all.

In college, I majored in Journalism and Mass Communication, but I took every writing class I could—business writing, media writing, creative writing, copywriting. I wanted to be well versed in nearly any writing discipline, so I could pursue numerous avenues in my career.

I Jumped at Every Opportunity to Write

As I started my career, I jumped at the opportunity to handle any writing opportunity. While I was pursuing my love of writing, I was also gaining more attention at work and building my portfolio (unknowingly at first).

Before long I was ghost writing for my manager and members of our executive team. As I continued to write, I developed a reputation throughout our company (a $350 million company with around 115 employees) as a go-to writer and editor. Eventually, I was published under my own byline in our company newsletter, which was a thrill.

You Can Pick Up a Lot By Asking Questions and Listening

As my career progressed, I started to think about my future. What did I want out of my career? A corner office and impressive title? Or something else?

I worked at the corporate headquarters of a franchising company, so my job involved interacting with and supporting small business owners around North America.

Every day, I was learning more about running a business, even subconsciously. I’m naturally curious, so I would ask questions while communicating with our franchise owners. People like to talk, especially about themselves, their businesses, and their accomplishments, so you can pick up a lot by paying attention, asking questions and listening.

Guess Who Some of My First Clients Were?

While I was helping our owners, I noticed some of them were looking for affordable marketing and writing services beyond what our company offered. They knew they needed help in these areas but couldn’t afford to hire large marketing agencies.

After nine years of honing my skills and building a professional network in corporate America, I left that company and struck out on my own. Guess who some of my first clients were? The same people I had been helping.

Starting My Own Business Seemed Like a Crazy Dream

While it was a long road, the idea to start my own business came during an aha moment 15 years in the making. (I realized I wanted to write for a living while I was in high school, although I couldn’t see myself—a country kid from an unincorporated village—as a writer.)

One day at work, I realized that so many small business owners don’t know how to market themselves and couldn’t afford traditional agency fees. With my diverse background in marketing, I could start a business offering professional marketing services and experience at affordable rates.

I could give brands a voice via marketing, writing and social media services, so business owners could focus on the reason they’re in business, and not struggle with marketing decisions, writing copy and developing social media strategies.

After I realized I could start my own business, it still seemed like a crazy dream. But I did start thinking about it a lot. The next day, I began thinking about business names and what would make my business unique. The more I thought about it and talked about it, the more it became a real possibility.

At a company event, I finally made the decision: I had to go out on my own. A year later, I left and never looked back. On May 15, 2012, Clearly Conveyed Communications (CCC) was born.

You Learn a Lot About Running a Business When You Jump Out On Your Own

When I started my business, I never dreamed of today—eight years down the road. I was just trying to get through each day. Eight years later, I’m still trying to get through each day, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.

You learn so much about running a business when you jump out on your own. (I know I did!) As much as I researched and planned (and you should research and plan), at some point you have to jump in and learn as you go. (Here’s some lessons we’ve learned over the years.)

To get started, I focused on the professional network I had spent the previous nine years building. I reached out to contacts I had made and relationships I had built over time to let them know I was in business. Not only were these people potential customers, but they were also connectors.

In addition, I worked out an extensive transition plan with my former employer. It helped them maintain their services as we hired and trained my replacement, and they were my first paying client. It was nice to have income as I was building my business and looking for more clients.

I Didn’t Foresee that Businesses Would Want to Outsource Their Social Media Management

While I planned on starting a marketing company that focused heavily on writing services, I didn’t foresee the interest in businesses outsourcing their social media management. I started receiving so much interest in this area that I added a new page to my website.

Today, social media management and content creation is a significant part of my business. In turn, they’ve led to additional writing opportunities.

Offering an array of services as a marketing company allows me to present a full-service front to my audience.

The inaugural Tweetup we organized for the firefighters.

For example: We partnered with a fellow marketing company, owned by a volunteer firefighter, to handle FDIC’s (Fire Department Instructors Conference) social media for six years. (See picture above.) We developed a year round social media presence for them, so firefighters could connect, learn and train virtually, too.

A Trend in Content Marketing: Long-Form Content

While my company creates a variety of content, we’ve noticed a trend in content marketing for long-form content, and we’ve jumped on it. It seems counterintuitive to our short attention spans and the constant state of information overload we live in today. However, quality long-form content performs well online, draws traffic and gives you a lot of content to repurpose.

The key is to make it readable (and skimmable) with appropriate visuals, short paragraphs and different sections, or headings. White space and proper formatting are your friends on screen.

