SCML11: A Website Content Coaching Session

Figuring out how to present your business on your website can be HARD! This is something I work with clients on all the time. And, in this episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab, you’ll get to eavesdrop on a coaching session I recently had the pleasure of conducting with Tyler Inloes, owner of Five17Fitness.

During our session, we talk about things like:

  • The importance of getting the “hero” section of the home page right
  • Being clear about who your business is serving and what you’re offering
  • Describing the benefit of your lead magnet so that readers will be enticed to download it
  • Why you should have more uses of “you” rather than “me” or “us” or “we” in your website copy
  • Strategic use of video on a site
  • Talking about your offerings from a customer benefit perspective instead of a feature perspective
  • Addressing customer questions in ways that differentiate your business from competitors

It was a fun and interesting session, and–if you had a website for your biz–there are probably a few tips you can pick up from it. That’s my hope, anyway!

Take a listen and then let me know if you have any questions about your own site. Shoot me an email at michele@smarterwritinglab.com and we’ll set up a time to chat!

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SCML 10–Learn How to Write Your Book with Jennie Nash

Have you thought about writing a book? I’m not talking the next Great American Novel. Instead, I’m talking about writing a non-fiction book that focuses on your area of expertise. One that can serve as a powerful calling card, can help position you as a leader in your field, and can increase your ability to get the clients you want. If you have, but just aren’t sure where to start, then you’ll want to listen to this episode with book coach Jenny Nash. And, even if you haven’t thought about writing a book, you might reconsider after listening to what she has to share.

Jenny is the founder and chief creative officer of Author Accelerator, a book coaching program that gives writers the feedback, accountability and support they need to write their best books. Her own coaching clients regularly land top New York agents, national self-publishing awards, and book deals with houses such as Scribner, Simon & Schuster and Random House. She is the author of four novels, three memoirs, and one self-help book for writers. So, to say that she knows what she’s talking about is an understatement!

What You’ll Learn

In this episode, you learn a LOT about how and why you should consider writing a book about your area of expertise, including:

  • How to find a book topic that will grab the attention of your audience and provide value
  • The difference between having a blog and having a book–and why it matters
  • Why people still want material in book form
  • The level of authority you gain as the author of a book in your field
  • Using a book as a gateway into higher-priced product or service offerings
  • How a book can be used as a “calling card” to build your business
  • Getting over the idea that you’re not a writer
  • Using voice-recognition software to jump start the writing process

Cool Stuff We Talked About

Have questions? Have ideas for an episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab podcast? Just want to reach out? GREAT! Shoot me an email at michele@smarterwritinglab.com or leave a comment below.

SCML 09: Big Content Marketing Tactics for Small Business Success

If you’ve ever looked at the content marketing strategies and tactics of large companies and wondered if you could ever do something as amazing, the answer is a resounding YES! In this episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab podcast, Annie Zelm of Kuno Creative describes how content marketing approaches used by some of the large clients she works with can also be applied to growing a smaller business.

What You’ll Learn

Annie provided LOTS of fantastic and actionable information that focuses on:

  • Understanding exactly what customers are looking for when searching for products or services online
  • How to find out what’s driving traffic to your site and to the websites of your competitors by using tools like SEMRush
  • Why you should become a resource for potential customers about topics they’re interested in
  • The fundamentals of inbound marketing
  • Using social media to help identify topics your audience is interested in
  • What you can learn from individuals who DIDN’T become a customer (and why that’s so important)
  • The difference publishing blog posts on a regular basis can make to your business growth
  • How platforms like SlideShare can help you increase the reach of your content marketing
  • Why it’s worth investing (even a little bit) in video as a part of your content marketing efforts
  • The need to look at the long game in content marketing

Links to Cool Stuff We Talked About

Kuno Creative: Laura’s agency that focuses on “ending content chaos.”

Follow Annie on Twitter at @anniezelm

SEMRush

SlideShare

They Ask. You Answer. A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan and Krista Kotria (This is an affiliate link. By using it, you don’t pay a penny extra. But I get a very small–yet HUGELY appreciated–payment that helps keep this podcast going!)

Also, be sure to connect with me at Michele@smarterwritinglab.com and at The Smarter Writing Lab. I’d love to hear from you!

SCML 05: Jon Nastor, Host of the “Hack the Entrepreneur” Podcast

 

If you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast to help build an audience for your business–or even if you haven’t (yet)–then you’ll LOVE this week’s episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab! My guest is Jon Naster, host of the incredibly popular Hack the Entrepreneur podcast and co-host of The Showrunner podcast.

What You’ll Learn

Jon talks about a wide array of interesting topics, sharing things like how:

  • He came up with the engaging hook that has helped him EXPLODE the growth of his Hack the Entrepreneur podcast
  • He uses content marketing—including writing for various publications like Entrepreneur—to build his business and scale up his podcast
  • He’s using using content marketing to build trust with his audience and promote sales of his products
  • He balances podcasting and writing and product creation
  • The podcast is the reason he gets to write for such high-profile businesses and publications
  • The podcast has transformed his life
  • You have to be patient and consistent when it comes to building an audience
  • To get clear about the focus and purpose of your podcast before getting started
  • To repurpose content—and why you should do it
  • Entrepreneurs are using podcasts to funnel audiences into their businesses
  • To monetize a podcast directly and indirectly

He also describes the four things that are essential to building a successful podcast.

Links to Cool Stuff

Here are the links to what was discussed during the show:

Hack the Entrepreneur Podcast

The Showrunner Podcast

The 9-Step Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Podcast (FREE at The Showrunner)

The Showrunner Podcasting Course

Recite

Also, be sure to connect with me at Michele@smarterwritinglab.com and at The Smarter Writing Lab. I’d love to hear from you!

