This blog is the sixth blog of our 8-part Rhythm Series. You can learn more about what rhythms in business are here and why I believe they are the foundation of any successful, sustainable, scalable creative business. Be sure to click here to subscribe to my email list so you’ll be the first to know when the next blog drops each week.
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It’s a familiar story that often goes like this:
You’ve been selling, selling, selling…but then you got busy fulfilling those sales.
And now the leads have dried up!
You have no idea where your next paycheck is coming from and yet you’re throwing money at paid ad campaigns and marketing “hacks” that never seem to come through.
You know you could be reaching SO many more people, but have no idea where to focus your energy.
You guessed it!
But what does that mean?
Marketing rhythms are the strategic, recurring actions that support the success of your creative business and get you in front of your ideal audience.
They go hand in hand with your sales rhythms to help you avoid the feast or famine cycle so you can find more balance and fewer extremes in your business.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could:
Can I be totally honest with you?
Marketing rhythms do not have to be hard.
Often the hardest part is simply getting started.
But once you commit to consistently tending to your market rhythms…
So, let’s get started.
For the sake of this blog post, we’ll be talking about one very specific type of marketing:
The simple answer:
Because it’s more affordable (do I have your attention yet?!)
BUT, it’s so much more than that.
You see, while traditional marketing MIGHT have a place in your overall marketing plan, it costs money. Money that many creative entrepreneurs don’t have when they’re first starting out.
Traditional marketing includes things like:
The goal of traditional marketing is to reach out to your audience and directly promote your product, service, or event.
It is an interruption of sorts, that strives to grab attention.
interrupts your regularly scheduled programming with this urgent message.
“A person doesn’t choose to watch an ad on television—the ad interrupts the show they are watching. A person doesn’t choose to see a banner ad—it pops up on a website.”
I’m not saying these marketing methods aren’t effective.
In fact, your ideal client will often indicate how you choose to market and which platforms you ultimately use in your business.
What I am saying is CONTENT MARKETING offers way more “bang for your buck” across all industries AND it’s accessible no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey.
Plus, if you DO choose to use traditional forms of marketing, your content marketing strategy will support those efforts and make them even stronger and more effective.
It’s like pouring fuel on the fire!
Sound too good to be true?
Let’s break it down:
Content marketing is an excellent place to focus your marketing rhythms because…
Content marketing is all around us, all the time!
Content marketing is different from traditional marketing because it indirectly promotes your brand by hooking your audience’s interest.
Basically, content marketing is marketing your audience seeks out and CHOOSES because they find value in it through education, entertainment, or connection.
The goal is to add value through your content so that your ideal audience will think of you, your expertise, and your brand when they are in need of your product or service.
Content Marketing can come in many forms such as:
These types of content attract your ideal audience TO YOU like a magnet!
Now, let me show you how.
Solid marketing rhythms start with the systems you use to spread the word about you, your brand, and your services to your ideal audience.
Your marketing systems are the processes (HOW you market). The rhythms you implement to support these systems will dictate HOW OFTEN you repeat and tend to these systems. With both of these elements firmly established, you’ll experience how rhythms can fit together in harmony to support each other.
Want to see how it works right now?
Let me walk you through my step-by-step process for implementing sustainable content marketing rhythms into your unique creative business.
Before you decide where to focus your marketing attention, you need to get really clear on who your ideal client really is.
A common marketing exercise involves creating your Ideal Client Avatar or “ICA”. This helps you have a clear image of exactly who you are speaking to in all of your marketing initiatives.
Marketing falls flat when its messaging tries to appeal to everyone. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping to catch something, ANYTHING, choose to be more strategic.
Really take time to consider the demographics of your dream client. Then, explore their biggest, most specific challenges. All of your marketing initiatives will strive to help them overcome these setbacks and witness how working with you can allow them to achieve their desired transformation.
I drop my son off at preschool every morning after sending my daughter off on the school bus. In the hustle and bustle of getting everyone prepped, organized, fed, and washed up for the day, caffeine is often the last thing I get around to.
Thank goodness, there’s a solution:
Starbucks has got me covered.
