Content Is King, And Distribution Is Queen

Mastering and optimizing your content is essential, but if no one sees it, it has little – if not zero – effect.

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Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

This post is part of the 60 Day Project – one post a day to help you prepare your business for success in 2021. Subscribe using the button below to get new posts sent straight to your email.

If you’re following along, we start with a working content strategy and check all of the boxes there when it comes to how we create our content.

But if we don’t take the next step and work on distributing that content properly, we’ll be frustrated with the results that our content gets.

Let’s quickly look at three ways to increase the distribution of your content so that not just more people see it, but more of the right people see it.

By that, I mean people who will engage with your content, and take the next step in that journey to subscribe, follow, or even become a customer or a client.

Publish To Existing Channels

Important to start with what you have, and get it working as much as possible. Most people encourage posting three to four times per day to try and reach as many people as possible.

That doesn’t mean that you should be posting calls to action or asking for things in each of these posts. But onec per day or so it totally within reason.

Look at the profiles that you follow and engage with online and see what they do. What do they post, how often, what do you click on and comment on?

Reach Out To Potential Partners

Whenever you post, are there people that you can reach out to who might be able to help you share it with their audiences? Whether it be on their profiles, or in groups or forums, who else would benefit from sharing your content?

If you’re sharing their work, it helps them look good to re-share your content with theri audience.

If you have a big launch or a piece of content you really want to get out there, you can reach out to people who have a similar audience to you to help promote it at a specific time, right as you launch.

In marketing circles this is called a “joint venture”, and often there’s a financial incentive for partners to help promote content.

These partners, or affiliates, are incentivized to share your product or company by getting a percentage of any sales that come from their referral or link.

Giveaways is another form of this – using people who you may not even know to share your work with their audiences.

Who do you know that might help you share your content with their audiences and can benefit from doing so? It’s rare that people will share your stuff without any direct reward or incentive, so think about that when you reach out and ask them to share.

Pay For Reach

There are also ways that you can pay to get more views on your content. You can boost a post on Facebook, or run a post as an ad. You can drive traffic to your work using ads on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit – any number of platforms.

It can be expensive, but it is an option that can work, and is often used in conjunction with other strategies.

Get Resourceful

Think about how many people need to see your work in order to get the results you’re after. For example:

You sell an online course for $99. You want to make $10,000 per month from your work. In this case, you need 101 people per month to clear that threshold. One of out every 50 people that visits your website will purchase a course, so you need a little over 5,000 visitors per month to your site.

Working backwards, you can determine what your needs are, and measure what is currently working or not working.

If you’re only getting 500 visitors per month, you know that you’ve got to do something to get 10 times the traffic in order to get the sales you want for your business.

How are you going to do it? Get resourceful, work with what you have, and make sure to measure what works and what doesn’t.

It is also important to be patient – many of these distribution efforts can take months to start working. SEO, for example, can take 6-8 months to start showing signs of the work you’re doing at the beginning. Don’t give up too early.

The results in your business are completely within your control, if you take the responsibility seriously. Figure out what your business needs, and get to work.

Your Business Can Only Have One Goal

I took some time off this week for the kids’ fall break and made our way down to Bryce Canyon. Highly recommended if you get the chance to visit!

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One of the best changes I made in the last week was removing Instagram and Facebook from my phone. They have become huge time-sucks in the last few months, and I really wanted some of that time back.

Will power wasn’t enough, so I whipped out the old DELETE button and finally took care of those distractions.

That wasted time was replaced with something I’ve been saying I want to do more of, but my actions weren’t yet supporting: reading more!

This week I read a book recommended by Shawn Twing from Tiny Little Businesses.

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The Goal is a fictional story written by Eli Goldratt & Jeff Cox. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but boy am I glad I had the newly-found free time to read it this week.

What follows are some of my favorite ideas and principles of the book and how you and I can apply them to our creative businesses:

In the book, a fictional company is up against the wall and has three months to save their plant from being shut down. Hundreds of workers, a multi-million dollar company, all gone if they can’t turn things around.

