The Tactical Mistake I Was Making With My Content
Since there’s no one right way to “do marketing” and no one right formula for creating good content that your particular audience craves,
Creating good content for your marketing can feel slippery because nothing stays still & it’s all constantly evolving.
However, one thing that doesn’t change in the marketing world is that people buy from people they know, like & trust…
Which makes your goal with content marketing to connect with your audience – so they’ll come to know, like, & trust you.
But how DO we connect with our audience?
What DO we say?
How DO we do it?
This week Jen breaks down a mistake she noticed in her own life that translates so simply & clearly to her marketing + content life:
Being TRANSACTIONAL in her content vs. RELATIONAL!
How do we develop relationships with our audience so they can come to know us, like & trust us, - and eventually buy from us or work with us?
THIS is what Jen upacks today for you - ways to develop a relationship that nurtures your audience, serving you AND THEM more effectively!
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Hey, welcome to this week's podcast. This is Content Creation Made Easy. I am your host, Jen Lady, and I've actually been away for a little while. I took off three weeks of creating content from July 1 to about July 18. My team and I decided we all needed a little break.
They had some bigger projects they wanted to work on. I needed to regain some creative juices. And I'll tell you what, having a decided day for a break and a decided day to come back made a huge difference in my productivity, creativity, motivation. So I'm back and I'm recording this because today I want to talk about why content marketing is so freaking hard and what we can do about it. Specifically today I'm honing in on the idea of relational marketing, which I think in 2022 and going into 2023 is very important.
So I'm thinking the words I want you to have in your brain today are relational marketing versus transactional marketing. So let's get into it. Why is content marketing so freaking challenging? Well, the first thing is, and this is an easy answer, is that there's no one right way to do marketing and there's no one right formula that works for good content creation. That your particular audience in your particular way, you want to create.
So that's a really important thing to remember. It's kind of slippery. It depends on your audience. It depends on you, your strengths, your preferences. And there's just no one formula.
Even though there's thousands of people out there telling you there is one formula, there's not. And it might be what's been the cause of your frustration. Like, I bought this funnel program and it just didn't work for me. Well, that's because it didn't work for you. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you.
It just means that program didn't work for you. But ultimately, this kind of stuff makes marketing feel slippery. And here's a couple of things. Like, remember marketing. Nothing stays still in marketing.
Your audience is evolving. The platforms are evolving. What people expect is evolving. What they need is evolving. So nothing stays still.
Secondly, there are no cookie cutter solutions. I cannot hammer that home enough. Three, everything is nuanced and subjective. What your audience responds to would be different than what my audience responds to how I would speak about content creation. It's very different than how somebody else would do it.
So remember, this subjectivity is super important to keep in mind. And the fourth reason that marketing feels so slippery is because what works for me won't work for you. What works for you might not work for me. So I just want you to remember, there's a lot of change always happening in the content marketing world. But one thing that never changes is that people buy from people that they know, like and trust.
So the goal of your content marketing is to connect with your audience, no matter how you're doing it, no matter where you're showing up, your people do have to still come to know, like, and trust you. That hasn't changed. So, okay, great. You buy in. But how do we connect with our audience?
What the hell do we say? How do we do it? And how do we do it? Especially when we're so overloaded with everything else in our lives, right? We're trying to work in our business.
We're trying to work with our clients. We're trying to work on our products. Marketing is usually the last thing we have time for, and I'm putting air quotes around, have time for, or it's the last thing we want to take care of. So today, I am breaking down one vital way to help you connect with your audience more easily. And we're going to be diving into this idea of relational versus transactional content marketing.
Now, relating this idea actually came to me because of something that was going on in my house. I have a 15 year old son, and he's really intelligent in terms of being able to converse. He's emotionally intelligent. We have great conversations. Or we did until he turned 15.
And then I realized that most of my interactions with him sounded something like, jack, clean out the cat box. All right, jack, did you do your homework? Yes. Jack, dinner. Okay.
And it was just like we couldn't get anywhere. I couldn't engage him at all in conversations, and it was, like, really painful to me because I have an only child. I have this one kid. I've been used to him talking to me his whole life, and now suddenly there's this chasm between us, and I can't bridge it no matter how I try. So in this desperate attempt for me to, quote, unquote, engage him, I realized, oh, my God, I've been just asking him these tactical and transactional questions.
Did you do your homework? Can you clean out the cat box? Will you fold the laundry? Time for dinner, go to bed, whatever. It's, like, so tactical and transactional.
And basically, when you ask somebody, did you do this thing or do that thing? Shockingly, it's not a collective way to engage him. And what I realized when I was doing this, I came to this realization like, oh, I'm really not engaging him where he needs to be engaged or how he needs to be engaged. I realize we do the same damn thing in our marketing. Now, this is partly because we're so good at what we do.
