Creating Relevant Content
Once you’ve found your audience, decided on your offer and messaging, it’s time to start working on your actual content.
Before you begin, you need to develop a channel plan to clearly define where you will publish the content once it is complete.
Your plan should include the platforms you will use to tell your story, your criteria, process, and objectives for each piece of content you create.
You also need to include how you will connect each piece of content to develop a cohesive brand conversation.
When you’re ready to start creating your content, you need to keep in mind that everything you create for your company needs to be focused on the following five pillars.
The Five Pillars of Content Creation
The level of complexity will make or break how a piece of content will perform.
If you are not able to boil down the topic into something that is easy and simple to digest, then the topic shouldn’t be used.
While there are some concepts that are complex and those that require an in-depth analysis and technical exploration, you need to strive to address those topics in a simple manner.
This is the only way to ensure your audience will come back to your content again.
Specificity is closely related to simplicity in that your content creates a self-selecting audience.
If done correctly, your audience will continue to come back to your site for your specific solutions.
When creating your content, you have to ask yourself the following questions.
- Who is reading the content?
- What is the specific problem they are trying to solve?
- What is the higher order consequence they are trying to achieve?
- What is the precise solution you can provide that helps them achieve this outcome?
Sometimes topics will fall into your lap, and you have to be prepared to grab them immediately.
While it is essential to have an editorial schedule, you also need to be flexible enough to change it quickly if something happens.
You may get the chance to interview someone amazing and can publish the interview before your competition has the opportunity, or your company might get featured somewhere, giving you the chance to push the momentum as far as you can.
It is important to realize that these kinds of opportunities come up all the time.
It is essential to pay attention to what is happening around you and capitalize on those opportunities, not allowing serendipity pass you by.
When you're putting in the work, serendipity has a way of appearing more often.
Being disciplined about producing high-quality content, provides you with the high-quality opportunities your business needs to succeed.
The most significant problem many business owners face is finding the time to create the content.
Your content will only work when you're consistent.
It is imperative that you are publishing on a regular schedule in order to reap the full benefits of your content marketing strategy.
If you can't commit to the discipline of doing it yourself, you must find someone else to handle it for you.
If you chose to write the content yourself, you have to pick ideas that inspire you.
This is important because it won't matter if you are the most disciplined person in the world, if you find the content boring, you won't want to write about it.
Only exciting ideas will energize you enough to be disciplined to maintain your production schedule.
Having the discipline to do the work, doesn't necessarily mean that you have to do everything yourself.
As the leader of your company, creating content may not be the best use of your time, even if you can find themes that excite you.
Hiring someone who can help you with creating the content is a high leverage point that you can create.
This is especially true if you hire someone that has a writing background.
Creating Recurring Content
The recurring content you create, like blogging, YouTube videos, and podcasts, are what most people think of as content marketing.
Unfortunately, many business owners mistake publishing content for marketing.
Publishing a lot of content won’t guarantee that you will make money.
Without a plan that includes collecting emails, sending out onboarding or follow-up content, and sending targeted sales offers you will never gain a loyal following or make money.
For you to convert people, you have to make sales offers, no matter what kind of marketing you are doing.
When it comes to producing recurring content, you want to figure out how you can achieve your goals while keeping you motivated to continue creating content on a regular basis.
To develop a marketing strategy that will serve your business, you need to ask yourself the following questions.
- What is the purpose of our marketing?
- Who is the audience we are trying to reach?
- What types of marketing should we use? Is content the right fit for our business?
- Is there someone in the company that can produce the content?
- What should our content focus on?
- Is our audience interested in consuming that type of content?
- What other kinds of marketing should we implement to make our content perform for us?
- How will we measure the success of our content marketing strategy?
To create recurring content that will grab the attention of your market, while leveraging that attention into real sales conversions, you have to create the opportunity for conversion.
The material that you publish needs to create a situation where your audience has an opportunity to convert on an offer they received early on in the relationship, can convert again at a higher price point down the road, and can refer people to your business that will also convert.
Choosing Your Front-End Content Themes
Content tends to perform best when it is published on a regular basis.
Many businesses find producing once a week is enough, while others, who are utilizing social media, find producing several posts every day works for them. However, a lot of businesses struggle to publish on a consistent basis because they don't know what topics they should tackle.
This can be extremely discouraging because not only have you wasted your time and missed a valuable marketing opportunity, by you've also failed to deliver to your audience, which will damage your credibility.
One way to avoid falling into this trap is to read through all of your customer service tickets and revisit your conversations with your prospects.
Determine the most common questions that are being asked and the topics that you continually have to explain.
