There’s never a bad time to publish content these days, let’s face it. When times are tough, people need your leadership. When times are good, people want to celebrate with others and maximise the good times. So what makes now any different? Well here we are, in a remote-working, sprung-out-of-nowhere, post-apocalyptic Netflix binge of a year so far, a global downturn in plain sight, and a large number of people are wondering what in the world of f**k is occurring. Naturally. And then there are The Others.
The Others are kind of wondering the same thing, but they’re too busy hunting for opportunity to let the madness scare them. Times of crisis are interesting. They bring people together. They create an appetite for stable outcomes and answers, and force new ways of doing things. And that is not to be taken lightly or avoided. Because that is where you can happen across the proverbial pot of gold.
Sadly, there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there at the moment putting their ideas and their marketing output on hold. They’re worried about cash flow. They’re seeing their suppliers and peers under strain, they’re feeling under strain – noticing a slowdown in sales, perhaps – and worried about what else lies in store before finally being able to say, “It’s Christmas! Bring on 2021”.
So everyone’s looking at their expenses and making cuts to preserve some cash. That’s a very sensible strategy when done with balance and forward-thinking, rather than panic. The issue with cutting all ‘unnecessary” spend in a hurry is your working definition of “unnecessary” at that time. You could say that “unnecessary” means any spend that isn’t essential to the pure survival of your business. Often when operating with that scarcity-based, short-term thinking, marketing spend is seen as a nice-to-have rather than a need-to-have. But that’s wrong, especially when so much of it is free these days.
Marketing is your business’ lifeline. It’s how you reach people and how they know you exist. Cutting that out is a really dangerous thing to be doing because this coronavirus has come on very quickly and it’ll disappear just as soon as it started, and then where will you be? Back at square one, trying to rebuild your profile and reputation. When people start spending again, it will be an absolute frenzy trying to win their business and if you’ve been MIA for six months, you’ll find yourself competing with the next guy, and because you won’t have a recently demonstrable proposition, you’ll end up competing on price. That’s not a good place to be.
This situation we’re in now is different to other economic downturns that we’ve ever had in the modern world of business. This one is uniting people whereas previously, there has been somebody else to blame, ie, banks and politicians. Take the global crash in 2008. We saw rich people and banks getting bailed out while everyday people lost their life savings and small independent advisors went to prison. That angered people; it was divisive and there was blame. The difference with this is that it’s uniting people all over the world. We’re all in this together. We have to operate together as a society to beat this virus, otherwise, we all lose out because of the way that it spreads and the impact on our NHS, religious centres and places of work.
When people are united over something difficult, what they’re looking for is connection. And this has never been more true than now at a time when we’re locked in our homes and can’t make physical contact with the people we love. People are craving connection. The only way you can do that when you cannot leave your front door, in this day and age, is to share and put yourself out there using the internet.
So how best to do that? You can do live videos. You can create written content in the form of blogs, and we can get on with writing that book that I know has been the devil on your shoulder for quite some time. So there has never been a better time than now to get that content out there and start publishing it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
People put off authoring their book. They scare themselves out of it, “Oh you know I’ve got so many ideas I don’t know how to get them straight in my head”, “I’m not a good writer”, “I shouldn’t do this, I shouldn’t do that”, and I get book writing feels very serious. Blog writing can do, even, because you’re committing words to the public domain, and I get that, but now isn’t a time for self-doubt. There is a huge opportunity at the moment to make yourself seen and heard. So you have to do it. A lot of marketing is free. There doesn’t need to be any worry about budget. The best type of marketing you can do is just to get out there and share something true.
I cannot seem to get around the fact that I just am so shy on live video. I did my first Facebook Live to my group, the Author To Expert Network the other week, and I looked like I was about to burst out laughing the whole time because that’s just how it makes me feel. I’ll get used to it if I do it more and I know that, but you have to just kind of put yourself out there. Writing is my thing. So I don’t have that fear, I can write all day every day. It’s what I do for a living.
But now isn’t a time for that kind of fear. Just connect; that’s all it’s got to be. Say something funny, embarrassing, true. Tell people something about your business; tell a story you’ve never told before. Say something that helps people. There is nothing more powerful.
So, the opportunity then comes out of this naturally.
But there are some pitfalls.
The deal with a lot of content now on the internet is, it gets lost. It’s all about clickbait, it’s all about keywords, it’s all about SEO, and there’s a lot of competition.
Apparently a Tweet stays at the top of the feed for something like 1.86 seconds. That’s obviously quite rubbish. If you’re looking for longevity or if you’re looking to build your reputation, it’s not going to do much for you. It’s a one-off Tweet. If you’re going to Tweet a minimum of three times a day, then you’re going to have a presence on Twitter. And that’s your audience on Twitter. You’re going to weigh up the time investment versus the benefits and probably decide that it’s not going to be that helpful for you. If your audience is on Twitter, great, Tweet away.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is brilliant at the moment for organic traffic and this is a fantastic time. People are scared and people are concerned. You can show leadership by being one of the only ones or the only one in your industry to be stepping up and actually speaking about relevant topics. Certainly, you can achieve this with a blog. Anyone who’s serious about growing their business should have a blog, it’s a no-brainer. Facebook’s brilliant for more personal interactions. I use my Facebook mostly for business now in a really personal way, but it started as a personal sharing platform. People are still kind of using that socialised aspect or element in their Facebook interactions.
Instagram advertising is becoming more of a thing. There are other kinds of platforms that may or may not come into your business like TikTok and Snapchat and what have you. I personally don’t use those yet, but you may.
The point is there are so many different platforms and so many different ways of sharing that it’s getting harder and harder to find a single legitimate reason not to be doing it. There’s an abundance of resources to power your content and/or capabilities, whatever that may be.
What this also means is that in a few months’ time this virus will be gone. Covid-19 will be a thing of the past. We’ll all feel a little bit shell-shocked and it’ll be weird coming out of our homes for the first time since it all started. We’ll find ourselves in a situation where it’s summer, we can start socialising in person again and business will go back to normal. Live events will just simply start happening again.
Now’s a great time in terms of online learning and I think that the appetite for online learning will stay. Even when physical events pick back up again, people are going to want to see each other. Some of us might be in a position where we haven’t seen our co-workers in three months or six months. It’s going to be really important.
Do you want to lose your visibility in your marketplace? Do you want your reputation to take a hit because of this thing that is out of your control that’s happening in the world right now? I doubt the answer to that is yes. In reality, you want to hit the ground running when business picks back up again. You want to be front of mind when people start spending normally again. And the only way to do that is to start putting yourself and your content out there. You must publish content.
You don’t have to publish in a formal capacity using a publisher, you don’t have to write War and Peace. You just have to write or share something and publish it on the channels that your audience is using and where you’re most comfortable, to begin with, then build out from there.
This really is the ideal time to start talking about your ideas, start talking about who you are, start talking about how you know your business and just build a presence in your marketplace. Start building your personal brand or building on the work on your personal brand you’ve already done, build your influence. You can use blogs or vlogs, webinars, social media posts, write that book. You can bring previous social media posts together to form a blog and you can bring blogs together to form a book. You can start a podcast. So there are all sorts of ways that you can go about this. And if there is one thing people out there have more time for at the moment, it is time to read and time to write.
I hope this helps you put pen to paper. And if you want or need any help, then please feel free to contact me on 020 3752 7057 or firstname.lastname@example.org.