Reboot Authentic is all about helping you get online, create your own market space, and sell smarter.
In a business climate in which so many have chosen to sell the same types of products and service to the same people in the same old conventional ways, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be noticed – online or offline. At the very least, you need to have a clear understanding of what makes you and your business unique, know your market intimately, and know how to sell to customers in a way that is meaningful to them.
There is another element to successful business that until recent years has been overlooked and dismissed by many. One that has turned into a very powerful tool for both online and offline businesses all over the world.
I’m referring specifically to content marketing and social media.
It is my opinion that virtually every business today should be utilizing these incredible online tools that we all have at our disposal.
I decided to ask some of the online authorities who I respect most for their opinions on the subject. All of these people have created amazing businesses and helped many people to achieve their dreams. Each of these 18 experts was asked the same two questions:
1. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who has yet to stake out their own market space online?
2. Do you believe that content marketing and social media are ‘the new normal’ for all businesses – or just for some?
I hope you get as much out of their answers and insights as I did…
Corbett Barr – ThinkTraffic.net – ExpertEnough.com @CorbettBarr
“Find a topic or market where there is strong demand that isn’t being met. Make sure you are uniquely able to serve that market and that you can see yourself committing to it for years down the road.”
“Not every business needs to (or is capable of) using content marketing and social media. I happen to prefer it, and think it’s an incredible way to grow an audience, but doing either content marketing or social media takes a ton of time and effort to learn and master.”
Michael Bungay Stanier – BoxOfCrayons.biz @boxofcrayons
“Ask yourself: What am I up for? Because if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to fully do it. There’s no point in doing a half-arsed job. That just wastes your time and money”
“I think mediocre content marketing and social media will continue to grow. I think interesting, strategic and useful versions will be much much rarer.”
Leslie Samuel – BecomeABlogger.com – Interactive-Biology.com – Leslie-Samuel.com @LeslieSamuel
“There are more tools available today than there ever were before. This helps to make staking out your own market space easier in some ways. However, it also makes it easy to suffer from information overload and not take any action. My recommendation is to keep it simple. Choose the system you are going to work, focus on that system and spend all of your energy refining that ONE system. Instead of trying to do EVERYTHING well, focus on being the best at ONE thing, and expand from there.”
“I DO believe that it’s the new normal. However, it’s definitely NOT for everyone. Everyone isn’t willing to put in the time to learn a new system. Everyone doesn’t have the gusto to work hard at something now with no direct correlation between time spent and income made. You aren’t being paid $50/hour from the beginning, and that’s hard for some people to hold on to. However, if you are able to put in the focused time, effort and energy into building your system, you will reap the benefits later.”
Ashley Ambirge – TheMiddleFingerProject.org @TMFproject
“Make it obvious who you’re there to serve. Alienate the wrong ones in favor of a strong connection with the right ones. Really–THIS WORKS.”
“Content marketing and social media aren’t the new normal–they’re the old normal. So if you aren’t doing even that yet, that’s saying something.”
Derek Halpern – SocialTriggers.com @derekhalpern
“To build a successful website, you don’t need unique ingredients, but you do need a unique recipe. Meaning, you don’t need to come up with the “NEW” idea, but you should combine existing ideas into something new. As an example, when I started Social Triggers, the marketing blog space was overcrowded, but I differentiated myself because I talked about marketing + psychology. At the time, that was novel, and that unique positioning allowed me to grow.”
“There’s no such thing as a new normal. Just because I write content, doesn’t mean it’s right for EVERY business. That said, I do think it’s right for a lot of businesses—especially when they’re selling to people who are looking to learn how to do something outside the scope of your product.”
Josh Hanagarne – WorldsStrongestLibrarian.com @joshhanagarne
“Get rid of the idea that by doing what someone else has done, done, you’ll get what they have. It’s just not how it works, not often enough to make it a good bet. Succeed or fail but be yourself. I’m not going to read anything that is obviously a watered-down version of someone else.”
“There are plenty of ways to succeed that have nothing to do with content marketing and/or social media. However, if you do content marketing well and you’re a whiz at social media, you’d be crazy not to add them to your business. If you do them badly, your energy would be better spent elsewhere.”
