What You Need for Minimum Viable Content Marketing
What You Need for Minimum Viable Content Marketing

What You Need for Minimum Viable Content Marketing

Stop trying to do it all! You do not have to be in “all of the places” to market your business effectively. And too many business owners sit paralyzed because they don’t know what to create, where to publish it, or how often.

If you’re a solopreneur or just trying to get a better handle on your content and marketing, it might be time to take a step back and focus on the most important parts of that visibility and marketing.

On this episode, I’m sharing the five (plus two!) things every business owner should think about (and publish) at a minimum. Yes, I said “should.” That doesn’t mean you have to, but I’d highly recommend it!

Tune in now!

Mentioned in This Episode:

Transcription:

Welcome to episode 154 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever-moving targets in any business and it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it ALL right, ALL of the time. You have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience, and what grows your business. And most importantly, what feels good for you

I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and consultant for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online and CEO and creative director of The Content Experiment, a content marketing agency that offers full-service content marketing and podcast management.

I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so-called gurus think is the right thing; it’s about you and your business. Your lifestyle and, frankly, your values and belief systems.

You get to do business in a way that works for you.


Being a business owner is a lot, isn’t it? You’re creating the deliverables, managing the projects, balancing your books, doing all the outreach, and connecting with prospective clients AND you’re supposed to take care of the back-end tech and marketing too.

Of course, if you have team members, some of them can take some of this off your plate, but then if your business is that that stage, you have other problems to think about too. Like team dynamics and personalities, payroll, and so on.

I’ve been in this online business space since 2007, and I’ve seen countless business owners overwhelm themselves with all the things that need to be done. Shoot, I’ve done it to myself!

The thing I’ve seen slide the most–again both with myself and other business owners–is the marketing. It’s a lot of work, and it’s often work that you feel isn’t “worth it” because you’re not getting the feedback or traction that you want from it.

So you stop doing it. It’s usually the first thing that people set aside when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Because holy cow…I have too much to do already; I don’t need new clients right now. Or, it’s not working anyway, so I’m just going to market myself a different way.

Today we’re going to talk about the fact that you don’t need to do it all. You don’t have to be everywhere to make your marketing effective. In fact, you shouldn’t try. It’s too much, it’s not necessary, and it can start to feel redundant. Because it is.

Instead, we’re going to talk about what the bare minimum is when marketing your business. If you were only to do just a few things, what should you do? Essentially, what’s going to give you the best bang for your buck or time when it comes to marketing your business or outsourcing? 

And yes, I recognize that there are things you’re doing to market your business right now that may not be working. It’s important to address that too. And I will. Make sure you’re subscribed or following this podcast because I’ll be addressing this in a future episode.

There’s a few things you need to do before you make any decisions about what the bare minimum is for your own business. These are really important steps that will help give you direction so you’re not wasting your time.

  • Know your goals and what’s coming for you
    1. Your content is meant to market your business. You need to know what you want to sell in order to actually generate some interest around it
    2. It could be that you’re launching something or you want to generate more sales around
    3. Maybe you’re focused on growing your email list or getting in front of a certain group of people
    4. Knowing your goals is incredibly important before you start planning out your content and marketing strategy
  • Ask your audience
    1. Before you can make any decisions at all about what content you should create or where to create it, you need to know who your audience is and what they actually need and want from you. You need to survey them.
    2. This goes well beyond posting those polls in Instagram stories. You need to create an actual survey, asking really specific questions of a really specific group of people. 
    3. I talk about this more in episode 57 (making your content about your audience, not you), 134 with Marcus Sheridan, and 144 (where I argue the six big reasons why it’s important to get audience input about your content).
  • Know your zones of genius
    1. Do you know what topics you can talk about forever and ever without running out of things to say? We’re talking big-picture topics. 
    2. For a business coach, these might be pricing or mindset; for a health coach they might be nutrition and building muscle. For a social media expert, zones of genius would be around the specific platform you work with or engagement or content creation.
    3. These are your zones of genius and you’ll want to know what yours are so you can sort through your audience surveys and so you can brainstorm content ideas around them. Trust me when I say that it’s much easier to develop content ideas when you have boundaries around the topics you’ll use.
    4. 63 – staying inside your zones of genius (why it’s important to only talk around your expertise instead of talking about EVERYTHING), 138 – knowing your zones of genius (how to determine what yours are and what to do with that information)

Now that we have those foundational pieces out of the way, let’s talk more about the bare minimum content that you should have for your business. 

