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Whether you’re an aspiring influencer, a freelance photographer, a start-up app developer, or anyone else selling a product or service, I want you to take a moment to think about your ideal consumer.

Where do they live? Are they male or female? How old are they? Are they single or married? Do they have kids? For extra credit, I want you to sketch out a profile around this person. Give them a name, a profession, a favorite hobby. This is your consumer persona and they’re a part of your target audience.

Now that you have your target audience nailed down, here comes the fun part and the most important part. The part that can make you––or break you.

Ask yourself: How do you get in front of your target audience?

As someone who loves TV, has worked in TV, and has produced nearly 500 TV commercials, I wish I could show TV some love, but who are we kidding? You probably don’t want to spend a few thousand dollars for a single commercial––and then pay again every time it airs. No way.

What we want is free exposure. And we want free exposure that targets our consumers and potential consumers around the clock. They could be commuting to work, sitting in their cubicle, grabbing lunch…or even laying in bed. It’s a little creepy––and it’s AWESOME because you have this totally free-of-charge strategy to get in front of your audience wherever, whenever.

That’s the power of content. You can post on platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more––and all of it is 100% free and 100% constant.

We live in an era when the average American adult spends 11 hours a day consuming media. You’ve seen those groups of people eating together at a restaurant, all with their faces buried in their phones. Sure, they could be more present, but, until they are, we, as businesses, need to accept that reality and adapt to it.

In a time when we’re constantly being bombarded by new images, new video, new sound bytes, it’s essential that our business stays at the top of our audience’s feeds. We all know the saying: out of sight, out of mind. And, it’s never been truer than ever. If you’re not talking to your consumer each and every day, morning and night, your competitor is.

So, open up your phone, and, if you haven’t already, create a free account for your business on Facebook, YouTube, or any other platform where you believe your audience is hanging out and engaging. Start learning by doing. You can take a photo, right? Then you’re a content creator and you can leverage that content to reach your ideal consumer. Be consistent, stick with it, and remember, this is possibly the most important marketing strategy that you can use in 2019.

It takes time and energy, but companies are seeing bigtime ROI’s as the integrate content creation into traditional marketing plans.

If, for some reason, you’re still not on board with this free way to reach your target audience–maybe you’re thinking, “oh, Instagram, this is a passing fad”––let me break it down with some history. Remember when you didn’t need a website? Yes, there was a time when people thought that websites were only for large corporations or tech companies…basically anybody but them. When I would advise clients to purchase a domain and create a website, I’d often hear, “Oh, we’re just a small shop! We don’t need a website.” Now, it’s the same thing, but with Facebook, Instagram, or another social platform.

My point is, content is happening, and it’s up to you to get ahead of your competition…or lag behind them.

Let’s say you’re a little late to the social media content game. Your competition has an impeccably curated profile and you’re thinking, “How am I going to catch up now?” This is when I want you to take a step back and see where you can beat them at their own game. Maybe they’re not posting as often as they should be. Maybe their feed feels disjointed. Use this as your opportunity to be the consistent brand in your industry.

Right now, we’re about to launch a 90-day content challenge for some of our lucky clients. We are going to show them that the proof is in the pudding. We are going to create content NOW because the only way to get ahead is to start.

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