Nail the order of things. You can be mediocre at everything you do, but if you can manage to do it all in the right order you’ll still come out ahead.
Relationships come first.
So focus on getting to know your users. Talk to them, interact with them, pay attention when you serve them, and most of all respect them as people. Here are some of the ways you may be doing this wrong:
- Ignoring their right to privacy.
- Thinking about them as metrics or data.
- Talking at them with marketing copy.
- Assuming you understand them.
- Talking too much / listening too little.
- Asking without first giving.
Before you worry about what technology you should be using – before you write a single line of content – you need to understand how to relate to your users.
Choose the platforms that best serve your users.
The relationship thing never goes away, and everything that follows is flowing out of a genuine desire to connect with people. The platforms you choose should facilitate, not just automate.
If I were building a marketing tech stack for a client, here are some of the questions I’d use to make that list:
- Where are my users spending their time online?
- Which of their needs can I most effectively fill?
- How can I best deliver the content that meets that need? (Also, what kinds of content do they enjoy consuming?)
And that’s probably it. Every platform or product is going to help answer one of those relational questions. If the technology only helps you and not your user, it’s the wrong tech for your business.
Finally, make excellent content.
If you get done being relational and there’s still a few minutes in the day, maybe make some content. Seriously though, we could all stand to take a break from the constant deluge of new content and consider whether or not we’re actually helping anyone. Maybe you’ve been led to believe that “if you build it, they will come” but that strategy only works if you’re the only one doing it – and you’re not.
If you want to know what works – no matter how many people join you on the bandwagon – it’s relationships. Eventually, yes, you’ll need content – but not as much as you think. HubSpot used to say that you should ideally be publishing 8 new articles per month. That’s nearly 100 pages of content per year. That’s what they were telling small businesses. It’s insane.
Here’s a better strategy for you. Go have a conversation. Let’s say 8 articles = 8 hours of work. Take 4 hours per month and go talk to your users. Call them, email them, or invite them to the office. Then use the other 4 hours to write or improve a single piece of content to better serve those users. At the end of the year, with the same investment, you’ll have 12 perfect pages that speak directly to actual users instead of 100 pages of fluff that further gum up the web.