The plant manager runs into his old physics professor who starts asking him about the business and starts to ask questions that reveal he knows a lot about businesses and organizations.

The professor lands this one on the plant manager:

Your problem is you don’t know what the goal is. And, by the way, there is only one goal, no matter what the company.

This was a bit of an eye-opener. It makes sense now that I read it back having the context of the whole book now, but when I read it it hit hard.

It’s surprisingly easy for us creatives to have many goals with our business:

  • create amazing work
  • reach lots of people
  • make a good living

But the truth of the matter is that we can only ever have one goal.

One outcome that we’re looking for.

The trick, however, is to have that goal be multi-faceted.

For example, in the book, this fictional company UniCo decides this:

So this is the goal: To make money by increasing net profit, while simultaneously increasing return on investment, and simultaneously increasing cash flow

That word by is helping them a ton. The goal is to make money, but they get there by increasing net profit, increasing return on investment, and increasing cash flow.

The fictional “guru” who is helping the company through all of this helps them to get even more specific by focusing on three measurements — Throughput (sales), Inventory, and Operational Expense (the money the business spends in order to turn inventory into throughput.

I realized I had the same problem with my businesses. Too many goals, not enough clarity.

I needed to focus on the one outcome that mattered most, that all of the other efforts could be measured against.

Knowing that would allow me to be not only more productive but more certain that I would reach the outcomes that I was after.

What did I come up with?

The goal of Craftsman Creative is to help as many creatives as possible to start, fix, and grow their businesses.

Everything else is measured against that. Does my marketing help reach that goal? Does the content I’m creating — courses, newsletters, podcasts — help reach that goal?

Notice that I didn’t have any mention of money in that goal. That’s not the goal of this business.

My belief is that the money will come the more people I am able to truly help. If there isn’t any money coming in, then it is a sign that I’m not doing a good job helping people in a valuable and tangible way.

There’s one other takeaway that I want to shine a light on from the book:

You have to learn how to run your plant by its constraints

​In this book, the author introduces the theory of constraints — that your business can only operate as well as the weakest link, or bottleneck, is able to keep up with the demand on it.

In the example in the book, the plant had two machines that had more demand on them than they were able to keep up with. That was causing all SORTS of problems, and because of those problems, the business was on the verge of being shut down.

Instead, though, by identifying the bottlenecks in the organization the plant manager was not only able to save the plant but turn it into the most profitable in the entire company.

Step one is to identify the core problem or constraint in your business and then to adjust the rest of the system around it.

Meaning — if the constraint is the fact that you cannot create enough work because there are so many hours in the day, then you need to adjust your business accordingly.

  • If you’re making enough money, then you can hire some other people to help you create more work.
  • If you’re not making enough to do that, then increase your prices.

You can quickly see that by identifying the weak links in the business, everything else becomes that much clearer.

One other example. What if you sell digital products that don’t require any extra time or effort to sell once they’re created?

If you aren’t making enough money, then your issue isn’t with inventory or anything like that, it’s with getting enough traffic and awareness to the company so that you can sell enough product to make the money you need to support your lifestyle.

The constraint in this business is awareness. Focus your effort there and everything else will start working better.

These two concepts — out of many in the book — were well worth the tradeoff of doomscrolling social media for a few hours of reading every day.

What is the one goal for your business? Remember, you can only have one.

Identify the biggest constraint and then adjust your business around it to see the biggest results in the least amount of time.

Focus On What You Can Control and Ignore The Rest

The wasted energy could be better spent focusing on things you have the ability to affect rather than on things that you’ll never have any influence on.

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Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

This post is part of the 60 Day Project – one post a day to help you prepare your business for success in 2021. Subscribe using the button below to get new posts sent straight to your email.

In the last few weeks I started a podcast for a new app that I’ve been building with my brother.

In the podcast, I have conversations with other creatives who are working on their own creative businesses. Many are artists, writers, comedians, actors, filmmakers, and other types of creatives. They own their own businesses, often without any other employees or partners.

