Your Secret Marketing Weapon

Your Secret Marketing Weapon



It seems paradoxical – the​ more you​ give away,​ the​ more people are willing to​ pay for your services – but it’s true. This exact approach has worked quickly and effectively for me for years. the​ key is​ that it’s got to​ be good and of​ high relevance to​ your target audience. This builds people’s confidence that you​ consistently know your stuff and that you​ can be counted on​ for long-term value. People soon realize that if​ you’re willing to​ give away such valuable expertise,​ think how great the​ solutions they pay for will be!

So how do you​ share your expertise with your target audience? Through writing and speaking. And it​ starts with being able to​ get your core ideas down on​ paper in​ a​ way that catches your audience’s attention and compels them to​ action.

If the​ idea of​ writing an​ article or​ giving a​ speech feels overwhelming,​ stay with me. I’m going to​ show you​ how easy it​ can be if​ you​ follow a​ basic formula that works every time.

Formula for Success

We’ve all stared at​ a​ blank page,​ at​ a​ loss for words or​ ideas…and wondered how in​ the​ world to​ write the​ article,​ proposal,​ report or​ presentation that’s due soon…with the​ deadline looming and no inspiration in​ sight. It’s the​ worst feeling and brings out the​ procrastinator in​ all of​ us.

Next time you’d rather clean out your desk than force yourself to​ sit down and write something,​ try this easy approach:

1) Brainstorm a​ short list of​ things that your clients struggle with. What problems drive them to​ you? Why are they willing to​ pay good money for your services. Remember,​ it’s not about you​ -- it’s about them,​ their pain,​ and their needs. This is​ now your list of​ topics for articles and talks.

2) Pick one topic and answer the​ following questions:

• What’s the​ problem?

• What’s the​ lost opportunity?

• Why is​ this important to​ address?

• What will happen if​ it’s ignored?

• What’s your solution?

• What tips do you​ have for implementing your solution?

• What example can you​ use to​ illustrate your point?

3) Write your answers to​ these questions and don’t worry about how it​ flows or​ even that you’re using good grammar. Just get your ideas on​ paper (or into the​ computer). Notice that by now,​ you​ have at​ least a​ page written. Pat yourself on​ the​ back and keep going.

4) Go back and clean up what you’ve written,​ add a​ catchy title and some headlines to​ break up the​ text,​ keep your paragraphs short,​ add some bullets or​ numbers to​ guide the​ eye. Maybe add references or​ a​ diagram. Step back and review what you’ve done. By now,​ you’ve got an​ article!

5) Ask a​ couple of​ trusted colleagues,​ clients or​ friends for feedback on​ your draft – really do this because it​ helps! Plus,​ it’s a​ great confidence booster and low-risk way to​ share your writing with a​ small audience first.

6) Put your new article on​ your website,​ offer to​ send it​ as​ follow up when networking,​ send it​ to​ current clients,​ use it​ as​ the​ basis for getting booked for talks (more on​ how to​ in​ a​ future newsletter)…whatever you​ do,​ don’t let it​ languish. USE it​ as​ a​ way of​ sharing your expertise.

For more tips on​ how to​ share your expertise through writing,​ keep reading...

Taking a​ page from Twyla Tharp’s new book,​ the​ Creative Habit,​ this prolific dancer and choreographer shares her tips for moving from procrastination to​ creativity,​ regularly and with ease. Apply these ideas to​ your writing and notice the​ difference…

1) Set up a​ creative environment that’s habit forming. Creativity doesn’t just happen,​ it’s a​ disciplined skill that can be learned. Creativity is​ not a​ mystical,​ elusive gift that’s only accessible to​ artists. Everyone can develop it. Set up the​ right conditions and it​ eventually kicks-in. For me,​ it’s the​ act of​ daily planning that clears my mind to​ make room for ideas to​ flow. For you,​ it​ might be puttering in​ your garden or​ going for a​ walk. Whatever it​ is,​ do it​ daily and be disciplined about it.

2) Use an​ organizational system for your ideas. Over the​ course of​ a​ month,​ I run into articles,​ quotes,​ websites,​ books,​ photos,​ experiences,​ and conversations…all of​ which inspire me for an​ upcoming article or​ talk. I capture them in​ folders,​ labeled by theme or​ big idea. When I’m ready to​ start writing,​ I draw on​ this collection of​ resources to​ inspire and guide my thinking. Twyla Tharp uses a​ box for each new project. you​ might find a​ binder the​ best catchall. Whatever works for you,​ the​ mere act of​ labeling and filling your container demonstrates your commitment to​ the​ idea.

3) Scratch. Scratching is​ about seeking inspiration to​ fill your container. I scratch when I flip through copies of​ Fast Company and Inc. Magazine or​ browsing in​ my favorite bookstore (where I found Tharp’s book!). I scratch while networking with other professionals and ask what they’re working on​ or​ stuck on​ in​ their business. This is​ about where you​ get your ideas…it’s kind of​ primal,​ and you​ never know what’ll inspire you.

4) Beware of​ these deadly mistakes: relying too much on​ others,​ waiting for or​ expecting perfection,​ overthinking,​ feeling obligated to​ finish what you’ve started,​ and working with the​ wrong materials. Any one of​ them will undermine your best efforts. if​ you’re stuck,​ look at​ each of​ these to​ see if​ they’re holding you​ back.

5) Find your spine. It’s your one strong idea,​ the​ toehold that gets you​ started. the​ spine of​ this e-newsletter,​ for example,​ is​ that writing is​ a​ core competency of​ effective marketing. Related to​ it​ is​ the​ inspiration I found in​ Twyla’s book.

6) Master your skill. you​ have to​ master the​ underlying skills of​ your creative domain,​ then build your creativity on​ the​ solid foundation of​ those skills. you​ can’t write or​ speak effectively about your chosen profession,​ if​ you​ haven’t mastered what you​ bring to​ the​ table to​ begin with.

7) Know the​ difference between a​ rut and a​ block. Writer’s block is​ when you’ve shut down and your tank is​ empty. in​ that case,​ you​ just need to​ do something – anything – to​ change the​ patterns in​ your brain (walk away,​ sing,​ get outdoors,​ do some yoga,​ cuddle with your pet…you get the​ idea). a​ rut is​ more like a​ false start. This happens when you’re using a​ bad idea,​ it’s bad timing,​ or​ you’re sticking with old methods that don’t work. Get out of​ a​ rut by questioning everything except your ability to​ get out of​ it.

8) Fail often privately. This includes drafts that get thrown away,​ early versions that you​ share with trusted colleagues,​ testing your message while networking (“what’s your impression of…?”). Then figure out why you’re failing (is it​ the​ idea? your timing? a​ matter of​ skill? judgement? nerve?) and address it​ before going public.

9) Believe in​ the​ long haul. Sharing your expertise through writing won’t be easy over night. It’ll take discipline to​ create a​ habit that eventually builds the​ skill. Believe me,​ it’s well worth it.

I’ve found that committing publicly (i.e.,​ to​ subscribers of​ this e-newsletter,​ due out on​ the​ first Wednesday of​ each month) creates the​ right kind of​ pressure to​ motivate me into taking a​ disciplined approach to​ writing. Writing one good piece per month is​ doable and frequent enough that your audience won’t forget you. Before you​ know it,​ you’ll have a​ solid repertoire of​ articles and speeches to​ draw from in​ your marketing arsenal.




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