SRA Books – embedding content marketing as a growth strategy via Pub School
Sue Richardson, founder, SRA Books
Pub School Graduate 2016
A Valuable Content Customer Story
Sue Richardson, owner of SRA Books, knew that marketing her publishing company by sharing valuable content would help her grow. But where should she start? And how would she make time? Here’s her story.
Sue’s business challenge
“My main challenge was about finding the time to do marketing properly. I knew that marketing myself through creating and sharing valuable content was the key to growing my company. But as a very small business putting the time into the diary to do things is always the issue with me. As owner I’m wearing so many hats. My marketing hat was crucially important to me, yet I was still struggling to make sure I put enough time into it.
“I wanted to embed content marketing as a business development strategy to help me grow.”
I needed to do something. I wanted to embed content marketing as a strategy in my business. I’d read Sonja and Sharon’s books and loved the principles. My questions were “where do I start” and “how do I make it happen?” “Take my website. I wanted guidance and not to be on my own with it any more. To have people to look at where we wanted to go, and how we could make content marketing work for us. I wanted to create a strategy that I would then have the ability to deliver on. The strategy thing was key for me. Knowing what it was I needed to do.”
What Sue did next
“I signed up for Valuable Content’s first content mastermind programme – Pub School in fact! I met with Sonja and Sharon and two other small businesses twice a month for 3 months, with homework and exercises to do in between. I attended with Kelly, my production manager, who is also involved in marketing. It was very useful to have her there too. They took us all through a strategy for our marketing and content, getting us to research, think and document this as we went so we have a proper plan to work to going forward. Exercises such as the real client research they got us to do – going out to a selection of clients for feedback on their challenges, fears, dreams and on what we deliver – are absolutely invaluable. This really helped us to look at our content from their perspective, outside in. It’s making our content far more engaging.”
The outcome for SRA Books
“It’s been a fascinating and very powerful experience. We’ve become a lot more focused. (I think we would have been a bit more random and haphazard without this), and we’re now poised, ready, clear and motivated and finally, on our way when it comes to our content marketing.”
“We’ve become a lot more focused.”
“Our long awaited website transformation project is under way. Thanks to Pub School we have a plan and content wireframe to work to, so we’re clear what content to create. This made it very easy to brief the web designer. We’re clear on our message and how to describe what we do. And we have a content calendar and plan that the whole team is contributing to. We’ve finally got going on Twitter and we’re starting to see results.”
Sue’s learning experience
“Why has the Pub School format worked so well for us? Three main reasons for me:
1. The power of the group
It’s enjoyable – a lot of fun – so much so that it doesn’t really feel like work. The group is fantastic. We learned from each other and that’s massive. It’s amazing how it works. I love that whole feeling of collaboration and group support. I think it’s really strong. When the others in the group talk about what they’re doing I get so much out of that too.
2. Learning from examples
I really like is the way the material in the programme has come from all sorts of different sources. When Sonja and Sharon are talking about things they’re always showing real life examples and I really like that. So it’s like ‘here’s an example of someone we think has really got it.’ The examples are really helpful. Really useful.
3. It is a programme – we’re taking action
Throughout the three month programme, Sonja and Sharon kept us active on stuff, motivating us to get to the next stage. You feel as if you do really need to deliver so you go away and take action and that’s really good. That’s the trouble with an awful lot of training isn’t it, you go and do it and eventually three months later you pick up a file and you go I don’t remember any of this. Whereas I like the way we’re doing it with this programme – we’re learning and taking action. A pub is an unusual and different venue – a lot less stuffy than your average corporate training room – but it works – The Lion pub in Cliftonwood is wonderful. Fresh coffee and home-cooked biscuits, a roaring fire – all helps you to relax and really think.”
Advice for other small businesses looking to get into action
“If you are looking to improve your website, or do more blogging or social media I would suggest you come and look at Pub School, Valuable Content’s content mastermind programme, in order to help you get clear about what’s most attractive about your business to other people. It’s so easy for us in our businesses to think we’re really good at this or we’re really good at that, but how is that we’re seen by others? That’s what’s really useful about doing something like this. And again working in collaboration with others we have had the opportunity to look at ourselves from the outside and then take the action that we need.
“Take the opportunity to look at your business from the outside and then take the action that you need.”
It would be helpful for any company that wants to stop the naval gazing and create messages that are compelling and attractive, and content that will pull people towards them. It’s easy to get stuck naval gazing. If you look at the other companies on this first programme – in a way we’re all experts in our field and it’s very easy to get stuck in that bubble. I know that is a problem for us. You need to be thinking and communicating much more clearly from a prospective client’s point of view, and this programme helps you do just that. It turns the way you communicate around.
“Stop the naval gazing and create messages that are compelling and attractive, and content that will pull people towards you.”
Focusing on your content strategy at Pub School will help you take the right marketing action, with confidence.”