Lyndsay and her company market content for entrepreneurs. Today we get her best tips for business owners and investors who want to grow or start their online presence. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Lyndsay Phillips Background:
–CEO and Captain of Smooth Sailing Business Growth, a content marketing company
-Her business gears towards life/business coaches, accountants, authors and other online entrepreneurs
-Say hi to her at http://www.smoothbusinessgrowth.com/
-Based in Toronto, Canada
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
First off, I hope you’re having a best ever weekend, and because today is Sunday, we’ve got a special segment called Skillset Sunday. With Skillset Sunday, we will help you either hone or acquire a skill that perhaps you didn’t have before, or just get better at it.
In the business or real estate we are either looking for deals or money and/or both, and we’re trying to match up the two. One underlying theme of all that is being a credible and respected source for people to do deals with us, and in order to do that, at least in today’s world, we need a good online presence. That’s why we’re talking to Lyndsay Phillips, who’s the CEO and captain of Smooth Sailing Business Growth, a content marketing company. How are you doing, Lindsay?
Lyndsay Phillips: I’m awesome. How are you doing, Joe?
Joe Fairless: I’m awesome as well, nice to have you on the show. Let’s see… We’re gonna focus our time on creating compelling content as real estate entrepreneurs, and just ways that you’ve helped other entrepreneurs do that. And by the way, Lindsay’s got a podcast, go listen to that. You can find more about it at her website, which is SmoothBusinessGrowth.com. She’s based in Toronto, Canada, so we’re gonna pick up some Canadian as we talk.
With that being said, Lyndsay, how do you help entrepreneurs? And then we’ll go from there.
Lyndsay Phillips: You betcha. Actually, I deal with quite a few businesses and individuals that are in the real estate investing sphere oddly enough, and with content marketing the point is that you wanna attract your target market, you wanna nurture them, build relationships, and obviously acquire them as a customer, or have some kind of partnership with them. So through content marketing, whether it’s blogs, or videos, or of course a podcast (which you and I both love), social media, e-mail marketing – all of it is content. So to me, all that good information that you have in your head, all that knowledge, the experience – you’re sharing it with your audience in the hopes of attracting, nurturing and acquiring those customers.
Joe Fairless: So we’ve got these platforms, these different options, and as entrepreneurs — and I consider every real estate investor an entrepreneur, because we are… So as entrepreneurs, how do we decide which one to dive into, and then what should our approach be?
Lyndsay Phillips: I know that’s such a huge question, because people can get so side-tracked by what’s hot and what’s popular, but when you stop and think about it, think about those ones that kind of went to the wayside, like Blab and Meerkat, and — does anyone use Periscope? I have no idea. [laughs] But think about where your target market is. Those people that are like your perfect client, or think of a handful of clients that you have currently and find out where they’re hanging out. Are they watching videos? Are they on Instagram? Maybe some of them don’t even bother with Twitter.
So you wanna know where they’re hanging out and where they’re diving into resources and finding the information that they want. Those are the places where you want to invest the most of your time.
Joe Fairless: Okay, that’s very practical and that’s something that we can all do. I love the way this is going. So we have decided where we’re going to put our time and effort based on where our target market is, and if we don’t know where, then just go talk to someone who is in our target market and ask them what they’re doing, and ask a couple more people and you’ll get some ideas. Then what do we do?
Lyndsay Phillips: Check all your competitors…
Joe Fairless: Oh, yeah.
Lyndsay Phillips: …those that are your industry leaders. See where they’re getting the most action and where they’re getting the most support and engagement with their audience. Don’t be afraid to [unintelligible [00:06:08].20] and steal, I always say. [laughs]
Joe Fairless: Once we do that, once we’ve identified it, then what’s the approach?
Lyndsay Phillips: You wanna connect with them, and especially to me, in real estate investing there’s a huge amount of trust. It’s people’s hard-earned money… When people are sharing money with other people you wanna feel safe and secure, and you wanna trust the other person in regards to that they really know their stuff.
