My initial intention for interviewing Andrew was to discuss how a small business owner should and could go about writing a book as part of their overall marketing strategy. However, very early on in our chat, it became bleedingly obvious that quality time should be spent talking about the overall importance of creating useful, engaging content in all its forms – not just a book. So that’s what this interview is all about.
This is an interview that is a must for any small business owner who wants to stand out in their industry by become a publisher of quality information – whilst leaving the pushing of hard sell, advertising-based messages to their competition. Enjoy :0)
Oh, and the good news is, Andrew has agreed to come back for a second interview in which we focus on why every small business owner should write a book and how to painlessly go about it.
#90 How To Create Killer Content With Small Business Author, Andrew Griffiths
TIM: Andrew Griffiths, welcome to Small Business Big Marketing.
ANDREW: And a pleasure to be here Tim, absolute pleasure.
TIM: Well, great to have you along mate and we have got so much to cover because my listeners tell me that I don’t mind talking. You have the gold medal. You have the gold medal, okay?
ANDREW: Yeah. This could go for about 3 or 4 days, I would imagine. Everyone get comfortable. That’s all I’m going to say.
TIM: Correct. I’ve been known to split episodes into say, look if that happens, so be it. Mate, we’ve got lots to cover. Let’s talk, I introduced you at the start as being Australia’s most prolific small business author and you are. What do you love about small business Andrew?
ANDREW: There’s so much that I love about small business and that’s why today I still consult, I still coach, I’m still up to my arms, up to my elbows I guess in small business I think, but I do a lot of work in the corporate space as well. So, I get to kind of dabble in both worlds Tim. The thing that I love about small business and I’m so passionate about is I see people putting everything on the line that they have come up with an idea, they’ve manifest it, they’ve somehow got the money together, they’ve made it work, they’ve struggled, they’ve fallen over, they’ve got back up again, they’ve succeeded, then they’ve kind of fallen over again and succeeded. I think I just, I don’t know, whether I’m going to go out and take punishment or not but it’s that kind of serial battle. I just have so much admiration for anyone who starts a small business or buys a small business and works it and gets it to be successful in whatever shape or form that may be. I love the fact that we get to make decisions. I think that right now, in the corporate world, if you want to change something, it takes years to change anything half the time no matter how logical it is. In small business, we can change it now. If we don’t like the way something’s, change it now.
TIM: Right now. Yeah.
ANDREW: If I don’t want to do something, if I don’t want to work with someone, I can kind of say, “Look, thanks very much but I kind of don’t connect with you, don’t, we’re not on the same, I don’t know, thought wave, whatever it might be.” I can make that call. It’s my decision. I might suffer as a result of it financially but it’s my call.
TIM: I wonder where that, there’d be some small businesses out there going, “Well, yeah that’s great. I wouldn’t have the courage to do that because that’s a client one in the bags were too in the bush type thing.” However, what you did highlight at the start to me is this whole concept of courage and I’m not sure small business owners put enough weight on just how courageous we are doing what we’re doing.
ANDREW: Look, I agree. I actually think that that is the biggest point of all. It takes balls to be a small business owner. It takes amazing amount of courage to actually do that and gutsy people. And I see there’s so many people around the world that you’re looking at and they go, “How brave are you to do this? We can all stay in a cosy job and hate it and do things that we don’t really want to do and compromise ourselves or we could actually become the entrepreneur within and actually thrive by it.” And as you say, being courageous enough to kind of really embrace that side of ourselves and that’s really where my passion lies. And the courage point’s an interesting one because I thought the longer you spend in small business, the more courageous you do actually become because you do start to say, “I don’t want to work with that particular client or I don’t want to do these particular things or you start to develop as a small business owner.” I think that’s when you really start to enjoy it a lot more when you’re not kind of in fear all the time about just making ends meet, you’re actually kind of thriving a bit more and you’re actually developing your skills and you’re embracing the fact that you’re being brave and you’re making a difference and all those kind of things.
TIM: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely! I think the courage is the number one thing. And I wonder how many people look, I don’t know how many listeners I have in who are sitting in cubicles and looking at getting into small business. But, from my point of view, there has never ever been a better time to start a small business. I’ve only been on the planet for 45 years so, but looking back at how hard it was, it’s just getting easier, like the technologies, the opportunities, the ability to bring an idea to market, everything’s available, it’s cheaper and quicker than it ever was.