SEO is important, but remember to write for people, not search engines, because they’re the ones actually reading it. You can still include keywords and appropriate tags and code while making your writing readable—by humans.

While we enjoy creating long-form content, CCC pursues all types of project-based work and programs. For example, we love writing all the copy for a new website or managing a company’s entire social media presence (as opposed to only creating content). These projects and programs pay more, so we can devote the time and resources to producing our best work. They’re also easier to schedule in advance, so we can utilize our time as effectively as possible.

Putting Our Clients First Helps Us Grow Our Business

Having said that, we will take on small programs, including minor content editing and distribution, or some one-off projects, to make more contacts and build more relationships.

Doing good work for people and helping them with their needs, however minor, can result in referrals.

We’ve been fortunate to be referred several times, resulting in new customers and opportunities.

That’s why we always put current clients first. It may seem better to focus more on business development, because small business owners usually don’t have the resources to wait for new customers.

However, we’ve found that by putting current clients first, we’re their first call—for any marketing activity. As we continue to help them with their needs, they continue to come back and refer us to their clients, business associates and friends.

In fact, we work with some businesses through our clients. They can expand the services they offer without hiring full-time employees or making a significant investment.

For example, a company who sells branded merchandise and printing services can add writing, social media and additional marketing services to their service offering to truly become a full-service marketing agency. As long as we work closely together, it’s a win for all three companies—CCC, our client and our client’s client.

Marketing: What to Consider Before Expanding Social Media Platforms

How do we market our marketing and writing services? We practice what we preach—although sometimes we’re a little slow to take our own advice.

We always advise clients to consider their resources before jumping into social media. It takes time and dedication to build an active, engaged community on a social platform. You don’t need to be on every social platform available or jump on the latest trend.

While social platforms all have their own strengths, they tend to copy each other. Has a new platform grabbed your attention? What features do you like? Wait a minute, and they may appear on a platform where you already have an engaged community.

For example, Snapchat become a darling in the social media world, and then Instagram (and later Facebook) added ephemeral content, or Stories. TikTok has exploded in popularity over the past year, but Instagram has recently announced that it’s rolling out a new TikTok-like feature, Reels, to new markets and expanding its capabilities.

This feature isn’t available in the U.S. yet, but we’ll probably see it eventually. There may be reasons you want to expand to new social platforms, but think about it first and make sure you have a strategy.

When CCC started, we jumped on numerous social media platforms and overextended our resources. Slowly, we reassessed and cut back to where we are today. That has allowed us to focus more on original content creation and distribution for ourselves instead of mainly curation.

Curation is important, because it introduces you to new people and delivers a wider range of voices to your social media communities. However, original content will help you stand out and bring on new clients.

Why Writers Should Have a Blog

If you’re a writer, you probably have a blog, or at least you should. Your blog serves as a place to showcase your writing, and it can lead to partnerships or business opportunities.

Try to set up a consistent publishing schedule based on when the most readers are stopping by your blog. While it’s important to be active, only commit to what you can do. If you’re on your own and spend a lot of time on client work, then you may only be able to publish once a week or twice a month. Don’t try to publish too often for the sake of publishing; your content will likely suffer.

House your blog on your website. It will be easy for your readers to learn more about your services, and your fresh blog content will help optimize your site’s search performance. While I’m not a big fan of consistently removing content (which is a trend today), updating older content helps boost your blog’s performance. Fix any broken links or missing videos you come across, and add any relevant, new information on the post topic to inform your readers.

Don’t Publish Your Content and Wait for People to Find It

Producing quality blog content can be time-consuming, but there’s even more work ahead after you publish. Distributing your content is important, so it’s seen by a larger number of potential readers.

Don’t publish content and wait for people to find it. You have to actively and consistently promote your content, because there’s such an overload of content today.

Don’t just blast your content across various social platforms in one format at the same time. Share each article in a format best suited for each platform. Repurpose your content so you get as much mileage as possible out of it.

Write a long-form article? Share bite-sized tidbits on Twitter, each time driving more traffic back to your article.

Record a video sharing highlights of the article, and post it on your LinkedIn profile or Page.

Share your article as a link preview post to your Facebook Page or group.

Share behind-the-scenes content while you’re writing to tease a new blog article in your Stories and to let your audience know when it will publish.

Content is king, but distribution is queen—and she rules the roost.

Meet Your Readers Where They Are

Some readers will prefer to read your content on these distribution channels instead of subscribing to your blog. We’re living in the age of assistance, so you need to meet people in the moment—where they are.

Building active, engaged communities on social media takes time, but these communities are full of potential readers and people who will share your work.

