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Will posting content online get you more paying clients?

In today's episode, I am answering the question. Does posting content online help you get paying clients? I think because we're living in this age of social media frenzy content is king as they say. We can sometimes question whether or not social media needs to be a core part of our business strategy. But is that the case? Or can you get paying clients without it? I'll be diving into all of that in today's episode.

Read on for the full transcription or listen to the podcast episode here

So let's talk content. Specifically social media content. So posting on Instagram, tweeting LinkedIn, tik tok, if you're down with the kids these days, I am not. Should you be doing it? Is it a really important part of your business strategy to get paying clients? Here's the thing.

No, it's not.

You do not need to be a social media influencer, or be posting very regular content to get paying clients. Is it a good idea to be posting regular content online, which might then help you get paying clients? Maybe, depends what your goals are, really, but let's talk about why. When you post content on online, and the key things that you are doing, you are basically building trust and building a kind of awareness for yourself or your company. Depending on whether you are, you know, you're a freelancer going under your own name, or whether you are a company and you're trying to build a brand in that company, posting content online, especially value giving content, aka, not just, ‘here's what I ate for breakfast’ or ‘here's some fun thing I'm doing at the weekend’ but, you know, the kind of content that I'm doing in this podcast. These are some tips for you to do XYZ, like this is why virtual tours can help your business, how to take a beautiful 360 photos, whatever it is, whatever the content is, it is value giving, it's giving someone else value. The reason that's a good idea is because a people love getting free advice, doesn't mean they'll always take it but it's the equivalent of a friend giving you a present out of the blue. if I go online or actually back in the day, think about it before the internet, if you had a question, you hope that someone in your inner circle your friends circle or your extended friendship circle knew the answer to your question, or you'd have to go do a load of research and probably have to spend money to get the answer to your question. Or as now with the internet, you’re just one Google away from finding the answer to anything. If someone puts a question to Google, and your article comes up, or your YouTube video or your LinkedIn post, whatever it might be, and you answer this person's question that they've been really struggling with, and it's something that they didn't know how to do, and they didn't even know where to start, and all of a sudden, you've put together this really informative value giving piece of content that solves their problem. All of a sudden, they're going to be really endeared to you and it might mean that they look at some more of your content, they might look at more articles that you're putting out, and then they might go see what this person does. Let me go see what other content they have. And before you know it, you're down a total rabbit hole of that person's content, where they're answering loads of different questions, because chances are, you are their target audience, you're the kind of person that they want in their circle. And all of a sudden, they've answered loads of questions that you had and now you feel like a bit of a rapport with them, you feel like you kind of know them. This happens with all of the people that I follow online. This is this is absolutely how it happens. I will type in a question, and then I'll watch a video or two and it'll take me a few to find the kind of article or video that really answers the question, but I’ll be like, that was amazing. Let me see what else they've like done. Let me see what else they're answering. Let me see if there's anything else that is hitting the spot with something that I need to look into. And before you know it, I feel like that person is my mate. And as far as I'm concerned, they've just saved me hundreds of pounds from having to go to a business advisor or whatever the question was related to. And so when it comes to putting content online, what you're doing is, you are building that trust and you are building that kind of awareness.

Here’s the thing…they are finding you. And so therefore, long term, you're not necessarily having to go out and do all that hardcore outreach and networking and everything. But it does not happen immediately, and this is the catch 22 with content. Should we all be making this a cool part of our strategy? The answer is… well, the answer is really nuanced, depending on where you are in your career and your business. But I would say the answer is no, not if you're in a phase of your business, where you're just trying to get to the point where you can sustain yourself. Maybe you're quite new, and you just want to get your feet wet, you want some paying clients, you want to get your business off the ground.

Here's the facts. It's very, very easy (I say, easy, I shouldn't say easy) It's

very simple to have a successful business without being online. As in, without posting content online but it is not very simple to have a successful business, just posting online. Does that make sense? So if you think about, all the biggest companies in the world, think about those founders, think about the people behind it and not even the biggest companies in the world, like there’s companies that generate millions in revenue or profit that you've never heard of. And that's because you don't necessarily need to be known. You don't need to be an a micro influencer, you don't need to be putting out content in order to have a successful business. You don't need it. You know, there’s lots of people that have 200-300 followers on Instagram, and they run six figure businesses. But I also know, and while I don't know, as many, but I know people that have thousands of followers on these platforms and they don't have successful businesses. They don't even know how to earn money from the online world, yet. They don't know how to build a successful business, all they know is how to post content.