ANDREW: I agree. I agree. And you’re right, there are more opportunities than ever. I think one of the biggest kind of changes that I see is the fact that now you don’t actually have to leave your job to start a small business. And in the past, you really kind of have to draw a line in the sand and go, “Well, I’m either here or I’m there.” Now, that’s not necessarily all good, I might add, because I think this whole thing about, don’t burn your ships, when you burn the ships you kind of go forward, the same can be said about running a small business, if you keep one foot in both camps, maybe it’s not the best way to succeed, but it does take that element of risk out of it for a lot of people. So, if they can hold down their job, and these days many people work 3 days a week, 4 days a week, different kind of shifts somewhere else and they’ve got extra time where they can actually run an online business. How many people have online businesses with things like eBay for example, I mean, there’s millions of people that are supplementing their income simply by selling a few things that they can get a hold of through eBay. It’s quite amazing and there’s, even the micro entrepreneurs, I spend a lot of time in that space and I do a lot of research I do a lot of media work and just looking around at what great ideas are coming out of the world in different areas and even things like, I read about, in New York on Facebook, there are a lot of people, a lot families now and what they’re doing is they’re cooking up meals, they’re cooking extra and they sell the extra food that they prepare to single people who live within a few streets of where they live type of thing, and all it is for them is a way to supplement their income so that they basically they end up getting their food pretty much for free, the other single they will get home cooked meals, everyone wins and they market or sell it on Facebook.
TIM: I’m reading, sorry if the first book I mention is not one of yours, despite the fact that you’ve written every small business book there is to read and we will come to that. But I’m reading a book at the moment called The Hundred Dollar Start-Up. What’s that?
ANDREW: It’s a wonderful book.
TIM: It’s an amazing book. And it is a book that talks about, it just got case study after case study after case study of people starting microbusinesses and they’re not all online selling the eBook or selling a course or whatever it is. One guy comes to mind who’s a financial controller in a large corporation who added hours, he has this passion for booking people’s travel using their frequent flyer points. He charge us 250 bucks to book your holiday and he’s making, I think from memory, he was making like 60, 70, 80 grand outside of his corporate job doing something that he loves doing and that he’s very good at and there’s just so many examples of that.
ANDREW: But I think that that’s a game, that’s part of the ship that’s happened, is we think that don’t start a business is a bricks and mortar kind of concept whereas really the concept is now much more about being able to have a small business, a microbusiness which subsidizes your income is just as significant for people that can maybe all of a sudden, I don’t know, they can make $10,000 or $20,000 a year. It might not sound like a lot but that could be the kid’s education, it might be a great holiday every year for the family.
TIM: Lunch for you and I.
ANDREW: Lunch for you and I for maybe two days. But it is kind of like that. So many ideas around starting a business have changed. And what I see now is people not just starting one business but starting 3 or 4 businesses and that’s the interesting kind of thing to say, “Well, if I make $10,000 or $15,000 out of each business, $60,000 a year, that’s a great supplement to my income or whatever it might be and I can do it in my own kind of hours.” And I see people going back in a party plan making things, offering advice, whatever it might be, everyone else is prepared to pay for something these days and that’s the world we’re living on. I just got back from America, the ultimate consumer society where people will pay for any kind of expertise and it’s getting the same in Australia. So if you know how to do something like use frequent flyer points and book holidays, I’m going to pay someone 250 bucks to manage all of that for me in a heartbeat without a doubt.
TIM: I was thinking today I’m going to get my car service and I was thinking, “What a pain, I’m going to go out there and then I’m going to be able to weigh out a car or I’m going to have to rent a car whatever, wouldn’t be great if someone just came, picked it up, did everything for me and then I could just get on with doing what I do best and I haven’t lost the time that it would take and say there’s a business in itself, there’s so many business opportunities.” A topic potentially for another time but we’re going to drill down now mate because, as I said, we could talk for days and days. I do want to talk content with you because I think content and publishing right now is huge. It’s getting bigger as a marketing strategy for the small business owner. One of the things that I say to all my clients and anyone basically who wants to listen Andrew is that stop thinking of yourself as a pusher of information and start thinking of yourself as a publisher of content. The pusher is the one who runs the ads with the fancy sales copy and there’s a role for that. But the publisher of information is that one, who creates the useful content that brings people and customers towards you, engages them, shows that you’re helpful and encourages them or entices them to make a purchase decision within your business.
ANDREW: I think that’s a much better model to be honest Tim. I think we’re all getting a little bit more savvy. We’re all getting a little bit tired of having stuff forced down our throats and getting a thousand emails and making all these promises and very rarely delivering. That’s my approach is certainly exactly what you’re saying. I provide a lot of content whether it be in magazines, on my website, in my blog, piles and piles of stuff and people come to me for advice or for help or to do my courses programs and I’m sure that most of it is because I don’t push it down their throats. I take the approach that my best information, if I’ve got a great idea and it’s a multi-million dollar winning idea, I’ll publish it and put it out there. I don’t kind of hold all that information in and like it’s my secret stuff. To me, it’s about getting as much of that your best information as you can and getting it out into the public domain because you’re the one who benefits from it. Look at people like Seth Godin who’s blog is world famous of course and it’s one of those ones where he just writes opinion pieces, he writes, he use different ideas, there’s not a whole lot of depth, all the stuff he writes, he doesn’t need to blog, he could just do that, write another book, he sells millions and millions of books, but again, it’s about sharing your best information and not being afraid of giving it away and that’s a big issue for a lot of people, people who want to hang on to their ideas. It’s like inventors, people that invent stuff and don’t want to tell anyone about it because they’re fearful that someone is going to steal their idea. Again, I do a lot of work in that area of innovation and inventors. And I’d say far more people that have got innovation in their garage and it’s never going to make them a dollar because they’re too paranoid about telling anyone about it, at some stage, you’ve got to get it out there. Around the world, a lot of the greatest entrepreneurs that I’ve seen, the info guys who are out there doing great stuff, what they all do is they all share great information.
