Aside From Hard Skills And Soft Skills, It’s Business Savvy You Need Be Skilled At
As a solopreneur, the skills you may need to master Knowledge Commerce are many. You would need elementary practical skills in things like writing, photo editing, sound recording, coding, data management – and the knowledge of how to work with WordPress.
But beyond such basics, for which there are plenty of books or outsourced help, there are also some soft skills no one talks about that are crucial. Like the ability to network with peers or persuade customers, or the skills to articulate and project your brand …
Jeff Bullas, who is among the top voices in Internet marketing, explains this need for a macro approach in the marketer’s repertoire: “It’s about understanding the nuances of the new web paradigms and how they interact. It’s about knowing about how each of the social and digital channels operate and interact with each other and the synergies that creates.”
At Solohacks Academy, we think you need both hard and soft skills in three areas: managing information, managing customers and managing to be at the cutting edge. Often, it’s savvy you need, over and beyond just skills.
1. The 3 Skills You Need To Handle Volumes Of Data, Information And Content
This is an age of information. Information that you, as a knowledge marketer, have to access, read and ingest …. plus information as content that you have to create. It’s all in huge volumes. The ability to handle all this with calm assurance (without getting overwhelmed), and being able to “separate the wheat from the chaff”, is essential.
Here are three skills related to information handling that you need to have …
a. You Need The Skills To Handle, Read and Understand Research
Knowledge marketers need to know how to handle research and data. Nowadays research produces not just any data but “Big Data” (volumes of it). To gain from most research reports these days you must know how to get out of research the critical numbers that will help your business objectives.
Analytical skills, needless to say, are vital. You can get professional help in this area, but you still need to know enough yourself. You should at least be able to assess whether the professional help and tools around you are of the right kind to give you the right information.
Beyond quantitative research data, there is the qualitative side of research you should know how to do, subtly among your own loyal fans, followers, and subscribers. Because of trends and technology changing so rapidly, human behavior also changes fast to adapt to all this. You should, therefore, plan to survey your audiences periodically. You should know how to get insights from audiences, without them feeling as if their thoughts are being invaded too often.
b. You Need The Skills To Be Able To Create Volumes Of Content
The primary skill needed for content-creation would be writing. You have to be able to write freely, informally and in short copy as well as long copy. Writing is actually a combination of both skill and art. The more natural you are, and the more authentic you are, the more powerful your writing gets. Most importantly, remember that you are writing to increase your business. So your writing must have a goal of being able to work on the minds of your audiences.
Apart from writing skills, the content you create has to be prioritized, systematized and housed in a content management system like WordPress. You need to know how to handle a system like WordPress and all its plugins, and also know enough about web design and web layouts to see that content displays well.
Some knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP – and technical issues like virus-protection, hosting and backing up data – are also important. Even if you don’t have these skills, you have to know enough about these technicalities to be able to pick the right outsource talent who can deliver for you.
c. You Need The Skills To Handle All Kinds Of Multimedia Content
Content also goes beyond just writing. We have to be comfortable with multimedia and mobile-friendly content (which includes responsive visual content such as still images, videos, animated images and so on) and audio content (which includes webinars, online meetings or podcasting). We also need familiarity with “repurposing content” in a variety of formats such as slide decks or infographics.
Image editing of a basic level is an absolutely necessary skill, and you also need sufficient understanding of the basics of video production and podcasting.
Increasingly, you have a lot of new technologies surrounding visual content such as innovations in visual filters and live streaming … and as each new technology brings with it new possibilities to be unique, you have to reorient your skills to capitalize on the new creativity options, to give your brand a competitive and differentiated edge.
2. The 3 Skills You Need To Handle Capture, Nurturing And Retention Of Target Audiences
Directly impacting your business success will be the ability to attract traffic, capture subscribers and nurture them to convert them into customers.
This is very heart of the marketing process. You simply cannot afford to be deficient in these three types of skills below …
a. You Need The Skills To Attract And Sustain Traffic To Your Site
Knowing how to build a substantial traffic base for your site includes four separate disciplines these days – SEO, SEM, SMO, and PR. SEO is Search Engine Optimization or the art of getting high Google rankings to bring a flood of visitors to your site via keyword searches. SEM is Search Engine Marketing (also known as Pay-Per-Click or PPC advertising). Be careful, because SEO and SEM are not what they used to be. They’ve morphed into something else after Google’s algorithm updates.
SMO is Social Media Optimization (which includes the methods of obtaining traffic to your site from the social media channels) – and PR is about Digital Public Relations.
Of late Digital PR is seen as a very important arm for traffic creation, because in the slow-returns culture of content marketing, Digital PR helps spike your authority and domain rank, which in turn moves prospects a lot faster towards you.
b. You Need The Skills To Convert Customers Using Automation
Until recently marketing automation seemed like a concept for big brands and big budgets, but of late many different tools and software have come on the market to help small brands and blogs transition from basic CRM to full-fledged marketing automation.
