What’s worked in 2010: 5 things that have helped us grow

A quick look back before we look forward to 2011. It’s been a fascinating year and a very successful one too thankfully. Here are 5 things that have really worked for me and Valuable Content this year. I suspect they’d work for your company too:

1. Getting behind a strong message helps: I have a firm belief that valuable content sells; that this type of information should be at the heart of all good marketing today. This year I changed the positioning from a focus on me to a firm focus on the valuable content message – the website is now www.valuablecontent.co.uk; the company name is Valuable Content Ltd. It’s a promise to our customers – that’s what we’ll deliver for you – and a statement we’re proud to stand behind. It’s making a difference too in terms getting the word out there and increasing demand for our services. (Guy Kawasaki’s book The Art of the Start is very good on the subject of positioning if you are interested in this subject for your business).

2. Sharing useful content on social media gets results: We find the Blog~Twitter~LinkedIn combination to be hugely powerful – it’s helped us to grow the size of our network exponentially this year. The result has been more referrals (thank you all!), more clients and more business – and a lot of fun too.

3. There’s benefit to keeping in touch: really there is. Social media is one way to keep in contact but email is a very direct addition to this. We’ve formalised our list of contacts this year and started sending out a monthly newsletter – packing it full of tips and advice for those who sign up.  It’s another way to get our message across, provide value to those who follow us and keep us in their mind’s eye when a need for help with their content arises.

4. Putting valuable content at the heart of your website means more traffic: Up until this year I had a corporate website and a blog. The blog was pretty basic but got a lot more traffic and interest than the corporate site I’d slaved to set up! So earlier in the year I decided to make a switch: I set up this new blog-based website, leading with the articles that clients value most, with information on background, approach and services bringing up the rear. It’s worked. Traffic is up and, more importantly, leads from the website are coming in thick and fast. (Others have benefitted from this approach to – have a read of this case study on the results Ian Brodie gets from his content-rich site: Don’t underestimate the power of valuable content – a case study).

5. No woman is an island! I was a freelance content writer and consultant for 10 years until this year when, thanks to some very focused assistance from business coaches Heather Townsend and Lee Duncan, my business has taken off. It’s no longer just me and I’m loving the collaboration with talented writer and friend Sharon Tanton, with genius web designer/developer Iain Claridge, and with incredibly valuable assistance from Eli Barbary. It’s a team approach and together we are stronger.

That’s what’s worked for me in 2010. I know there’s a lot more to do. The focus for next year includes developing some real ‘cornerstone content’ – a really informative free download/ebook for our contacts, a separate business book website giving away a pile of tips to help authors make their books a reality, developing our valuable content award scheme, more case studies for the site – perhaps even some video (eek! scared of that).

For now though, it’s time to stop and enjoy the snow.

A very Happy Christmas and a really positive 2011 to you all. Thanks so much for reading this year.

How about you? What’s worked for you and your business in 2010? I’d be fascinated to hear.

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  1. Nick

    Hi Sonj- congratulations on your progress and successes through 2010. Very interesting to hear what has worked for you.

    What has worked for me has been Twittering (I believe – although hard to measure). I’m changing from a faceless directory of recommended local businesses, to being a local human being who can recommend businesses that I personally know. Twitter helps me differentiate myself from an automated website that is prone to being hijacked by fake reviews. For 2011 I want to be more disciplined making my Twitter time more productive and less of a time-waster.

    Advertising on Facebook has proved useful – since learning the tip that it’s great for ‘brand awareness’ as opposed to click-throughs. This also means it’s very cost effective if you have a simple logo and message to promote. Also v easy to target your audience.

    In 2011 I want to develop services to offer promotions for local independent restaurants – specialists who don’t have time to log into 4square or Groupon every day. I’d be very interested in any comments, suggestions, or people you think I should discuss this with.

    Wishing you and all at Valuable Content a Happy and Successful 2011. Thanks for your guidance, support, and the odd encouraging comment. It really helps when you’re working on your own. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about some collaboration…

  2. Sonja Jefferson

    Thanks Nick – for your encouragement too. Great to hear how Twitter has given you a local personality and about Facebook success too. I’ll have a think about your restaurant promotion challenge – will email. Massive amounts of good luck to you and Your Local Expert down in Sidmouth for 2011. Keep in touch. Sonja


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