TIM: Give it away.
ANDREW: And they got more and they got plenty of reason but they win people over by sharing really quality information with them and I think that’s really is a great key.
TIM: How would you define content Andrew? What’s content to you?
ANDREW: Well, that’s a great question Tim. For me, I guess, content is providing, it’s a solution most of the time. That’s how I look at most of my content that I write. I spend my life talking to small business owners working with small business owners and most of the time I’m identifying what their problems are, what their challenges are, what their issues are, so most of my content is aimed at providing solutions for those problems, challenges, whatever it might be and that’s a full time role in its own kind of right when you look at it and I think that’s a real key because people was want to read opinion and all that kind, that tends to be a bit of Saturday morning over a cup of tea, most people, when it comes to small business, I think actually wants solutions, they want to know what other people are doing, they want ideas of how they can do things better, they want ideas on how they can make more money.
TIM: Absolutely! So, from the content of the content point of view, it is about solutions, I mean, how-to is one of the most searched terms in the internet.
TIM: And then the way you deliver it, really, it comes down to, I say to clients, whatever medium resonates with you because we’re talking, you can blog, you can write, you can video, you can do podcasts, whatever it is. So there’s lots of different ways of getting that content out and in fact the mix of them is best. But, I know you and I both seen and so many of us see the blockage to small businesses is going, “Oh my God, I’ve got to create content. I’ve got nothing to say. How do I say it? I don’t like writing. I don’t like the camera pointing at me.” And then all of a sudden the little bloke on the shoulder comes out and gives you every reason not to. What do you say to that?
ANDREW: Well, I agree again with you wholeheartedly. The biggest problem is that most people feel that they don’t actually have anything to say, whether that’d be written or verbal or face to camera or whatever the situation maybe. But the reality is, what we’re all looking for is someone else’s experience, someone else’s, whatever makes it unique for that other person and that’s why I think that everyone has something worth saying and everyone has a valid opinion, everyone has their own unique experience. There’s hundreds of thousands of chiropractors around the world but every single chiropractor has their own unique experiences.
TIM: Let’s do a bit of role playing.
TIM: And I don’t mean that kind of role playing. Don’t be silly.
ANDREW: My boots are being up.
TIM: Well, you did ask whether this was a video interview and whether you should get the make up on, I don’t know. But listen, role play, so you’re a chiropractor, what kind of content should you be creating if you’ve got your own views about health and well-being and spinal management, all that type of stuff, what do you do?
ANDREW: Well, I think what you talk about, first and foremost, is what are you observing in your practice right here right now and what’s going on if all of a sudden more and more people are coming in with neck issues and kind of finding out why, what’s the problem here, what’s kind of causing this or from your observation it’s because the clients that you’re treating, you’re spending more and more time working on computers. Okay. Deduce that down a little bit, what can you do then to help them solve those problems, what advice could you give them so that they come to the chiropractor less often, now I know that’s kind of intuitive for business, but that’s the reality of the information that people want, they won’t necessarily come to your list often but they will appreciate the information that you’re giving them. So what you’re doing is, I guess you’re kind of identifying more of the challenges again, what’s relevant in your world right here right now and then you’re providing a solution for people to make it a little bit easier for them to, I guess, treat themselves in some respects, but it also just had a little bit of awareness around it. Now, a chiropractor in one suburb might be experiencing this and that’s their eyes, that’s their observation, that’s their reality, but one in the next suburb along, things can be completely different, they might treat manual workers that are working outside that are doing lots of knee injuries these days. Who knows what that is related to or what’s causing that kind of problem or all of those kind of scenarios, everyone has their own individual unique experiences when they’re running a business and other people are interested in what those experiences are.
TIM: Absolutely! Absolutely! I use the phrase often when I talk about social media which is this content of social, this marketing voyeurism, but it’s exactly what you said then, we like to look over the shoulder, I was talking to a guy the other day, he happens to be a chiropractor, he was kind of going down the content creation path of the clinical stuff, this is how the spine works, the clinical information which may be interesting but it’s not as interesting as observing and reporting on anonymously what your patients are thinking and doing and feeling and experiencing because, at the end of the day, branding is about emotion, content creation is about branding, and it’s that emotional engagement that’s going to attract people, in my view.
