Pattern Shift

#70 Crafting Connections: The Power of Content Creation for Small Businesses

October 13, 2023 Saskia de Feijter Season 4 Episode 70
Pattern Shift
#70 Crafting Connections: The Power of Content Creation for Small Businesses
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Imagine being able to transform your small business into a powerhouse of engaging content, easily and without stress! This week, we dive into the world of content creation for small businesses, unraveling the mysteries of storytelling and its role in establishing a deeper connection with your customers. We'll walk you through the labyrinth of emails, blogs, and podcasts, coaching you on how to effectively discuss your products' benefits, why you chose them, and the values they represent.

What if you could make your content creation process more efficient? We've got you covered! Our episode delves into strategies for generating content that can be shared across multiple platforms with just a few hours of work each week. We also emphasize the need to let your unique perspective and insights shine through your content. By the end of this podcast, you'll be able to rise above the day-to-day swamp of business operations and become more visible, propelling your business forward. So tune in, and let's start creating some outstanding content together!

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BEST QUOTE FROM THE EPISODE

"Consistency is essential in content creation; even small steps count"


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Speaker 1:

Here's a thought All small businesses should become content creators. When you look at some of the big names in our industry, you'll see that they have YouTube channels, podcasts, and they give talks during fiber festivals. Sometimes we don't even realize that they are not just content creators, but patent designers and shop owners. We tune into their podcasts on a regular basis and don't think for a second that this is part of their marketing, branding and selling strategy. They are building their no-like and trust factor and connecting to their audiences so that they can sell to them more easily. Now let me ask you does that feel icky to you? No, because they're giving you something valuable. They're giving you insights and inspiration, or a peek behind the curtains, and you actually enjoy it. Heck, you are waiting for the next email to come. You are waiting for the next podcast episode to drop. So this is Patent Shift and my name is Saskia the Fighter. Today, we're talking about why you should build a habit around making useful content for your audience.

Speaker 1:

Day-to-day life as a creative business owner can be very lonely and overwhelming, leaving no time to actually grow your business. The Patent Shift podcast gives you business insights and actionable tips to help you rise out of the day-to-day swamp and start to become more visible and move your business forward. Find out how you can be part of helping crafters move away from fast fashion and become a value-based business owner that's, on top of things, running a business that's more sustainable for yourself and our planet. Now back to you and your business. You can do this too, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you need a team or an extra 24 hours in a day. In this episode, I'll talk about content creation for small businesses in three steps why you should do it, how you can go about it and how you can make it into a habit. Building a habit around creating content will make your business and product more visible to the audience that you serve, and it can be done in a way that doesn't leave you exhausted, because that's what I'm all about Showing you ways that are actionable and that feel doable, but still get you results.

Speaker 1:

Here we go. Let's just go there. You don't really need to start a podcast and you don't need to be a YouTuber, so let's just get that out of the way. You can relax now, breathe in, turn the nose and breathe out through your mouth. Okay, are you good? Okay, so I'm going to start by telling you why it is important to create content around your products and services.

Speaker 1:

It's quite simple, really the product is a story that is waiting to be told. Your service is a story that is waiting to be told. What we tend to do is we put our services and our products on our websites and we give people a snapshot of what we have to offer. But in this day and age, when everything is so full of information, a snapshot is usually not enough to really link you to why you especially you would be interested in that product or service. So, in order to make a really good connection with the audience that you want to serve, you need to tell a story and you need, and you need to do that regularly. I think the number now is you need to get in touch with product or service at least 17 times before people start thinking about buying it. So, as I said before, repetition is so important. You'll feel like a broken record, but other people, I swear, will not have heard the thing that you feel like you're talking about. On and on and on. I feel like that, but I know this is a fact, so I keep going. So it's important to tell a story, because stories connect to emotions, to people, and people will feel connected to you.

Speaker 1:

If you want to tell a story, you need a stage, you need a podium, you need some time with your audience to be able to explain a little bit more of your service or product. And when we're talking about a stage, we're talking about could be a podcast, could be a YouTube channel, but it could also be a blog. It could also be an email, a recurring email, and I'm definitely especially not mentioning a newsletter, because a newsletter is. You think of something different. When you think of a newsletter, you think almost literally of one of those advertisement papers you get in the mail from some kind of store like this is what we have new for autumn, this is our new product line for this and that, and then it shows you the products and the price and just one sentence of what it is. That is what we already do with our websites and what we do with our shops, with putting the things in on the shelves. But telling the story needs the podium. So I'm not talking about a newsletter, I'm saying, specifically, email or your email list. So I just wanted to make that clear Now finding out what feels good for you and what you want to do is important.

