A class can help you better target customers, but choose the right training
Elaine Pofeldt is a journalist whose articles on entrepreneurship and careers have appeared in Fortune, Working Mother, Money and many other publications. She is a former senior editor at Fortune Small Business magazine and an entrepreneur herself, as co-founder of 200kfreelancer.com. Her book, “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business,” was released in 2018. She writes “Your Business Credit,” a weekly column about small business and credit, for CreditCards.com.
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Dear Your Business Credit,
I run a one-person professional services business and know I need to create a content strategy program. A friend recommended I take an online course in content writing and SEO. It costs $2,000 – money I don’t have at the moment. I have a good feeling about the course. I think it would help me bring in more of my ideal customers if I knew how to post content that would attract them. Thoughts? – Eli
You’re thinking along the right lines. Content marketing is a great way to attract ideal clients. However, I don’t recommend you take the course yet.
Determine which content works best for your business
One thing you don’t know now is which type of content is best for attracting your ideal clients. The course you mention is on content writing, but it’s possible that video or audio content may be more effective for you. If that is the case, you may benefit more from a course in creating that type of content.
Or it’s possible that some other way of sharing content, like speaking in panel discussions, is a better way to get your message out, in which case your money might be better invested in getting help from a speaking coach.
So how do you know what type of content to focus on first? No matter what your industry, the best way to find out is by experimenting.
It’s possible to hire freelancers (through Upwork, Freelancer or PeoplePerHour) for a low cost to create sample written, video or audio content so you can test what gets a response.
Roll out the content one piece at a time on your website and track how well it does when you post it on social media, in terms of engagement and shares, and more important, whether it brings in any business leads that convert to new business.
Tip: If after three to six months you don’t get any business through your published content, it’s possible that is not the most effective form of marketing for you. Maybe other types of information sharing, such as giving talks or seminars, are more important to the growth of your business.
Knowing what type of content works for you will take some of the risk out of the equation in investing time and money in an online course. If you do find out that blogs attract new business, then it could be worth it to put $2,000 on your credit card. If your average sale is several hundred dollars, for instance, the course would pay for itself after just several customers.
See related: Should I go into credit card debt to change careers?
Think like a CEO: Who should produce the content?
Before you break out your credit card to pay for a course, consider whether you have the time to produce the content yourself. Many companies start blogs and then abandon them, because of lack of time.
It’s possible that due to time constraints, it would be smarter to invest in hiring a freelancer to create it and focus your time on something else, such as meeting with enterprise clients.
Even in a one-person business, you’ve got to think like a CEO and stay focused on the activities it takes to grow the company to the next level of revenue.
See related: Best small-business credit cards
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