ANDREW: Absolutely! And that’s why, any great business book that you’re going to read or any article you’re going to read or really any interview you’re going to do like this we’re going to be using anecdotes, using practical examples because I learned very early on in a writing stage and I didn’t realized that I had a particular format that I used until my publishers pointed it out to me but I used lots of anecdotes, I used lots of stories, I used lots of case studies.
TIM: You’re a master at that and it is so engaging.
ANDREW: Thank you. Thank you mate and I know that for myself it’s so true. One of my heroes of all time has been Zig Ziglar.
TIM: I think you’d say Tim Reid.
ANDREW: Well, he runs a close section with Tim Reid. Again, this sudden text and draw that he has but everything is about stories and anecdotes and anyone who’s done any kind of study in this area will tell you that we forget everything about a presentation but we remember the anecdotes, we remember the stories in books, like ideas for under $100, all books, any books that are in business, we take out of it the anecdotal story because we can put ourselves in the shoes of the person being spoken about. And really, most of the problems or challenges that any business kind of experiences or they notice their customers are experiencing, there’s a collective around that, that’s really how I started my first book, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here but I wrote about, I realized that, I ran a small business kind of marketing consulting firm in Cannes and what I found was that most small businesses at that time couldn’t actually afford a marketing consultant. So what would happen was I’d get a phone call from someone and they’ll say, “Look, I’ve got this problem but I got not money. So I can’t afford to pay you.” So I go, “Okay. Well, here’s what you need to do anyway.” And so, I got a lot of those phone calls. Obviously word got out that they just go I just give you information for free. And so I started to write these fact sheets and all of a sudden one was about how to make a business card, one was how to make a brochure, one was how to do a telephone sales call, how to do all these different bits and pieces. And one day I kind of looked up at the wall and I noticed I had 50 of these fact sheets that I would fax through to people when they rang and told me what the problem was, well, we could just fax them off and that way would help them. And I realized that most people would fitted in to those categories and I’ve covered them all and I said, if I write another 50, well I’ve got 100 there maybe I’ll write a book about 101 ways to market your business which was my first book. But it was all about solving problems.
TIM: And as you say that I’m going, first and foremost, because we talked about the fear of content creation, first and foremost, it’s like your best business is within your existing client base. Our customers, our people listening are probably sitting on and mount the content. You think about all those emails you’ve sent over the last 6 or 12 months, listeners that have answered a client problem.
TIM: And probably you’ve done it 3, 4, 5, 10 times, that same problem. It would have been interesting to just find those alone, they may be enough to write a book, they may be enough to start a blog, they may be enough to do some short FAQ videos.
ANDREW: What I do Tim, I actually keep a note in my notebook that never leaves my side, and during the week, I find that there’s generally a bit of a theme evolves in a week, like interestingly enough for me, if I just have a look at my notebook now, this week, I’ve kind of read a few articles, had a few inquiries and it’s all about people trying to do too much in their small business. So it’s like I went into a Chinese restaurant, this is actually in America, and the menu was 47 pages long, okay? This was a menu in a Chinese restaurant, 47 pages.
TIM: How long did it take you to get through that?
ANDREW: Well, I wasn’t hungry by the time I get through that which I started eating early on I would have been hungry by the time I got to the end of it. But, that whole concept of, how do you become an expert in something, are you better off to have 47 pages of various dishes or are you better off to be the number one place for the chilli crab and I obviously think it’s something latter. But I think so many of us in this situation we try and offer too much. That is a recurring theme that has come up for me in the last 7-days, time and time again. So that’s what I’m going to write my newsletter article about this week, that’s what I’m going to do some articles about this week, that’s what I’m going to do a blog post about, that’s, all around that theme, I tend to that’s how I do it, because one of the problems that people have is, okay I’m going to sit down and I’m going to start to write a blog or I’m going to do a newsletter, I’m going to do something, and then they look at a blank screen on the computer and go, “Okay. What do I do now? I’ve got nothing. I’ve got no content. Oh my God, what am I going to write about?” And of course, it’s hard to do that, whereas if you’re kind of writing notes as you’re going like, I have a little column in my notepad where I kind of ideas, I’m reading an article, just put an idea in there, and I’ll keep an Excel sheet on my computer and I’ll put all of those ideas on there” So I’ve got like hundred ideas for my next lot of articles if I need them. I’m never looking for an article idea.
TIM: It’s such a great concept you’ve just explained Andrew and the magic of that is to be aware of the fact that throughout my day I just need to have my radar on subconsciously looking for the next idea that I’m going to write or a video or do an interview about. I actually use Evernote, I’ve stepped it up from the notebook, although I do like a notebook, I love the pen and paper but…
ANDREW: You old
TIM: Yeah. Whacky guy. But, Evernote, free app for the iPhone, I have a little folder on Evernote that says ideas. I can type something in if I see an article that I’m reading in a newspaper in a café, I can take a photo of the article, put a little note about it, I can record within that folder, basically it’s a multimedia, a little sort of notepad if you like.
