Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Makes Your Content Relevant?

What Makes Your Content Relevant?
By this point in time, you’ll have heard for sure more than a million times the phrase "relevant content".

You’ve been told you should generate "relevant content" to promote your business on social networks, that "only relevant content is being shared," that generating "relevant content" will help you increase brand awareness, and many other recommendations based on the combination of both words "content" and "relevance".

But the generation of "relevant content" is not new at all, neither was it born with the raise of social networks. While I worked for “Casa & Estilo Internacional” magazine, a major Hispanic home design, decoration and architecture publication in the United States, we took always good care of including in our magazine pages, subjects and content we knew was going to be of interest to those who read the publication.

We did feature celebrities’ homes, interviews with interior designers, decorators and architects who would share with our readers their advice and suggestions on how to decorate and beautify their homes, what furnishings to buy, and so on.

Can you imagine what would have happened with the magazine’s subscriptions and sales, if the content we published hadn’t been of interest to readers?

If such content hadn’t been considered "relevant" by them? Easy: No one would have ever bought a subscription to the magazine and our advertisers would have gone with another publication whose content was more "relevant" to their readers. Simple maths.

But what is it that makes any content relevant?

Is your content authentic or simply a copy/paste from somebody else’s?

We all know the difference between the original brand product, and the muck up competitors try to put together. I’m sure you know that difference too. It also applies to content you generate.

If you try, for instance, to talk about a subject you are not properly prepared for, or with which you don’t feel comfortable or can’t move around with ease, like good athletes do, and have to simply rely on copying content generated by others, you're going to get yourself in trouble.

An authentic and transparent content is the best way to earn your community’s trust.

One of the really bad things that happen in digital environments, is that people do not have any kind of compassion or mercy when it comes to tearing apart those companies or individuals who post content that is not truly theirs, or just try to fake it and pretend to be someone they are not, or to have knowledge they simply don’t have.

Keep in mind there are millions of different sources on the Internet to which people have access to get information about any imaginable topic. Do not take the risk of turning your community against you. Always try to generate your very own content, that is truly yours, or your company’s.

Be yourself the original, not the imitation.

Have you questions? We have answers.

One of the things I find most impressive about this whole thing of the Internet is that you can find answers to almost every imaginable question.

Try it yourself: Ask Google anything and, within seconds, you'll have access to multiple response options and in different formats. Some more relevant than others, but responses anyway.

And that's what I call "useful" content: one which helps me solve problems I have. Last week I wanted to buy some protein pills to supplement my training on the bike. I did a search on the Internet and immediately I could make my own, personal research about the different products available to me, making use of all the information other people have written about the subject.

Always generate content that answers questions your community might be asking itself at that time.

And I’d like to think this concept is not new to you at all. Or it shouldn’t be at least: Nowadays, almost all of us jump on the Internet to search for answers to our concerns. This is the main reason why content generated by you or by your company should equally be useful and aimed to answer questions people within your respective communities are making.

This way you will be sure your business name (or your name) will pop up exactly when your target audience is seeking for information about a topic that you (or your company) handle like a master.

Always, and on top of everything, interesting and enriching.

Do not be tempted to publish content simply because you’ve to maintain a frequency, stick to a schedule or show activity in your social profiles.

I'll give you an example of what I mean: Have you ever been to a party or social event, in which you found yourself with someone who will not stop talking? Like those people who talk about all things that come to their minds without making any sense or plainly annoying you? Or just because they pretend to be friendly and want to be the center of attention?

Well, for me, these conversations end up being boring and I'm sure the same thing happens to you. What do you do then in such situation? You simply take your drink, turn yourself around and head down to a group where the conversation might be more enjoyable and interesting.

Beyond frequency or quantity, you better be concerned about the substance. What’s good about having boring conversations?

In social environments everything changes at a great speed, so fast that’s really hard for one to realize when information has gone out of fashion or when it has become simply out of date.

That’s why only interesting and enriching content stays alive longer.

Engage with your community and value their own contributions.

And once you've created authentic and original content, which provides answers to questions that your audience has, which is interesting and enriching, offer them an  opportunity to share it at their will.

Invite them also to make their own contributions, open up the door for their comments and their own experiences. Perhaps you can learn much more than you’d have imagined from one of them, if you keep the door open to hear what they have to say.

The time a person spends enjoying the content you publish and interacting with it, is time they don’t spend with your competition.

If the content you generate is relevant enough for your community you’ll become a reference point for them in the topic you handle and within your industry.

The more valuable your contributions are to the conversations you generate, the closer the relationship you’ll have with your audience and, therefore, the less likely they’ll be to hear what your competitors have to say, especially when your competition always focuses their efforts on maintaining boring conversations about their products and services.

With more and more companies fighting to grab consumer’s attention on the Internet, all entrepreneurs and business owners like you need to take the step of generating truly relevant content to always stay ahead in your market niche.

