Want to start a business? You can start a business in a few hours. But taking care of the basics is easy. To start a successful business, you'll need to do more--especially if you want to attract and land customers or clients.
And that's where Ryan Robinson comes in. Ryan is a content marketing consultant to the world's top experts and growing startups. He's also the founder of Pro Content Marketer, a monthly content marketing service where Fortune 500 brands and high-growth startups get their content written and promoted by the world's top content marketers.
So you have a killer idea. You've done a ton of research about your target audience and market fit, maybe you've even created a logo or selected your brand colors, and now it's time to start building awareness, acquiring partners, or sharing your brand with the world. Where do you even start?
Today's consumers are making judgments, drawing conclusions, and picking up subtle cues about you and your business long before you even start a dialogue with them. All on the basis of just one thing: your brand, as it comes across through the content you share on social media.
That's everything from social posts that subtly express who you are, to videos that explain what you stand for, to your style of communication and what the visual elements of your brand say about your company.
Building a brand is a long game--you might say it's never done--but there are a few key pieces of content you can start with that will help you translate your value in digestible and irresistible ways. Here are the pieces of content you'll need to articulate your mission, get buy-in from others, and launch your brand on social media.
Having a clearly articulated mission statement for yourself and for external facing communications is a must, but when you take the next step of communicating your mission--the purpose of your business and who it's for--through video, you're engaging with your customers on an entirely different level.
Take for example, the mission of eyeglass company Warby Parker. "Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses."
Rebellious spirit, revolutionary prices, socially conscious business. All of these terms speak to a very particular type of consumer who cares about these ideals and values. On top of that, Warby Parker has a slew of mission-driven videos that explain its buy-a-pair, give-a-pair philosophy, introduce customers to some of the people receiving free glasses, and show the far-reaching positive impact customers are having in the world.
When it comes to effectively communicating the company's one-for-one philosophy through video content, the company highlights the problem it's addressing by explaining, "Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15 percent of the world's population cannot effectively learn or work." Warby Parker's videos strive to humanize the people that its customers are helping, through a glimpse into their daily lives.
To successfully execute on creating a mission video, there are a few questions to ask yourself to help you start. Instead of trying to think of what to say or write, consider what you want your audience to do, think, or feel after watching your video.
Your mission doesn't need to be as lofty as Warby Parker's. Perhaps you're just trying to solve a problem for customers. If so, start with your customer's pain points, and then present your solution.
A press kit is your opportunity to make sure your brand's story is told the way you want it to be told. Your electronic press kit is your official hub of information and brand resources--without it you're missing out on being able to control your narrative.
For example, the launch press kit for Persnickety Box offers up useful information (and key visuals) to those looking to learn more about the brand-new company.
Persnickety's founder, Chari Pack, also uses the page as an opportunity to empower her close network with visual assets and social copy, to help amplify the news of the company's upcoming launch. This is called "broadcast diffusion," which helps Chari leverage the relationships and close partnerships she's built with bloggers and influencers in the Utah area--many of which are happy customers.
For most businesses, your website is your home base. It's where new customers learn more about you, where payments are processed, and where relationships are built, which makes the brand experience you create on your website incredibly important.
That's not to say that your first rendition has to be perfect or complicated. In fact, your website will likely go through many versions in the lifespan of your brand. Lifestyle entrepreneur, best-selling author, and podcast host Lewis Howes has spent years perfecting the branding on his website. He uses images, fonts, language, and colors that appeal directly to his adventure-craving, Millennial-heavy audience who want to build their own businesses and live a lifestyle filled with rich experiences--not just material possessions.
To make sure your website is having your desired effect on your audience, take some time to get a few of your customers or colleagues or friends on the phone for an interview. Ask them to share their top five favorite websites and social accounts, and then take a look at the commonalities you can glean from how those sites (or people) are branding themselves. Which colors, image styles, fonts, verbiage are they using? Use this information to make sure your website is speaking to your audience the way they want to be spoken to.
Websites can be hard to build and time-consuming to maintain, especially for a new brand that's still evolving. While a fully functioning website is a necessary investment, tools like Spark Page can serve as a quick solution while you're gathering buy-in and getting things off the ground. A simple scrolling web document can be stood up in minutes and reflect the visual style of your brand through auto-generated, yet customizable, themes. Update and modify the style and make changes as necessary over time.
With teens now reportedly spending up to nine hours a day on social media, and the rest of us not too far behind, you can't afford to ignore your presence on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
And, naturally, the more visual your content is, the more likely it is to be shared--thus bringing you new followers (and potential customers).
Our advice if you're just getting started? Don't fret about having to post multiple times a day across every social media channel. Choose just one platform with the most potential for reaching your target customers and go all in on it.
Serial entrepreneur and branding guru Gary Vaynerchuk has amassed more than eight million followers across his various platforms--and he's mastered the art of sharing on-brand social images. Check out his Instagram for inspiration.
Tools like Spark Post and Canva have easy-to-use templates to get you started with creating optimized images for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more within seconds. Once you create your brand, you can "brandify" any template, which automatically adds your brand elements with one tap. Or work from auto-generated templates in a variety of use-cases, from advertisements to thank-you messages.
If proposals or pitches are part of your business, then you know the importance of having the right formula in place for when it's time to put together a pitch on the fly.
In my experience, having written more than 100 freelance proposals over the past few years, I've learned that whenever possible, it's crucial to start out strong by painting a clear picture of how you'll be able to impact your client's business through your proposed work--and visuals are often the best way to communicate that.
Remember, always lead with your most important information in your pitch, and include imagery or highlights from past work to build your credibility. Use tools like Spark Page, Bidsketch, or Bonsai that have sleek design and easy-to-use interfaces and you'll be on the path to standing out from the pack with visually appealing proposals.