Yesterday, we discussed your business card as your landing page in the offline world. So once someone has reached your landing page in the online world – what’s the next thing you need to provide them?
An “About” page? Maybe, if they want to know more about you.
But what are you offering them?
It’s a key element of your online presence. Chris Garrett wrote a terrific (and free) ebook about it:
This is “flagship content”. It is an effective way of creating a blog using a core of content that you build around. The post, series or “message” is added to and referred to repeatedly over time, increasing the original value and relevance and also keeping it fresh.
Brian Clark calls it Cornerstone Content:
A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.
Both refer to a base that you build your message around. Often, it’s a freely offered demonstration of your expertise. And it’s as crucial to your offline pitch, as it is to your online version.
Not Your Elevator Pitch – That’s Your “About” Page
Your elevator pitch is not your flagship content. It’s your “About” page. It’s a brief overview that tells someone who you are and what you do. It’s all about you.
It’s About Them – Free Milk and a Cow
On your site or blog, your flagship content can be provided as a post, series, or set of resources that you give away to your audience to demonstrate your expertise. There are other ways to do it, but nothing beats free, valuable content.
So the idea is to do the same thing offline. Create a series of “content” that you can provide people as part of a conversation. Collect the most common issues and gripes you hear when talking to folks. Ask them what they’d like to know about, related to your field. Then give away free advice.
I knew a chiropractor who always got asked the same questions at networking functions. “You’re a chiropractor – well, I keep having this pain here in my lower back.” He used to say, “…make an appointment at my office, and we’ll have a look.” Most of the time, people walked away, and never called.
Then he changed his answer to, “Well, I can’t really diagnose you here, but something you might want to try is _____________. Then if you’re still having problems, give me a call and we’ll look into it further.”
He always made it clear that it wasn’t a formal diagnosis, but because he knew basically what the issue was, he provided some useful tips. His follow-up rate and his referrals surged.
As a designer and consultant, I did the same thing. I’d give out all kinds of free advice, usually related to the same 4 or 5 things that were commonly asked. I used those common problems to develop some “content” to offer up in conversations. This content showed:
- that I know what I’m talking about,
- that I understand their problem,
- and want to be helpful rather than just land an account.
People prefer to do business with people they like. One of the proven ways to get someone to like you is by listening, relating, and understanding their issues.
Then take it a step further. Don’t just tell them how you can help, show them.
With an archive of valuable flagship content stored in your head and ready to offer.