Hi everyone. My name is Denise and I am the owner of Stratigro Business Consulting. Stratigro provides tools for small business owners to help them identify and overcome challenges and grow their business. For 2016 we have committed to using content marketing consistently as a major part of our customer acquisition strategy. Today I will share some of the things I’ve learned so far.
Content creation can be a huge time suck if you’re not working efficiently! This perception causes a lot of people to put it on the back burner or not consistently put out content. If you’re here, you know that content marketing is an important part of an online marketing strategy to help you build loyalty with existing customers, attract new customers, and grow into new markets. High quality content that gets you noticed will position you as an expert and build a loyal audience that will value everything that you produce.
Content marketing is an investment, but we often have other tasks that we need to accomplish. So how do you create quality content, without dropping everything else on your plate? The key is to have a process. If you are trying to write content hap-hazardly, you will waste tons of time and never get anywhere with it. You need to plan for productivity.
Here is the process I go through when creating original content that my audience will value.
- Ask yourself “What problems or challenges are my customers facing”? My customers are my biggest source of inspiration when it comes to creating content; after all, they are my target audience! Base your content on a real world challenge or customer. If someone is facing this challenge, more than likely, others are in the same boat. I use these situations as the starting point for my blog posts. Sometimes my clients ask me a question and something clicks inside my mind that this would make a great blog. When I sit down to create content, I will often think back to some of the customer problems I helped solve and use them to guide a particular post. If I can picture a specific person or situation when I am writing the blog, it becomes a lot easier.
- Keep a notebook. This can be a notepad on your phone (or a paper notebook if you want to be old-school). I often use Evernote to jot down ideas that come to me. I often get inspired when I am out and about working with clients or meeting with various people – as mentioned above. To be honest, for some reason I often get a great idea for a blog while I am driving or running! I always make sure I write down the idea, because I’ve learned from experience that if I don’t, I won’t remember what that idea was as clearly as in the moment. Try to write out a draft or sketch of that idea as soon as you can so that it’s still all fresh.
- Give yourself time. Have you ever sat down to create content and gotten it all done at once, in a way that you were happy to share with your audience? I didn’t think so. This doesn’t happen easily. I always give myself elapsed time when writing a blog post or script. I write what I can – including overall point of the post, subheadings, and as much information as I can on each. This doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s just a draft. Then I put it away. I keep my notebook on hand, because the second I turn my attention to something else, all of the details for a particular point will flood into my mind. If possible I write them out, if not I jot a few notes. After a few days of this, I can usually create a post that I feel happy with that is valuable to my audience.
- Repurpose content. You’ve probably heard this before, but I think it’s worth going over again. If you have already have content, use it in a different way. You can update and change some of your content. We often overthink these things. When I started writing blogs and videos, I thought that everything had to be epic and new, but then I realized, the people who are consuming my content have never worked with me before, attended one of my workshops, or read anything I’ve written. Some of the content that I thought might be too basic or dull for a post was actually a great starting point. My workshops are full of content. The easiest thing for me to do would be to break up the workshop topics into a series of posts and share them with new audiences.
- Ask your audience. Ask your followers on social media what is the biggest challenge they face. Their answers could easily help you come up with a few ideas for content. Not only will this inspire ideas, but you will know that you are speaking to a topic that directly affects them. This also helps create rapport with your audience. If you help a particular person solve a problem they had through a blog or video, they will be very appreciative and become even more loyal.
Tip: if you don’t have a large or participatory audience, browse the pages of companies and organizations that target a similar audience and identify common challenges.
- Find the right platform. There are so many platforms to choose from; find the one that works best for you. Experiment with using different types of media to get your content out there. If you despise writing or aren’t very good at it, then writing long blogs probably isn’t where you will excel. However, you could create infographics, podcasts, or you could use YouTube or Periscope! If you find a particular platform makes it easier for you to create content for, then go with that. Creating content is like exercise: the best way to do it is with a way you will stick with!
- Create, Create, Create! Once you get into a routine of regularly creating content, it will all feel more natural and become easier. Don’t be afraid of “using up all your good ideas”. The more content you are creating the more you will be in a mindset of content creation. Creativity doesn’t run out, it grows as you make use of it.
Creating content can be a lot of hard work, but I promise you, it’s worth it! Today’s buyers want to make informed decisions, and can learn a ton about your organization without ever making direct contact.
Make sure they get the right information about who you are, and how you can benefit them.
John is the Founder & CEO of Wriber. He’s passionate about entrepreneurship, high-tech startups, thought leadership, content marketing, and artificial intelligence. John frequently volunteers his time at the University of Waterloo to help young entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. He’s also a faithful Toronto Maple Leafs fan, frequent Redditor, and lifelong learner.