You see, there’s a Starbucks IN THE PARKING LOT of my son’s school.
I kid you not.
It’s brilliant and so convenient for busy parents. Starbucks has a captive audience of under-caffeinated moms and dads who need an extra jolt to move through their day.
Starbucks meets us where we are.
Instead of putting up a sign telling us to drive 5 minutes down the road, the Starbucks is strategically placed where we can see it and easily engage without going out of our way.
It’s almost comical to watch all the parents drop their kids off, and then immediately pull into the drive-through line.
TBH, if I had to drive to another location, I’d probably just head home and make coffee myself.
Think of your marketing in a similar way.
BE where your audience already spends time!
If your community prefers to engage with content on Tik Tok, it probably doesn’t make much sense to spend your time and energy focusing your marketing efforts exclusively on Facebook.
If you’re not hanging out where your ideal client spends time online, your marketing efforts will most likely fall flat or you might even start to attract the wrong clients.
Pay attention to and respond to where your ICA prefers to spend time online.
COO Tip: Don’t be afraid to ASK! It doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Reach out to your clients and find out where they prefer to consume content. You can even ask them what kind of content they prefer: videos, articles, actionable tutorials? This kind of grass-roots market research will help you feel like you’re not searching around in the dark for the answers you need.
So here’s the deal:
Content marketing doesn’t HAVE to be hard.
But a lot of times we make it more difficult for ourselves than it needs to be.
Does this sound familiar?
And by the following week, you’ve given up altogether.
I totally get it!
No, it’s NOT you (I promise).
It’s your unsustainable rhythms.
We ALL have business rhythms, whether we realize it or not. The key is creating the right rhythms that will actually work for us.
In the above scenario, you didn’t create a realistic rhythm for your content marketing plan.
I encourage you to start simple and create ONE rhythm at a time that will help you show up successfully. Then, over time you can choose to add on or increase the frequency of your content marketing.
You don’t need to be on all platforms, but you do need to be on the platforms that make the most sense for you, your business, and your ideal audience for your marketing to be effective.
So how do you figure out where to focus your attention and begin?
Let’s weigh your options!
With the insight from Step 2 in mind, narrow down your choices and select anywhere from 1- 3 content marketing platforms that you’d like to focus on for your content marketing. This can include social media, email marketing, blogging, or even creating a YouTube channel.
Focus on one of these content marketing platforms first.
As you build your confidence and consistency you can consider adding in another platform.
I do not expect you to jump into every single content marketing channel right away (or ever). You do not need to start showing up on Tik Tok, your blog, email, Clubhouse, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn overnight.
Whatever you choose, I encourage you to start simple.
Choose the lowest lift first. This should be something you feel comfortable using and can confidently introduce as your very first marketing rhythm.
This next step is all about working smarter, not harder. There are free and paid software options available to help you show up for your audience consistently and easily.
Social media is a great place to start, especially because it is free!
In fact, people run entire businesses off of social media.
Here are some tools to help you maintain your social media marketing rhythms:
While social media is a solid place to begin, and can always have a place in your marketing strategy, you will eventually want to build on a more SOLID (read: realibable) platform.
That’s where email marketing steps in:
Take the conversation off of social media and into the inbox. Eventually, you may want to shift your marketing efforts onto “owned land” instead of only relying on the rented space that is social media.
Because you shouldn’t have to leave your marketing reach to chance.
Instead of predicting or, more often, fighting against, the next new algorithm you can be sure that your email gets in front of every single member on your list (whether they open it or not is up to you and a snappy subject line).
Here are some of my favorite email marketing platforms that can help you show up in your ideal client’s inbox consistently and professionally.
Each platform offers different features and price points, so you’ll want to consider what makes the most sense for you. While some platforms are ideal for service-based brands, others offer features that can support product-based businesses and even integrate with your online store like Shopify!
Something I love about all of them?
EMAIL AUTOMATION! I am a huge fan of using automation anywhere and everywhere in business!
The next level of your content marketing plan might include having a home base for your brand. It’s like your own little corner of the internet.