ANDREW: Yeah, wonderful.
TIM: Once again, you just keep coming back to that.
ANDREW: And before you note though too Tim, that’s the thing that overtime, and I keep a record, I’ve got a record of every article that I’ve ever written, every interview I’ve ever done, every blog posting obviously, anything like that. So I’ve got this spread sheet that’s got thousands of entries in it and it’s like kind of what’s the point of doing all of that, well, after a few years a lot of the stuff you can actually kind of recycle, now, you can get the article back, sure, it needs a little bit of refreshing, and maybe it’s a different slant, maybe your opinion’s changed. But, this whole concept of not having anything to say can really be eliminated just by thinking a little bit differently about it. But the most important thing is believing that what your opinion, your experiences and what you’re observing are of interest to other people. That’s the hurdle.
ANDREW: And most people really struggle to get over that and it’s a real shame because look, go back to that example of me running my little marketing company in Cannes because you and I have laughed about and chatted about. Look, I joke about the fact that really pretty much anyone in marketing could have written any of my books on particularly 121 ways to market your business, there’s absolutely nothing in there that’s revolutionary, okay? There’s nothing in there that’s going to blow people socks off. But what there is, is a 121 fantastic ideas that are going to help them to market their business for very little money.
TIM: I’m going to challenge you on that. I need to say that I’ve read 3 of your books and they’re beautifully simple conversations, right? And sometimes the simple stuff’s actually really hard to write. So, don’t be so down on yourself, number 1. Number 2, what you do and I’ve observed is you’re prolific, you’ve got to live in books and I want to understand that a bit more because I’ve got, and people could say, “Well, you’re prolific Tim in your podcasting.” Well, I don’t know. I reckon podcasting is easier than writing because you just got to have a tune way. But here’s the thing, you can’t just become prolific, there’s not an exercise, maybe there’s an exercise you can do to become prolific, but what do you say to that because I know there’s listeners here going, listener’s thinking, “Yeah. But how do I wind up the big machine?”
ANDREW: Well, I guess in some respects, it helps when you’re successful.
TIM: Well, you don’t start successful. You weren’t born with a lot of books.
ANDREW: No, you don’t but I mean, my first book and that’s a problem for a lot of people if their first book is not successful and that kind of brings their writing career to an end and that’s a whole other conversation because why a book is successful or not generally it’s not about the book, it’s generally about the marketing of the book to be really honest. There’s some fantastic books out there that have not been successful and they should have been or they’ve been successful many years later and you look at it and go, “Well, isn’t that strange how that’s worked. So for me, I’ve been very fortunate where I have been very successful as a business writer in Australia and overseas.” And so I guess, when you’ve got a publisher saying to you every year, “Hey, Andrew, can you write another book? Can you write another book? Can you write another book?” That really doesn’t spoil you and there’s nothing better for me than walking into a book shop and seeing your books on a shelf or I’ve been quite and seeing your book featured in there or signing hundreds of books that are assigning or a conference or whatever the case may be. But, what I realize and something I’ve always been, is I’ve been a very commercial writer, and for me, as much as I love the idea of books, I also look at it as a marketing tool and that was very much my philosophy from the beginning. And the way it worked was as soon as I wrote the book about marketing, got it published, I got so many marketing jobs as a result of it because I was a marketing guy, I wrote a book about customer service, next thing I’m getting all these jobs about customer service, can you do some customer service training, can you come and talk to us about customer service, etc. Wrote a book about sales, the same thing, work-life balance, if people want to, can you come and talk to 500 lawyers about how to have a work-life balance, all those kind of things. So I guess, the more I wrote the more I wanted to write and the better I got at it too. I often laugh, my first manuscript, looks like it was written by an illiterate monkey and I keep it, I’ll never ever let anyone see it. It is so bad. But I look at it and I hid it where I keep it because every once and a while when I do look at it, it just reminds me how far I’ve come and I’ve learned how to write and I wasn’t a highly educated guy or any of that kind of stuff, I just wrote the way I spoke and that resonates with people and I think it’s interesting to say, you make the point about my books are really easy to read and all that kind of stuff, like it’s a nice conversation, I’m very fortunate because it’s actually a very hard way to write.
ANDREW: It’s the only way I know how to write. So, most people try too hard and most people try and make it like Shakespeare. You’ve got to write from the heart and people will look beyond a bit of grammar that’s not, look, I’m still not a very good speller, I still make grammar mistakes and every once and a while I get an email from someone going, “Well, you’re a best-selling author. How come you use that word instead of that word? You should have used an apostrophe there.” and you kind of go, “Well, okay fair enough.”
TIM: You got me. You got me.