So, if you're going to go down the route of posting content online and using that as a strategy to get in paying clients, you really need to know your strategy, you need to reverse engineer why you're doing that content. Don't just post up loads of content into social world and hope, and pray and rely on luck that one day, someone's going to contact you off the back of that article that you wrote on LinkedIn and bring you paying work. Think about and reverse engineer the kind of person that you want to reach and think about your ideal client, think about where that person hangs out most.

So for example, if it's a head of HR, or a business owner or a head of marketing they will most likely, I mean, as a human being, they probably hang out on all the social medias, but they will most likely for business be hanging out on LinkedIn. So maybe you need to put together a strategy where you're posting an informative LinkedIn article, every month, or every week. Weekly, that could be interesting. And then, not only post that content, but then go and fish yourself. Like go and search the hashtags, find people's questions, see what people are posting. Obviously, they’re not just posting content on these platforms, they’re asking for discussion. They're asking questions, so go and engage in those conversations, just like when we talked about in the networking episode about, you know, going into those tweet threads, going into those Facebook groups, getting to know your peers, kind of networking that way. And think about posting content as the trust value. That's you, you're putting out content that's going to help people trust you.

But go fishing yourself, go engage in some of those discussions, go answer people's questions, if they're asking something and you genuinely have a useful answer. Because again, that could be a way for you to build trust and rapport with that person and that's potentially how you can then reverse engineer posting content, as a way to get paying clients. Now, the reason I say that, and I personally wouldn't focus on that as a core part of your strategy if you're just starting out and the reason for that is because you kind of need that momentum to prove to yourself that you can do it, that you can build a business that this is a sustainable choice that you can make. And the easiest way to do that is by going out and getting yourself some clients to begin with. And it's much, it's not, I wouldn't say it's easier, but it's much quicker to go and do the outreach yourself. Whereas if you post an article on LinkedIn, for example, and it may take three months for, let's say, three months of you posting consistently, for you to get even one potential lead, someone that is potentially interested in your services to come to you. In those three months, you could have been sending out hundreds of emails to potential clients that you yourself have found. You've gone and found someone that is a potential client, they are your exact target audience, and you've gone and done that hand to hand combat, you've gone and emailed them, you've reached out to them. From doing this, you’ve eliminated that first hurdle with content, which is actually being discovered.

There's the other side of the content machine that we've not talked about, which is the fact that everyone is posting content. So when you're posting content, you are up against 10s of thousands, if not millions of people who are posting, and if not exactly the same content as you, very similar. Now, that's not to say that it's not worthwhile doing, because even if you're posting content, and someone else has done that, and the algorithm will at some point favour you but also, it might be that if someone discovers you in another way, so for example, if I do a talk at an event, someone might then go Google me or look into me and find me on those social media platforms, and see the content I've been posting. And all of a sudden, I'm now giving them the opportunity to get to know me better. So I know that a lot of you listening will have maybe discovered me from the YouTube video collabs that I I've done previously with Ben Claremont on his YouTube video. Or maybe you found me through an article that 360 rumours.com recently posted. Maybe that's how you found me, because of something like that, and it just so happens that because I post regular content, you might now think - ‘oh, actually, this is quite valuable and this is really useful, and I'm going to continue listening to this because this is answering some of the questions that I have.’ And so you see, by that thing being out there, by putting content out regularly, even though that's not the reason you came to me, you didn't necessarily find me through an algorithm, you didn't find me necessarily because the SEO gods were in my favour. You found me through different means. But because I post regular content that allowed you to have a bit of a deep dive, you might go down a bit of a Alex Rühl wormhole when you first discovered me, and maybe that's why you're listening to this podcast. Does that make sense?

So think about it like that with your clients, think about how you need to put yourself in the best position possible for you when you do reach out to a client, or when they discover you, to give them enough of an opportunity, and enough info out there on you to really kind of build that trust and rapport very quickly. And to understand from their point of view, that this is definitely the person that I want for the job.