We want to just cut straight to the point of our efforts to connect with our audience. We want to just get right to it and get the transaction done so we can give them the information or ask them the question, but without that nurturing, it really doesn't take root. How does this look in our marketing? It usually looks like a lot of how to information, which we think connects with our audience, but ultimately giving our audience too much how to information. It just gets them overwhelmed because then they start thinking, oh, I should be able to do this by myself.
She told me, she gave me all the steps. I'll go read that article later or I'll listen to that video later, but the house are all there and I should be able to do it on myself. So that is a way that overwhelms people. And then the other thing that we often do is I've created this thing, I have this offer, I have this product, I have this service and you need it because I know your pain and I'm saying that this is your pain and this is the solution you're looking for. So I have this thing, you need this thing, so buy this thing.
And that is really transactional, right? And it's not like we're meaning to be transactional or we are trying to just cut to the chase. But we forget that this nurturing relational relationship needs to be in place and developed with our audience. So when we stay too long on that transactional path, marketing becomes very frustrating for us because our lack of audience connection creates a lack of conversions. So a lot of deep personal reflection on my end had me considering how could I meet my son where he is and develop a more relational style of communication.
And then I realized that the answers I came up with also work with connecting to our audience in business, marketing and content creation. So let's start here. Are you being transactional instead of relational with your audience? And marketing is really a relationship that you're building with your audience. In the old days or the wild, wild west days of online business, this was not necessarily the case.
There were people out there who could achieve success with more transactional marketing styles and you have been on the receiving end of that. But as you've gotten more savvy and smarter, you know that you don't like that anymore. You don't want somebody selling you something constantly in your DMs or really being a transactional. You have to develop a relationship with people. And back in 2013, 2014, that was not a primary focus for many marketers.
But you and your audience have changed over the course of the year. They're savvier, smarter and they're self protective. And that's the piece that I want to just dive into a little bit here. To connect with our audience is to respect them. It's to treat them like the humans that they are rather than a wallet ready to be opened.
And I call this humanistic marketing and it takes a lot of effort. I'm not going to lie about this. It really does. Greeting a connection takes a lot more work than just being transactional with somebody. It can also feel like you're doing the heavy lifting in the relationship.
You might feel like it's all one sided. I create emails, I create podcasts and nobody listens to them, nobody responds to them. Or they listen, but they don't give me feedback, they don't give me reviews, they don't share it with their friends, they don't email me back and tell me that they've read it and liked it, or they don't leave a comment on my blog, or they don't even leave a comment on my social media. It can really feel while you're trying to nurture this relationship that it's all on you. And there will be many times when you wonder, hello, is anybody out there?
There are times when we wonder like maybe we should just freaking open the window and yell out for all the good this is doing, right? Because you're feeling like I'm developing a relationship, I'm telling stories, I'm sharing value, I'm creating worthwhile, engaging content and I'm getting very little from the other side and I want to talk about that because it can really wear you down as you're trying to create this nurturing, relational content. And partially why there seems like it's just tumbleweeds and crickets on the other side is right now your audience is overwhelmed and they are usually at capacity. I found most people to be at capacity right now, but people are still consuming content. So you do not have to feel like, oh, nobody's listening, they're listening, they're reading, they're watching, but they're just not usually talking back to you.
People still expect to be wooed by you. They still expect to be engaged and treated with respect. So don't let the belief that they're not saying it back to you mean that they're not there. They are eager to learn. They want to move their lives and businesses forward and they need your expertise.
So don't lie to yourself about that. But it requires you to show up regularly with bite sized, interesting, useful, engaging content that is your job to develop the relationship and it can be very overwhelming for you and it can feel a little disheartening if I'm telling the truth fully because you're doing a lot of work and it feels like it's just you're yelling into a canyon. So let's talk about how to create some content that develops a relationship and connects with your audience. So first you want to make sure that your content is nurturing, that you understand that content marketing is a marathon and that you're willing to put in that time and effort and it really is a willingness on your part. So this begs the question, do you have a realistic, sustainable marketing plan that keeps you on track but does not burn you out?
You really need to be thinking about that because in order to keep going with the nurturing and given all the challenges I've already laid out, like I haven't really laid out a pretty picture, but people are there, they want you. But you just have to show up regularly and you need a sustainable plan to do that? Do you have that sustainable plan that feels good to you two? Are you consistent remembering that consistency looks different for everybody? But does your audience know what to expect from you and do they look forward to hearing from you regularly and whether that's you email your audience once a month, twice a week, once a week.
You put out a podcast every week. Do they know the expectations? For example, with this podcast I made it clear in the beginning of the summer that I was going to in every other week schedule just for the summer. And with my audience I have been quiet for three weeks and when I get back on the fourth week, they are going to know exactly what happened and what they can expect from me going forward. So this question I need to ask you what is consistency look like to you?
What kind of integration of content creation do you have in your business? Because if you're like doing the oh, I'm just going to do it all in one day, you might feel burned out by that, right? So what does consistency look like to you? How can you show up regularly and what can your audience handle and what do they expect? So that's the second piece.