ANDREW: The grammar and spelling at least everywhere, in other ways have a bit of a cheeky retort kind of thing. I was so busy selling hundreds of thousands of books to actually correct the grammar.
TIM: Listeners, we’re talking to Andrew Griffiths, Australia’s most prolific small business author he’s got 11 books in 50 countries. Now Andrew, one of the things that, what we were and I’m doing this on the hop because I know we have an amount of time, you’ve got to go and give a talk and it’s not as if we do want to have a 3 hour interview. I just still have some questions around content and I just think it’s such an important topic. Would you be happy to come back at some point and we just focus in on writing a book as a marketing strategy?
ANDREW: Absolutely! I would love to.
TIM: That’s very, very kind. So, I know, because the other thing too is I posted on the show’s Facebook page yesterday the fact that I was going to interview you and I’ve got a number of people who’ve come back with specific questions around writing a book. And so, we’re going to cover that, listeners, down the track, not a lot long down the track, but down the track. With content, one of the things that I say and I’d love to get your point of view on this is that when you create content, so what you said before is that, you talked about this content of niching, you might be a chiropractor but you might niche it down to a chiropractor who’s a specialist in addressing back problems that have resulted from too much desk work, right? As you niche down, you could argue that you have, it’s harder to find stuff to say because you’ve got a smaller subject which I’m not sure whether that’s true or not but my question is, you’ve got to get the brief right in your own mind as to what it is you are going to create content around, is that true?
ANDREW: I think so and I think it’s also good if you’ve got a bit of a framework that you use when you’re writing your content. For example for me, when I’m writing either an article or even a chapter in my book, whatever it might be, the format that I tend to use is I start by stating what the problem is, then I illustrate it with an example or an anecdotal story about the particular problem then I provide a solution, by doing this you can overcome this, then I explain how you actually implement that solution, then I provide an anecdote again about how someone did this and what the end result was and then I close with a nice, inspirational kind of, you can do it kind of a message. And that’s a very simple kind of framework that then you can kind of apply to anything. But I think, coming back to that point, as you say, as you niche down, most people kind of worry about just how much content can I actually find or like I’m going to run out of stuff to say. And the reality is that the best place to get content and great content from or ideas is really just talking to your customers, talking to your clients. I think that’s such a powerful source of information, even that blog here, what you mentioned earlier on, Tim, about posting some questions on Facebook and seeing the questions that people have come back with, give it a couple of days and there’ll be a pile of them.
TIM: I’ve literally got, in that one little post alone which was less than 24 hours ago, I have got, there’s probably 15 questions there that would, each would be an article.
ANDREW: Absolutely! And that’s the exact point is that there are so many sources of information, different ideas, I find again you just talk to someone. Now, using the chiropractor analogy, okay, if a chiropractor is talking to a few of people, okay, you’ve got a sore neck. Tell me what kind of work you do. Okay. Well, I do this, so explain your daily process, how you do, okay, what do you do, where do you sit, where do you work, etc. Well, that’s just one person but adds on those other people like them in a similar situation so you can write an article about that person and that kind of work, someone else comes in with a sore neck, okay it’s a similar problem but it’s not exactly the same, okay there’s more information that can be given to help other people with a similar problem that is not identical but it’s manifest with the same kind of symptoms. I think again, it keeps coming back to this, hunting for information to provide answers and being prepared to just generally discuss ideas, put your own thoughts out there, give your own opinions, in my opinion, more people are having neck problem, they’re not spending the time to adjust their desk, their chair, their computer correctly, they’re not taking an hour break or a 15 minute break in each hour, etc. etc. Now, in between those two topics, there’s probably 20 articles.
TIM: Yep. Yep.
ANDREW: If you really break them all down. Everyone one hour, my dog is wonderfully well trained at home. At 15 minutes, she comes in with a toy and lets me know that it’s time to play for 10 minutes.
ANDREW: So this is wonderful. I’ve got to get up, go and play with the dog for 10 minutes and then I go back to writing and she goes back under the desk. Soaks for another 15 minutes, comes up, I hear the squeak-squeak of the rubber ball, 15 minutes is up. So, I’m not sure who’s got who trained I might add.
TIM: You’re exactly right.
ANDREW: But you know what I mean. Every industry, I’ve yet to know an industry and another really exciting point about all of this is that people really want to know about the small business and this is the greatest form of engagement and to me the greatest marketing opportunity we’ve got. We underestimate this, who really cares about my small business. Tim, there are people out there that are fascinated about how you podcast, how do you plan, how do you prepare for it, how do you use that as questions, we don’t, as much as we joke around and say we just get on and have a chat, you’re very structured, you’re very professional, you’re planned, we’ve worked this in advance over a period of time, the whole thing, it was very, very professional.
TIM: Thank you.
