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“…I’m afraid…”

It’s not the sort of answer I thought I would hear on coaching calls when I started my content marketing consulting business. Honestly, when I originally started doing strategy consulting, I thought it would be all business — ROI, conversion rates, list size and open rates.

But that’s not the case at all.

Someone once told me (I wish I could recall who!) that starting and running a business brings up all your own personal emotional crap — and that running a business successfully is like getting great therapy. And it’s true!

So much of what we do (or do not do) in our businesses is wrapped up in our own emotional STUFF — about ourselves, that dreaded “imposter complex”, our worth, whether or not people will like us, etc. etc.

I was on a call with a client last week, chatting about her launch content for a new membership site. She was feeling uncertain and out of sorts for a few reasons:

  • She hadn’t written a traditional blog post in a while, even though she considers herself a writer.
  • She was used to writing whatever struck her fancy; but now was trying to craft content with the intent of a sale.
  • She was scared to “admit” to her audience that she has something for sale — because she has rarely, if ever, asked for the sale.

I assured her all of this is much more common than you might imagine!

So I asked her an important question:

What kind of content do you love to create for your audience right now?

She lit up and told me all about her new podcast, how she’s loving producing it, people seem to be really loving listening to it, she’s getting great guests, etc.

And then I asked her another important question:

Why have you chosen to make the content to support your launch separate from your podcast?

I wasn’t trying to call her out, or even say that it should be a part of her podcast. Rather, I simply wanted to know if she had any reasoning behind it.

I’m honored to say she was deeply truthful with me about it and said:

“Because I’m afraid.”

This is so much more common than you (or she) might imagine!

So often I see that people silo their content into separate categories in their mind: this is the content for the podcast, and this content is for the blog, and this content is for Instagram, and this is for my newsletter…

And while there certainly might be goal-driven reasons for reaching different audiences with different content, more often than not, they have built these silos without strategy, without conscious thought, but rather based on some irrational fear.

And often that fear is, “This is where I give, and this is where I ask. And I can’t mix the two, because people will unsubscribe / not like me / get angry.”

In truth, if you’re creating content for a business, there should be no dividing line between the content that GIVES and the content that GETS.

Are you going to put a direct “BUY NOW” link or ask in every single blog post, podcast episode, or email? No, certainly not.

But if the content you are creating isn’t in service of getting a sale down the line, what’s the point of it?

I counseled my client (and now you!) to be bold, bring all her content into one category, and ASK MORE OFTEN.

Because the flip side of being afraid to ask for the sale, or siloing your content, was dramatically demonstrated to me this weekend as I unsubscribed from Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails LIKE A BOSS.

I wasn’t unsubscribing because I was upset that they were selling me something; I was unsubscribing from the lists I’d forgotten I’d ever subscribed to in the first place because they NEVER send me anything else!

You want my business? You’d better build a relationship with me first, right? And how are you going to do that if you keep all your juicy good GIVE content separate from your ASK content?

Answer? You’re not.