Focus your efforts on creating authentic, useful, interesting and enriching content. Thus, you’ll always provide value and will generate a greater engagement with your community, and that's the idea after all.

Don’t you think?

Crédito fotografía: Bogumil / 123 Stock Photo

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

4 Things You Must Consider For A Healthy Entrepreneurship

A Healthy Entrepreneurship
I wanted to initiate this year writing about something that will surely sound familiar to you: The things you must take into consideration so that your business project can grow in a healthy manner.

When I was thinking about this post’s title, I first thought of something like "The 4 C's of A Successful Entrepreneurship" but then I remembered how uncomfortable makes me feel when coming across those articles offering you a list of specific steps / things you have to take in order to be successful.

There is neither a way nor a person who can guarantee that your business venture will be successful, not to say offer you a list of specific tasks you must accomplish in order to become a success.

The furthest we can all go is to recommend you some things to do and which will be quite different according to your specific case, your own situation, and also taking into consideration that your the definition of "success" might probably be  different from that of mine or other people.

But what can definitely do, with total confidence, is to talk with you about 4 things you should consider if you want your venture to develop in a fluid, healthy manner. These four things are, from my point of view, the following: on-going learning, commitment, self-evaluation and confidence.

I’ll move on by indicating you why I consider them important for you.

On-going learning: Be sure to prepare yourself, be prepared or associate with people who have the knowledge.

The first thing you need to consider for your venture to move forward on a healthy way, is to be sure you’re swimming in an industry you’re familiar with and are trained for, one in which you have worked already. The combination of being properly prepared and working experience will give you (or should give you) the confidence you need to drive the business in the proper direction.

Professional background and previous experience guarantee you have the confidence required to manage the business in the right direction.

And going a bit further, and considering the breakneck speed with which our world is changing everyday, you should consider a process of ongoing learning within your professional sector as a way to keep yourself up to date with the latest changes, although I’m sure you already know that.

And if you want to venture into a completely different arena, you should consider the option of receiving specific training for such area or, at least, partner up with people who are familiar with it and can provide the necessary knowledge (which you don’t have and are going to need) to make the right decisions.

But in any case, ongoing learning is one of those almost mandatory requirements for a healthy entrepreneurship.

Commitment: A necessary attitude to truly harvest the results you expect.

Do you know what the "instant gratification syndrome" is about? It's one of those things that happens to almost all of us nowadays drivings us to expect immediate results from almost all the actions we take. Hence the success of all these programs that ensure you’ll get wonderful results in almost everything in a little fraction of the time it usually requires.

And it’s just because you can always make a new customer, but it will not happen overnight. You won’t be able to properly position your company’s brand in the market, in just a few days. Not to mention you won’t be able to make your customers love your products more than your competitor’s in the same fast way.

Commitment will help you have the perseverance required to move forward step by step, day after day.

You are certainly able to achieve most of your proposed goals, but you have to be aware that everything takes its own time and that nothing will happen if you’re not seriously committed with your project. And from commitment, perseverance is born.

If you really commit yourself to your own project then you will have enough strength to work every day in achieving your daily goals and implementing all necessary actions. It’s all a natural process.

Self-evaluate yourself whenever you feel you’ve to, or let others do it if you can’t.

And perhaps this is the most difficult point for all of us: Knowing when to stop and change direction. To be able to recognize when the thing you are doing are not delivering the corresponding results, move on and start trying with new things.

Knowing when to change direction will probably be the most difficult business decision you’ll ever have to make.

For sure, you are driven by the desire to make all things work, to confirm your business idea takes root and begins solidly moving forward. And it’s a flame always worth keeping alive, of course it is.

However, it’s not easy to make the decision to change what we're doing, because we will always think everything can be better. That’s why you must be open to receiving constructive criticism about your idea, project, and how all of it is coming together.

Constructive criticism will help you consider new options and opportunities to focus your efforts, and knowing when to change directions becomes necessary.

If you're doing the right things, in a committed and consistent way, the results will come.

And finally, confidence. Being confident that if you are seriously engaged with your project, if you're working on it steadily, and if you're willing to make every effort to evaluate your progress and implement all necessary changes, then the results will come.

The results always come for those who work consistently and committed to their project.

That's right: Nobody can assure you how long will it take in your specific project as it depends on many different factors, but the results will come, no doubt. All projects are different from one another, therefore every story will be unique.

What all of them have in common is the fact that if you do things right and have the patience to harvest the results of your actions, your business will then have a healthy development.

That is why I’d like to start up this year by recommending you to always keep in your mind the following things: Ongoing learning, commitment, the willingness to self-evaluate your progress and being always confident.

With them in your project, surely all things will work out much better than you think.

Picture copyright: Alpha Spirit / 123RF Stock Photo

I recommend you reading the following posts in this blog:
The Hardest Business Decision You’ll Ever Make: When To Stop and Change Course.
Smoke Selling: My Thoughts About Our Need Of Immediate Success.
Which Habits Are Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals?