In this episode of AmyTV we continue the adventures of the previous episode: “Seeking Shervington”…
Martin Shervington is an expert on all things Google+ for business, but don’t take my word for it, listen to his community of nearly half a million people. I got in touch and he kindly invited me to do a Hangout-On-Air, (a bit like a live video interview) sharing tips for using humour in marketing. Now, Martin built his community, not on rock and roll but by providing valuable content and interacting with his network on a personal level.
Which is the inspiration for today’s video.
Tip 1: Be generous with your knowledge
Unlike the lady that wouldn’t tell me how to pack down my pop-up tent (makes sense if you watch the video) one of the best ways to build a community around your business is to share your expertise. You can do this by publishing cheat sheets, tips (like this post) and content that helps your audience solve a problem.
So why does this work?
Well, there are plenty of businesses out there claiming expert status but stating the fact isn’t enough. People want proof and they expect you to give them a flavour of what it is you know. Look at the millions of pages of free advice you can find online. Holding back doesn’t elevate your business, it just makes it harder for prospects to like, know and trust you.
When you publish valuable content through your business it:
- Shows prospects there is value in being part of community
- Builds anticipation for your future messages (yes, even marketing ones)
- Makes it easier for people within your community to share and talk about your business
What’s more, because this content is based on what you already know, producing it is simple. Pick a frustration or question your ideal customer faces, and help them out in your content.
Tip 2: Make your content accessible
Even though you have valuable expertise that you know can help your customer, your customer doesn’t want to know everything you do. The first ever workshop I did years ago I emptied my brain of everything I knew about content creation, sales page writing and content marketing. It was popular, but there were ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moments. I realised the audience didn’t need to know everything, just what was relevant to them.
When you hire a mechanic, you don’t want their every experience of all the years of training they’ve done. You want to know what’s wrong and what needs doing to fix it.
It’s the same with your audience. Because of point 1, they’re attracted to your expertise, but their interest is really based on how you can help them.
So how does this influence the content you create? Simply publish pieces that tackle a specific problem as completely as possible.
Let’s say you provide web design, instead of writing about how to improve the design of a website, focus on specifics: how to choose branding colours, how to design images for blog posts, how to decide what should be on your navigation bar.
This allows your community to access the content easily and get an answer rather than having to spend time wading through the details.
Tip 3: It’s really about your community
One thing I’ve noticed about prolific online community builders – business owners like Martin Shervington, Michael Port, Chris Brogan – they all spend time within the community. They answer questions, they’re accessible, they reply to comments, they share other people’s content and let people within the community shine.
As you publish content that attracts people, you’re going to be talked about. Your content will be mentioned, you’ll be thanked and even praised. Smart businesses continue to spend time within the community rather than float aloft like a king or queen ruling over distant subjects.
As the attention around your business grows, don’t forget to keep your eye on who is sharing your content, who is talking about you, who is linking to your site and take a few seconds to thank them.
That’s all for today. I want to say a big shout out to everyone who was on the Hangout on Air I did with Martin, and to Martin of course for letting me spend time getting to know the smart people in his cracking community.
Want to know more about the kind of content you can write as a business to build your own community? Check out my content-training workshops for businesses (available live or online).
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