Finding the sweet spot

Thanks to the folks who kindly shared out my “Disconnect to reconnect” getting unplugged post from last week.  Who knew recommending exactly the opposite of what you are doing right now would be such a hit? I have to say for a post I rattled off quite quickly, desperately in need of a recharge myself, it was lovely to see I was not alone in my need to disconnect and recharge.

I’ve been up the coast at our cabin this week trying to stay off line. I haven’t posted, liked or actively engaged but I’ll admit to occasionally “lurking” as of this weekend. It’s really hard to unplug! My son is off competing in Europe on the IDF longboard race circuit, so he’s my excuse for wandering back online. It’s what proud Mom’s do I’m afraid. He is doing exceptionally well and looks to be enjoying him self. What more could we wish for?

So on to this weeks content…

I’m a big fan of Joe Pulizzi’s work through the Content Marketing Institute. In addition to being an awesome guy that I connected with at the Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, the model which Joe uses for his extremely successful website and media properties, I think deserves the attention of any aspiring entrepreneur. Joe basically advocates that you build an audience first and then find ways to monetize the audience once you’ve reached a viable size. It’s completely backwards to what most marketing consultants, University profs (and textbooks!) will tell you, which is to create your product or service for a particular target audience and need, and then go about leveraging media to reach that audience.

While his book Content Inc goes into the details of building that audience, at the core is a process for finding your sweet spot first that your audience will be built around, and then engaging a content tilt that ensures your material is different from everything else out there, thus giving you a unique offering and something to build a business around.

At the heart of the sweet spot is the intersection of knowledge/skill and passion. Have you ever thought of your business offering from that perspective? What is your particular knowledge area or unique skill set? And how does that intersect with something you are passionate about? For my particular business, the knowledge area is marketing and media, and the passion is in writing and teaching. My weekly e-newsletter and this blog and much of the consulting, teaching and speaking work I do is right in that sweet spot.

But next comes the content tilt.

The tilt is where you take that sweet spot and niche the topic, the audience, or in some way do things differently from others already in that category. Tilting your content allows you to not fade into the rest of the clutter out there. Finding a unique tilt is not easy, but it’s where the magic happens. Here is an example:

Knowledge: baking
Passion: teaching and instruction
(Up until that point there are lots of offerings out there that can teach about baking). But then comes the tilt…

The tilt: impossible food creations
(This is where someone might teach about making life sized Gummy Bears, a tub sized Mars Bar, or a layer cake that cuts to look like Twitter or Instagram icons)

I’ll freely admit I’m still working on refining my content tilt. For awhile I thought it was around defining more tightly marketing content areas to cover or an audience I would target, but lately I’m coming back to the tilt simply being “approachable authenticity” and being personable. To me there are so many “marketing experts” out there delivering advice, but they all seem so, well – expert, and unapproachable. They tell you what to do based on a persona of being incredibly successful. They puff themselves up on social media – a lot. And it all seems so shallow. Is it just me, or have you noticed a plethora of folks showing up in your Facebook sponsored content feed promising to solve all your life problems, marketing included? I’ve been told by many that my 5-Minute Marketing posts and enewsletters offer not only useful tips, but seem personable, like a conversation with a friend over coffee. In fact the one week that I messed up scheduling the time out as PM rather then AM, the delay caused my email in box to be flooded with replies that morning with, “Where is the newsletter?” That’s when I realized it had become part of a Sunday morning ritual for many.  Someone else also recently said, “When I read your posts, I can hear your voice.” Others, sometimes disarmingly, ask about family or my travels, since I often reference these details in weekly posts. This has all lead to the realization that perhaps the “approachable authenticity” IN THE WAY MARKETING TIPS ARE DELIVERED is my content tilt. Chris Brogan, another thought leader I have a ton of time for, has farmed a hokey authentic communication style – but there are very few out there doing it with regular commitment. Maybe the content tilt has been staring me in the face, and I didn’t even recognize it!

So while this post is about finding your content marketing sweet spot, what it’s really about is challenging you to then find your “content tilt”. Being vulnerable and sharing is the first step in figuring this stuff out, so if you’re ready to jump in and share your tilt, I promise I will respond back with some thoughtful input, based on what you’ve told me about your business model. Think of it as free consulting – over coffee of course. I’m drinking mine black these days, keeping things simple I suppose. You? Post up a comment at the bottom or email me directly at if you prefer. Thanks to the folks who already shared their thoughts on this by email during our Sunday morning one-on-one e-news consulting feedback time. If you want to join that inner circle, link HERE to subscribe.

Thanks again for joining us each week – by blog post or by e-newsletter. It’s an honour to have you here. And thanks to those who regularly share 5-Minute Marketing content. If you know someone who would benefit receiving these tips weekly, forward this to them and suggest they follow the blog or subscribe to my e-newsletter.

Until next week. Find your sweet spot, then make it tilt.

Mary Charleson

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