The third piece of creating content that's developing a relationship is to think about the humanistic aspect. You are not a robot, neither is your audience. But you're sharing stories, you're sharing opinions, you're sharing perspectives. These very specific stories, opinions and perspectives are meant to attract the just right, exact right people to you. We also want to repel those who are not right for you.
And that's really what we want. We don't want to speak to everybody. We want to get rid of those people who aren't interested in the way that we have to say things. Now in order for you to be human, not only are you respecting the people you're talking to like I already addressed, but you're also remembering you are human as a creator. So yeah, you can share your stories and share your opinions and share your value, but it doesn't mean that you have to bleed all over the internet.
It doesn't mean that every time you show up with, quote unquote, something authentic that it means it's an epic from the depths of humanity story in an effort to connect with your audience. You don't have to give all of yourself away nor do you have to share all of the private aspects of your life. I know that that's happening a lot online, that you're seeing that on Instagram and TikTok. Like people are just really letting you in. But you still get to decide as a human how much you want to let people in and how much they need to be let.
It not everybody needs to know everything. When you're a personal brand, you do need to show up as a human. You need to show your face, and it also means you get to have some boundaries. So that might be challenging for you if boundaries are a problem in the first place. And if you've been like, boundaries are a problem for me, so I'm just completely closing myself off, that might be causing a problem for you as well.
So let's talk about how you can assess your content. What can you do? First of all, when you email your list, is it merely to sell something rather than to engage and connect? In fact, just last week I got an email from somebody I legit hadn't heard from in three years, and the first thing she did was try to sell me something. I was like, I didn't even remember her name when it came into my back.
I was like, who the hell is this? If you are only emailing your people, only to sell and there's no nurturing happening, that's a problem for them and then it becomes a problem for you.
Next, can your audience tell when a piece is created by you based on your voice, your style, the details you provide, the stories you tell, your writing style, your audience should be able to hear you and feel you in your content.
That helps them cross that line into understanding that we're in a relationship here. How regularly do you show up and do you ghost your audience for months and then return to just sell them something?
You return to sell them the course you've been working on, which is the reason you go to them in the first place. You have to be consistent and let them know what's going on so that they can come along for the ride with you. This is a big one, this next one. Do you show your face in the visual aspects of your marketing? Because this is far more important than you think it is.
Trust me, I know from first hand experience because I avoided doing it for years. The minute that I started showing my face, my business took off in a way it was not when I only used graphics and my content.
And then lastly, does your audience regard you as an expert in authority and as a human being? You're not the stage. On the stage, you don't have to be the iconic internet guru.
You are a human being and an expert and authority. And does that come across in your content? Are you passionately sharing what you love and lighting up when you talk about it? And can people see that? So let's go back to what this strategy of relational versus transactional communication looks like.
So in my house, I've got an audience of one and he is 15.
So I changed some of my behaviors in order to meet him where he is. They were highly inconvenient and it took a lot of work.
But for example, let me give you an example. He likes to come down for second dinner later at night and he usually got his headphones and he's usually watching something like John Oliver or something on like cryptocurrency or something on YouTube.
And so I started to go into the kitchen during that time rather than just sitting where I was on the couch and I would go into the kitchen and just like putter around and ask him like, "Hey, can I listen to that too? I'm curious about it."
And then he would take his headphones out and he would just put it on for us in the kitchen and then I could be engaging with him, I could ask him about it, ask him for his expertise or his insights and it really started to create conversations and the proximity to him invited conversation and I had to meet him where he was.
So usually the conversations are about stuff I don't understand crypto or rap guy or some young influencer that I have no idea who it is.
But at least we are having many conversations where although I don't understand what's going on in the world most of the time, I am much closer relation to him than I have ever been before.
It was really worth it. So to connect with your audience. I want you to focus on knowing what do they need to hear from you. Using of course. The words that they use.
The topics they are interested in and the questions that are burning inside of them and then really start to think about how can I nurture and engage while still holding my boundaries. While still having my space and being me.
But all of this is really important for you to move forward. And one of the things I find is that people just struggle with this over and over again because falling into transactional marketing content is just a habit. And that is one of the habits that we undo inside the Content Creator Studio.
In fact, it's a group coaching program that offers drop in calls every week for you to get feedback, support, help and training on your content to make it better.
And it's really all about accountability, implementation and learning. And if you feel like content is just that thing you cannot grasp and it all feels too slippery for you, I just want to invite you to join the Content Creator Studio.
It's a $57 a month investment where you get weekly access to an expert and daily access to me in a private Facebook group where you can ask questions and it's just really a place for you to feel supported.
Not a nameless faceless group where you're just constantly wandering around doing trainings.
This is not about doing more trainings.
This is about getting your shit out of your head, onto paper, onto video, onto your podcast and get it out in the world wherever it is you'd like to be.
So I'd love to encourage you to join us you go to https://www.jenliddy.com/studio and we would love to have you questions. Get started with thinking about relational content because really can be a game changer in your business. See you next week. Bye.