To me, one of the biggest ways to establish that element of trust is definitely through video, whether it’s live Facebook, where you’re connecting with them right off the cuff, live, obviously… But even just through videos on YouTube and sharing your knowledge. Even if it’s a how-to, or answering some of the biggest questions, video is really impactful, and don’t be afraid to get into it. I know a lot of people hold back… [laughs]
Joe Fairless: So video is the best way, in your opinion, to connect… Some people don’t have the personality for video, and it’s just incredibly awkward; it just doesn’t portray them in the best way.
Lyndsay Phillips: Fair enough. Honestly —
Joe Fairless: I’m not saying they’re ugly, I’m just saying that they don’t come across very well on video.
Lyndsay Phillips: Yeah, and you know what? I have a client who is in Idaho; she’s in the tax business, in tax coaching – she’s very, very quiet; she knows her stuff inside out, but she is so quiet… So her first videos, I’m not gonna lie, they were kind of painful to watch… [laughter] And I felt that way when I started my videos. I was so nervous and I felt so uncomfortable… And you just have to know that the first few that you do are gonna suck, and it’s okay.
Even the greats [unintelligible [00:07:59].08] I always prefer her videos, because they are impeccable, and it’s intimidating… But if you look at her first couple of videos, they are in her kitchen, in front of her computer. She started somewhere, right? You have to have a starting place, and you will get more comfortable.
Now this client of mine that was super shy and awkward, she’s on the stage and she is killing it. My coach says to me, “You’ve gotta suck it up”, and just know that the first few are not gonna be great. You can take them down later when you get better ones. [laughter]
Joe Fairless: So you’re saying “Just power through it.”
Lyndsay Phillips: Oh yeah.
Joe Fairless: Okay, alright. Power through it.
Lyndsay Phillips: It’s the only way you’re gonna get through that. And if you can fast-track your business and if you can connect with people faster, you have to get over your own fears and just push through it.
Joe Fairless: When you are doing the videos, what is the frequency that you should be doing them?
Lyndsay Phillips: I think it’s better to do weekly, because then people get used to seeing it; you’re gonna connect with them on a quicker level… Versus if you only do a video let’s say once a month, they’re gonna forget about you within that month period, and then also – and here’s a really good tip – if you’re not pushing out social media content on a regular basis, whether it’s video or otherwise, if you’re not consistent, you’re gonna drop out of the news feed of those people that are your ideal clients. It’s gonna be out of sight and out of mind, and Facebook will sort of pull you out of their algorithm so to speak, because they’re gonna know that people are not engaging, they’re not commenting, because there’s nothing there, so they’re not gonna bother pushing your stuff on people’s feed.
Joe Fairless: When clients come to you, what’s the main thing they pay you to do?
Lyndsay Phillips: That’s an interesting question, I’ve never been asked it that way before. They feel stuck; they know that content marketing is important, but they don’t know where to start. They feel overwhelmed with all the options, and they don’t wanna learn all the techy stuff behind the scenes… So they will create a blog, or – we have copywriters, of course – create the video podcast, whatever it may be, and we take care of the rest. So we publish it, we optimize it, SEO it, promote it… So it frees up their time and they don’t have to deal with the nitty-gritty and the behind the scenes, the nuts and bolts of it all.
Joe Fairless: So you consult with them along the way, but then also help create the content, where applicable?
Lyndsay Phillips: Yeah, so we help create the strategy… Especially clients that are overwhelmed and they’re just starting out with me, it’s like “You don’t have to do it all at once right up front. Let’s start with this”, and then after we get kind of get rolling over the next couple of months, then we’ll add this on. And then it also helps me as their partner understand their business, their clients’ pain points, their unique selling propositions, their branding, their voice. And it’s only gonna get better over time.
So you don’t have to do it all at once. Start with something, and then get consistent, so that you’re putting content out there on a consistent basis, and then you can build on that.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, instead of trying to be a little bit everywhere, you wanna start with something and be consistent with that one thing, do it well, and then move on? Is that what you’re saying?
