Since 2007, Michael has pioneered the use of social media, content, and inbound marketing strategies to help agencies win new business, and he has taught those strategies to over 200 agencies in all 50 states and 21 countries
If there is one thing I hear again and again from agency owners, it’s that they simply don’t have the time to build an active content marketing strategy. Today, Michael makes the case for why it’s crucial that you find the time to make content a priority and shares his framework for how you can get started and be generating leads in 30 days.
If you’re skeptical of the value of content marketing for your agency or are worried that it will take too long to get results, this is the episode for you.
The value of inbound prospects
If clients find you through a personal blog where you position yourself as an expert, which is Michael’s preferred strategy, the client already knows everything about you. They know your values, your experience, and a little personal info about you to humanize you.
According to Michael, people want to work with experts they know and trust, so creating a place online where prospects can get to know you is simply the most efficient way of generating business. You don’t have to waste each other’s time trying to get the client on board because they already know what they need to know to choose you.
This is a godsend for businesses. Instead of chasing clients and dealing with endless skepticism and the possibility of wasting time on a client who picks a cheaper agency, now clients come organically, their decision already made.
Why your blog should have its own site
A lot of companies struggle with the decision to niche down, even though this can greatly benefit their business. They might have a given in with a certain segment of the industry, but they also don’t want to turn off other clients who might be interested. Therefore, they languish in a constant state of rebranding and redesigning and repositioning themselves because they fear narrowing their market too much.
This is why Michael focuses on his main strategy. Instead of rebranding the agency website, Michael pushes agency owners to create a personal website, targeted toward a specific niche. The personal blog achieves two things: first, the creator gets to promote themselves as an expert. Second, the website can remain more general. The idea is that people coming from the personal blog view the agency through the lens of the blog’s specific niche, but people visiting the agency website itself would never guess that the owner has this specific expertise.
The best part is that this strategy involves no risk for the parent website. Because the blog lives in its own house, so to speak, it can sink or swim on its own without affecting the agency’s greater strategy. If it doesn’t work, the agency can always try something else–but it usually works.
30 posts in 30 days
Michael doesn’t expect agencies to jump into this approach immediately. His workshops focus on giving agency owners all the tools they need. First, he helps agency owners figure out their target audience and a set of keywords, both for the tagline for the website and for every piece of content on that website.
The initial 30-day period is the most important part. It forces agency owners to find a way to create content efficiently. Even better, it makes the whole process seem less difficult. Any process that works for creating daily content will make a less intensive strategy a breeze, and so agency owners who work with Michael go off with not only a target audience and a way to reach them, but a process to ensure consistent work.
Creating an introductory offer
Michael’s other emphasis is to stop giving away advice for free. He urges agency owners to look at their process with new clients. Now that the agency no longer has to establish their position as the best choice for a client’s job, they also don’t have to waste their time writing up free proposals and giving general advice. If a client wants to pick your brain, they should have to pay for it, because your time and your expertise is valuable.
In Michael’s experience, this improves the client relationship for everyone involved. The client is more conscious of the time spent with the expert, as well as more respectful and willing to listen since, after all, they’re paying for it. And the agency doesn’t give away its most valuable asset for free.
Don’t go for the hard sell
Michael spends a lot of time pushing agencies away from adding promotional content to every post. An agency’s first instinct is to promote itself, after all. But the content on the niche blog is never supposed to be overtly promotional; the link to the owner’s agency is present and never denied, but the focus is on positioning the agency owner as an expert.
Instead of emphasizing the agency, the post should instead emphasize the author, explaining who this person is. Clients are smart. They can figure out what business you run on their own. You don’t want to risk turning them off by putting obvious shills in what is supposed to be great, useful content. In the end, the client will trust you more for it.
How to get quick results from your content
Michael doesn’t just urge agency owners to create a lot of content. He also teaches them how to promote that content. With the blog posts, he promotes them on a variety of different sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. He also likes to use email newsletters, which again, focus on the author of the posts instead of the agency. Michael often points agency owners toward purchasing lists of emails in the target audience, because the size of the email newsletter list determines the size of the traffic.
The idea is to get the website off the ground as fast as possible. The more people coming to your website, the easier it is to find on the web, which in turn increases content, which in turn will generate leads and increase sales.
Maintaining the strategy
The ultimate point of Michael’s strategy is to help agency owners change their mindset about social media marketing. Again, the focus on traditional marketing techniques makes social media seem like a waste of time, but Michael’s program helps agency owners see the beauty in it.
After writing 30 blog posts in 30 days, generating traffic, and finding a niche market, the company is all set to focus on inbound leads instead of outbound without pain or lost business. Now agency owners don’t have to ask themselves where to start because they already know, and they’ve already stress tested the system and figured out how to make it work, and all they have to do is keep doing what they’re doing and let the business come to them.
Want to learn more?
Check out Michael’s website, FuelingNewBusiness.com, for a treasure trove of advice on how to grow your agency. Michael is also offering a free 7-step guide on how to create your niche blog, all you have to do is email him (he shares his email at the end of the show), but if you are looking for more thorough help, check out his Teachable course, A New Approach to New Business.