It's been just over three months since starting my own business and it's certainly been a voyage of discovery.
In this blog, I wanted to share my thoughts on the power of creating content and why it is important to any new business, irrespective of what business you're in.
Back in February, a conversation with Rob Watts, a good friend and owner of financial data project company Threshold Editorial Limited, led to us partnering on a daily newsletter that we unironically named 'Aspire'. To be fair, I wasn't immediately sure where this would fit into my new business, but with a new found entrepreneurial flair and an attitude of 'why not!', I got onboard.
'...it set us on a path to turn something we just 'did' and enjoyed into something that would provide a service to others while showcasing our skills.'
Aspire's premise is simple; a daily newsletter with a new business / startup focus that collates interesting news, views and insight for a discerning audience who may become potential advocates or customers for our respective business ventures; Running Commentary and Threshold Editorial.
'Our weekly runs around the trails of West Sussex would always involved a healthy amount of chatter on the direction Bitcoin was taking or the rise of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPAC) as an effective way to raise capital.'
Now, as our companies are geared to communication and insight, keeping informed about news and business trends is what we do. Our weekly runs around the trails of West Sussex always involved a healthy amount of chatter on the direction Bitcoin was taking or the rise of the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) as an effective way to raise capital. I promise, it wasn't as dull as it sounds, but these conversations set us on a path to turning something we just 'did' and enjoyed into something that would provide a service to others while showcasing our skills.
This is something all business' could learn from; speaking about the things you enjoy and are knowledgeable about is the biggest selling point for your business.
Our first attempts at writing a daily newsletter were all about finding the right tone and structure. Over the course of a 'test' week, we refined ideas, chopped and changed content and bothered a few people with our creation.
My first crudely designed PDF (which took ages to format and was wholly unsuitable to be emailed!) was initially replaced by a Wix email newsletter, only for me to find out I was limited to around 20 send outs per month - a big problem for a daily newsletter! Thankfully, after a bit of research, I found the Mailchimp platform met our needs perfectly. (Top Tip - the free version is excellent if you are just starting out and growing your audience, like we are).
Aside from providing an easy to use, customisable look, it manages the really important GDPR and subscription preferences that are critical to any email marketing process.
So why was this important to my business? Well, aside from designing and refining the layout, producing content honed my writing and summarising skills - when each word is precious, you have to identify what your audience really wants to read. I'm thankful to be working with Rob; as a professional journalist, his copy is clear, crisp and always on point. You can check out his work here and via his blog.
So, have I nailed it yet?, hell no, but the important thing is I'm constantly able to try new things, be it A-B testing on subject titles or new social media approaches and promotional platforms just to see what works. While it will be different for every business, the basics I have learned from throwing myself into this is something I will incorporate into my communication consultancy work going forward.
'I'm providing a service that showcases my company better than any slick promotional advert ever could.'
Aside from becoming a better, more informed writer, I am able to engage with clients on a wider variety of subjects; a definite bonus in my line of work! But, perhaps even more importantly, I'm providing a service that showcases my company better than any slick promotional advert ever could. 'Aspire' gives what I do authenticity; afterall, why would you engage with a communications company that doesn't produce worthwhile content?
And while the slick adverts of course have their place - my foray into social media advertising is a post for another day, the satisfaction of curating and producing something for others genuinely gives me a buzz and is definitely a worthwhile 'marketing' activity.
It's still early days for Aspire - our subscription numbers are low but are growing and we know people are enjoying the content. So, maybe if you have made it this far, we could invite you to sign up and join our growing community. I promise, we won't use your data in any nefarious ways and you are of course free to unsubscribe at anytime (thanks MailChimp!).
[Hi! I'm Andy, Director and Founder of Running Commentary, a communications specialist based in Haywards Heath, West Sussex. I build websites and offer communication advice designed to accelerate business potential online. Drop me a message to book a free consultation.]