ANDREW: That’s really intriguing for people as well. How do you do that stuff? How do you write a book? How do you do those things? How does a cupcake shop, how do you come up with new ideas for cupcakes?
TIM: Absolutely! In fact, just last night, just last night, what happened last night, like a guy came through on me in Facebook and said, tell me how’s your marketing coaching going, I provide a market coaching service, you ask me how’s it going, am I telling him how it’s going. He said, “I’d be really interested.” I said, “Do you want some marketing coaching?” He said, “No, I have an SEO business and I’d be really interested in you teaching me how you go about marketing coaching.” Because he wants to up the ante on his SEO service, make better offers, whatever he wants to do and I don’t know. I think the message here Andrew is we are sitting on a mountain of content already. It’s not as if you’re going to have to sit there with a white canvas and create from scratch. The other thing I think we need to talk about is the fact that it doesn’t have to come from you.
TIM: I’m getting often now notes from people saying, “Can I do a guest post on your blog? Can you interview me? Can I do this? Can I do that?” They’re all offering to create content. Once again, I don’t get many people saying no to an interview. I don’t get many, and it’s not because, well I want to be on Small Business Big Marketing, it’s because people want to share content.
ANDREW: Absolutely! There’s a lot of people that have got a lot of stuff to say. And really, when it comes to marketing these days which is really kind of where we started off I guest in some respects and they’re passionate about small businesses is if you can provide content and you can talk about what you do, your experiences, your observations, etc. You’ve got this wonderful marketing machine, you’ve got thousands and thousands of people that listen to your interviews Tim. So, anyone who gets an interview with you is very fortunate in getting their message out to a whole pile of people. Now, the reality though is exactly, as you said though, is if you, it’s great to have quality people approaching you, because again, it helps you with content, makes it interesting, a different perspective, every media is the same, you can’t have a newspaper without content, can’t have a radio show without content, can’t have a TV show, can’t have blogs, generally blogs, you need information. And when you think about it, all these valid opinions and views and ideas, there are so many medias, so many ways to get that information out there now, it blows me away, just in small business kind of information and advice, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of avenues for people to get out there for free in Australia alone.
TIM: Absolutely! That’s a really interesting point. And it’s a mind-set. It’s like, yeah, but where’s my content going to go, just on my website? And the answer’s no. I mean, the reality is and we started talking at the start where there’s never been a better time to start a small business. Well, here’s another reason why. The reason is that there’s so many places that people are looking for content. Like, 20 years ago, in Australia, there were 5 TV channels and it was like with newspapers.
ANDREW: With newspapers and Ellen Jones.
TIM: You’re exactly right.
ANDREW: I’m talking about the 1930’s of course. But you’re right. But now of course there’s so many different mediums. But with my clients that I’ve done work with, one of my strategy has always been to contact local newspaper or local radio show, any blogs, just write to them, send them a great brief about who you are, what you do, what your successes are, what you can talk about and even a sample article or sample blog post and send it through, what have you got to lose? Now, I’ve had people that have ended up getting feature articles in the Australian, in in-flight magazines, on TV programs, on major blogs, all these other type of things simply because they contacted the editor, they rang the person that own the media or emailed you Tim and said, “Hey, I’ve got this idea, can I talk to you about?” People think that it’s only folks perhaps like me that I say that are published authors and you’ve got a bit of a profile and you think, “Well, it’s only people like that that can get media exposure.” The truth is, that ain’t the truth.
ANDREW: Anyone who’s got a great idea or a great story, there is a media somewhere that we’ll kind of want to read about it and you never know what happens from there. It’s been one of my strategies that spread my business to an international level simply by again pursuing that writing articles, by doing interviews whenever I can and again but doing them really well, being really well prepared, making sure that I’m very professional in what I do and make sure that my articles are interesting and current and not just all recycled stuff.
TIM: Just to finish up, because I know you’ve got to go and we will come back and as I said have that publishing discussion.
ANDREW: I would love to, yeah.
TIM: But one of the things, the other thing that content does, and hopefully by now listeners we have convinced you, we’ve now had you in a 40 minute head lock of saying, “You will create content.”
TIM: Immediately, yeah exactly right, I want it in by the end of the day. But, it’s how important it is. And one of the things that I find too, when you do start creating it, I’ll give you an example, with my marketing coaching, I do this, a discovery call, where I see if I could help that person’s business and they see whether they’d like to work with me. I had one a couple of days ago and the guy had a couple of questions and I’m going, “I have done an interview or written a blog post, in fact it was one of each, that answers that question, I interviewed a guy just the other day who’s done what you want to do and I’ve written a blog post as a result of that interview.” So, I said, “Thanks for the great call. I hope you want to work with me. Feel free to ask me any questions. But, in the meantime, I’m going to flick you this content that I’ve created, that decision’s you, if he’s speaking to 3 marketing coaches, guess which one’s going to have the upper hand.
