The best entrepreneurs are great at communicating what they want to convey. I usually work out of co- working spaces and am privy to many entrepreneurial journeys unfolding and taking flight. The people who make a mark are those who are a joy to talk to. I know this might seem like a bit of a downer, but people who aren’t able to hold their own in conversations are tough to do business with.
That’s massive generalisation isn’t it?
Let me put it this way.
I don’t mean the gift of the gab. I mean the ability to have conversations without it seeming forced.
If I am asked what is it that I do? I start by saying “My partner and I run a content solutions firm. This means that right from ghostwriting on behalf of you and your company on social media, to crafting emails for your employees to running a content calendar with your marketing team, we do the entire thing. For ourselves, through our blogs and social media handles, we do content marketing, so we become easier to find by people like you.”
That definition is simple enough to ME because I do it day in and day out.
Not so simple for somebody who has heard of it for the first time. Ghost writing could be jargon for them, and really what is a content calendar? And wait, content marketing, what is that!
If I stuck to that version of it, I wouldn’t have many takers and clients, simply because they wouldn’t understand what it is that I do.
So I start by asking if they have 5-6 minutes to chat up with me? I seek permission. Most people oblige.
Then this is how the conversations flows.
Me | How much time do you usually spend scrolling through LinkedIn or Instagram? Is there any person or brand or group that you follow? Or what kind of posts do you like the most?
Another option to that question is – how do you get your information? What kind of books or magazines do you read? Or which news channels do you follow? Or which groups are you physically a part of.
The response to this is longish. The prospect thinks through, brings up the names that they follow or talk about their other sources of getting information.
There are two options to the first question because at times people may or may not be fluent with social media or with books for that matter.
Me | Has any of what you read ever compelled you to take any action? For example, have you say woken up earlier to read or gone for a jog or spent time with your spouse, simply because one of the people that you follow recommends it?
The response is a nervous laugh, a smile and then they say “possibly, maybe once or twice”.
If I am lucky, I meet people whose lives have been changed by what they have been reading and following.
Then I tell them that that’s content marketing. Reading things, listening to podcasts, watching videos, increasing your awareness, and eventually pushing you to making a change. This could be you purchasing the new Dyson vacuum cleaner or trying out a new workout routine or trying out the 5AM club.
Then I go on to tell them that it is my job to write those things on the behalf of the people or the groups or the brands that you read- that is ghost writing.
This is usually followed by surprise. Really? People do that? They get others to write on their behalf.
I don’t jump to defend my clients. In fact I tell them how smart my clients are!
Me | I think it is pretty smart. I too have outsourced my personal social media handles to an external agency. I take my own handles for granted, as much as the next person. With somebody else being accountable for it, I know I have consistent posts going out. This person has clear instructions to write about the things that matter to me. They showcase my point of view and once I have found my comfort with the writer, over time, there is very little need for supervision. Also it keeps fresh ideas coming, so I am closely aware of what my competition is up to.
I keep it light by saying “of course, that’s my bread and butter too, so I find it a hugely smart tactic. Also if it isn’t one of your strengths, why not outsource it?”
I may or may not have a client by the end of this conversation. But I definitely do have a prospect who will remember this and the detail in which this engagement was explained. Of course the conversation thereafter moves into the logistics of duration and commercials and so on.
Brand recall is non- negotiable for an entrepreneur and while starting out, an entrepreneur is their own brand. That’s why articulation should be one of their greatest skills.