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What Brené Brown Taught Me about Being a Fearlessly Authentic Entrepreneur

The "friendly driving wave." That was the focus of Brené Brown's very first Facebook Live post. And it was HILARIOUS! But, in only a few hours, it was gone.

If you're a fan of Brené's like I am, then you know that she's a research professor at The University of Houston and does a lot of fantastic work surrounding courage, shame, vulnerability and authenticity. I discovered her when I was looking for videos on TED.com that I could use as examples of presentations that really connected with audiences. And the one she gave at TEDxHouston about the power of vulnerability was PERFECT.

Brené is known for dealing with a lot of really serious stuff. I mean, there's nothing innately funny about vulnerabilty or shame. So, that's why I was so surprised and DELIGHTED to see her Facebook Live post about the importance of NOT driving in the passing lane if you're not passing AND the courtesy of the "friendly driving wave." As a southerner, I grew up watching my dad give that wave to people we'd meet on country roads as we were going to my grandparents' house or to church. For him, the "wave" was typically just a lift of a couple of fingers from the steering wheel with a quick flick to the right. It was a simple, yet important, acknowledgement that said to the other driver, "I see you. I know you. I like you."

As an adult, I carry on the tradition of the "friendly driving wave"--typically throwing up a hand when someone lets me pass or lets me merge into a crowded lane. It's a quick way of saying thanks. And THAT'S what Brené was talking about on Facebook Live as she was driving back from giving a talk in Baton Rouge. Now--let's be clear--she WASN'T videoing herself or being unsafe in any way, shape or form. Her passenger was doing the videoing as Brené gave a short--yet ALL TOO FUNNY--lesson about the rules of courteous driving. I loved it and thought how nice it was to see her in a more relaxed setting, enjoying her day and letting her personality really shine through. It made me even MORE of a fan because she allowed us to see her as a real person. Cool, right?

Later than evening, I saw a new post from Brené pop up on Facebook. In it, she explained that she had taken the "friendly driving wave" Facebook Live video down. I was like, "WTF, Brené??" Evidently, some who had seen the video had commented that it was an example of distracted driving. So, because of that, Brené took it down--acknowledging that she wouldn't want her kids to do something similar. However, she went on to say that some other folks had commented that they don't follow her "for silly Texas driving tips." Instead, they follow her for "posts on serious topics." SERIOUSLY??? It was this next part of her post that endeared me to Brené FOREVER and that taught me an important lesson about being a more fearless and authentic entrepreneur. Here it is in her own words:

I deleted the post because it's probably not a great idea [to video while driving.] NOT because people didn't like it or jumped on me about it. If I took down everything that pissed off readers, this would be a very quiet neck of the woods.

A couple of people also commented that they don't follow me for silly Texas driving tips--they follow me for posts on serious topics. I'm really inclined to say, "too bad." I am a serious person who talks about serious things. But that's just part of me. If the other part of me doesn't work for you--that's totally ok by me. Seriously .

Brené Brown

This. Was. AWESOME!! I was like, "PREACH, Brené!" But, even more than being STOKED about her response, here's what it taught me:

  • Live Your Brand AUTHENTICALLY. Brené writes about and talks about and promotes the idea of being authentic. But that can be tough to do as an entrepreneur. There's a HUGE risk that comes with showing others who we really are. Will they like us? Will current customers stick with us? Will potential customers be turned away? If people don't like you or your business when they see who you really are, then--as Brené said-- "TOO BAD!" Not everyone is going to love you or even like you. What you're offering isn't going to be something everyone can benefit from. And that's perfectly okay. Because, in the end, the people you want to join you on your entrepreneurial journey are those who get you, who dig what you do, and who connect with you because of who you really are. Trying to be someone you're not in order to get and keep customers isn't only going to be exhausting--it's also going to be an exercise in futility. We are our brand--and we have to decide how we're going to live it.
  • If Something Doesn't Work, So What? This was Brené's first attempt at Facebook Live. And she ended up taking it down after some blow back. But she didn't just go away into a corner and tell herself "NEVER AGAIN!" Instead, she used it as an opportunity to connect with her audience by being completely transparent about what happened. And guess what? Her audience LOVED it. There were so many comments about how Brené was living her own life the same way she encourages others to live theirs--courageously. Being an entrepreneur is one of the scariest things in the world. But we have to face that fear every day and try new things. Some will work. Some won't. And if they don't--it's not the end of the world. Because it's ONLY through taking those risks--large or small--that we move toward the life we're meant to live.
  • Don't Forget the Friendly Driving Wave. A little sign of kindness and appreciation goes a long way. By letting others know we appreciate what they've done makes us all better human beings. Whether it's throwing up a quick wave to someone who's let us in a crowded lane on the highway or thanking our customers in small--yet unexpected--ways, it makes a difference. And isn't that why we're entrepreneurs in the first place?
  • So, speaking of showing appreciation, THANK YOU, BRENÉ BROWN!  I'm throwing up a metaphorical "friendly driving wave" to you. Your first foray into Facebook Live was more successful than you might have imagined. It's inspired me to be a more courageous and authentic entrepreneur--and it's also reminded me to NOT DRIVE IN THE PASSING LANE IF I'M NOT PASSING!

    If you enjoyed this post--AWESOME! I'd love to have you join me for more cool stuff over at The Smarter Writing Lab. And be sure to check out my FREE Copywriting Crash Course that'll teach you to how to develop content that will help you build your business by connecting more authentically with your audience. 

 

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