Lyndsay Phillips: Absolutely. I was mentioning one of my clients earlier, and he did a podcast show and that was where he started. And he grew his audience like tenfold, and then he started doing a live Facebook on Fridays, and it grew, and he ended up creating an opt-in because of it, so he grew his e-list dramatically. Then he kind of went into the blogs and videos after that, but he really built an amazing audience through his podcast. So you can start out with one thing, get really good at it, build a following, and then as your business grows, you can extend and tweak your content marketing plan from there.
Joe Fairless: What are some mistakes you see entrepreneurs make? And in particular, you said you’ve got some real estate people… What are some mistakes real estate people make whenever they’re creating their content?
Lyndsay Phillips: I’m not gonna point out my clients’ mistakes… [laughter] But I do see a lot where — there’s a few things that always come up, and one is where their social media platforms are not matching their website. So their branding and their image and their message is not consistent throughout all platforms. And if there’s any confusion out there, if people are confused about who you are and what you do and your brand is not recognizable, then you’re gonna get forgotten and you’re not gonna grow your business as quickly.
The second point is to lack consistency with social media. Again, if you’re hosting really great for a week, and then a couple weeks go by and you haven’t done anything, because it’s kind of like “Oh, I’ll get to that when I have time” – which we all know we said somewhere…
Joe Fairless: Yup.
Lyndsay Phillips: …then a) you’re not top of mind for people. And plus, think about it – if someone’s going to your Facebook page to check you out and you haven’t posted anything in a couple weeks, they’re gonna wonder how successful you are at your business. They’re gonna wonder “Hey, if I buy from this person, are they gonna even be around for support?” All these doubting questions are coming up in their mind, so they’re gonna be less likely to reach out to you. It has a huge impact.
Joe Fairless: So consistency in both being on the platforms with your messaging, as well as with your publishing, right?
Lyndsay Phillips: Yeah, absolutely. And the third one that I get a lot is the content that you are putting out – make sure that it’s not all about you, it’s not all promo, product, salesy stuff. You have to give information away to show your expertise and for them to trust you, so that they feel that you are customer-driven, do you know what I mean? You’re not just looking for the quick buck and the buy.
You really have to be careful about how much promotion you put out there. And your content that you’re putting out on social media doesn’t always have to link back to your website. That is really key, because posts that you do that are just like a quote graphic, or like an inspirational little blurb, or even just some funny thing that happened to you during the day, whatever, those are the most shareable pieces, and that’s what will extend your reach beyond your specific circle that you have right now.
Joe Fairless: Can you elaborate on that, maybe give an example of what you mean?
Lyndsay Phillips: Sure. I call these ‘snackable bites’. Let’s say you have a blog on your website – or it can even be a podcast, whatever it is. You might have within that blog a few really cool tips, or little tiny strategies, or a quote, or a statistic, and if you post that by itself, without linking back to your blog, without promoting your blog, it’s just like a standalone tip… I could say [unintelligible [00:15:14].25] I’m trying to think of something… Just be like “Make sure you are consistent with your social media to ensure that you get increased exposure.” Let’s say that’s just a standalone statement. But if you make a really nice graphic with that, and it’s a statement that maybe is a little bit more impeccable than the one I just said, and the way you say it really resonates with someone, or it’s just a really inspiring quote, or just something that’s really quick — again, if it’s snackable bites, meaning that someone can sink their teeth in really quickly and share it. They don’t have to read a big article, they don’t have to do anything specific or go anywhere…
Joe Fairless: I like that.
Lyndsay Phillips: They are really, really shareable. So you don’t always have to link back to your website, you have to mix it up.
Joe Fairless: What’s a program or software – if any – that you like to use to create those nice-looking posts and graphics?
Lyndsay Phillips: You’ve asked one of my favorite questions, because I’m a bit of a tool nerd. [laughter] I love, love Canva, because if you get the paid version, you can actually import your fonts, you can import your branding colors and have like a branding pallet, so that everytime you make a graphic, you know it’s gonna be on brand, it’s gonna reflect what you’re all about, and match your website and all that good stuff.