One thing has already become clear in the first five conversations: focus matters.

Here’s what I mean:

Where You Put Your Focus Determines The Outcome

There are seemingly infinite places you could focus your thoughts, time, money, and effort in your business.

Social media platforms, followers, engagement, emails, conversion rates, profit margin, employees, contractors, finances, software, project management… it’s overwhelming just trying to list them all.

The question then arises, “where should I put my focus?”

Here’s a three step process you can use, right now, to help focus your efforts:

  1. Ask, “do I have control?”
  2. Ask, “does this help me reach my bigger goals?”
  3. Ask, “is this currently a constraint in my business?”

Do I Have Control?

If you look at something like a client who hasn’t paid you and it’s now 90 days late, you have very limited – if any – control over that situation.

Sure, you could start legal action, or call or email them to try and get that money, but ultimately, the client paying you is out of your control.

Why? Because it’s someone else’s choice.

Instead, it would be better to focus your time on the system that gets clients to pay you on time and in full.

Can you tweak your contract? Can you get money in different installments over time? Can you have them pay up-front?

While there may be “industry standard” payment terms, you’ve got to control what you can control.

Another example: your followers. While you can influence the success rate of getting people to follow you, you don’t have any control over each individual follower or subscriber’s decision-making ability to do so.

So rather than trying to convince people to follow you, focus on ways that you can make it easier for the right people to find you, follow you, and engage with your work.

Does This Help Me Reach My Bigger Goals?

Each of us do what we do for a reason. Maybe multiple reasons, but it often stems down to one or two main reasons that drive everything we do.

For example – the need for fame, or fortune, or control, or adventure, or contribution, or growth, or connection.

These deep needs that we all share in some amount drive everything in our creative lives.

If you’re motivated by contribution but find yourself focusing on something that’s motivated by fame or fortune, you’re not helping yourself reach the bigger, primary goal.

There are plenty of people who led lives of immense contribution and made very little money doing so, but were incredibly happy and fulfilled. They knew they were living up to their life’s mission.

On the flip side, there are countless people who are insanely wealthy, yet continue to pursue more, more, more. The will never have “enough”, because they can always look around to find someone who has something they don’t.

You’ve got to figure out what is really driving YOU in your work, and align your actions and your focus to serve that greater purpose.

Is It A Constraint?

If you’re trying to focus your efforts to fix or grow your business, you need to not only ensure that it’s something you can control, and serves the greater purpose, but to get the biggest “wins” in the shortest amount of time, you need to identify the constraints.

A constraint is something that is holding your business back from being what it could be.

Perhaps you’re an incredibly talented songwriter and musician, yet your albums only sell a few hundred copies, and you haven’t yet started making a full-time income from your art.

The constraint could be any number of things. Marketing, awareness, pricing… there’s no one answer that is true for everyone.

What you need to do is look at your business objectively and figure out where the weak links are. Then you can focus on one at a time, strengthening them so they’re now a strong part of your business.

Pick one constraint at a time, and your business will grow much faster than if you just tried to improve on your strengths.

The Superpower Is Being Able To Know The Right Place To Put Your Focus

In this whole process, there’s a superpower in being able to see what’s true. Being able to look objectively at your business, rather than just going with your gut on what to work on from day to day.

Part of this 60 Day Project was to solve one of my biggest weaknesses – awareness. Not enough people know that I exist, that I’m trying to help creatives with their businesses, and that I have the ability to do so.

Not enough people know about the app that I made over the summer specifically to help creatives find the constraints in their business.

So, I took action on something I can control. I can write and publish content and share it with people who might benefit from it.

I can improve each new post so that more people share it with others.

I can point people in the right direction through the posts to help them on their creative journey.

All of these things serve the greater goal of contribution and growth that drives my businesses. And by focusing on the biggest constraint, I’m taking conscious action to change the results I’m getting from my business.

You can do the same.