Mary Jaksch – GoodlifeZen.com – WriteToDone.com – AListBloggingBootcamps.com @MaryJaksch
“Whether you’re staking out a market space online for your offline business, or you’re about to start an online business from scratch, you are faced with a great opportunity, as well as with some problems.
Your opportunity online is unlimited and there is no limit to your potential financial success because there is an endless supply of customers online.
The problem is that you need to get in front of your potential customers. You need to get their attention – and you won’t get in front of them with traditional offline marketing strategies.
You need to learn new skills when you go online. I’m talking about keyword research. Your road to success will be a lot shorter if you can find keyword phrases that have a high search volume (which means a lot of potential traffic), but where there is little competition. If you use keyword research for your website name, your tagline, and for everything you write online, you’ll be well ahead of the pack.”
“I do believe that both content marketing and social media are the new normal for businesses. Good content builds credibility online. The key difference between offline business and online business is that you need to create top content and give away a lot for free if you want to build a successful business on the Internet. Social media can be used to spread your message quickly. The great thing is that it’s not you who spreads the message. It’s your customers.”
Dan Waldschmidt – DanWaldschmidt.com @DanWaldo
“Forget about staking out a brand. Just be amazing. People will figure out who you are. This artificial emphasis on ‘transparency’ is just a distraction from what really matters — helping people.”
“Vibrant relationships are the norm for any growing business. The social media platforms that we have available to us now are fantastic ways to help build relationships with like minded people all over the world. So while the tools are new, the strategy is age old.”
Danny Iny – FirepoleMarketing.com @DannyIny
“If you’re just getting ready to jump into the online world, the most important thing you can do to get ready is have a firm, clear grasp on your ideal customer. The Internet is huge and saturated in many niches – but you offer something specific and unique that is going to be a perfect fit for a particular type of person. Knowing who that person is, what they are interested in and where they spend their time online will eliminate many of the problems that businesses first face when they venture into online territory.”
“I think that it really depends on your business and the customers that it serves. If your potential or ideal customers are consumers of content and users of social media, then they are going to be used to interacting with businesses via those forums, and failing to make that available to them would be foolish. For most businesses, some element of content and social media engagement is critical, in my opinion. There may be some hold-outs, but for the most part, content and engagement online are what people expect when they are online.”
Laura Roeder – LKRSocialMedia.com @lkr
“Russell Simmons has a book called “Do You!” and I love that phrase. It sums up what people need to do – take a stand, have a point of view. Give people something to connect with and latch onto.”
” (Conent marketing and social media are the new normal) Just for some – there are many many different ways to market a business. You can run billboards, you can sponsor small local events, you can buy pay-per-click ads, you can run direct mail campaigns, you can use only PR. Content marketing and social media marketing are excellent options for small businesses without a large budget – they can give you big national results with very little spending. But they aren’t the only way to do things.”
Steve Kamb – NerdFitness.com @SteveKamb
“If you’re looking to create your own space online, I’d look at industries you are incredibly passionate about, and social groups to which you belong. Can you combine the two in a really really unique way to form your own niche? If you plan on entering a crowded industry, you HAVE to be different to stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to try something that doesn’t exist, and don’t be afraid to do things that might seem counter-intuitive compared to your industry leaders. Be different. Be weird. Weird is good. I promise.”
“I don’t know if they’re the new normal for ALL businesses, but these things are certainly becoming more commonplace these days. Now, just because most companies are using content marketing and social media doesn’t mean they’re using them properly! Far too many businesses see these channels as ways to advertise their products to the masses, instead of avenues to create meaningful dialogue with their most engaged (and thus potentially most vocal and supportive) customers. I think the companies that recognize this and invest a significant amount of time and energy into these engagements will be the companies that are going to be the most successful.”
Benny Hsu – GetBusyLivingBlog.com @Benny_Hsu
“Find what you can offer that people will be willing to pay for. You may be passionate about something, but if people aren’t willing to pay for it, it does you no good.”
“I believe social media is almost a must these days. If you look at all the big companies, they focus so much on social media. Social media connects you with your customers by showing a human side to your brand. The main focus shouldn’t be on selling. Content marketing can be beneficial as well. If you can write something of value, they may share it which can spread your business. Social media and creating content are both free so when you’re starting out, experiment with different types of content or messages to your customers and see what works well.”