Speaker 1:

I hope you understand that offering your audience a little bit more insight in where a product comes from, why you have curated this product for your shop, what are the benefits of the product, how is it different from what everybody else is offering? How did you get to the point where you decided on a particular brand? There's so many stories to tell and they're all linking back to the values that you have as a business owner. They're all linking back to your ideas of aesthetics. So it doesn't necessarily always have to link to. This is a fair trade product, and that's most important to me, although that is a very important story to tell, I have to say.

Speaker 1:

But it can also be around aesthetics or around just a love for a certain material. You can talk about the creator of the product you can talk about. When we talk about fibers, you can talk about what kind of a type of wool is it? What kind of a blend is it? What kind of a weave is does the fabric have? All those kinds of things can become a story. So just sitting for a minute and just brainstorming around the product, what are the things you can talk about, and if you don't have a lot of depth inside into the brand or the type, you can rise a little bit above that and talk about a more general issue that connects to your product or your service.

Speaker 1:

But there is a lot of things you can offer people and if your customer is connected to what you do, they will be very interested in how you are choosing what you are selling. So, as an example, I kind of never miss the Fold Lines YouTube channel where they show you each week what new patterns they've got in. Let's get newsletter, isn't it? This is new and this is new, but what they offer is a little bit more depth and insight. They'll show you what the size range is and they'll just talk a little bit about those patterns and give their personal insights into how it could work and why they love it, and I just really love checking in with them. It's just a short video, it doesn't take up much of my time and, even though I'm at this moment not ready to purchase a pattern, at some point they might show me a pattern that I adore and it is exactly what I'm looking for, and then it's just a click away. And because I've been following them and they've offered me so much value. I'm thinking of giving them my money because they have done the work and I feel connected to them and I think they're charming and, yeah, that is what I do.

Speaker 1:

Another, let me think of another example. Oh, I have an obsession with Trini London, trini Woodall. I love her, I don't know. I love her vibe, I love her marketing, her branding. I love the tips and tricks that she gives around your wardrobe, around how you can look timeless, ageless. It's just. I think it might be a problem. I'm a little bit addicted to the videos that she makes, but she sells makeup and skincare products and she's grown a lot in the direction of my own values. In the beginning I felt a little bit of a distance, but because she was really shopping a lot at Zara and I don't feel comfortable about that. But what she has been doing is offering a lot of ideas around how you can decide whether or not you want to buy a product and she gives a little bit more inclusivity when it comes to budget and then she offers ways of thinking and decisions you can make when you do buy a product from a brand like that. So I definitely have some different ideas and I don't follow her blindly definitely not but I have bought some of her products when I was in London because I do really know now what the backstory of them is and what they do and what they offer, and without getting into it and starting to sell her products for her, that's what you end up doing. Which is a really great effect of these stories and telling stories is that other people will take the stories from you and run with them that's I don't think that's a right translation and share them with others.

Speaker 1:

These are two people that are on the opposite end of a YouTube channel. I think Trini has this whole team and is doing lots of things, and it's definitely taking hours and hours of time to offer what she's offering. On the other side, the fold line, there's definitely hours of work in there because she's also showing the line drawings on the video, but it's not a high produced video. So even there's, I don't think there's special lighting. I don't even think she uses a special microphone. She just prepares her talk, shows the new patterns and starts talking. I don't think it's scripted, just a quick guess. I think every video will probably take her one or two hours of preparation time and I might be completely wrong there, just guessing. So what I'm saying is that there's so many ways that you can do something that have essentially the same effect, so let's move on to other ways of other podiums that you can use.

Speaker 1:

Podcasting definitely takes time. I can tell you that it's very much. It's a choice, but if you have a lot of stories to tell and in my case I decided to make a podcast because I wanted to offer something that felt like it would definitely give value to people, instead of doing multiple social media platforms and feeling like I wasn't really connecting, so I was connecting, but, yeah, I needed something that felt more like me and I'm using the time that I spent on social media now for podcasting. And if you want to make any kind of those kinds of decisions, obviously you can. But just to give you a clear idea, I have calculated it before and making one episode takes about a day, like eight hours of work for one episode, so that's four hours a week because I do a bi-weekly episode. That is, by the way, a good moment to let you know that I decided to do it bi-weekly because one week I do my newsletter and the other week I do the podcast and that is how I can. That feels like something I can keep up with and that is something that's super important.