Also, think about what it is you want to be known for, what your customers want from you, and determine your unique sales proposition.
With this information, you can come up with three to four broad themes that you can revisit time and again from different perspectives.
Each of these themes, you can develop numerous subtopics to write about in your weekly content.
Sit down at the beginning of each quarter and determine three to four subtopics that you can create content for under the central themes you previously identified. Take some time to come up with a couple of potential headlines for each topic, along with four to five key points to address for each post.
Create a spreadsheet and include this information along with a tentative publishing schedule.
This will allow you to sit down and produce quality content each week easily.
Having a plan is the easiest way to get it done because you don't have to waste time deciding on a topic, coming up with talking points or battling writer's block.
You’ve already completed the hardest part.
Along with coming up with a handful of regular themes, you will also want to make a list of occasional topics, that you can touch on every once in a while.
Plan on covering each of your central themes once a month, and one of your occasional topics every six weeks.
Doing this will establish you as an authority on the subject.
Build an Opt-In Offer
Content on its own isn’t enough.
To build a relationship with your visitors, you have to find a way to continue communicating with them on a regular basis.
You can’t assume that your customers will remember to check your blog or buy from you unprompted.
In today’s information-rich world, it’s hard for people to judge what’s right and useful.
Today’s consumers are desperate for transparency and trust in their relationships, including their business relationships.
Your content, when paired with the ongoing communication with your customer provides you with the best opportunity to give people both the trust and transparency they desire.
Most of the content that you will be delivering will be distributed on platforms that you don't own, like Facebook, Twitter, search engines, and content networks.
These platforms own the traffic, and if they change the way they do business, you have the potential to lose your audience.
This is why building a contact list that you own is critical.
This is where your opt-in offers will come into play.
Whenever a new contact visits your site, there should be an opportunity for them to join your mailing list for an incentive.
Obtaining their email address or getting them to set up an account is imperative for you to build their profile, communicate with them, and create carefully targeted sales offer to send to them when the timing is right.
The opt-in offers you provide don’t have to be complicated.
Once you have an excellent piece, that contains useful information, don't wait to publish it.
For every day that you don't have an active opt-in offer is a day that you are losing valuable leads and wasting your time.
While you ideally want to provide your subscribers with a piece of premium content, at the very least you need to have a pop-up box that asks them for their email address.
Build an Onboarding Sequence
Getting someone to provide you with their email address or getting them to create an account with your company is a big win.
This micro-commitment is the first step towards having them purchase something from you, and getting their permission to market directly to them.
This is a huge deal, and you will want to capitalize on the opportunity.
An email onboarding sequence is used to create a window for you to market directly to your potential customers.
Most onboarding sequences consist of four to eight emails that educate your subscribers about your brand, allow you to be engaged with your online community, and that are indoctrinated with your values.
The goal of the sequence is to establish yourself as an authority on the subject matter they opted in to hear about and to get them to take the next step.
No matter what your next contact with the potential customer is, it is mission critical for you to make sure that you are positioning the subscriber to engage with you.
You never want to assume that the prospect will read all the information you provide them and then decide to get in touch with your or make a purchase.
You need to make sure you have something specific you are leading your subscribers toward.
It is essential that your subscribers are never unclear about what they should do next.
This is true at any point during the cycle as the subscriber moves through your ecosystem, but is particularly true at this stage.
Everything you produce at this point in your content marketing strategy should be driving the prospect toward a real-time interaction with you.
You should always be pushing the prospects toward some sort of communication with your company.
A critical aspect of high-converting content is that there is always a clear call to action that moves your potential customer through your sales funnel.
Make Sales Offers
To create content that converts, you have to have a conversion moment.
In spite of all the progress that has been made in marketing, you still have to make a sales offer in order to convert your prospective customers.
There is no possible way for you to extract a sale without first creating a sales offer.
All businesses depend on the number of sales they make.
How good your system is, doesn't matter, neither does having a great team, if you don't make a sales offer, you won't complete any sales.
You have to be committed to making the sale, which means you have to be able to ignore the fear of rejection, your anxiety about upsetting people, and the voice in your head that said you can't do it.
Sales offers come in all shapes and sizes.
Whatever your offer is, it is important that you explicitly offer to give your customer your product or service in return for a specific dollar amount.
If you are scared of making sales offers off the back of your content, or you make a half-hearted attempt at a sale without showing the customer the benefits, your content will never covert a single customer, wasting your resources and time, ultimately leading to the failure of your business.
One of the great things about the content ecosystem is that a majority of the people you connect with will be pre-qualified as a potential customer, so they are more likely to have a positive response to your offer.
Follow-up with Your Prospects
It is rare that you will get a conversion the first time you make contact with your prospect.
