No matter what you do or what industry you work in, being a small business owner is tough. You have to worry about revenue, providing good customer service, filing your taxes right… on top of actually providing strong products or services that people love and share with their friends.
And then there’s the marketing. (Ugh.) Within marketing, there’s Facebook ads and email campaigns and webinars… you name it. There’s also content and copy — from regular blogs and social captions, to opt-in pages and updates to your website (which hasn’t been touched since 2004). We get it. There’s a lot that goes on to market your business.
Plus, like many small businesses, your regular marketing plans probably have been pushed aside for more pressing issues — adapting to a global pandemic, for example. By the time you “get back around to it,” you may have a long list of content to create and a dozen questions about where to start and how to really make it worthwhile.
If you want to commit to creating regular content, sharing your message, and building relationships without the right people (without worrying about ad spend), keep reading. We’re diving into a few tips that can help you overcome the content/copy slump and help you create content that matters.
Figure out your audience
Your audience is everything when it comes to copy and content. If you speak to the wrong audience, misunderstand (or flat-out ignore) what your audience wants, or fail to understand your audience’s habits, you’re wasting your time.
The solution, of course, is to figure out who your ideal customer is, because that’s who you want to be speaking to in your content. We won’t delve too far into the topic of personas, but basically, your persona represents your ideal customer based on real data and market research. Demographics, values, browsing and shopping habits: all these details make up your personas.
What you don’t want to do is pick an audience at random, or try to speak to everyone. This is a common problem we hear on discovery calls — “Actually I want to serve everyone!” … Sorry, but that’ll get you nowhere. Take the time to research your target audience so you can craft content that they’ll care about.
Brainstorm and deliver content
We’re a content and copy studio, but even we get stuck in a rut when it comes to planning content for our own brand. It happens to everyone.
When you care about your own brand and business, you can put a ton of pressure on yourself to get your content just right. How’s your language and tone of voice? Do you create topical or evergreen content? Are you posting a good mix of content on social media?
Soon, you start overthinking your general content strategy, comparing yourself to your competitors, or believing that you’re doing it all wrong. We’ve been there. But the best way to pull yourself out of it is to take a step back and stop spiraling. Create an action plan instead.
An action plan for your content doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! Brain dump every single idea for content you have in a Google Doc or spreadsheet. Flesh out each idea with a few bullet points. (If you can’t build on a topic, shelve it for later or ditch it.) Assign a platform next. Will this go on your blog, email newsletter, podcast, or social media? Lastly, choose a tentative date to draft the full piece of content, and a date for it to get published.
Plan ahead for your content, but don’t work too far ahead. We talk all about leaving room for some flexibility in this blog post.
Make your marketing budget work
The horrorshow that was 2020 may be over, but that doesn’t mean all our pandemic problems vanished as soon as 2021 began. You may still be struggling with the after-effects of the coronavirus, like slower business, reduced hours, or a smaller employee team.
You may still be working with a smaller marketing budget for your biz, too. Reduced marketing budgets can be challenging for small business owners, but they’re not insurmountable. You can still make the most of what you have.
How? Try some new strategies if they’re within reason, like beefing up your email marketing or investing more time in your most popular social media platform. Say goodbye to any strategies that didn’t get you results or that you hated. (Ahem, TikTok.) And look at a marketing budget cut as a challenge, not the end of the world. You can and will get through it.
Note: This is worthy advice even if your marketing budget is back to its pre-pandemic state. You never know when the next wave of “unprecedented times” will hit, so always make the most of whatever budget you have.
Find the right writers to add to your team
You may be a badass solopreneur, but sometimes you can’t scale your biz the way you want to without the help of an incredible team. And that may include a copywriter who gets your brand and works well with you and other people on your team. Finding that person, however…that’s a whole other story.
You may go into your copywriter search with a certain type of mindset: write a job description, screen people quickly, and get someone on board fast because you need them. While that may work for short-term projects or part-time contractors, it won’t pay off if you’re looking for a writer who will stick around for awhile.
Dedicate some time doing research on each and every possible copywriter you meet. Really read samples of their work and be honest about your thoughts on their portfolio. Look at their testimonials. Talk to them so you can check out their personality.
And always try out a test project before hiring them so you can truly see what working with them would be like. We know that adding to your team is a big deal, so brush up on our tips for finding the right copywriter on our blog.