Use your social presences to interact with your audience and request their feedback. Instagram Stories has numerous stickers you can use to interact, while Twitter offers polls and the ability to have conversations with people around the world.

Facebook Groups have become increasingly popular, as you can offer a smaller part of your community first access to your projects, advice in a specific area (i.e. non-fiction writing tips) or a community of peers for fellow writers to bounce ideas off of. Depending on how you utilize Facebook Groups, you may be able to monetize them.

While CCC receives most of our work through referrals, social media and content creation are crucial in our marketing efforts. Even when you are referred for an opportunity, people will often look you up online first.

Do you have a strong presence on LinkedIn? Is your website up-to-date? What comes up when people Google you? Make sure you have a strong digital presence, so people actually contact you when you are referred to them.

What To Do When Your Writing Business Slows Down

If business has slowed down, spend more time creating and distributing content. Be even more active in your social media communities and work on growing them. Genuinely engaging with others will help you grow your community and may lead to new opportunities.

One of our larger clients watched our social efforts for some time before reaching out to us. Everything you do online is visible, so make sure you’re being your best self. Setting aside 10-15 minutes per day on a platform, including reading and commenting on other blogs, will help you make new connections and grow your communities.

We’ve had success utilizing these tactics, even though they take time. Social media is a long-term game; don’t expect success overnight. Instead of trying to create content that will go viral, focus on building and delivering value to your audience one day at a time.

This year, we’ve focused on creating more original content and distributing it more. By cutting back our overall social presence, we have more time to focus on our current communities and how we can help them.

By doing so, we’ve landed a few new, smaller clients. We’re excited to continue helping them, so we can grow these accounts into larger ones. You never know where an account or new opportunity might lead.

How Writers Can Expand Their Services

Speaking of opportunities, expanding your services or collaborating with fellow writers, editors and marketing agencies (or even fellow small or local businesses) can help you grow your business as well.

Are there additional services you can offer that make sense with your current business? Or maybe you already offer them, but people don’t realize that you do. If you see a trend in your industry or notice interest in a particular service, highlight it on your website and social channels.

Working with other companies who complement your services can help you land larger clients and opportunities. If you write copy for the web, look for a designer to partner with so you can offer complete website solutions.

Or look for companies that you can refer your clients to for related services, so they always come to you first. Building relationships with fellow business professionals and owners will make them more comfortable referring business to you, too.

This has been a stressful and trying year, so we hope everyone is pulling through it as well as you can. It may be the time to try a new idea, launch a related service or partner with another company. We wish everyone the best of luck moving forward in 2020 and beyond.

* * *

A version of this post was first published on WriterCEO.com. Thank you to Colleen M. Story for sharing our writing and marketing tips!

The Future of Work Is Here: How To Manage Your Team Effectively

Future of Work: How to Manage Your Team Effectively

What will the future of work and managing teams look like as we navigate our new normal? We shared tips with Wundamail, and their design team turned them into sweet graphics!

How To Manage Your Team Effectively

Ask Your Employees for Feedback

Ask your employees how you can help them succeed.

Communicate with Your Team (But Let Them Work)

Communicate with your team wherever they're working, but let them work.

Share Working from Home Expectations (But Be Flexible)

Share working from home expectations with remote employees, but offer flexibility too.

Make Sure All Your Employees Feel Connected

Make sure your remote or travelling employees feel connected to the team and your company.

Move to the Cloud So Your Team Can Transition with Ease

Move to the cloud, so your team can transition from home to the office to a business trip with ease.


Comment on The Future of Work

As we continue to navigate this pandemic (and eventually move past it), what do you think the future of work will look like? We’d love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments below.

Thanks again to the Wundamail design team for creating these graphics.

Looking into the not-too-distant future,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the future of work, managing teams or your marketing needs):

 

Grateful and Celebrating: CCC Turns 8

Clearly Conveyed Communications turns 8!

 

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Jaime

Let’s chat (about small business life, your marketing needs or what you’re celebrating):

How to Stay Engaged with Your Audiences During a Crisis

How to Stay Engaged with Your Employees and Clients During the Coronavirus Pandemic_title slide

Struggling with how to stay engaged with your employees and clients during this unsettling time? Keep these tips in mind while creating your communications.

Employee Engagement Tips During a Crisis

How to Stay Engaged with Your Employees During a Crisis

First, reassure your employees regarding their pay. During a crisis, consistent income is vital to helping people stay calm and positive. If there are any changes, be transparent and communicate them as soon as possible. While everyone is frazzled, try not to make a knee-jerk reaction to a crisis. Can you implement smaller changes now to avoid laying someone off? Try to protect your employees’ pay as long as possible.

