The more I speak to people, the more I realize that in the past decade of helping clients market themselves online, much has stayed the same. Admittedly, the tools are different. Facebook launched in February 2004. YouTube started one year after that. Can you imagine the online world without social media?
Sure you can. It was dominated by search engines, portals and directories like Google, Yahoo and MSN. Blogging was also a relatively recent phenomenon. WordPress launched in May 2003. The tools and technology has changed but the stuff that matters hasn't.
This "stuff" is what I call "fundamentals". No matter the tools or tech, these fundamentals form the basis of successful marketing online. If you have it, you're starting from the right place. If you don't, you're starting off on the wrong foot. You might make a lot of noise, but you won't realize the success you want.
What are these mystery fundamentals? They're the stories you, your employees, your suppliers and your customers tell others about your business. Some people call it your "brand". Whatever you call it, these stories are the foundation for any online marketing campaign.
When talking to business owners, I find they have plenty of stories. There is always something going on in a business and in the industry and community the business operates in. In my opinion, there's always a story, but I often find people don't feel they have anything unique to talk about. That's a shame.
From my perspective, it is the stuff that happens "day in and day out" that is the foundation of a successful online marketing campaign for any business. The minutiae of one's work is interesting to people who don't do that work. Whether you make sausage or weld wind turbine blades, what you do is interesting and there are going to be people who want to know about it.
If you want to be successful online, you need to figure out what your stories are and then share them with the people who care. Who are those people? They're the ones who visit your website, sign up to your email newsletter, check out your social media profiles, belong to your networking groups. The people who celebrate your existence by paying attention to what you have to say are the people you need to connect with. They will, in turn, reward your efforts with more attention, in the form of comments, likes, shares, links, pins, retweets and more. Additional attention can in turn be rewarded with more opportunities to tell your story to people who make inquiries about your company, products and services.
Humans have always been storytellers. Giving us new tools to tell those stories is nice, but technology alone will never be the answer to your marketing challenges. Focus on sharing the stories in your business that reveal to the world your talents and your unique approach to solving their problems.