Business and Fishing the 3 P’s: Patience, Presentation, Preparation

Attention: We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to announce a tweetup happening next Tuesday August 21, 2012. Lori Widmer and myself will have a dialogue about Google Plus and the forum she co-founded for writers and creatives. The conversation begins at 6:30 ET and 3:30 PT by using the hash tags #allaboutgoogle+ and #aboutwritingsquared. Mark your calendars and join us next Tuesday on Twitter. Now back to the blog post.  

Wilson River Steelhead

Lessons I learn on the river apply to many facets of my life. Today, I compare business writing to my favorite pastime.

Patience

In order to be a good fishermen you must have patience. I have experienced numerous days where I will wait hours for that one bite. It’s tempting to leave a spot and go looking for fish, but if you have confidence in what you’re doing it will be just a matter of time for that strike to happen. The same is true in business. Much of the content I write today will not produce cash flow for weeks or months. I need to have confidence in what I’m offering and that my offer is right for the situation. I strive to make it easy for my targeted customer to find me. However, they must need what I’m offering, and reality dictates that won’t happen often. Within a given day hundreds or even thousands of fish will swim by your bait, but 99% won’t be interested. A successful day of Salmon or Steelhead fishing only requires one or two bites. A 25lb fish goes a long way in feeding my family. So is the case with customers. Land the right ones and your table is full. In our instant gratification society waiting is not something were use to, and possibly this is why studies show less young people are taking up the sport of fishing.

Presentation

There are numerous considerations and multiple combinations in choosing the correct lure and presentation for Salmon and Steelhead fishing. To the untrained eye it often looks simple. When I take a friend out for the first time they usually don’t realize all that goes into my decision process. Water temperature, light conditions, depth, current, weather, and tidal changes are just a few of the things to consider. When someone does something well the presentation just flows. As a business owner it is extremely important you’re making the

Webinar on August 28th

right presentation. I witness too many companies put out content for content sake. They do not consider their target audience and what factors could put them in a buying mood. If the content isn’t reaching the correct audience or is written poorly it won’t attract any customers. The old saying, “10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish” has some merit. There are many people who fish for Salmon and Steelhead days on end with nary a bite. It can be very frustrating and it is why I recommend that a newbie go with someone experienced to learn the ropes. Business owners would do well with the same advice for their content management. What my friend notices is a pole handed to him and cast to a certain spot. Often he will say, “that was easy” or “man we were lucky”. Frankly, luck and ease doesn’t play into the equation and neither should it for your business.

Preparation

The night before a fishing trip you will find me on the Internet studying the latest river levels, barometric pressure and water temperatures. Based on that information I will tie up numerous rigs, color combinations and lure sizes. I always prepare more than necessary and have a wide variety available. My days to go to the river are limited and I want have the best possible outcome. The same goes for business, because there is limited opportunity to interact with future customers. Your competition is literally at everyone’s fingertips, and our ability to change our minds with a simple click make it imperative that you do your homework. When you hire someone to write content make sure to provide complete data on your ideal customer. Extensive preparation will give you the best opportunity to land the big one.

Does this analogy make sense to you? What are your hobbies? Can you make a similar analogy? Leave me a comment below.

Content Marketing Strategy You Know

Newsletter I wrote

One of the best content marketing strategies is an oldie but a goodie. If done correctly, it will result in client loyalty and increase sales. However, you need to take care when developing your content, and avoid some costly pitfalls. This strategy provides a vehicle to communicate with your best clients, while sharing your vision, your expertise, and your style. Follow these suggestions and clients will be eager to read your newsletter.

Bring the Best

Too often businesses will overload their newsletter. They allow their excitement for their own business to spill over to multiple pages. And in the process, produce content that is superficial. In this day and age, most newsletters are sent via email, therefore your clients will tend to read them quickly and move on. Chances are they wouldn’t read past a second page regardless of the content, so be selective on your topics and deliver quality. Pick one or two subjects and develop them, so your client feels enriched. Give your client something they can use to improve their lives. The best newsletters leave a person with a sense of learning. This is your chance to give back to your client. Teach them a skill or inform them of a new product, but give your client something tangible to use.

 Fight the Urge

There is a tendency for newsletters to turn into sales letters. Don’t do it. Yes, a newsletter can produce sales, but if the content is all about selling your client will run quicker than a cat at a dog convention. Remember, your client filled in the subscribe box to be informed, not sold to. Also, they have already bought something, you! Clients want to read expertise. They want to know what you have to say about the subject you’re an expert in. This is a way for you to connect with your client and become a trusted person they can count on. If you continually ask them to open their wallets that trust will be broken. Trust is a commodity that is worth way more than a couple of sales. Your newsletter will keep you fresh in their mind, and when they are ready to buy they will remember your company.

 Cut the Bling

You want your newsletter to look good, not gaudy. Technology makes it easy to overdress your newsletter. Think in terms of a newspaper. You want your client to be able to find information easily and quickly. There are numerous templates that can build a clean, sharp, easy to read newsletter. I recommend looking at software you already own. Most word processing programs contain newsletter templates. If you are delivering your newsletter in a HTML format, be selective in what widgets you choose. Again, if your fancy format makes it difficult to read, or slow to load, your client will leave. Deliver a product to their inbox that induces reading.

Hire a Pro

Of course many businesses allow professional writers to complete their newsletters. This is an efficient and cost effective practice. A well-seasoned writer will capture your voice and write the content you suggest. A newsletter is an effective marketing tool that a professional writer will help you make superb. In the near future I will discuss how to cultivate your email list, which is extremely important in your content marketing plan. Please leave your comments and questions regarding newsletters and I will reply.