Along these lines, be transparent with your employees about the current state of your business. Don’t paint a rosy picture if you’re struggling or the crisis is impacting your operations. Your employees are adults, so they want you to be straight with them. Remember, you’re a team and you’re all in this situation together.

If your operations have been impacted, set expectations for your new reality but offer flexibility. Change scares people, so try to work with employees while you’re implementing new procedures and workflows. Are your employees working from home for the first time? Help them feel comfortable in their new environment, so they can be productive and contribute to the business.

Employees need to believe that their organization is able to handle the crisis. Here are some tips to make that happen: How to lead in times of crisis | Fast Company

 

While you’re adjusting to your new normal, communicate changes and updates to your team so everyone’s on the same page. However, let your employees do their job. It’s easy to over-communicate during stressful times, but bombarding your staff with emails ultimately won’t solve anything. It can actually hurt your operations and make your team less productive.

In addition to communicating changes and updates, help your employees through this unsettling time however you can. Change can be hard, so reach out to your team and offer your help to navigate their new reality. Whether it’s tech support or upgrades while working from home or sending a care package to show your appreciation, remind your employees that you’ll get through this challenging time together.

One way that you may be able to streamline your operations and help your staff work through changes is to utilize cloud-based collaboration tools, such as Trello or Basecamp. Find a solution that fits your needs, so your team can work together wherever they may be. Video calls and Google Hangouts can also facilitate connection and help your employees work together on projects.

Finally, encourage your team to take care of themselves during this stressful time, including their physical, mental and emotional health. They’ll be much more productive if they’re in sound mind, body and spirit, so do what you can to assist them with their efforts—especially during a crisis when people are stressed out.

Whether you surprise and delight staff members with a delivery to their home or give them a day off, show them that you care about them as people and how they’re coping with the crisis. Besides being the right thing to do, it will help cement employee loyalty when things return to normal (or your new normal).

Client Engagement & MarketingTips During a Crisis

How to Stay Engaged with Your Clients During a Crisis

A crisis hits—your company, your industry or the world. Should you continue to engage with your clients? Yes, and here’s how.

First, communicate any changes or updates that affect your clients. You don’t need to email them every day or every time you update a workflow unless it specifically affects them. While your clients will appreciate your transparency during this tough time, they won’t appreciate spam at any time.

If a crisis has affected your community, country or the world (like the novel coronavirus), respect that your customers may be working from home with different availability and preferences, especially communication. While they may have been happy to jump on a call before, now they may prefer an email or message on Facebook. A Zoom call may need to be scheduled, so your customers can ensure their children are entertained or dogs are in another room. Listen to your customer’s current needs, so you can continue to deliver an impressive customer experience.

You can remain in touch by offering relevant, valuable resources, tools and tips based on what you do. Don’t feel the need to provide a play-by-play update of what’s happening. Stick with providing information your customers can use during the crisis. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people are working from home—many for the first time. Are you a veteran at working from home? Share tips to help your customers new to this environment adjust and feel more comfortable. Remind your customers that we’ll get through this unsettling time together.

Good Communication Can Save Your Brand During Quarantine | Entrepreneur

Should you still market your products and services? Yes, as long as they are relevant and you use good taste. Don’t joke about a crisis, or try to take advantage of people during a time of need. (You should never try to take advantage of people, but it’s an especially bad idea during a time of crisis.) Any short-term gain is more than offset by the long-term fallout. Base your marketing efforts on what your customers (or prospects) are asking for during this time.

Finally, make sure your tone is empathetic and appropriate. When people are scared or hurting, they’re less likely to think jokes are funny or appreciate your sarcasm. Let your customers know that you’re ready to support them through this crisis however you can. And by however you can, insert actual ways you’re supporting them that make sense for your business. If you’re in a position to host a fundraiser for your community, put one together. If you can donate goods or services, do it. If you can stay open to serve your community or audience, do that. Remember to review all communications, including scheduled content, to make sure it’s appropriate during a crisis.

Client Communication Tips During a Crisis

We hope these tips help you navigate the uncertain times we find ourselves in or a future crisis. Want to download our tips in a single presentation?

How to Stay Engaged with Your Employees and Clients During a Crisis

Still unsure? We’re here to help with all of your employee and client engagement needs. Contact us to discuss your needs, or leave your questions or additional tips in the comments. We hope you’re staying safe and following the guidelines issued in your area. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Your Communications Captain,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about your communications, your marketing needs or work from home tips):