Srinivas Rao – TheSkoolOfLife.com – BlogcastFM.com – SrinivasRao.net @blogcastfm
“Don’t try to copy something because you’ve seen it works for somebody else. Everybody has certain strengths and by catering to those strengths they’re much more likely to be successful.”
“I think that content marketing and social media are absolutely the new “normal” for all businesses. But there are very who few that seem to truly get it. What I think content marketing enables companies to do as add a human touch to their brands. It gives the customer an opportunity to feel like they’re dealing with a person rather than a company. If companies can really embrace that, I think they’ll get far more value out of social media.”
Jonathan Mead – PaidToExist.com @jonathanmead
“Don’t compromise, no matter what. The crazier you think your idea is, the more likely that it’s actually worth doing.”
“I think social media — yes, absolutely (is the new normal for business). More people are finding businesses through Yelp and the recommendations of their friends on social media than ever. But content marketing isn’t relevant for a business like local farms, or bike repair shops. Sure, anyone can find a way to try to leverage content marketing, but there’s definitely a spectrum of effectiveness that spans across different types of businesses.”
Mars Dorian – MarsDorian.com @MarsDorian
“The most important aspect is your positioning. Our web world is soo crazily crowded and competitive, it turns attention into a rare resource. You need to stand out online if you want to get business. And you stand out by creating your category that you can dominate and get known for.”
“I’d say it’s more important to first create something incredible enough to create word-of-mouth by itself. Too many businesses “slam on” the social media & content marketing on their average ideas and products without worrying about creating something remarkable in the first place.”
Matt Cheauvront – LifeWithoutPants.com @mattChevy
“Focus internally first. Focus on your process. The service your providing. The product your selling. Make it great. Make is outstanding. So often I see folks focusing on what’s around them – and how they can stake their claim in the market – before focusing on making an outstanding product/service. More often than not – when you really, truly believe in what you’re selling – people will take notice. And most importantly, it will be that much easier for you to believe in and sell yourself.”
I do see this as becoming the new normal. The mantra of ‘if you build it they will come’ is false. While building something great is a critical first step – what’s equally important is that you’re active and involved in building conversation, engagement, and awareness around your product/service. Get people talking – then take an active role in the conversation. Approachable, aware, engaged brands are the ones we remember and what to do business with.”
Caleb Wojcik – PocketChanged.com – ExpertEnough.com – ThinkTraffic.net @CalebWojcik
“Get started today. The Internet is not going anywhere and if you don’t at least have some sort of ‘web presence’ then you could even be looked over for a traditional offline career these days. ”
“I think that content marketing and social media are vital for almost every kind of business these days. That being said, make sure you are doing them for the right reasons and you commit to doing them correctly. Don’t just do it to do it.”
Alexis Grant – AlexisGrant.com @alexisgrant
“Having an online home isn’t for everyone, but it IS becoming increasingly important. Think about the first thing you do when you’re considering buying a product or working with a company or getting involved in an organization or project — you look them up online. Your online space is your opportunity to lead people to the information YOU want them to read about you, rather than just letting them find whatever pops up in Google. Having your own market space online is one of the best ways to make your own luck.”
“Again, the same approach doesn’t work for anyone, and it really depends on your goals. But content marketing is such a strong way to build your brand and grow your community. Sharing valuable information shows people that you know what you’re talking about, and it also helps them trust you, which is so important if you’re hoping they’ll buy your products or hire you for your services. Being helpful, relevant and friendly online (aka content marketing) is also one of the best ways to stand out in a sea of digital information.”
Thank You to the 18 experts who participated!
Some of the people who participated I know pretty well. Some never heard of me before I asked them to contribute to this post. But whether they knew it before now or not, I have followed and learned invaluable lessons from each and every one of them. Get to know them. You will be better off for having done so. Promise.
Now It’s Time for You To Step Up…
I’d like to ask you to do two things for me.
1. In the comments section, tell me how you are (or will be) leveraging content marketing and social media for your business. I’d love to hear your tips and tactics!
2. If you enjoyed this post, please share it. Spread the knowledge of these 18 experts to the masses who need it.