The 20th century was the age of the spokesperson. Companies would hire someone who looked and sounded trustworthy to be their public face. This was often a celebrity of some kind, like a movie or sports star. But the public started to catch onto this method of advertising. Consciousness started to shift and people began to realize that, heavens, these people were being PAID to say these things! They might not even really believe them.
In the 21st century, it’s all about authenticity. You want people to feel that your brand and company are truthful, transparent, and willing to engage directly with their audience. A spokesperson just doesn’t have the credibility anymore, but you know who does?
Yes, you! Whether you are a small business owner or a serial entrepreneur, you need to be able to speak directly about your own endeavors. Thankfully, there are more marketing avenues today than ever that allows you to speak to your audience with your own voice. Here are two of the most effective:
There are many folks out there who remember going to endless seminars. You’d arrive on a red-eye flight, check into a hotel room, end up sitting in a crowded conference room for hours while someone talked at you, sleep, have the continental breakfast, and then grab a flight home. It was time-consuming in the extreme. Even if you gained valuable knowledge and made some interesting contacts, its ROI often wasn’t worth it.
With webinars, none of this is a problem at all. You only have to sit down at your computer and watch an expert deliver their presentation online. You can learn from them, ask them questions, and even purchase their products or services, all from the comfort of your sofa. This is why webinars are rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways to reach out to audiences, and you should be getting in on it!
Webinars serve a number of marketing purposes. First, they help position you as an expert in your field. There is a perception that, if you are holding a webinar, then you must know what you’re talking about in it (Incidentally, you DO need to know what you’re talking about to do a webinar!) Second, it gives potential customers and clients a chance to see what you have to offer and if your services are right for them. In other words, it’s a perfect part of an effective sales funnel. And finally, and more importantly, your customers actually get to see you and hear your voice. They get to connect directly with YOU. Webinars put you center stage. Instead of creating the content, you ARE the content.
Webinars are not to be taken lightly though. To create an effective one requires a lot of hard work. You have to do research, write your script, prepare your presentation, get all of the technical aspects of the webinar ready and working, and much more. I’ve assisted countless clients in developing their webinars and I’m always surprised by just how time-consuming they are to prepare. That said, they are also worth it. Truth be told, the first one is always the most difficult. After that, you get used to the format and the second or third one usually goes off without a hitch!
Blogs used to be thought of as one of the primary ways that you could connect with your clients. Through a blog on your website, you could share your knowledge with your clients, giving them free and valuable content. While blogs are still an integral part of any content marketing strategy and sales funnel, they have begun to be supplanted by live, online video starring, who else, you!
With web videos, you are often doing a direct address to the camera, speaking to your audience without the filter of a written blog between you. They get to hear your message in your own words, your own voice, coming from your own mouth. That can create a powerful connection between you and your customers. If they see you talk about a topic every week or so, they will start to feel like they know you.
This connection gets even stronger if you open up the comment section so they can communicate directly with you. The comment sections under blogs are often empty because people don’t really know what to say. But when you’re talking directly to them through video, you are essentially starting a dialogue. They will want to respond to your voice through comments. This strengthens your connection, making online video one of the most powerful ways to reach out to your audience.
Here is the only problem with putting yourself front and center in your marketing content: You’re front and center. If you are someone who tends to shun the spotlight or is self-conscious in front of crowds, then webinars and online video can be incredibly intimidating. So how can you blow through the stage fright to make these content marketing methods key parts of your sales funnels?
Rather than put your first attempts at online audio or video out there, you might want to start with a more limited audience, like your friends, family, employees, or even a virtual assistant (I have clients share things like this with me all the time). You might feel less nervous about sharing a video of you with people you trust. After you’ve worked some of the kinks out of the system and you feel that your videos have gotten to a much more professional level, you might feel better about putting them online.
And don’t worry, everyone feels self-conscious about their first time doing something like this. Your first time doing anything is never your best. Everyone thinks they sound or look funny on video! Just for fun, pick one of your favorite YouTube channels and go back to their very first video. I guarantee that they won’t be even close to as polished or professional as their current ones. Everyone has to start somewhere!
You Might Need Some Help
I’m not going to lie, creating content that directly features you can be a lot of hard work to pull together. You have to write scripts, create graphics, take care of technical stuff… It can be stressful. That’s one of the reasons why I do what I do. As a virtual assistant, it’s my pleasure to help business owners create content that will directly connect them with their audience. I can help with every aspect of the process, eventually creating an automated system that will make sure you can put out this kind of content on a regular schedule.
If you’d be interesting in connecting to talk about revamping your content marketing strategy and sales funnels to incorporate yourself better, then contact me today! You can also learn more about all of my services on my website. I would be delighted to help you become your own authentic spokesperson!
Jennie Lyon is owner and founder of Jennie Lyon Virtual Assistant Services, specializing in helping entrepreneurs and small business owners streamline their business. Over the last 17 years, she’s worked with hundreds of companies to build their brands and help them regain control of their time. Her services include extensive social media marketing, email marketing, and funnel creation. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit jennielyon.com/free-consultation to book a free consultation. Facebook: VAJennieLyon