Content Marketing: 2 years on

About this time last year I wrote an article about my first year in CMA and my Content Marketing journey. Now, before we go any further. I’m not talking about SHIT Content, I’m talking seriously good looking content.

SHIT Content Definition: –

Usually a concept derived by people who think they know, but don’t. These people harper after the past, believing shouting at your customers will get their attention – oh and especially if you talk all about how amazing you are. They love that in SHIT content world.

“Oooh look at us and all the boring crap we’ve been up to – oh while you’re reading – we’ve a really amazing rip you off offer you don’t even need, why won’t you buy from us? Why?? Why??”

Also – now, this is something I’ve started to realise over time. People with SHIT content typically have a shit product or service too. This is because they don’t truly believe what they offer is of value and/or they don’t believe in themselves.

Okay, so – the flip side… Seriously good looking Content Marketing. Where to start. It’s been mental.

Best place I think is last years CMA conference. The month before, I had written an Article to tell of the figures achieved in my first year, through the lessons taught by Chris. He’s like this mystical creation of Teacher/Curator/Speaker/DeadSexyGay (yes gay, back off) all rolled into one.

The first year was a piece of piss for me. I’ve no competition in my industry. It’s like I could do SHIT content and I’d still win. The Shed makers of Scotland are 10 a penny, but I’m 3 times the market value… So what’s the craic? Well let’s see shall we?

The conference is where I met the ShaefDawg Mark Schaefer

ShaefDawg’s message was solid. Alpha Audience at the core. Elevating your audience, respecting them and giving them something back. This became the the fire that fuelled my blogs, my videos and my go to answer for every time I hit the keyboard in reply to my customers.

I stopped fucking about and made decisions about my product, my service and everything in between that actually helped my customers to make their buying choice.

Note: I say CHOICE. Yeah that’s right SHIT content world, there is a choice.

Aided by the legend that is Marcus Sheridan I honed in on the content that most shy away from. I talked about stuff that the industry doesn’t want to talk about. More specifically this piece.

What is Content Marketing?

Aw check out our happy faces!

Why our Garages don’t leak!

This piece of content and the blog that went along with it, is the sole reason we sell timber Garages that cost 3 times more than anyone else. In fact today, I sold a Garage and a Shed from this video and my welcome email subscription. Here’s a snippet of that while I’m at it.

This is the email a beautifully professional couple (yes, professionals) couldn’t wait to tell me about as they confirmed on their order.

Nae bad right?

Next up we’ve got Hanner’s; Annabella Hanners Handley. Or Ann for short. This lady. Fuck. Where do I even begin. I read her book Everybody Writes  back in first year. A comforting and inspiring read for a dyslexic – respect held. Although on first meet – I was expecting Ann to be more… Well… I’m not going to lie – hard faced. How wrong I was. Ann is cool as fuck. I love everything about her and we’ll talk about that later.

At the CMA conference last year, Ann taught us about being BIGGER, BRAVER, BOLDER! This is quite the perfect potion for Linkedin actually.

People have had doubts over my authenticity (Jesus that word makes me want to be sick in my mouth… Authenticity? Aye alright dickhead) Before Ann I assumed, as many do, that when speaking to a specific audience you tailor your tone to suit. But in fact going back to Marks lessons – I rarely get ragey and sweary in my Shed related content, because it’s not my customers fault other companies use SHIT FUCKING WOOD – so swearing isn’t natural in that context.

Lets be clear. Ann wasn’t teaching me to swear, she was teaching me to expose what people see/hear/feel in real life.

I am Cara, I am a strong, confident, beautiful woman, who has achieved a great deal in her 30 years and above all I am happy.

This is the message I express in my videos and my blogs. This one right here in fact, I’m writing at 10pm on a Wednesday, listening to Punk Rock, drinking a wee (big) Prosecco and congratulating myself on an almighty business win.

So what Ann inspired, content do I have I wonder… A couple of pieces come to mind. Anything close to my heart is a winner; Kids, Marriage, Family Business… They’re all party to the lessons taught by Ann but more frequently it’s just; how I go to market, how I deal with customers, how I treat them as friends, as myself. I suppose the biggest article is of course.

How To: Fucking Work From Home

Because of the viral sensation – I had to go and speak to 80 students and explain why it’s okay not to give a fuck about what people think. I also tell them how much money this one article generated and what to do when a troll insults you online.

Ann was so proud of me. She bought me flowers, champagne – came to Scotland to personally congratulate me and said she’d buy me an apartment in Boston next fall… Or maybe she wrote this instead.

