Unless you’ve been living under a rock in recent years, you’ll be all too aware of the importance of content creation. Raising your credibility and visibility in the marketplace – in a way that creates value in the minds of your customers. It’s by far the most effective tool to being seen as the expert in your field. Especially now, when there’s more competition, channels and noise than ever before. Success or failure hinges on your ability to be able share your expertise in a compelling way.
In this weeks podcast episode I shared my fascinating conversation with Influence & Co CEO John Hall. Labelled ‘the most influential man you’ve never met’ and the No.1 company dominating content marketing by Inc. magazine. If you’ve ever wondered how some people seem to make prolific, scalable and yet compelling content look easy – here are three key points I took from our conversation that should remove some of the mystery (click here to hear the episode in full).
You need to educate yourself about the language your customers are using, the interests they have and who they are already influenced by. The easiest way to do that? Simply get out there and ask. Put together a core group of clients where you have a good relationship – find out who they are following and why? On which platforms do they spend their time? What content are they most likely to share with others? Use this information to put together a clear content strategy that removes all the guess work. Alternatively, if you’re just starting out, use tools like BuzzSumo to search for the most read and shared articles in your space.
The other way to get smart is to start planning out your content intelligently. This doesn’t mean churning out post after post on a daily basis. Instead take time out of your (or your teams) diary to create one high value piece of cornerstone content – either once a month or once a quarter. This could be a monthly trend report, or simply having someone interview you on a few key topics that are important to your target market. One done, this can then be broken down and repurposed into a variety of different articles or social shares. Providing you with ample content for that entire period.
What is your key piece of content going to be and how are you going to produce it? How can you repurpose this across multiple platforms?
Gone are the days where you need to sit in front of an empty laptop for hours trying to come up with cutting-edge content. Content creation shouldn’t be an exercise in torture. As one of the most prolific content creators I know, John shared some insights into how he covers off his content in only 30 minutes a week.
First, he keeps his radar on high alert as to what questions clients ask him or his team – also what topics and comments are trending on social media. These all point towards content topics that already have an engagement. Once he has an idea for an article, he briefs a team member on the main points – then does some minimal editing before pressing publish. His first lesson early on? Stop obsessing. Slightly less than perfect and out there, is always more effective than perfect and sat in draft.
What questions are you being asked? What topics are piquing people’s attention in your target market? What comments are coming up on social media that you could address?
(Quick side note… try not to get caught up in the story of ‘well that’s fine for him, he has a team’. These days through websites such as Fivver, Upwork and Airtasker you can get content created quickly and with a fractional budget. If you’re a creative genius by all means write, but for the rest of us, focus on your strengths – and outsource the rest.)
It might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s time to forget about seeming ‘professional’, and instead focus on being relatable. The best way to feel relatable is to share examples and stories from your own life and experiences. Now obviously there’s a line there – no one wants to hear about your recent visit to the dentist – unless of course it was a lesson in spectacular customer service. However what we do want is an insight into what it really takes to get those results. In a world obsessed with reality, our tolerance for things looking less than perfect has gone through the roof – in fact in many cases ‘raw and real’ has greater impact.
Forget waiting until you have a shiny outcome to share, walk us through the journey. Gary Vaynerchuk put it perfectly in a recent video blog. To use his words: “It’s much smarter for you to talk to the world about your process going through this – than the advice you think you should be giving them.”
How can I share more of my process with my audience? What can I share of value that my target market will be able to relate to?
A recent Salesforce study found it takes eight touch points for a customer to do business with you. That’s eight times they need to see your face, hear your voice and read your ideas before they are prepared to commit. So – assuming eight is the magic number – the prize now goes to those who get fast, get smart, get real and just get it out there.
Julie Masters is a globally recognised expert in influence, authority and thought leadership. She is the CEO and Founder of Influence Nation and Founder of ODE Management – responsible for launching and managing the careers of some of the worlds most respected thought leaders. Julie is also the host of the soon to be launched weekly podcast Inside Influence. An exploration of what it takes to find and own your voice – and then use it to drive a conversation, an idea, an industry or a Nation. To subscribe check out iTunes, Spotify or juliemasters.com.