I was SO excited to talk about my big idea with this brilliant lady I had connected to via the ADJ Facebook board. But this lady knew what was coming and like a pro, she swept me and straight threw me down to the mat. On a FaceTime call. Shoot.
“I have this amazing idea! Can you just figure out how to help me monetize it?”
I bet she’s been hit on in the business world like 4000 times with this line. I smacked myself in the forehead for inadvertently dropping it on her myself. But this lady, she was so sweet, and well versed in this particular digital dance.
After she used her aikido to virtually hiptoss me, she reminded me of the continued relevance of the 4 cornerstones of effective online content. These 4 things truly support and nourish small online businesses, and for some reason, they feel like such a monumentally overwhelming challenge to create.
Time for me to get over it. If I want to be successful that is. How about you?
4 Cornerstones of Effective Online Content
Some of these things seem either overly complex and onerous — like running serious email campaigns and building dope websites. But they are all necessary parts of the small online business equation.
Learn them. Use them. Just do them.
A key to running an online business built on teaching and relationships will be the email list. The one I’ve been resisting for years. I personally am terrified of trying to run email campaigns. I feel like they will require too much consistency and discipline, and I already have 2 children, a marriage, and a household to maintain.
But. I have consistently been told that overlooking this key factory in building a long term audience for your product or service is a big terrible no-no.
So now I need to prove to myself that email is not the big terrible monster I’m making it out to be. I’m going to bite the bullet and pay for MailChimp automation. I’m going to make email the central transit system for The Modern Temple. I’m going to reframe this devil as an angel and see what happens.
Websites are pretty simple these days. The more content you have, the deeper the sites can be. But with mobile setting the standard for design, you can give your website one or two clear tasks to get started.
Task 1 — Get people to opt-in for the list. Use lead magnets to make this work. Your website is initially all about serving free content to the world in exchange for their emails.
Task 2 — Deliver basic content about your work to the world. Make it easy for someone else to come along and find you, then pass you along to their friends. Be ready for a surge of email sign-ups after you do a podcast or two with other, established folks in your field. #getthisdance
Convert more people by bringing them in on specific topics. Fitness. Cooking. Gardening. Parenting. Sleep. Build a landing page for each of these topics and use them to collect your followers. Use the entry points as tags to segment your list.
I think the biggest secret I’m going to give away here is this — if you are going to be selling your content, it should be because you were making that content anyway because as an artist you had to. You are compelled to create content because it comes through you. Whether you’re a teacher, or a writer, or a videographer, or a musician, the best content really flows from the heart and has nothing at all to do with making money.
Here at our business, we’ve been getting this part right for a while now. Making lots of quality content. Daily Zoom classes. Online personal training. In-person training here and there. We just didn’t know what to do with it beyond the one-on-one. We didn’t know how to use life-content as purposeful digital-content. Get likes and comments on Instagram? That’s fun, but not lucrative. Writing a ton of generally related blogs on Medium? Again, fun but not productive.
Learning how to really use the other cornerstones — the email list, the landing pages, and the website — to gather in the audience, and then delivering creative content and exchanging monetary value for the value of that creative work? This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. How to make a living as an artist and a teacher.
Obviously, you need creative content to grow a business flow. If you struggle with making content, start by getting creative or two on-board your team to help.
One Final Idea to Grow Your List Even More
The final idea my operations friend lady left me with was this…
Once I have my digital spiderweb (for lack of a better term) built and ready to catch flies, THEN I should go on a press junket, and volunteer to interview my expertise on all the podcasts I can get to. Sending waves of leads back to a digital page designed to capture their interest and contact info to build a long term list is the first action item on a good solid marketing basics plan.
The second step of the plan is to maintain a durable, and consistent weekly email campaign with USEFUL information to my list, as well as building out the automation to go with the different lead magnets and other events, etc…
There are all these fancy shiny ways to make online money in the modern era. And it’s easy to forget about the basics of an online presence that make sense and serves us to grow our dreams. It’s easy to procrastinate building a good email plan and a decent website with some well-produced video content. It’s easy to pretend all we have to do is Instagram and hustle.
But why not do the basics? It really just makes all of it so much easier.
2021 is on our doorsteps folks. I thought I’d share this lady’s advice with y’all because it was just kinda deep and hit home.
Hope you are all hanging in there as we approach “holiday time” in this insane year. I’m hanging out with the moons and the approaching winter solstice personally. Be well and stay safe. And don’t forget to play and laugh and love.
Ahem. Practicing what I preach. Email. list. If you want more juicy goodness about digital technology, personal wellness, and how these dovetail with building a successful personal life, join my tribe at The Modern Temple here.