Everything I do is all about conversation mastery, if you’ve heard me speak before you will know that I’ve talked about conversation mastery before, conversation mastery is at the core of what we’re about.
Let me explain, in 1999 a book was released called the Cluetrain manifesto and it sought to tell people how the internet was going to change business. It was a collection of 95 theses by three luminaries of the internet, some people who’d really fundamentally, structurally helped bring the web into being as we know it, beyond just what Tim Berners-Lee had created for us.
The first thesis in the Cluetrain manifesto was markets are conversations, and I still remember what I was doing and where I was when I first heard it – markets are conversations. It was such an earth-shattering thing to hear for a marketer like me, I couldn’t process anything else for a few days, I became obsessed with the phrase markets are conversations.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense, your marketplace is talking 24/7 365 about what you do and how you help them and what their outcomes are and what their desires are. It may not be in your immediate vicinity, it could be that they’re talking about it somewhere around the world, it could be that they’re talking about it in a small group that you’re not aware of, but I would guarantee that someone is talking about what your company does at any moment during the day – that is your market.
Even if you think you’re a local business, you’re a global business. Anyone can use anyone anywhere in the world, that’s the state of play. Every one of us right now from this point on is a global business. I don’t care if you’re a plumber, I don’t care if you’re a lawyer, I don’t care if you are a carpenter, or a gardener. Anyone can use your services or inquire to use your services for someone that’s local to you. That’s the way the world works now.
So your marketplace, your conversation is happening all the time that’s a given.
If markets are conversations then we need to master the conversation. We need to make sure that we are in the marketplace, doing what is required of us, giving the marketplace the information it needs to make great decisions.
What I do is I help my clients become masters of the conversation. What that does is it puts them in the middle of their marketplace, it puts them slap-bang in the middle of the conversation that their marketplace is having. It doesn’t do it from a sales perspective, of course it couldn’t do it from a sales perspective, it does it from the perspective of serving and delivering information.
Some of you will know who Matt Elwell is and he always talks brilliantly about the difference between serving and selling. That’s what you do in your marketplace you talk about serving, you talk about things that your marketplace are going to feel are valuable, you don’t just smash into the middle of the marketplace and start selling – that doesn’t work, that burns lots of relationship opportunities it doesn’t build relationships.
So I focus on conversation mastery for myself, for my businesses and for my clients. And this is how I do it.
There’s effectively three steps.
The first step is we have to build what we call the brand pyramid. The brand pyramid is the brand architecture that helps you get clarity over your brand, so that in any medium, in any situation towards any prospective group in your marketplace you are talking about the same things consistently with the same messaging in the same words. And the reason why that’s important of course is because if you are not consistent, your marketplace won’t recognize you and recognition and familiarity breeds commerce. Ultimately you go to McDonald’s because you know what you’re going to get there, every time is going to be the same. It may not be the highest quality hamburger in the world, but you’re not interested in quality, you’re interested in consistency.
That’s the key thing about brand pyramids, you have to be consistent in all your messaging and brand.
The next part that we talk through is content strategy, once you’ve got a consistent brand and what comes out from the base of the brand pyramid is the content core. And we build the content core, which are three key words, we build those three key words upon which your business rests, those three key words are biblical in nature if you like, they are absolutely fundamental and 99% of what you talk about in any medium should align under one of those three content core.
Next we build that content core out into a grid of 365 topics that you can reference into articles, social posts, email marketing, event signage, whatever it is you need to do with your marketing, we make it really easy. So we’ve turned brand pyramid into content strategy.
Once we’ve got brand pyramid and content strategy, we then create campaigns on the basis of it. We then know what we need to talk about, we know our marketplace and we know what they care about. And if we look in the middle of that Venn diagram this is what we want to talk about, this is what they want to talk about, we will find in the middle the campaign strategy to talk to our market about things they want to talk about. And then its operational, then it’s about where are we going to talk to them about it and how we gonna talk to them about it and in what fashion and how will they want to do it.
So ultimately and that’s what we do to create conversation mastery for clients.
If you’re not a conversation master, if you’re not at the middle of your marketplace, commanding respect and authority from people in your space, if you’re not speaking at events telling your peers how to do things and showing your marketplace how it’s done, if you’re not in demand to be in the middle of your marketplace – you’re not mastering your conversation. If you’re not mastering your conversation then you are not mastering your market, and that means you will make less money. It’s that simple. All of this stuff I talk about relates back to making more money, because that’s what a business is about.
Ultimately conversation mastery makes money.