Now, another version of this is having a portfolio. So for example, if you weren't going to go down the posting content online strategy, what you could do instead is, you do an outreach email and someone bites, they're interested, they want to see examples of your work, and they want to know how it can definitely benefit their business, or they want case studies of how that work has gone on to impact a business. So what you could do, instead of focusing on posting content, maybe you could just have really solid case studies on your website, have a really solid portfolio. So let's say, you reach out to that person who is interested, then they go and look into you. And yes, you have an online presence where maybe you post a nice photos or you know, maybe you say some interesting things relevant to the topic that you're talking about, but also maybe then on your website, you've got really solid case studies of how your services or products have, previously helped other businesses. And I would say, this is my personal preference, so each have their own, I would say, don't be afraid to put some personality into your content because the amount of times that I see friends of mine in the VR and 360 space, get a pint down their neck, and they're absolutely hooked. They're hilarious. And they've got really quirky, funny, way of looking at the world, but their content online is so dry and boring, because they feel like they have to be this, be this little corporate robot person. Tt could have literally been written by an AI because they're not allowing themselves to put their personality and their content, I would say actually works against you if you do that, because nothing about that stands out. And as I've always said, in other episodes, people buy from people, you know, people want to do business with other people, just like anything in life, life is a people's game. So, don't think that like - ‘oh, but what if I post something like this, and then they don't want to work with me?’ because If they don't like you, then you don't want to work with them anyway. And the more personality you put into your content, whether it's through your case studies on your website, or it's the content that you're posting online, the more that you put yourself into it, the better and the quicker someone can get to know you, because that's what you're asking right?

When you're asking someone to give you work, give you their money, essentially they want to know that you are trustworthy. When someone looks you up online, when someone looks at your content, what you're doing is, you are building that trust as quickly as possible. So put personality into it. Make sure that you really think whenever you post something, think about it from the point of view of your target audience, but also know that you do not need to be posting content online to get paying clients too.

Because ultimately, for example, I mean, I know COVID put a bit of a spanner in the works with this one. But the best way to get paying clients is most likely getting to meet them a client in person as quickly as possible, because then you can build that rapport, even if it's getting them on the phone. Again, very quickly. You're going to be able to build that rapport they're going to trust. More. And if you are on the phone answering any and all of their questions. So when you post content online, it's like you're second guessing what that question is to begin with. And you're just posting an article or something that kind of answers a question that you're hoping someone is going to ask one day. Does that make sense? I feel like there is so much within this topic. But the, the punch line, I guess, to conclude, do you need to post content online to get paying clients? No, you absolutely do not. In fact, if you're just starting out, do not spend the bulk of your time doing that, because it's very time consuming. And it's very hard to miss. And it's absolutely a long term strategy. So if you are new, and you want to get those quick wins, then do outreach emails, have a look, go out and do your research and look at your local businesses, look for those local people could potentially sell into. They’ll probably trust you more, because you are local. So you're looking for any way to kind of build that trust and rapport as quickly as possible. You may need a portfolio of work if you're trying to charge because they want proof that you can actually do it, but they're not going to be expecting a three year old blog of thousands of articles about all these things, all they want to do is trust you and they want to trust you very quickly. That should be your short term goal.

The long term strategy for your business, could be posting valuable content online for free, and building that profile for yourself and your target audience. I mean, that's the majority of the reason why I do content online, because it does help with profiles. So when I do events or when I do collabs with bigger people in the industry, people will have a chance to find me, and then there's lots of content for them to consume. That’s the big reason why posting content online is a great long term goal. For me, personally, it has led to paying clients, but only because I've done it consistently and I've posted a lot, and not necessarily on social media. But you know, by replying to people's tweets, by kind of having a digital footprint, I guess, on the internet so that when someone sees me at an event, they can see that presence. And then they trust me very quickly. And they see that I've won these awards, and they see that I've, you know, I'm quite a trusted person in this industry. And that's when they reach out and they want to work with me because of that. So it's very, very helpful to have a kind of online presence, for sure. When you're starting to work with bigger clients, sometimes having that digital footprint means, clients to come to you, rather than you having to go fish for it but it takes so much time to get to that point and yes, it can be an absolute game changer of a long term strategy. Do not be fooled into thinking you need to spend hours and hours and hours every single week, posting stuff online for free, at the start.

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