December 2013 Coaches Corner

Content Machine Strategy

iStock_000026791562SmallWhat is your ideal way to get new clients?

Prospecting through cold-calling, hoping that someone will be interested in what you have to offer? Or, prospects coming to you, already interested in who you are and what you have to say, primed and ready to become clients?

I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Believe it or not, the latter scenario is very much attainable, and it doesn't take years and years to cultivate. All you need is expertise to share (which you already have) and planning.

You see, content truly is the way that businesses draw attention in this day and age. People are always seeking knowledge, and if you provide them with information that is valuable and actionable, they will continue to listen to you.

And gradually you'll find that your marketing becomes “inbound” versus “outbound”, i.e. people are coming to you versus you seeking them out. A very nice situation to be in.

The biggest road-block to creating a well-oiled content machine is time and planning. You are busy, and if writing isn't your strength, you will find it challenging to find time to write a blog post, newsletter article or report, as examples. This leads to frustration and ultimately giving up.

Today, we're going to talk about all of the different formats, modalities, topics, etc… you can utilize to create a content machine and how you can strategize to always be producing something, no matter what your schedule is like.

What to Say, What to Say…

Probably the biggest initial problem for Expertpreneurs™ is deciding what to write about.

As an expert, you have plenty of knowledge to share! And there will always be someone who is interested in hearing it.

However, it can be challenging to formulate your thoughts, especially if you are new to content creation. So, here are a few types of topics that you could use as jumping points:

  1. How-To Article – This is pretty straightforward. If you are a fitness coach, you could write a short article on how to do proper squats. If you are a life coach you might produce an article on time management and personal productivity. You get the idea.
  2. Top Lists – How many times have you seen articles titled “Top (X) Ways to be Great at Y” or some variation? They are highly pervasive, and for good reason – people are very attracted to lists.
  3. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) – If you already have a number of clients and have been asked certain questions over and over, it would be beneficial to compile them with their answers and post them to your website. Chances are, other people will ask the same questions, too.
  4. Newsjacks – Giving your two cents on a current news story relevant to your business or industry will get you a lot of attention for relatively little effort. In general, you should make sure to keep on top of current events, because if people perceive you as being on the cutting edge, they will be more likely to follow you.
  5. Data – If you come across a surprising statistic about your industry, it would be great to share that with your prospects, with your opinions on it. You can even compile multiple statistics into one post. You could add your two cents to it, or just let the numbers speak for themselves. The key is to come across as “in the know.”
  6. Excerpted Content – This is particularly useful if you've already created a long-form document of some variety, perhaps an ebook or a white paper. Pull a section out and repurpose it for another piece.
  7. Curation – You can always turn to other people's articles if you are out of ideas. It not only creates good synergy between you and other businesses, but also positions you as really being a part of your industry. (Just remember: you must give credit to the original writer.)

The bottom line is that there are a number of ways to generate content, and you do not have to always create it yourself. Never, ever plagiarize someone else's work. But do not hesitate to look around for what people are talking about to get inspired.

What to Do With Your Ideas

There are so many modes of distribution, it can be a bit overwhelming.

Of course, there is the standard blog. A regularly updated, interesting, and relevant blog is incredibly valuable to a business. You can even monetize the blog itself (though that is a whole other topic).

Let's explore other modalities you could utilize:

  1. Audio – Podcasts are still very popular, and are a great way to release content in an easily digestible form that is transportable. If you keep your information relevant and varied, it could become something that people take with them on long trips, commutes to work, or just for a listen while they're exercising. The potential is huge.
  2. Video – Probably the most popular mode right now, aside from the traditional blog, video really allows your prospects to connect to you. This doesn't have to be fancy; just you sitting in front of your computer (which most likely has a webcam built into it) talking about an interesting topic will do. Seeing you and hearing you will make you infinitely more relatable to those tuning in.
  3. Print – This includes both digital documents and actual print, but there are many avenues for you to try: magazines, ezines, ebooks, paperback books, newsletters, advertorials, etc… The list really goes on and on. Vary your methods to not only keep your readers on their toes, but also keep yourself engaged and interested.
  4. Social Media – Talk about options… there are countless platforms you could utilize to get ideas out. There are multiple uses, but for content purposes, it is great for audience participation and engagement. Share tidbits of information and ask engaging questions, and you just might learn something valuable from feedback you get that you can use in future marketing efforts.

As you can see, there's so much to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming. But your best bet is to try one or two to start out with, and build from there. That way you won't have too much on your plate at once.

How to Get it Out There

fdsdfdsdffdfds-copyContent is only useful if it's consumed.

Like it or not, you have to make sure the content you create is put in front of as many people as possible. And there are numerous ways of doing this.

First, some free methods:

  1. Media – Remember when I talked about crafting an effective media kit? Traditional media is a great way to get your name and your ideas out there. And in many cases, they would be happy to publish something of yours if it is relevant and interesting to their readership. Same goes for video and audio.
  2. Referrals – When utilizing other people's articles for your blogs, etc… make sure you create a relationship with the author. This can lead to them republishing your material, as well. You want your material and links to your pages to be in as many places as possible.
  3. Social Media – We discussed this in terms of content creation, but it is also amethod of distribution. Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter all have the potential to make something go viral. So post your content on all of them!

Now, the not-so-free methods:

  1. Headline distribution – There are companies, like Outbrain, that work like Google AdWords. Where you pay per click (PPC) to have your headline featured on high-profile websites like MSNBC, CNN, Mashable, and NYTimes.com. It is relatively inexpensive for the exposure, however, be cautious and test before you spend too much.
  2. Newswire distribution – This type of distribution is akin to a press release. They put your text and multimedia on all of the top social networks, video sites, and media outlets.
  3. Social distribution – You can use a social media website like StumbleUpon to get your piece in front of many people, and track how it does. Like other PPC scenarios, you want to make sure you try a few headlines out to see which works best, before paying too much money!

This really just scratches the surface of distribution methods, but it should give you an idea of the options that you have.

I also want to make it very clear that distribution is as important if not more important than the creation of your content. It must be a part of your strategy, or you will spend too much time focusing on getting your content out there, and not enough on the quality of it.

Creating Your Well-Oiled Machine

Now that we've gone over all of the different parts of content creation, I want to talk to you about how to put together your strategy for getting content out there.

First, you need to decide on what your chief modality is going to be. If you like writing, then I suggest running a blog. If you prefer recording video or audio, I recommend hosting a podcast or video blog.

Then, decide how often each month you would like to release new content. I recommend putting out one piece each week, but once you get used to it you can do a lot more than that.

Finally, how will you distribute it? Do you want to use social media? Or would you rather test headlines using PPC to see what works best? Either way, have a clear plan of what you are going to do with your content when it's finished.

Now, there are a few tricks you can implement to make this even more effective. If you take the time each week to write a blog post, you can easily repurpose that into an audio or video file – just record a modified version of what you wrote. That way, there are two or three different marketing modalities used to get out the same idea. This helps you be seen in a lot of different places at once.

This will appeal to all different types of prospects, depending on how they like to consume content.

Start Creating

Content is king; distribution is the queen.

Once you've got your strategy in place, you are good to go! Do not hesitate because you are worried about being perfect. Getting yourself out there is the single most important thing you can do.

With all of the information I've shared with you today, you are already ahead of the game. But the next topic takes this information to a whole new level.

If you want to not only have an efficient content machine, but have it run without you having to work too much, then you should give today's feature article a read. It will give you the keys to the freedom and income you've been looking for, by becoming a prolific content producer.

And when your Expertpreneur™ business becomes a content creation machine, your business will boom!