Speaker 1:

So now we've talked about the why. We also already went a little bit into the how. But let's start at the beginning of the how, when you know that what kind of podium will work for you? Do you like writing? Is it easy for you to talk into a camera? Do you just like chatting a lot? What feels most comfortable for you? Find that one first and then really feel into how much time you will be able to spend and Make it even smaller. What is the least amount of time you want to spend doing it?

Speaker 1:

So, on your worst month or worst week, when you feel lowest, when you, when your chronic illness is playing up, when you have a very busy family, what will you be able to do? Make that your focus, and for me that's every week. I do one thing and then, when I have extra energy which I sometimes do I can make multiple episodes instead of one and have a buffer Like that is ideal for me. Or write multiple emails, which I do over just before summer. I make a chunk of emails for the rest of the summer. So, yeah, that that make it so that you can keep it going.

Speaker 1:

So we're talking about the how, but the how is immediately intertwined with building habits around this, because what I'm talking about now already is talking about the habits, is already deciding what can you do and how can you do it in the easiest way. So if you have read Atomic Habits by James Clear or not, what he's saying is make it super easy, take away the, take away anything that's in the way of doing it. Ask yourself the question how can it be easy? So let's say and I will go into what I think that is the easiest way to go about this let's not even think about YouTube anymore. Let's not even think about a podcast. Let's focus on sending emails regularly.

Speaker 1:

This is an important one. I subscribe to a lot of your emails and you're listening, I'm talking to you, and if I'm not, so if I haven't subscribed to your news letter email list yet, let me know and I will. And what happens a lot is I get a lot of emails that say it's been a while, and then there's a whole book of information. Now, I do not mind a lot of text in an email because when I connect to a brand or a person I'm interested and I'll either read it right away or I'll make time to read it when I'm ready or when I have the time to do so.

Speaker 1:

I'm not annoyed by those things. I feel like it's no point in being annoyed by newsletters. You either read them or you don't. You just click red or click delete, or, if it's really bad, you click unsubscribe. But I don't even really do that. There's a lot of emails that I don't particularly want to read at this moment, but I want to stay in touch with the brand, so I scan through them or at the very least, scan the heading, the title, and yeah, I'm quite laid back about those kinds of things because I know what males are. I know what they want to do. They want to offer me something and it's up to me to receive it or not, and no use in being annoyed by it. Okay, so there's that.

Speaker 1:

So we're going to focus on your mailing list and sending emails regularly. That's important because I mention it a lot. It has a much higher return on investment than social media has, and it's so worth investing in building a solid mailing list and offering value through that list, which means offering something that is different from here's my product. Buy it from me, offering ideas, thoughts, insights, stories, and every now and then, drop a little product in there or at the bottom, drop a little product in there, but just kind of nurture your people and nurture the time that they want to spend with you. And be careful with that time because, though lots of people are like me and they're okay with just scanning through them, if you really connect with them and if you have something to offer, people will look forward to your email.

Speaker 1:

That is the best scenario. Or they will open it that's the second best. No, they will read it, that's the second best. They will open it Third best. And not unsubscribing is the fourth best. But actually what's the best is if they that's a weird thing to say, but arguably the best thing that they can do is for some people to unsubscribe. I know weirdness, but if they're not your audience, you can want them in your news, in your mailing list, because you wanna be communicating to the people that want to hear from you, and some ESPs email service providers they start charging when you have more than a certain amount of people on your list. So, especially then you don't want anybody in there that doesn't really care because that costs you money. So just wanted to put that out there.

Speaker 1:

Don't feel anxious about people and subscribing it's I would. I dare to say 99.9%. It's not personal, unless you've been bad or unkind or something, or the other person has something. A chip on their shoulder could happen, but usually it's not personal. So just lean into the people that are there. Offer your stories, your values, your insights. Offer it to them Right. So creating that habit. You now know why it is important to tell stories around your products, what different kind of ways you can do that, what stages you can take.

Speaker 1:

Now, how do you get your habit going? As I said before, you need to know how much you can handle. How can it be easy? What are things that really light you up? So here's an exercise that you can do. If you don't know what you want to talk about when it comes to these products and services, what you can do is write down six topics that you feel really enthusiastic about, that you feel comfortable about that. You feel like you could teach somebody something about and like teaching, you only have to be a little bit better than the other person. You can even be the same as the other person, but you just have a different insight because you are a different person and because of that you have something to teach. So don't even think about the whole identity and problem of I'm an imposter and all of that. I don't even want to go there because you are not. You just genuinely have something to share with your audience.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so you decided how many times you want to do this. Now you have six different topics that you can talk about. You can decide different things. What makes it easy? Do you want to start talking about where, like the fibers of different yarns or even the different kinds of sheep? Do you want to have a little bit of a sheep bio in your mails Do you want to talk about? Do you want to have a little bit of a conversation via email with the producer of the product and have like three questions? You send them and you get the answers back and then you use that. Do you just want to record a small little video and put that in your email and just talk about why you like the product so much?