ANDREW: Absolutely! Absolutely! And again, to be able to leverage what you’ve written, even again, I mentioned cupcakes earlier on, I remember there’s this great story, there’s a cupcake shop in Sydney that got a ton of exposure when cupcakes were first starting, they ended up just luckily being in every magazine in every way you can possibly imagine and it all started from the lady that own the cupcake business actually writing to one of the local lifestyle magazines and sending them a whole pile of free cupcakes and the next thing you know, another magazine, another blog, then it was TV, then all the rest was build her business to incredible levels simply by being brave enough to make a phone call, simply by being brave enough to have a bit of a go and being proud of what you do. This is another one of those key linchpins in the whole concept Tim about, I guess, being brave enough and believing in yourself enough to say, “Well, what I do, I do really, really well. I’m proud of what I do.” And then being brave enough to tell other people about it and to realize that no two businesses run alike regardless of what they are. And I guess when you can point out the differences or what you’ve learned along the way, that’s what makes it different, I mean, I remember reading this great story about a taxi driver in, I think it was Dallas Fort Worth and this guy is incredible like if you get into this guy’s taxi and it’s supper air-conditioned, it’s spotlessly clean, it’s got a little mini bar in the back with water in it for the passengers. He takes them on a tour to wherever they go or just a direct trip whatever they kind of want but he’s legendary and of course this guy charges more than everyone else, he’s famous, he’s been on TV shows, all the rest of it. But, he drives a taxi and his view as though that he’s the best taxi driver in America and that’s what his aspiration is. Now, he’s been at the Letterman Show, this guy is amazing because of what he does, his attitude about it, and again, that’s the part that people want to hear, they want to know how do you do it differently, why are you so passionate, all of those kind of things, I mean, we all have ups and downs in business and we don’t want to hear so much about the downs, we want to hear about the ups, we need the ups, we need to be inspired by other people. And again, sharing your content is not just a great marketing tool, it’s a great way of, I think maybe realizing to yourself that you actually do know a lot of stuff because I think we don’t really know that. It’s like writing a book. You’re writing a book, you write 60,000 words on a topic and you go, “I can’t believe how much I know about that topic.” For me, now as you know, part of my business, large part of my business is teaching people how to write books. Now, I had no idea there was a business in that, I had no idea at all. But, when I was asked to do some lectures on it, do some talks, do some key note presentations, all of a sudden, when I had to write out my scope, what I was going to talk about, I realized, “Wow! I actually know a lot of stuff about this.”
ANDREW: I’ve got whole new businesses that I started which is now going to be taken into America, into the UK, all the rest of it, and I had no idea I even had a business there on this particular topic. So, there are many good things that come out of writing content is what I’m trying to say.
TIM: As an action, listeners, what Andrew just said, I encourage you to go and white board, big piece of butcher’s paper or mind map, in the middle, put a topic that you would love, that you think you know a bit about, not a whole lot, just you think, what I know a fair bit about such and such, and then off that, just draw a little voice balloons, voice bubbles, whatever it is circles that actually, almost chapters of a book. Now, this is not a lesson on how to write a book but this is like, off the back of that, like each one of those chapters, then what do you say within them and all of a sudden you’ll be surprised. I have no doubt there’ll be 10, 20, 30 little subheads, each of which could be a blog post or an interview or something that will allow you to create content, share it with the world. Hey, Andrew Griffiths, you are a very good bloke.
ANDREW: Thank you Tim. It’s really nice.
TIM: Well, I’ve been really looking forward to having you on the show and I know our listeners are just going to get very excited by the content. It’s a drum snare that you have just shared and I want to get back, listen, I’m going to put a whole lot of links to Andrew’s books in the show notes for episode 90 of Small Business Big Marketing, a couple which I just employ you around one which is about small business, it’s called the Big Book of Small Business which is his most recent, the other one is called the Me Myth and it’ll bring it to you to a glass eye and I’ll give it to you now because I’ll tell you what, it is a very honest book of Andrew’s life and with some wonderful learning’s for all of us. So, I want to thank you for that book just on air Andrew.
ANDREW: You’re most welcome Tim. You’re most welcome.
TIM: It’s a very special book. So mate, have a rippingly good day and I’m excited about the fact that you’re going to come back and we are going to talk about writing a book and why it’s such a great marketing strategy for the small business in the weeks to come.
ANDREW: Lovely! And I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you, to talk to your listeners and your fans as well and for me to be able to connect and communicate directly with people like this and this environment and to, I might tag you on for my business as any jazzing entrepreneurs globally and that’s really what I aim to do and this is again a great way for me to do that. So, Tim I’ll come on and do, talk to you as often as you want me to.
TIM: Wow! Thank you mate! I must change my tagline because mine’s currently eat more donuts. But, yours is much more strategic. Thanks Andrew!
ANDREW: Take care mate!
TIM: See you! Love it mate! Thank you.