Not only is a website great for visibility but it may be necessary if you’re interested in starting a blog.
Creating a website can feel intimidating, especially if you aren’t ready to shell out some cash to hire a web designer or a copywriter (but when you’re ready I HIGHLY suggest reaching out for their services).
Luckily, there are lots of excellent website-building resources out there with a low learning curve to get you started.
Some client favorites include:
Not only will your website provide you with a platform for your blog, but it also serves as your 24/7 salesperson. It works behind the scenes to help you get your brand out there and let your ideal client know how they can work with you!
Content marketing isn’t about putting out content just for the sake of content.
If you’re simply repeating what everyone else is saying in your industry without adding your unique opinion, experiences, or flair, then you’re not really showing up for your audience.
But, this doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel either!
In today’s content-heavy world, most ideas have already been shared. The difference is that you offer a unique perspective no one else can, simply because you are you!
Consider what your ideal client is struggling with most. Help them find the tools, resources, or insight necessary to have a mini-win with your guidance! This will help them know, like, and trust you while ensuring they start looking forward to the valuable information you and your brand provide!
My rule of thumb is to leave my audience saying:
“If this is what she offers for FREE, I can’t imagine how amazing her paid offerings are!”
COO Tip: As I receive questions or think of topic ideas, I capture them in a running list on Trello (but a simple notebook works perfectly too). Try writing down a few topics a day (don’t worry if you think they’re good or bad). After a few weeks of this practice, you’ll have a wealth of topic ideas to get you started anytime the dreaded writer’s block (or worse yet imposter syndrome) creeps in!
We touched on this a bit in step 3, but it’s worth digging into a little deeper. Rhythms bring consistency and consistency is key, especially in marketing. When we try to go from 0-60 right off the bat, we often set ourselves up for failure.
Let’s frame it with an example:
Maybe you’ve decided to show up on your blog. This is your content marketing system (it’s HOW you are marketing).
Now you need to decide how often you want to publish and share your blog content. Maybe you see a lot of entrepreneurs in your space offering weekly blogs.
This might be a great long-term goal, but before you can write weekly blogs, you need to prove to yourself that you can write monthly blogs.
How do I know?
Because I’ve totally been that overambitious content marketer, whose good intentions and unrealistic expectations fell flat.
In July of 2020, I started a blog (this blog, in fact!)
I was a woman on a mission and was so excited to write weekly blogs right off the bat.
Until it didn’t happen.
Was I lacking the…
…necessary to meet my goal?
I had the potential in SPADES (hint hint: so do you, my friend!)
What I didn’t have?
REALISTIC, SUSTAINABLE RHYTHMS.
And so, even my best efforts fizzled out quickly.
I decided to take a dose of my own medicine.
I created clear, low-lift rhythms.
Here’s what that looked like:
This worked great for several months!
But the thing is… rhythms need to change over time. They must grow and adapt to your ever-evolving business.
4 months later:
I was regularly sharing content with my audience, but I also found myself BOOKED out in my coaching business (such a great problem to have).
But I felt the growing pains, big time!
I couldn’t justify allowing the blog to take me away from my client work.
So I paused to reflect and reframe my rhythms. I realized I no longer had the time or energy capacity to truly show up on the blog the way I had been (aka consistently and with tons of value). I couldn’t keep using the same rhythms that had been serving me well up to this point.
I’d outgrown them!
However, I wasn’t willing to let it go all together because I know the power of content marketing.
We’ve developed our own new rhythms together for topic ideas, deadlines, editing, and feedback. We started with bi-weekly blogs and have worked our way up to weekly blogs!
I show up every single week with original, value-packed content through a fine-tuned process that offers ease– no questions asked!
This is the beauty of rhythms and the right support for your unique needs at each stage of your business journey.
Start small, develop a rhythm, and then decide if you have the time and capacity to increase to bi-weekly content, and eventually weekly content. I totally understand that hiring a team member may not be in the cards for you right now, and that’s totally okay!
What I hope you take away from this story is how important it is to understand your capacity (time, energy, & money) so you can lean on the tools, supports, and resources that will help you steadily arrive at your goal.