  • Create 1-2 pillar opt-ins based on those zones
    1. Ultimately you want to build your email list. Every business should have an email list where you collect email addresses from people who are interested in what you do and what you stand for.
    2. The size of your email list matters, only as far as understanding that businesses that serve clients 1:1 need far fewer clients to make a profit and, therefore, don’t need a huge list. When you serve clients in a 1:many capacity, you’ll need a much bigger list because you will typically have a lower-priced offer and need to make more sales to make a profit.
    3. How do you grow your list? One way is to create an opt-in, a free offer that you give away for free in exchange for an email address.
    4. Listen to episode 150 for more on some opt-in ideas and episode 152 for how to promote that opt-in (an incredibly important but often overlooked step!).
  • Develop a welcome sequence
    1. What happens after someone opts into your email list? If they’re just sitting there, waiting for you to get around to sending weekly emails…you need a welcome sequence too
    2. A welcome sequence introduces you to your new subscribers, gives you an opportunity to gather some information about them (by asking them questions!), gives subscribers some additional value, and can even spotlight some of your introductory or low-cost offers
    3. As I was prepping for this episode, I realized that I don’t have an episode about welcome sequences. Oops! I’ll have to get on that. But in the meantime, you can access my One Week to Your Welcome Sequence challenge at thecontentexperiment.com/welcome. It’s a bit outdated but you’ll get the idea!
  • Nurture your subscribers with emails
    1. There’s a reason why people join your email list. Yes, they want your freebie. They see value in what you have to say.
    2. So don’t leave them hanging after they get your freebie and have gone through your welcome sequence.
    3. Staying in front of your audience with a regular nurturing email that delivers value, entertainment, and links to your new content, is essential.
    4. I’ve said before that every business needs an email list. But you also need to DO something with that list.
  • Publish on ONE pillar platform & send people to your email opt-in
    1. This could be regular weekly or bi-weekly blogs OR create 12-24 cornerstone pieces that you repurpose.
    2. It could also be a podcast or videos on a YouTube channel.
    3. The important thing is that it’s pillar content. That’s content you “own.”
    4. You own your blog content because you’re publishing it on your website and you’re paying for the hosting.
    5. You own your podcast content because while it publishes on platforms you don’t own (like Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.), your host (libsyn, SoundCloud, Simplecast, etc.) is something you ARE paying for.
    6. Now your YouTube channel you don’t own; it’s hosted by someone else and you can publish content for free. BUT YouTube is a search engine and its reach is huge. So I consider YouTube a pillar platform.
    7. So which type of pillar content will you publish? A blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel?
    8. NOTE: Your Reels, TikToks, IGTVs, Instagram stories, Facebook Lives, LinkedIn lives, etc. are not pillar content. Those are social media content.
  • Publish on ONE (or two) social media platforms
    1. Whether you’re just getting started or feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of places you can publish on social media, let me give you permission to NOT.
    2. You do not have to be everywhere. You do not have to publish on all the social media platforms.
    3. Heck, you don’t even have to post to the most popular social media platforms.
    4. Back at the beginning of this episode, I shared about how you need to talk to your audience about what they want and need from you. Well, you can also ask them WHERE they want to consume content. Find out where your audience is hanging out and publish content there. Go to where they are.

Okay, so that’s what YOU need to create for YOU and your audience. But that’s not the end of the minimum viable content marketing. Content isn’t just about pushing information out to people. It’s about relationships and building new audiences too. Here are two additional things that round out your minimum viable content marketing plan.

  • Engage with others’ content
    1. When we engage with other people’s content we become a resource for THEIR audiences; we build connections and relationships; we support our friends, clients, audience members, and others; we get in front of new people; and so much more
    2. Engaging in others’ content includes: commenting on their posts, sharing pillar content with our own audience (whether through a post or individually), sending DMs (including video and voice messages) to share takeaways from their content, replying to emails, replying to comments on YOUR content, and so much more.
    3. Make time in your week to do a few of these regularly
  • Leverage others’ platforms
    1. If you’re not finding ways to connect with others and leverage their platforms and audiences, you’re missing big opportunities. Big ones.
    2. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me they found me on someone else’s podcast. And vice versa. I’ve found loads of great connections (and podcast guests) because I heard them on someone else’s podcast first.
    3. You’re not going to build a big following with only your pillar content and your social media. Relationships and getting in front of others’ audiences are key.
    4. Opportunities include: being a guest on podcasts, doing a joint webinar or workshop, teaching in someone’s membership community or group coaching program, being part of a giveaway, speaking at a summit, sponsoring a summit, and more.

Okay, I feel like you might be listening to this thinking…minimum viable content marketing is a LOT. But I want to assure you that it might feel like it listening to this, but I’ll bet that you already have a lot of this in place. 

Let’s review:

  • Know your goals
  • Talk to your audience
  • Know your zones of genius

Once you have this in place:

  • Have 1-2 primary opt-ins to share and grow your list
  • Have a welcome sequence after people opt into those freebies
  • Nurture your audience with regular, value-driven emails
  • Have one pillar platform where you publish your content (a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel)
  • Publish to one or two social media platforms

And to grow your audience and build relationships:

  • Engage with others’ content
  • Leverage other people’s platforms

It’s possible to do this well without feeling overwhelmed or like you’re on a neverending content hamster wheel.

If you’re feeling stuck or need support ensuring you’re doing this all in a way that best supports your business and your goals, reach out to me! Let’s chat. You can book a call at thecontentexperiment.com/contact

If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. Tag me @thecontentexperiment. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.

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