However, if your initial onboarding funnel does its job of bringing them into your business and demonstrating your value, you might have a reasonably high conversion rate from the start.
Unfortunately, for most companies, getting the conversion can take a few interactions.
Today, people are more concerned with getting to know that you’re a trustworthy and legitimate business and that there are others who have successfully worked with you.
If your prospects have gone through each part of the ecosystem, they should know, like, and trust you, and understand how they can benefit from what you are offering.
If you haven’t converted them, then you have to bring the follow-up system to life.
If you aren’t able to convert them from a prospect to a customer in your first interaction, you need to follow-up with them in a couple of weeks.
It is important that you follow-up with them as promised and restate their exact motivation for speaking with you, highlighting how you can help them.
Be ready to answer any more questions that they might have, and speak directly to the issues that they've already shared with you while reinforcing why you are a great fit.
Until someone specifically says they don’t want what you are offering and don’t want to talk to you anymore, you need to continue to follow-up with them.
Creating Your Content Assets
To demonstrate that you are an authority and that you have an uncommon depth of knowledge in your industry, you should be building content assets.
Content assets are long-form pieces of content that can be used to attract the high-end clients.
A powerful way to get your company in front of big clients is by sharing your expertise in a generous and transparent way.
Building a strategy around content assets will not work for all businesses.
For example, e-commerce companies would be better served developing their content marketing strategy around recurring content.
This is the same for businesses that have low price-point products.
However, businesses that sell high-ticket items or services will benefit from creating a strategy around content assets because they are a convincing demonstration of authority and credibility.
Content assets should be used to upgrade your recurring content.
Unlike recurring content, that gets you in front of a wide audience, content assets put you above the rest of the businesses in your market.
It shows that you are serious about your industry, that you are an authority with real expertise and resources while functioning as a calling card, and setting your business apart from the competition.
Clarify Your Concept
The first step in creating relevant content assets is clarifying your concept.
Regardless of whether you decide to produce the content yourself or outsource it to a professional, you need to have a clear concept in mind.
Build an Outline
Once you've determined your topic, you will need to build an outline that details what you want to talk about.
The foundation of creating a content asset is a robust outline that addresses all the elements that are needed for a customer to convert.
This is your roadmap for the entire creation process.
Building a detailed outline of your content will ensure you have included all the important information needed, without having to worry that you’ve missed something.
It allows you to see where you are at all times of the creation process, how much is left to complete, and where things need to be rearranged to make the most sense for the reader.
After you've completed building your outline, you'll want to record yourself talking through each and every point that you have listed.
Limit each session to no more than an hour, to avoid becoming overly tired, which could lead to a decrease in motivation.
When you’ve completed hashing out all the points in your outline, it’s time to start transcribing the information and adding extra resources and context as needed.
This system allows you to record all your unique insight, expertise, and perspective without an extensive time commitment.
Once you've transcribed all of the recordings, it's time to focus on the editing process.
See if you can find two or three people, that are familiar with the content, and ask them to read over the material.
Have them look for typos and grammatical errors along with structural issues, like missing information.
Give them a couple of weeks to get through the material, then go through it and implement any edits and suggestions that you believe are appropriate when compared to the original concept of the content.
This is the process of creating excitement around the asset you've created and building a following with your target audience.
You'll want to start marketing the asset while it is being created.
You don't want to wait until its finished to start promoting it to your potential customers.
Use this time to line up guest posts, giveaways, podcast interviews, and launch events to build up the launch date.
A Word on SEO
A sound SEO strategy is crucial if you want your content efforts to rank well in search engines.
The higher your content ranks, the easier it is to be found by the right audience.
When thinking about SEO, there are three rules that you need to keep in mind.
- Search engines want to answer people’s questions and make money in the process.
- Search engines know more about how they work than any SEO expert
- Search engines will fix any ranking trick and may penalize you for using it.
When creating SEO content, it is essential to have a primary keyword phrase in mind while writing and it is critical to use the keyword phrase several times throughout the content.
When deciding on your primary keywords, you want to aim for ones that have a monthly search volume of less than 10,000 and ones that have low competition.
You can find these figures through the Google Keyword Planner tool within Google AdWords.
As you begin creating your content, you want to keep in mind these five guiding principles for creating SEO-friendly content.
- Answer the question
- Provide the best answer to the question
- Provide a complete answer to the question
- Make it actionable
SEO is a proven way of increasing your business' ranking when potential customers search for specific keywords.
For your content to be successful, it takes more than merely filling your website with keywords; you have to integrate it into your overall content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Blueprint For Solopreneurs & Entrepreneurs
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