They do have pictures within it, like photographs that you can use, but they’re really expensive. I use Photospin; it’s cheaper than buying iStock photos.
Joe Fairless: PhotoSkin?
Lyndsay Phillips: Spin. It’s like $50/month and you can get all the graphics you want. It’s got really cool fonts in there, and texts, and graphics… You can go crazy; it’s actually really fun to work with.
Joe Fairless: That’s really helpful. So Canva is one tool, and you use the paid version… Approximately how much is that, do you remember?
Lyndsay Phillips: I think it’s like $10-$14/month, it’s super cheap.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, super cheap.
Lyndsay Phillips: But if you don’t use the paid version, you can still use your branded colors, you just have to know the hex codes. It’s just more time-consuming, that’s all.
Joe Fairless: So Canva, Photospin… You said you’re a tool nerd, so what other tools are helpful for you?
Lyndsay Phillips: I love social media scheduling tools such as HootSuite, I do like Social Champ. I just got into RecurPost, which is almost like Meet Edgar… So Meet Edgar and RecurPost are different in that you pre-schedule your social media so that you can plan your month ahead, and preschedule it all, and then sit back for the next couple of weeks, so to speak… But Meet Edgar and RecurPost will actually keep the post that you preschedule in a category of library, so that it will repost that material let’s say three months down the road, so that you’re recycling the content that you’re already putting out there, you’re reusing it.
Joe Fairless: Love it. And you said that is RecurPost.
Lyndsay Phillips: Yeah. I just signed up for it like two weeks ago, so yeah, I’m just diving into that one now.
Joe Fairless: Before you signed up for it, what were you using?
Lyndsay Phillips: Social Champ, but I liked the idea — because I’ve got so much content already over the past few years… It’s like I might as well stick it in those “libraries” and recycle through it and reuse it, especially if it’s evergreen, right?
Joe Fairless: Oh yeah, and Google loves that.
Lyndsay Phillips: Yeah, absolutely.
Joe Fairless: Anything else as it relates to optimizing our content marketing that we haven’t discussed that you wanna mention?
Lyndsay Phillips: Optimizing… I think honestly using a project management system or even using your calendar and getting on a routine and a schedule when it comes to your content or your social media… If you don’t put it in your calendar, honestly, it’s not gonna get done.
Joe Fairless: What do you use to organize that?
Lyndsay Phillips: For my team, we use Teamwork Projects. We have templates, and every month it’s like “Okay, first you create the content, then you make the draft, then you make the pictures, approve it with the client” and then we pre-schedule it to post in WordPress, so forth. So you can get on a routine and it reminds you of all the different tasks that you need to do that relates to your content marketing, so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each month. It’s automatically set up as a template.
Or even just having those reminders, to make sure you write your blog this week, because next week you have to write the post for it. But you don’t have to have a project management tool. Even if you put those tasks within your calendar and stick to it, like it’s an appointment with yourself to create that content, it’s really crucial. That time is a huge investment and has such a big impact on how people view you and how many new clients you can attract.
Joe Fairless: Lyndsay, how can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Lyndsay Phillips: They can check it out at SmoothBusinessGrowth.com, and of course, I have a Start Here page for those that aren’t quite clear on what content marketing is, how it all works and what elements they can start diving into.
Joe Fairless: Well, we’ve got to be consistent across all platforms, where our message and branding is consistent. We’ve got to be consistent with our publishing – we should start with something and then do it consistently, and then go to something else. And along the way, within that first platform, a good tip is to have what you call the ‘snackable bites’, which are incredibly shareable; it might not link back to our website, it might just be an inspirational quote, or something else.
Some tools to build that something else in would be Canva and Photospin, and then to republish articles and to schedule out you use RecurPost. And to manage all that stuff, it could be a calendar, or Teamwork Projects is what you all use.
Thank you so much for sharing your insight and your approach. I hope you have a best ever weekend, Lyndsay, and we will talk to you soon.
Lyndsay Phillips: Alright, thanks so much.