Speaker 1:

And, when it comes to services, talk about the benefits, why something is going to help somebody. What problem does it help solve? Things like that? Alright, then accountability. So some of you work better if somebody is expecting it. So that works for me. If I just, basically, this morning, had a chat with a friend and we are going to keep each other accountable for walking every day, so we're just going to text each other and say, have a happy walk today. And because one of us is going to walk, then the other is going to walk as well, and it's just a text. I need the alarm on my phone to remind me to send the text. So that's what I do first, I put the reminder in, I text my friend and she goes to walk. She does the same for me. And this is the accountability that helps us do what we need to do, because we might not keep the promises to ourselves, but for me it's important to keep promises to other people, so that really helps me.

Speaker 1:

If you're the same, find a way to make sure that you send the newsletter. Have your mom subscribe and let you know that. Hey, where was your newsletter this week? Oh, now I'm using newsletter again. Where was your mail this week? Of course, you can also send a newsletter and the stories or make a combination.

Speaker 1:

The point I want to make is sending emails is not necessarily just a newsletter. Yeah, there's lots of different ways that you can do that and go into that, integrate in what kind of ways you can do it differently. But I was talking about accountability. So that's an important part Making it easy, making it obtainable, making it so that you have accountability. And then the next thing is rewards Always really help. So how can you reward yourself? Let's say, you can think of a habit tracker and just put in your bullet journal and cross out every time that you do it. And if you've done it for a month, if you do a weekly version, then you get to get that nice coffee at that nice new place or whatever, something that will really build your confidence and that you want to work towards getting to that goal.

Speaker 1:

So let's go back to what we've been talking about. I hope you know that you can be smart about this. You don't have to spend hours and hours. You don't have to have a team to do it. What you can do is build, choose a podium and do it regularly. Connect to your people in a way that only you can do. So you can build that no-likes and trust factor and with time, they will choose you to buy from because they have this connection with you. That is on a deeper level than just showing them this is my product or this is my service. Just go a little bit deeper there. It's okay to show your emotions and your values In fact, I applaud it and while you're doing this, you are in fact building a whole library around your products.

Speaker 1:

So when you are writing this piece, that could either be a mail it could also be, at the same time, be a blog post or the other way around. If you decide that you want to start writing blog posts, you could write an email about it, and you could, If you feel like you don't want to have too much text in your mail. What you then do is you write your story as a blog post and you share the summary in your mail with a link to the blog post. And that's two birds and one. I don't like this stone thing. That's so sad. Two words and two cuddles for the two birds, and that doesn't really work. Okay, you know what I'm getting at, so you can be smart about this.

Speaker 1:

And when you have this bigger piece whether it be a blog post or a mail. You can take little bits and pieces from that and put it in your social media or on other places and spaces. If you meet somebody, this is top of mind and you talk about that subject with the person that you meet. So this means that you only basically have to focus on one piece of work and you kind of split it into different things and organize a system around it, make a planning around it, get accountability, make it fun, make it easy, reward yourself. All those things are important and if you want to be kept accountable for these things, if you want some more ideas, please join our community.

Speaker 1:

We have a community of business owners and crafters in there as well, and you can connect to them and talk about what they do or what they need or what they like, and just have a conversation with others around it. And don't be afraid that you'll steal ideas or somebody will steal your idea. You are you. You are definitely different than the other person. Just think of three businesses like yours and you'll think of thousand ways in which they're different. So don't worry about that. You really want to make this as easy as you can so you can be consistent, and you know that it's been hard, but because it's hard, so why don't you get some accountability? Why don't you connect with a larger group of people or just with one person and make it easier for yourself?

Speaker 1:

Okay, I hope this has been helpful. I hope you've had some insights. You don't have to be a podcast for a YouTuber, but there's small versions of that. If you want to. It does not take a lot of time to do and build content that you can use over a wide array of platforms. A few hours a week will do will have to do, because you've other things to do as well and you have lots to share. You have lots of insights, you have lots of inspiration to give and you are different than anybody else. So good luck with that. Thank you so much for listening and please join the community and find us there to talk about this some more. Bye.

Content Creation for Small Businesses
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