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Easy Cowboy…You Can’t Be Everything To Everybody


A sure-fire way for others to switch off is to believe your content efforts can cover everything and anything.

Lets get things straight, people don’t come to you to know what business you won last month, they come to you believing you can make their lives easier.

You cannot be everything to everybody.

To get to that point is when you feel comfortable to share, to be open and genuine. It’s about finding that word that you stand for and then championing it. When you find it, you have freedom.

This is what connects you to others. It has nothing to do with the ability to discount heavily from an original quote or telling everyone you are ‘humbled’ to connect to over 4,000 strangers on LinkedIn.

Flaunting self-satisfaction is like being this man and you don’t want to be this man.


What Attracts People

The thing that draws people in is integrity, honesty and being genuine. This is stated in the recent Authentic 100 annual survey (since 2012), from WPP agency, Cohn & Wolfe.

Consumers in the UK are some of the most sceptical in the world (12k consumers within 14 global markets). Only 7% of people in the UK describe brands as ‘open and honest.’ However, they are more likely to identify UK companies as trustworthy and reliable than anyone else.

The survey was based on – how accurately a firm delivered its promises, how well it treated customers, and how honest and genuine they were.

The notion of being genuine and honest comes down to this space of a company having absolute clarity in the role they provide to others. It is the thing that you promise to others. It is the thing that makes you believable.


Building A Habit On One Thing

I have the privilege of running an ongoing monthly group of business owners and entrepreneurs.

We are coming to completion of stage one (if you would like to enrol for the three month summer intake, have a look here). Our sessions had a key focus on helping a business to build a habit to create content targeted at a specific audience. It wasn’t a one off workshop, but a commitment all round to be responsible.

The structure was based on finding what a company stands for, becoming comfortable with a channel and then meeting up on an individual basis to pursue a goal and encourage a habit.

I am finding with many businesses that the biggest challenge is to discover a belief structure that goes beyond money and have the ability to deliver this consistently via the media channels they have control of.

This is why we see many fragmented efforts that start off with the best intentions and then fade off into obscurity ie. the gusto with the blog that then tapers off to a once in a while thing to do.

When things don’t progress shows there wasn’t a belief in finding something that was true, rather the pursuit of creating more for the sake of creating more (well that seems the priority for UK content creators according to the Content Marketing Institute).

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Finding Your Role Within The Marketplace

When a business becomes genuine this is by not covering everything, but the role they play within a marketplace and standing by a cause. These are when the moments of clarity and change happens.

For instance, it is the financial services firm that moves from asking the question ‘why don’t you have a pension?’ to ‘9 reasons you need life insurance’ and focusing on well being, yet again, a priority that goes beyond money. A nod here to what Gary Neild is doing at Blue Sky Financial Planning where he documents and shares his world every fortnight.

The point being, you can gain a stronger market position when you are genuine and flip from, ‘we made this, now lets figure out how to tell everybody’ to identifying how to serve those who are interested and then figure out how to progress a direction that a community buys into.

Here are some key traits when you disregard looking to cover as much as possible because the rulebook told you to garner the biggest slice of the cake.


You humanise what you do

When you look to appeal to everyone, content created becomes flat, uninspiring and even worse with no soul.

The human side through the content produced is something that Sodo, a pizza company in London achieve each month. Working with a local running club, pizzas are delivered on foot with a live Periscope video stream.


You don’t give up on trying

When you have an audience who are receptive but return is sporadic from responses, sign-ups to downloads, if what is being created has a purpose to serve a marketplace and solve a problem, stopping is pretty decisive action.

With the weekly Marketing Homebrew podcast, Ian Rhodes mentioned recently that it wasn’t until around 50 recorded shows that we started to find our feet.

There are an estimated 206.8 million tablets shipped in 2015 (10% less than 2014), but when the iPad was launched in 2010, this opened the doors to show the industry the way with the flood of options. It was a case of understanding a marketplace and a belief that success is possible.

Great things take time.


Your content has deeper priorities

If you put the time in, you can make a difference. This isn’t about driving waves of traffic to your website but to spark a conversation and recognising where this can lead.

It’s the example I highlighted recently, with Conker Spirit sharing a blog theme that represents enterprise. This was recognised by Cambridge University. This led to a conversation that started with the blog and Conker will now pour at the University.


Recognition is built on a mass of tiny interactions not one big blast

Our world used to be determined by the biggest budgets allowing access. All it means today is that larger budgets can mean a wider reach to strangers. A piece (email, direct mail) is sent in your direction to encourage you to act, you don’t act and then you both walk away.

People who you come into contact with, sign-up, download and subscribe all form part of an ongoing ecosystem that you have a responsibility for.

The power of an idea and the ability to entertain, inform and challenge goes far beyond a one off campaign message to tell everybody something that you wish you could be.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 19.57.24Look at the way that Candace Payne brought us all a bit closer together recently. The Chewbacca mask video is now the most watched Facebook Live video with over 48 million people having watched (over 140 million views).

This had nothing to do with deep pockets, but the ability to make others smile and for us to feel connected to the simplicity of life and not take the world (and ourselves too seriously).


You stand for the same thing, month after month

What you do is not a campaign but the ability to deliver a consistent approach. This is about being continuous.

When you find a rhythm, you discover a momentum. When you recognise that it is not about discussing the adjective (the doing word) that you stand for, but the thing that connects you, your business to your audience, then you start to build a pulse.

For instance, what started as a weekly email to my audience of subscribers (called You Are The Media, if you are not in the community, just subscribe at the bottom), this is now moving to an end of the month round up and ability to showcase other people who are owning their media and doing things that they are becoming recognised for.

From creating video, to curating events, these people are out there and people we can all connect to, that are not representing agencies, but a belief in approaches that they are becoming comfortable with (why not come to the next event at the end of June).


You have to earn an audience, not continually buy them

By being genuine to an audience that matters starts with the hard work to earn someone’s attention, rather than rely on heavy spending to Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Why pay for attention, when people can now pay you attention based on the ability to have a responsibility for others and create a value exchange that goes beyond advertising.


Become the topic or approach that people are interested in

From the Adido focus on attention (see, that’s their one word) to showing how Lunchd put together their lunches via video, everything is centred around what an audience wants to interact with. To show value, you genuinely need to be bothered about an aspect of how your world works.

Both these companies are proof that you have to experience something (and be passionate about it), to then be in a position to talk about it. This is what makes you different.


Lets Round Up

The challenge today is to get away from reaching as many eyeballs as you possibly can but to create a continual network of tiny interactions.

I am a believer that to move fast, you have to start slow (learning, thinking, applying, adapting, connecting).

We need more of the right people to serve the right message to that can drive action. It’s better to be different than to be everything to anyone.

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