What does every business have that few harvest and could help you grow your business 10X?
Back in May of 2014, we were out of money. We had started Kush Tourism six months earlier, and we were working hard to figure out how to turn a profit. We borrowed another $5,000 to figure out how to stay in business, and it was at this point my wife and I had a very candid conversation. Keep in mind that we had just gotten married 2 months earlier, and at the same time I had also quit my job and started this company. It was a series of loose decisions on my end. She said, “You have 3 months to start taking home a paycheck or you need to get a real fucking job.” If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.
I love it. I believe I perform best when my back is against the wall. Limited resources are the foundation of innovation. At this point, we had one source of revenue as a company. We were selling educational tours in Seattle to visitors who had an interest in the newly legalized Cannabis Industry. With this new deadline from my wife in mind, I started reading and researching non-stop. I needed to know how to sell more tours with a marketing budget of $0. It was at this point I came across a video about content marketing created by Moz’s Rand Fishkin called, “Targeting Your Audience Earlier in the Buying Process.” Watching this video was a paradigm shift. I had crossed the event horizon. There was no going back. Years later, I was finally able to give Rand a hug and thank him for the impact he has had on my life.
The answer to the question above is: Content
The initial realization I had was that people weren’t coming to Seattle to go on a weed tour. They were coming to Seattle to smoke weed. Boom!
With this mindset I started a list of everything a traveler would want to know if they were coming to Seattle to smoke the sweet leafed goodness this great city is know for. The list included:
- Seattle Cannabis FAQs
- Where and How to Buy Cannabis in Seattle
- Seattle Cannabis Friendly Lodging
- What to do While You’re Here (AKA Take a Kush Tour)
These were topics we already knew the answer to because we had done extensive research to make sure we had good information once people got here and took a tour. So I started creating pages on our website for each topic. I had such high hopes with this new found strategy but then nothing happened. So I leaned in. This had to work. After optimizing the site for the Google bots, something magical happened. Web traffic started to spike and tour sales were rolling in. We did it. On month 3, I took home a $600 paycheck. I had a real fucking job!
I’ve dumbed this story down significantly, but I want to be concise. What I did was surprisingly easy. We already had created most of the content because we needed those answers as a company anyways. All we needed to do was publish the content and make it accessible to the world. Now Kush Tourism serves tens of thousands of users per day and has a global reach. With this audience, advertising revenue quickly grew and dwarfed revenue from the cannabis tours.
There’s a much longer story that led to us becoming the largest raw materials trading platform in the industry, but that’s for another time. What I want you to take from this is that your company is probably sitting on a treasure trove of content. Publish it. It could have an unimaginable impact on your company. Look at us.
What do your customers want to know that you have unique insight into? Write about it. As you can see from this blog, most of the posts here are the result of fierce debate, research, or insights. As Gary Vee would say, give, give, give, ask. Do the work. Especially if you’ve already done the hard part and gained a unique insight into the world.
Some days, you may find yourself calling every hotel / BnB in the state of Washington and asking if people could light up a joint in their garden or on their patio, but that’s the fun part!
- There’s a sense of clarity that comes with writing your thoughts and ideas down and then taking feedback from the world.
- You’re going to be challenged. Not everyone is going to appreciate you or your content, but that’s how you learn and grow.
- Your team is going to read what you write. It’s amazing when your team aligns behind a piece of content, but sometimes it’s even better when your content starts a discussion leading to a different point of view. Post that too.
- You become the thought leader of a community.