This will ensure your content marketing plan is sustainable and do-able.
Rhythms don’t happen overnight.
Be patient, strategic, and realistic.
I genuinely want you to feel like a broken record when it comes to your content marketing.
The biggest barrier to successful content marketing is often overthinking it!
You might feel like you need to show up with something brand new and shiny each and every time you hit publish.
But, this unrealistic (aka self-imposed) expectation of what content should be is probably what’s holding you and your business back from showing up regularly.
Get really clear on your message:
Once you feel clear on your message, talk about it until the cows come home!
Even if you think you’re starting to sound repetitive, your audience won’t.
How do I know?
People need to hear things at least 7 times for it to stick (It’s called the Rule of 7). It might surprise you to learn you’re probably not sharing your offers or ideas ENOUGH!
Most people aren’t going to see it the first, second, or even third time. On social media, only a small fraction of your followers will actually see your posts.
Even if you share the same idea on three platforms, most of your audience will only see it on the one they use most often. AND even if they do see it more than once, they probably won’t remember or care that they’re seeing it a second time.
COO Tip: This is why I’m a huge fan of recycling and repurposing content. You don’t need to create something brand new for every single platform. Have a great blog post from last month or even last year? Take a story out of it and share it with your email list. Maybe there was a list of 5 tips in that blog that you could offer to your followers on Instagram. Let your content work hard for you!
Very rarely are you going to “hit the ball out of the park” right away as you begin content marketing to your audience.
It happens occasionally, but typically it’s going to take time to build up your audience, define your niche, and build your brand authority.
Be realistic with your expectations and don’t get discouraged. You most likely won’t find yourself booked out after just a month of consistent content marketing.
Be patient and committed to your strategic marketing plan and your commitment will pay off over time.
You’re planting the seeds now, for the “fruit” you’ll harvest in the future!
With your new marketing rhythms securely in place, you’ll quickly realize how these rhythms positively influence the other rhythms of your business.
Specifically: Sales and Engagement.
Marketing and sales are closely intertwined. When you have a strong marketing plan in place, you’ll have a consistent stream of warm leads to sell to. This will make selling WAY easier, more aligned, and predictable.
In a nutshell:
You’ll get to STOP worrying about where your next paycheck is coming from!
Likewise, when your sales rhythms are working for you, you’ll be able to track which marketing efforts are converting to sales so that you can respond to your audience, focus your marketing efforts even more effectively, and continue to sell your incredible offers.
Engagement is especially important when you focus on content marketing. You cannot treat your content marketing strategy as a one-way channel. It’s a two-way conversation that needs to be nurtured in order to optimize your content marketing results.
If you’re using social media, it’s called “social” for a reason. You are meant to exchange back and forth.
If you’re using other forms of content marketing like podcasts, blogs, or email, there are still opportunities to connect. Once you hit publish that isn’t the end! You’ll want to share with your audience, get their feedback, and hear how they are responding to the ideas you’ve put out!
We’ll dig into this more in our next blog all about engagement rhythms in your creative business.
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” plan for your marketing rhythms, but there are some tried and true rhythms that just make sense! Here’s some advice to help you choose the right rhythms.
Content marketing is an essential rhythm for your creative business. It’s available to you RIGHT now, so you can stop overthinking or dragging your feet and just get started (yes, I’m talking to YOU, my fellow recovering perfectionist)!
Cheering you on as you put the systems and rhythms in place to support your business’ marketing strategy and get in front of your ideal audience with value-packed content!
This blog is part of an 8-part series on creating Rhythms to support your short-term and long-term business goals. So far we’ve explored CEO Time, Financial Rhythms, Sales Rhythms, Operations Rhythms, Creative Rhythms, and Marketing Rhythms
I am so excited to help you put rhythms in place for your business this year. I encourage you to…
With the right rhythms in place, your business will be humming along in the new year creating space, systems, and strategy that will help you to actively work towards, meet, and even exceed all the goals, resolutions, and dreams you have in mind for the year ahead!
Want to check out our previous rhythms blogs?
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