It’s no longer a luxury to be able to automate the process of customer conversion, it’s become a necessity – because customers are hard to hold on to when they make fleeting visits to your site. They barely read your content with attention spans long enough to allow you to begin relationships with them.
They have to be automatically tracked and followed with an email sequence or retargeting – something brands cannot do manually at all. So a knowledge marketer these days needs to get his hands into all aspects of marketing automation. Again the thumb-rule is this: if you can’t do it yourself, know enough about it to be able to pick the best tools or resources.
c. You Need The Skills To Handle Email For Customer Nurturing
There are many email and autoresponder services that we may know of by name – like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Aweber and so on. But it’s not enough to be able to just handle their formats and intricacies, it’s a key skill to be able to handle email writing (a separate art in itself) for all forms of customer contact.
You need email to be able to prospect for customers, for customer management, for customer nurturing, and for sustaining customer loyalty.
You also need email for influencer prospecting and nurturing and for outreach in various forms. Email is not just a tool for correspondence, it’s a vital marketing tool for subtle persuasion, so the skills you need in this area also include direct marketing and copywriting knowledge.
3. The 3 Skills You Need To Be A Star At The Cutting Edge Of Online Business
If you’ve been reading articles that talk of living “perilously at the cutting edge” of the online world, it’s time to change your perspective. Think about changing from being a “fearful one” into a “fearsome one.”
You may be living on the edge of an exciting landscape, but you can’t afford to do that while you stay a nobody. You have to become a star, a “somebody.” You haven’t come into solopreneur Knowledge Commerce to be anything less. Here are three skills you need to cultivate …
a. You Need The Skills To Build Presence On The Social Media
You needn’t be a rock star on social media, but you have to acquire some high noticeability on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube – these are my six “must-be-on” social channels. And you’d better know the “silent etiquette” of all these channels. You also have to have good social skills, and be on the social media often, to be noticed. Anything less than that, and you melt facelessly into the crowd.
Apart from having the basic skills of cordiality, geniality, friendliness, flexibility and so on, you have to have that subtle ability to cultivate “presence.” When you are online on the social channels, your words have to be heard and valued. It comes from knowing when to talk, what to talk about, and how to talk. I guess it cannot really be a taught skill. It’s a skill to be honed by more and more experience.
The next time you are socializing, try to see how the successful ones are “commanding attention” and not just hoping for it. Look, listen and learn.
b. You Need The Skills To Catch Trends At Inception For Traction
Most Knowledge Commerce marketers don’t quite see “newsjacking” as a skill set they need, but I can tell you that the ones who do make huge gains, and leave the others behind in the wink of an eye.
What is “newsjacking”? You catch “trends” and “news” while it’s still red hot. Then you connect that news to your marketing campaign in some way that affords an “association of ideas”. For example, a local, highly popular marathon could be your chance to promote foot fitness, if you are an orthopedic specialist.
As a knowledge marketer, you have to reserve some part of your personal bandwidth to regularly know and watch what’s happening around you. Just signing up for alerts isn’t enough, the big part of the game is knowing where the action is likely to happen, and anticipating that rather than waiting to be alerted. Further, you have to be innovative enough to use the opportunity.
c. You Need The Skills To Be A Lifelong Learner And Networker
Knowledge Commerce marketers need to be constantly on a steep learning curve, and simultaneously, they also need networking skills. You need soft skills in communication.
You need to be able to mingle with others, learn from others, or tutor and mentor others. And even though you are a solopreneur, you need the aptitude for leadership within your business-facilitating-networks.
The interesting challenge here is to have the ability to be a learner and a leader at the same time. You also need enormous patience and self-discipline when you are working on your own in a business that involves content marketing.
In Summary …
- For Knowledge Commerce, you’d need hard skills like writing, media and data management, and working with WordPress.
- You would also need soft skills like being able to network with peers, persuade customers, or project your brand.
- There are 3 key skills you need to handle volumes of data, information and content.
- There are 3 key skills you need to handle the capture, nurturing and retention of target audiences.
- There are 3 key skills you need to be a star at the cutting edge of online business.
- Aside from hard skills and soft skills, it’s business savvy you need be skilled at.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Related Articles From Our “Understanding The Basics & Power Of Knowledge Commerce: Guide”
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- What Are The Inhibiting Myths For Knowledge Commerce Solopreneurs?
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- What Are The Best Resources For Knowledge Commerce Solopreneurs?
- What Is The Roadmap To Follow For A Knowledge Commerce Business?
- Are There Good Case Studies Of Knowledge Commerce Marketers?