Heart you 4Ev’s Ann.

Let’s get back to business shall we?

I’ve just finished my first 12 months of being MD – there have been tears, tantrums crushing lows and almighty highs along the way. But finally, just in this last week I can say, I am winning. In my leadership article I tell you about all the shit – you can read that here if you like, or you can rubber that and we’ll carry on yeah?

The trouble with leadership

Money talks.

Being April we’re another financial year in. So the figures are fresh. Looking at Annual revenue alone I can categorically say without a shadow of a doubt, content marketing has generated our business a 41% increase in annual revenue. Now remember I haven’t PAID for any traditional advertising. This is all me and the content. Just the normal chat I give out everyday, on blog or video – done. Educating. Get it?

Drops mic – walks off stage – article done.

Not quite! What does that type of return look like? How did you do it?

With great fucking difficulty. I swear if I hadn’t had all the other pish going on I’d have doubled that figure. There is one thing for sure and certain, consistency is key.

As proud as I am – I know, I dropped off at the end of last year – it’s hard to stay “thumbs up Mackay” when your personal life is in absolute disarray…

And despite loosing almost 75% of sales in the final quarter, we scraped through – I grafted hard, Christmas cancelled, sciatica, a cracking email campaign, a last minute winter event and some personal investment. Not to mention some seriously much needed support from amazing friends.

And I guess this is where it becomes really important.

I can’t write my blogs without being inspired by the people around me or held accountable by the two business women in my life (Pam and V). I can’t make amazing videos without Radlad, I can’t have a shit hot, website, brand and image without Col, I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for that Chris and I know I wouldn’t want to be here if it wasn’t for my Dad, Grant and all my team.

Far too emotional Ca. Lets get back to Content Marketing!

Nah fuck that for a minute.

Lets talk about Rod McMillan. Male influence has always been a massive part of my life. Good and bad. Chris introduced me to Rod just before the conference and again at Marcus’s world class communications workshop. Sadly or probably, just as well, we didn’t really get a chance to connect properly. It wasn’t until after CMA 2016 Rod and I got INVOLVED. I wasn’t nervous – And rightly so. This man is something special.

Rod believed in me and my dreams of taking my Sheds and showing them the world. We took a dander through my plans, made dreams become realisations and he helped me understand exactly what it would take to really make this shit work.

Rod elevated me. Without ask or expectation. Rod did what a real man, a real established business man should – he supported me, stepped back and watched me grow.

You’ll make me greet. Thank you Rod – for all that you are.

Okay so November. It’s dark, cold and full of crushed hope. Not quite. I won awards, a boyfriend and got to travel! Nae bad.

Boston was where it was at BAYBAY. I went to Inbound. It’s a pretty big deal, and I got to go with my best friend. We hung out with all the seriously fucking cool kids.

One of my best memories was RUNNING (WTF) to catch Amy and Vincenzo before their flight because well, Amy Schmittauer really fucking impressed me in the Summer with her 30 Days to perfect Vlogging and then again when her and Sarah became my BFF’s at the conference. Being with people that just get it, is so much fun. It’s amazing. It’s a happy fucking place to be.

But… Being there in that different world also made me question my own life, business and personal. Doubt about Sheds, about what I was doing and if it was the right path for me…

I mean I’m in a Pent House with Ann fucking Hanners Handley in Boston drinking champagne with the man of my dreams?

What I learnt from Inbound is that the majority of Marketers are talking shite.

Luckily for me I was well connected. Spending quality time with real Content Marketing GODS, opened my eyes to what the fuck we’re all doing here?!

And in the main, for me it is to love the people around me, appreciate them, value them and to be loved back.

Forget the rest! Forget the amazing website traffic, [25,000 visitors a month, average session 3minutes and 3pages, 58% bounce rate…] the engagement [out of this world FB customer community, raving fans and #ShedLife] , the sales [smashing monthly targets by at least 25% month on month] the ‘how do you do this’ [fucking listen, learn and just fucking do it] and concentrate on WHY you do it. I promise you all the other stuff comes with it.

Remembering who you are and what makes you, you even if you’re not 100% sure who that miserable bitchface is yet… Is the most important person in your life.

Here’s me and Duncy Babes – He’s my little brother and I know one day I’ll walk away with a full heart and the belief in him (and Dom) that the company, G&M, is safe.

The Sheds are me and I am The Sheds.

You have the choice to be everything you want. Fucking take it before you owe it.

Peace out. x