I spent the whole of 2011 blogging, tweaking and learning. I learned quite a lot…
- How to write blog posts that get noticed (content that gets shared).
- How to reach out and conduct group interviews with experts (content marketing mistakes).
- How to organize my content using a content inventory (content inventory).
- How to get more subscribers (increase opt in list subscribers).
- How just because everyone in the blogosphere is saying to do something a certain way, it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it (do blog comments really matter?).
- How to create and set up a sales process for my first product (blog and content marketing strategy course).
This is just a small sample. I can keep going. The more you do, the more you learn.
But of all the things that I learned in 2011, one thing stands out: having a strategy.
The Secret Ingredient
While I do a lot of blogging and content marketing, when it comes down to it marketing is marketing is marketing. Blogging and content is just the mode of marketing that I chose to focus on.
But when it comes to successful implementation of a marketing process, most people are missing something I like to dub the “secret ingredient”: a marketing strategy.
Why It’s So Important
Anything you are going to call a “secret ingredient” better be pretty darn important, right? So why is a strategy so essential?
Having a strategy allows you to do a lot of things that not having a strategy doesn’t.
- It allows you to act with a purpose.
- It allows you to measure results.
- It allows you track metrics that actually matter to your business (not metrics that others say matter).
- It allows you to tweak and alter processes to improve them.
- It allows you to see mistakes and prevent yourself from repeating them.
A Personal Example
Here at Reality Burst I have been blogging and adding content for quite a long time, but never really saw the business results I was hoping for.
This really has to do with a few things. For one, there was a bit of a lack of focus. Reality Burst has gone from lifestyle to business to marketing and back again.
But the real problem here is that I had no strategy. Reality Burst, for the most part, has been a learning experience; a testing ground.
It has been priceless in my business development because it has allowed me to test out different tactics and hone my blog-writing skills. For the record, writing a blog is nothing like writing papers in school. I’ve never been a “great writer” by school standards. And yet this blog has allowed me to leverage the writing skills I do have into some freelance writing work (not to mention a written product).
But blogging, in and of itself, is not a business. It’s a great way to promote your business…but it is not a business.
So when I took everything I learned here at Reality Burst and created an actual plan, a strategy of action, to launch ContentStrategyHub.com, that’s when I saw real results.
Within the first month of launching my new blog I was able to get thousands of visitors, triple digit subscribers and a Google PR 4.
All this happened because I acted with a purpose and had a strategy.
Note: Not all has been smooth sailing. I switched email providers and lost about 40% of my subscribers in the process (ouch!). After another PR update, Content Strategy Hub is now at a PR3…still not too shabby. But since I am still making sales through Content Strategy Hub, I don’t mind the drop in page rank :).
Getting business processes 100% perfect is pretty difficult to do…I’ll actually make the claim that it’s impossible. But having a strategy will get you a lot closer than not having one.
Not having a strategy is like traveling without a map. There are many roads you can take…and many turns. Without a strategy it is easy to get lost. With a strategy, even if you do get lost, you know the way back to alter your course in the right direction.
Note: This post is part of the February Word Carnival — a monthly group blogging event specifically for small business owners. (It’s the most fun you’ll have all month!) Check out the rest of the fabulous carney work here.