Is the “best kept secret” a myth? If no one knows about you – you need a plan.

Talking into ear
What’s your secret? Photo courtesy of hans van rijnberk (Flickr CC)

I dislike when people tell me they are the “best kept secret”.  You are not.  Unless you want to be.

If you say you are the best kept secret, it’s because you don’t know how to tell anyone about what you are doing.  And don’t blame your website.  It’s not it’s fault.

Well sometimes it is. Sometimes your website can be invisible to the search engines and that is something you need to change right away.

How to know if your website is invisible? Check it with Run the simple test. If the spider simulator can see your website, then it’s probably not the website’s fault that you aren’t being noticed. I would also recommend linking your website up with Google’s webmaster tools.

If you do have a website problem, there are many solutions out there that can help you solve it.

If you have a small farm or business, then I would recommend wordpress.  Yes, lots of people use wordpress for blogging but you can also set up simple websites without a blog (just remove it – though I don’t recommend removing blogging because it is the best way to get ranked by search engines).

It’s very affordable (just buy the domain name and hosting) and you’ve got a great system on getting a website up and running in no time.

Best kept secrets can be solved simply.  And here’s the most likely problem. You aren’t producing enough content (text, photography, video, etc…). Or let me rephrase, you aren’t producing enough original content and then taking the steps to make sure people know about it (doing enough outreach via advertising or word of mouth).

So if I was in charge of farm or small business and I needed people to know who we are and what we do, I would put together a strategic plan and then an editorial calendar.

Strategic plans are not brain surgery. They take some work but it’s nothing too hard. Some of the research on your target audience may take some time or if you don’t have time, then it will take some money. But having that research is invaluable to your strategic plan and ultimately your communication efforts.

Here’s what I believe should be in your strategic plan or at least these basics.

What would you consider a communication success? This is your marketing goal or goals.

Who would you like to communicate with? This is your target audience. Can you describe them in detail? What do you want them to know and when? Given what you want them to do, what do you think is the best way to tell them about it? This is your messaging. Keep your message short and simple so people do not get confuse about what you are trying to communicate.

What would you like them to do? This is your call to action. Be specific.

Is someone else out there doing the same thing you are? These are the people that are in direct competition for the attention of your target audience. This is your competition. If you want to call this a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis you can.

Where do you think they get their information? Thinking of your target audience, where do you think they get information about your subject?  The things you do here are the tactics like your website, brochures, business cards, flyers, email, advertising, etc…

How are you going to measure if it’s working? Each tactic should have a way to measure it to see if it is working. Remember all measurement must point back to your overall communication goals.

Again, this isn’t hard but it does take some time and energy. But once it is done, it will help to guide you on all the decisions you need to make when it comes to communications.

And believe me, it can help tremendously when you are trying to make decisions about getting into social media.

Did I miss anything? Do you have anything to add?


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