One of my favourite dining experiences is a good buffet.
It’s also my most stressful.
There’s too much choice. Too many promises of mouth watering experiences that I won’t want to miss out on. With the added pressure of not physically being able to eat everything and plenty of other people vying for the same tasty snacks, meaning they could disappear any minute.
Trying to decide the content strategy for your business is the same.
All that choice about what content you should be focusing on, and everyone around you seemingly producing more content faster than you can.
So to kill two birds with one stone, here is my survival guide for buffets and content marketing.
Hold back a little
Just at the moment the DJ announces the buffet is being served, there’s a rush of people with paper plates in hand heading for the table. As you venture forward you’re going to be met with elbows, and comments about what’s lip-smackingly good, what should be avoided, and various suggestions about what that mysterious dish actually is.
Online, you’re going to see the same thing. People will be telling you that you the best thing is to have an eBook, or a newsletter, or a blog, or talking about the real secret to successful Twitter updates.
At a buffet, I want you to be at the table, and I want you to be looking at what’s on offer – but don’t pick up anything just yet. At this stage, just make a short list in your head of the basics. Bread, meat, cheese, salad, meat dishes, vegetable dishes, something unusual that catches your eye and attracts the senses.
In online content terms, this might mean:
- Writing a blog
- producing a newsletter
- Writing a sales page
- Leaflets and marketing materials
- Free report
- Writing an eBook
At a buffet, you have approximately 2-3 minutes to make these decisions (about 45 seconds if my family’s invited), in your business, you can spend a little bit longer making a list of the main pieces of content you want to use to promote your business. It can take a few weeks or even months to get your head around all the options. Don’t worry. This is normal.
Know when to pounce
You don’t want to be getting to the table with only limp lettuce leaves and soggy potato salad left over whilst everyone else is feasting on the good stuff. Likewise, you don’t want to wait too long getting your content written and out there to your audience.
So, as soon as you have an idea about what’s appealing to you, then you need to…
Pick what is most suitable for you
One of the most stressful aspects of a buffet for me is that I want to eat everything. Hunger doesn’t even come into it when a buffet’s in front of me, I’m just a woman possessed.
So what tends to happen is I get overwhelmed by the choices, pile everything up, eat too much and then need someone to roll me home.
The same goes for your content. On day one you feel like you have to release an eBook, newsletter, blog, Facebook page all at the same time, because everyone else is doing that.
What you really want to do is prioritise and focus on whatever is most important to your business goals at that time. There’s no point in launching an eBook for example if you don’t have a website or any readers. Decide what it is you want (traffic / sales / subscribers etc) and then pick the content that is the most appropriate way for achieving it.
For example, you might want:
Regular blog entries – good for building awareness
Newsletter – relationship building and promoting services
Free eBook – incentive for newsletter subscribers
Paid eBook – establishing “expert status”
Don’t blow it all on the first course
Something I often forget, is that there is a dessert course. By this point I’m usually so full of quiche and vol- au-vents that there’s no room for gateau and that is a sad state of affairs.
Remember, a buffet is a marathon, as is your content marketing strategy. Do not spend all day every day on your blog posts and nothing else. Spend enough time on them to get them out the door, and still leave you with time to think about what content project you want to start developing next.
Think about the long term goals for your business. Don’t leave people reading your blog for 2 years before you introduce your newsletter.
Keep moving, stay nimble, and always leave room for the cheesecake.
Remind yourself that there will be other buffets
I’ve been enjoying buffets since I was a small child invited to social occasions and despite being a veteran of this food platform, I’ll admit, I get it wrong sometimes.
One thing I’ve learned is that there will always be other buffets.
The same goes for your content strategy and your business. Sometimes you will get it right and sometimes you will learn a lesson. Keep working, keep writing, keep promoting that great service you have, and keep learning from the results.
If your first few blog posts don’t strike a chord with your readers, or your newsletter gets a few unsubscribed one week , don’t worry, you can always keep writing and keep trying new things.
Good luck, have fun and I’ll see you later in the week. I’m going now to see if there’s a nearby wedding, funeral or bar mitzvah I can crash…